Is your travel budget shrinking along
with the NASDAQ? Here's how to make your dollars go
You road warriors out there know better than anyone how companies
have clamped down on travel spending. No one needs to tell you the
numbers: Even back in 2000, 60 percent of U.S. businesses had
trimmed their budgets, and almost half were either negotiating
better hotel rates or simply booking farther down on the
"Most [businesspeople] are trying to travel smarter," says C.
Thomas Nulty, president and COO of Navigant International, a
corporate travel manager.
Yes, you're feeling the pinch. But the pinch doesn't have to hurt
quite as much - if you plan your trips the right way. Here's our
expert advice on how you can stretch your expense account, without
sacrificing too much comfort in the name of the company.
A PLACE TO LAY YOUR HEAD
Judge a hotel by its fees and freebies. Surprise charges may be
posted for electricity, phone access, parking, housekeeping, early
departure, and safe deposit boxes. "A lot of the nickel-and-dime
charges are negotiable," says Peter Greenberg, investigative travel
analyst for NBC's Today Show. "If you fight them, they'll take them
off." Just make sure to negotiate the fee waivers up front. Also,
look for complimentary breakfast and executive-level privileges,
where free faxes, beverages, and hors d'oeuvres may more than
compensate for the fee.
Location saves money. Rates fall if you stay anywhere but in
the business district. Stay at the airport versus downtown and you
save an average of $101 in San Francisco, $58 in Los Angeles, and
$50 in Chicago and Atlanta, says American Express' corporate travel