Being a remote worker can rock. You can work from home, dial into meetings from anywhere, and even set your own hours. However, it can also suck when you end up traveling a ton in order to make important meetings at your company’s HQ. Traveling for work can be thoroughly exhausting, both mentally and physically, but there are little things along the way that you can do to improve the experience, both for yourself and your work relationships.
Here are 5 travel hacks to help you get more perks — all while improving relationships with your coworkers:
1) Book a hotel with a complimentary breakfast.
When you travel, you typically have a budget allocation for both your lodging and your dining. In theory, they exist separately from one another, but you can cheat a little bit by slipping the most important meal of the day into your accommodation.
Look for hotel booking options within your corporate policy that include a continental breakfast. By doing this, you can usually stay within the confines of your travel budget while simultaneously freeing up dollars to spend towards lunch, dinner, and/or drinks with coworkers (like that $7.50 Triple-shot mocha frappuccino with extra whipped cream).
2) Treat your office mates to lunch.
Everyone wants to be a popular figure in the office, not only because it makes your work-life more enjoyable, but also because maintaining a positive persona can help you advance your career. A very simple way to help you achieve this is simply by doing nice thing for others, all while on the company’s dime and within budget.
If you are traveling on a business trip and find yourself with excess balance on your per diem, consider using it to take a coworker or client based in your travel destination out for a meal. It literally costs you nothing, but a little good will can go a long way, and you can bet that person will remember your generosity the next time you need help.
3) Eat cheap and save your per diem for happy hour with your team.
If you don’t particularly care for fancy meals, but really enjoy a bit of nightlife at the end of the work day, consider eating on the cheap and then saving your per diem dollars for some fun out of the office with your coworkers. As far as expense reports are concerned, you are within budget. Getting to know your coworkers outside of the office, priceless.
4) Use your personal frequent flier number for business travel.
There is a common expression that “Americans live to work, and Europeans work to live.” Imagine if the one could actively serve the other? If you are booking flights for work, there is no reason why you can’t be racking up frequent flier miles for yourself while you do it.
Make sure you always enter your frequent flier number when booking flights, and if your company has a preferred airline, consider joining their rewards program to further boost your earnings. Additionally, if you are responsible for booking travel for your reports or other employees at your company, don’t forget to ask them for their frequent flier numbers to help them earn points. Many travel management systems, like Deem Travel, will also store your frequent flier numbers for you and add them to all your business travel reservations.
5) Plan a layover vacation on your way to or from your business destination.
For many employees, traveling for work is a way of life, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a little bit of fun too. If your flight requires you to make a layover in order to get to your destination, consider booking your trip with a couple days between connections on the front or the end so you have time for a little R&R.
This typically requires a bit of deal hunting, especially if you want to remain within your travel budget, but if you’re forced to stop in London, Paris, or Berlin anyway on your way to Bangalore, why not get out of the airport and enjoy yourself. Use your work obligations as an impetus to see the world and take you to places that you otherwise might not be able to afford.
Business travel doesn’t have to be all business. Share with us on our Facebook page or Twitter how you make the most out of your next business trip.