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Business travel on a budget? Yes, travelling for work need not break the bank for entrepreneurs and small businesses with a tight budget.
No matter how much work can be accomplished virtually, face-to-face meetings, conferences, exhibitions and business conclaves sometimes become indispensable to secure business deals. Travel need not always be expensive and bank-breaking if you follow certain rules and tips.
For example, if you are researching flights to Dubai or other middle-eastern destinations, large airlines like Emirates sometimes have excellent deals that include accommodation and sight-seeing, that bring down the total cost of trip.
Smart travel on a budget can really help you especially when you are running your own business or work for a small business with tight budgets. Here are some pointers to keep in mind before charting your business travel.
Instead of sticking to an arbitrary figure, do the research and arrive at the number based on your destination. For e.g. If you are visiting expensive cities like New York or Paris, keep in mind that they have excellent public transport which will save big bucks on rental cars. Also, travel related tips are available in abundance for cities that are visited frequently which can become your biggest asset.
Even for a small company, having a one person travel bureau (from a reliable agency) can be extremely beneficial. This person or team should be an expert in securing deals, managing loyalty points, arranging transportation passes, foreign currency and acquiring last minute savings. For e.g. even big airlines like Emirates offers excellent discounts when you have accrued sufficient reward points with them. Maintaining a single base is both efficient and increases accountability.
While we might be hesitant to negotiate hotel rates, Consumer Reports states that 8 times out of 10, businesses will extend a discount when clients ask for lower prices on hotel rooms or car rentals. Remember, businesses lose money on empty rooms and cars sitting idly in the garage. Even while making dinner reservations for your clients, try to secure a deal for the entire party instead of a per plate pricing. This will ensure that freebies like appetizers and alcohol are thrown in. Not only will this make you look like a star player, it will build the outlook that your client will learn to appreciate and admire.
Imagine lugging around three pieces of heavy baggage on long distance flights. This will severely challenge your transportation agility. Your time to clear security will triple, airlines may be tempted to levy baggage fees and the time taken to board and travel will protract. While it might be tempting to carry extra when international airlines levy only a small fee, it is vital to remember that this is aimed at a family of four, not the single business traveler.
Domestic airlines in the US repeatedly upgrade their frequent fliers for no extra charge. Hotels are often willingly to extend their breakfast services free of cost to frequent guests. Make sure you are well informed about these deals and also don’t hesitate to enquire in person.
Even though you may be a small company running on a shoe string budget, ensure that you socialize certain travel specific rules – No ravaging the mini bar in hotels and filing false expenses. Keep updating these rules periodically to stay relevant and also exercise them without fear or favor. This will get all your ducks in a row.
Travel, often, leaves us weary and drained. Yet it is essential to run a successful business. So in these testing times when every penny counts, controlling your budget in a smart and successful way is the only route that will land you on top.
This article has been supported by Emirates.
Pic credit: tjook (Used under a Creative Commons license)
Meera R Corera (@meeraramanathan) is a SAP Consultant. She also pursues her passion for writing focusing on all things India — women, travel, immigration, food and cinema read more...
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Darlings makes some excellent points about domestic violence . For such a movie to not follow through with a resolution that won't be problematic, is disappointing.
I watched Darlings last weekend, staying on top of its release on Netflix. It was a long-awaited respite from the recent flicks. I wanted badly to jump into its praise and will praise it, for something has to be said for the powerhouse performances it is packed with. But I will not be able to in a way that I really had wanted to.
I wanted to say that this is a must-watch on domestic violence that I stand behind and a needed and nuanced social portrayal. But unfortunately, I can’t. For I found Darlings to be deeply problematic when it comes to the portrayal of domestic violence and how that should be dealt with.
Before we rush to the ‘you must be having a problem because a man was hit’ or ‘much worse happens to women’ conclusions, that is not what my issue is. I have seen the praises and criticisms, and the criticisms of criticisms. I know, from having had close associations with non-profits and activists who fight domestic violence not just in India but globally, that much worse happens to women. I have written a book with case studies and statistics on that. Neither do I have any moral qualms around violence getting tackled with violence (that will be another post some day).
Gender stereotypes, though a by-product of the patriarchal society that we have always lived in, are now so intricately woven into our conditioning that despite our progressive thinking, we are unable to break free from them.
Repeatedly crossing, while on my morning walk ̶ a sticky, vine-coloured patch on the walkway, painted by jamuns that have fallen from the jamun tree, crushed by the impact of their fall, and perhaps, inadvertently trampled upon by walkers, awakens memories of the mulberry tree that stood in my parents’ house when I was growing up. Right at the entrance of the house, the tree caused a similar red and violet chaos on the floor, which greeted us each time we entered the gate.
Today, as I walked by this red-violet patch, I was reminded of an incident that my mother had narrated to me several times. It had taken place shortly after her marriage and her arrival in this house from her hometown.