How to Make a Business Trip Run Smoothly: Five Tips to Live By

Business trips are already stressful. Business men seem to be constantly on the phone as they arrange their day around important meetings, struggle to guarantee that they have the proper transportation arrangements to and from every single airport and then they still have to prepare for the actual business meetings. There are quite a few things that can cause unnecessary stress on a business trip, but living by these five tips will help every trip run a little bit more smoothly.

Airport transportation

Some limo services offer worldwide service, which can be a huge relief. No matter where a business person travels, he can rest assured that a reliable limo will be waiting to pick him up from the airport. Most airports also offer shuttle services if they are located nearby the hotel. Having a chauffeur is a nice convenience, but it is not always necessary. Many businesses in the rental car industry offer convenient pick up services as well.

Making sure that reliable transportation from the airport to the hotel may not seem like a big deal, but it can save the day if there is not a taxi service available.

Business Amenities

After leaving the airport and stepping out of a limo, most people on a business trip want to relax. By the time that they realize that the hotel does not offer what they need, it is too late to get a refund, and this will cause some unnecessary stress.

Most hotels offer at least a few business amenities, such as high-speed internet. The less common ones, like a fax machine, may not be available for public use. Individuals that are about to take a business trip can help eliminate this stress by calling to check that hotels have everything that will be needed before making a reservation. If conference calls will be done via Skype or another similar program, it is important to ask about how fast the internet is as well.

A Flight Bag

Right above the importance of reliable limo services is how comfortable the flight itself is. Instead of being one of those people who boards the plane and then has to search around for everything that they will need on a long flight, be one of the people who has everything that they will need in a bag that will fit under the seat.

Make sure to include reading material, headphones, a phone charger and a laptop if it will be used. For those that are going on their first business trip, take the time to do some research about what you should, and should not, bring.

Eating

Eating before getting on a plane will mean that there is more time for sleep. Simply boarding a plane and then drifting away in a peaceful sleep to wake up and only have an hour left to go sounds like pure heaven, and this is what most people should strive for. This can help to drop jet lag, and leave a person ready to go as soon as the plane lands.

Eating is something that should also be considered while on the business trip. Individuals are encouraged to take the time to check out nearby restaurants before they book a hotel room, and call to ask about services at the hotel that they plan to stay at. If there is a current renovation project going on that eliminates room service for guests, it will be nice to know before arriving.

Business trips seem to be known for being stressful and full of eating in a limo while talking on the phone on the way to a meeting. Business trips can be made that much easier by following some of these business tips, like making sure to pick reliable limo services and sleeping on the plane.

Can Virtual Reality Help Eliminate Your Corporate Travel Expenses?

All of those things are perfectly valid arguments – for now. But putting supplier and customer in the same room has no long-term sustainable future. Technology is making it redundant. Not today, perhaps not tomorrow, but soon.

Of course, it’s fair to say that some companies like to show how much power they have over suppliers by summoning them for a 15-minute meeting a three-hour drive away, keeping them waiting for no other reason than ‘because they can’, and then sending a deputy to do the face-to-face part. That’s mere arrogance, and that kind of company won’t change. The time spent, of course, will be reflected in the bill…

But for more enlightened customers there is a recognition that time is not only money, but is also finite. Sure, a personal connection is vital. Before a contract is awarded, it’s good to see the whites of their eyes; to see if they’re the kind of people you’d like to do business with. But after that, meet once a year, perhaps, and for the rest of the time rely on technology. And why wouldn’t you. We’re living on a technology timeline, where the once-novel is now the mere commonplace. Who would have thought we could communicate electronically via email? But we do. Who remembers that now old-fashioned ‘please allow 28 days for delivery’ on goods bought by mail order. But we did.

Careful use of travel expense management software will show just how much money a company is spending to put its representative in the same suit as a client. But the time spent on regular travelling is a drain on the individual jammed into the metal tube at 50,000 feet, a drain on a company’s productivity, for if they’re travelling they’re not being as productive as they might be, and for the planet, we’re just sucking away the fossil fuels and fouling up the atmosphere. Comparisons of the relative CO2 emissions between cars and planes are a red herring; both dump more greenhouse gas than not making the journey at all.

And does that mean there has to be some kind of personal connection; some feeling that a supplier puts before you dismiss it out of hand, perhaps now would be a good time to take the long view; and from that different perspective, perhaps see the concept in a different light.

Squinting into the past, it would once have been unheard of to exchange correspondence electronically, batting messages back and forth more quickly than can be explained – but we take it for granted today.

Your Summer Travel Can Be a Business Trip – Part 1

Recently I participated in a wedding of a very good friend of mine. I knew I wanted to write off the travel expenses, the lodging, and the meals, but how? For me it turned out to be relatively easy. Not only am I a certified Pathfinder Coach, but I am also an event planner (with my wife) and a personal financial counselor. Therefore, before the trip I contacted the hotel where the wedding was to be held and set up a meeting with the event coordinator. This meeting was for a tour of the facility and information about booking an event there. I also had several meetings with the wedding party; which I could offer counsel on financial issues.

Sound odd? Feel there is no way you could legitimately write off a short trip like this? Don’t dismiss it so soon. It is very possible. And here is how…

Travel

Taxpayers who travel away from home on business may deduct related expenses, including the cost of reaching their destination, the cost of lodging and meals and other ordinary and necessary expenses. Taxpayers are considered “traveling away from home” if their duties require them to be away from home substantially longer than an ordinary day’s work and they need to sleep or rest to meet the demands of their work. The actual cost of meals and incidental expenses may be deducted or the taxpayer may use a standard meal allowance and reduced record keeping requirements.

Days of the week make a big difference – you can treat weekend days as business days by having business meetings planned on either side. For instance:

If Monday is a federal holiday and you have meetings scheduled for Friday and Tuesday then the three days in between are considered business days. They would be deemed business days and all your on-the-road and transportation expenses are deductible.

Note: An IRS private letter ruling allows for Saturday and Sunday to be considered business days if the costs of staying over are less than the airfare to travel after Saturday.

Transportation vs. On-the-road expenses –

o Transportation expenses are those costs that you incur in getting to and from your destination.

o On-the-road expenses include all costs necessary to sustain life while on the road.

Take the family car and save even more. Traveling with non-business family members allows you the same benefit of traveling in the car all by yourself. Whether the car is full or not you still get to deduct the same amount of mileage – $.505/mile this year.

Lodging

A basic definition is, “sleeping away from home.”

Only actual costs for lodging may be claimed as an expense and receipts must be kept for documentation. Expenses must be reasonable and appropriate; deductions for extravagant expenses are not allowable.

Some odd rules you need to know about…

o Strange bed rule – Even if you could make it home, but have traveled say 200 miles from your residence you can get a hotel room for the night and have the business pay for it. If you are going to a convention and the convention is just across town, you still can deduct your lodging expenses for the hotel.

o Pay your family to let you stay with them – your business can take a tax deduction if you stay with family members – but you must pay them something. There is a two week per year allowance.

By Coach Jeff Earlywine

More information can be found: www.helpmybusinesstoday.com