When I began my career in business in the mid 1980’s, I traveled First Class on airplanes, and was shuttled around in helicopters and by drivers in Lincoln Town Cars. I stayed in suites at luxury hotels, and was encouraged to keep my expense account as high as possible so as not to tip off the finance department that it was possible to by frugal when traveling. I was 22, and living large. In fact, my travel expenses were more per annum than my $15,000 yearly salary.
Of course, times have changed. Business executives travel far less than they used to, and are encouraged to be as frugal as possible.
So, for those looking for ways to spend less on business travel expenses, I’ve put together an EXTREEEMELY tongue-in-cheek list of five things you can do to lower employee costs of traveling for business purposes.
Encourage your employees to stay with relatives rather than in hotels. So what if they haven’t seen that second-cousin-once-removed since they were 15; it is time to catch up with long-lost relatives who can save the company some cash. If no relatives are available, open-air lodging (i.e. sleeping in parks and parking lots) is a very good option. Should it be raining or snowing, sleeping under a parked car or under a bridge is highly recommended.
Airplane travel is for the 1% and rental cars are for wimps. Encourage employees to see the country on their way to a business meeting by taking the bus or hitchhiking. Make sure you provide pepper spray and luminescent safety vests for employee protection.
3). Food and Beverage
Who needs three meals a day? The vast majority of the country is morbidly obese and here is a chance to make a difference. Encourage skipping meals whenever possible. Should employees demand food to survive, encourage them to visit stores where free samples are handed out, and bars where bowls of nuts are provided. When traveling in groups, encourage the use of all-you-can-eat restaurants. One plate can be shared among 5-7 people easily. Your employees should also become familiar with indigenous berries, leafs and roots if traveling to rural areas, and when trash pick-up occurs in urban locations—so much food can be re-claimed through dumpster diving. Liquids can be acquired through the use of backyard garden hoses (watch out for guard dogs), pooling water on the sidewalk, and by utilizing dew build-up on cars in the morning.
Entertainment should be discouraged whenever possible, unless it can be used as a revenue-generating opportunity. Ask your employees if they know how to pole-dance, or if they might enjoy being a husker. If you need to take a customer or client out for a meal, ask them to pay or use the “I left my wallet at home” excuse.
Encourage your clients to give employees gifts, and even tip them for providing services like opening a door, or carrying their bags. Hotel employees generate a substantial income from tips—so can your employees.
Being a frugal employee demonstrates loyalty, and toughens you up. It’s good for business, good for America, and good for a little humor.