Business Travel Finances |

If you own your own business, then work-related travel can really add up if you’re not conscientious – and even if you work for a company that will reimburse the majority of your expenses, there are measures you’ll want to take to be mindful of your own finances in the interim and maximize your reimbursements down the line.

Always consider signing up for the frequent flyer programs associated with every airline you frequent since you never know with whom you’ll be booking your next trip. However, since some airlines are beginning to charge for cashing in frequent flyer miles that have been sitting around collecting dust for extended periods of time, be sure to make use of your accumulated miles the very next time you book a flight with a given airline to avoid such penalties, rather than waiting around for the equivalent of a free flight to stack up. An even better option you may want to consider is acquiring a credit card that offers airline miles as rewards for every dollar spent, which are applicable to any airline with no expiration date so that there are bigger pay-offs, fewer restrictions, and more flexibility for application to later travel plans.

Before your departure, be mindful of the balance remaining on your credit cards. If necessary, as a safety precaution, consider having your credit limit increased for more spending flexibility to protect yourself against maxing out while away from home or to avoid spending any of your own money on expenses that will be reimbursed by your company upon your return anyway. It is wise to make business-related purchases and personal purchases on separate credit cards, to make the organization of your expense reports that much simpler and straightforward. Also, be prepared for places that do not accept credit cards. ATMs may not always be as nearby as you need them to be, so always bring a fair amount of cash money along with you, just in case.

It is also prudent to develop some means of keeping track of your business related expenses as accurately as possible. Without keeping organized records, and without sufficient documentation to back up your claims, many dollars that could wind up back in your hands may not make it there. Keep all of your receipts, and keep a diary of some sort – whether on a notepad or on your PDA – to serve as an expense log for each and every dollar you spend. Chances are, if you do not record your expenses immediately and opt to document them later, you’ll forget something. Each day should have its own labeled envelope of receipts, and any ambiguous receipts should have notes on them for clarity. Fill in your expense forms throughout the course of each day, then type everything immediately upon your return in order to be prepared with your expense report before you even make it back to work – as submitting it for approval and dispersal should be one of the first things you do upon your return to prevent any unnecessary delay in receiving your reimbursement. Your boss will definitely appreciate your organizational skills, and who knows, it could pave the way for some much deserved corporate recognition in the future.

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