Managing International Travel Expenses as a Small Business
Starting out as a small business can be expensive and at time, difficult. This is especially true if you have to incur a lot of costs, before you actually make a profit. One of the biggest expenses of business is in travel. If you have to make international travel plans, the travel expenses can quickly get out of hand. How can you cut your travel costs, and still make the required business class flights?
Pay attention to prices
Flight prices tend to fluctuate regularly. They are likely to drop in price at certain times of the day, and then, at certain times of the month. Also, last minute flights can offer significant price reductions, in an attempt to fill an empty flight. When flying business class, keep a close eye on prices. If you have a business assistant, make this one of their daily tasks. Regularly monitoring the prices of flights can save you thousands over the course of a year of travel.
Utilize rewards and mile points
There are many credit cards and airlines that offer frequent flyer discounts. These frequent flyer discounts are a great way to add up miles and then receive additional discounts on regular travel. When you are flying business class regularly, consider paying with a credit card that gives you exceptional miles. Also, sign up for any airline loyalty programs. If you travel frequently, you may accrue enough miles for free trips or travel rewards. With U.S. residents logging 459 million trips for business purposes in 2015, with 37% for meetings and events, a lot of business travelers are missing out on owed rewards.
Request any business discounts
If you are flying internationally for a conference or business meeting, request any special rates. Sometimes, convention or conference holders are able to pass on airline or hotel discounts for large groups of people. With a special group code, you can sometimes safe a significant amount of travel costs. Flying business class cost can get expensive, so every little bit helps. There may even be discounted flights especially for travelers of a certain group or business. You may even receive group discounts on amenities and activities in your destination city. The top 5 leisure activities for overseas visitors are shopping, sightseeing, fine dining, national parks and monuments, and amusement and theme parks.
Purchase business class airfare
Many airlines offer travel discounts to those traveling for business, rather than vacation reasons. When you are booking your business class tickets to Europe, ensure that you are flying business class and that you are getting the best price business class flights to Europe. Sometimes it can be helpful to actually call the airline and notify them personally that you will be flying internationally for business purposes. They can usually get you the best business rate over the phone, as many of the travel sites are made specifically for vacation travelers.
Write off travel expenses on your taxes
Traveling for business purposes is considered an expense. That means that you can legally write it off on your taxes. This can significantly reduce your tax responsibility at the end of the year. Keep record of all of your airline and hotel receipts. Also, keep record of any meals, other travel expenses, and booking fees, as those can all be deducted, as well. Approximately 30.78 million U.S. citizens traveled overseas in 2014, with many of these trips for business purposes. Ensure that you are not paying extra taxes on the money incurred because of your international business travel expenses.
International travel is one of the largest expenses of some smaller to medium sized businesses. For a business that is newer or does not yet produce a lot of income, these expenses can be overwhelming. It can be helpful to look for discounter airfares, travel business class, and collect rewards and travel miles. Also, remember to write any expenses incurred on travel off of your yearly taxes. With proper planning and research, you can drastically reduce your international travel costs.