One of the best parts of my job is being able to travel to new and exciting places for speaking engagements, conferences, and more. I’m grateful to have met so many faces in the industry and I wouldn’t trade my experiences for the world, but admittedly, traveling often can really pile on the expenses. Think about it – between the flights, meals, hotels, and other things that pop up, it can add up to be a pretty penny. So in an industry that demands some travel, how can we financially stay afloat and eliminate as much stress as possible?
Determine the ROI of your travel
Before you make any commitment to traveling for work, sit down and really look at the numbers and compare them to what benefits you could potentially reap from making the trip or conference. It can be a little difficult to predict given that there are no quick results, but if you find that you’re attracting new business from conferences or even continuing your education on how to make your business more lucrative, then the trip may be worth it.
If you would ultimately be losing money or if the crowd isn’t a great fit for you and your brand, then you may want to sit it out and save up for a conference that may better suit you in the future.
Any well-seasoned traveler knows that staying organized is a great way to keep a record of what you’re spending on your trip. I personally use TripIt to track my flight, my dinner reservations, and more so that I’m well-aware of my expenses. Having everything in one place is also an amazing time-saver, that way you aren’t fumbling with tickets at the airport. I also keep a separate folder in my suitcase for all of my receipts to document later.
Set a budget
Think about what you’re comfortable spending on your trip beforehand and make an itemized list of things you’ll be purchasing to set a realistic budget. Include additional transportation, buying meals, and emergency funds for a hotel in the event that your flight is canceled. Remember that you’re traveling for work, and not strictly for fun. I’ve seen many people take time away from the conferences and classes to go explore the sights, meaning that they’re spending money rather than learning how to elevate their business and make more money.
You’ll want to also take into consideration the additional expenses of bringing along employees. Doing so isn’t always necessary, but it can be a great way to put in face time with your clients and they’ll have an opportunity to further their education as well. Make sure they’re being reimbursed for everything they spend, and that you’re allotting extra money in the budget for their meals and travel as well.
Carefully auditing your travel expenses is a great way to ensure that you’re not overspending on your travel. You wouldn’t want to be in debt or causing a financial misstep due to unnecessary purchases, so make sure you’re maximizing your experience and continuing your education rather than blowing your money away!
Kevin Dennis is the editor of WeddingIQ and the owner of Fantasy Sound Event Services, a full-service event company based in Livermore, California. Dennis is the past president for Silicon Valley NACE, and current national president for WIPA.