Traveling for a trade show? Here are a few things to keep in mind before the event that will save you both time and money:
Scheduling/Booking– Book flights early; about a month in advance is usually best for prices. The cheapest days to fly are usually Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, so aim for those days to depart if possible. Take advantage of all the different travel discount/comparison sites (airfarewatchdog.com, kayak.com, sidestep.com).
Do not be afraid to negotiate with the hotel you are booking; most are willing to go cheaper if you just ask.
Packing– Keep in mind any dress codes there may be for meetings/events you will be attending. For the trade show, make sure to look professional. Pack simple yet elegant and stylish clothing. Comfortable shoes are essential. If you don’t have a nice pair of comfortable shoes, invest in them. You will regret it if you don’t.
Transportation– How close are your destinations (airport, hotel, convention center) to one another? Do your research to see if shuttle services are offered (specifically from the airport to your hotel), and if not, look into the estimated cab fares (taxifarefinder.com). If you do decide to go with cab transportation for your entire visit, consider “buddying up” with someone going the same place as you (hitchsters.com). Many exhibitors are headed to the same place, so try to save money. If neither of these options works for your trip, then consider renting a car. Just try to avoid the airport car rentals, which tend to be more expensive. Don’t fall for all the extras the car rental company offers you—they definitely add up and are not worth it! Look for any package deals for flight, hotel, and rental car, or even just flight and hotel on travel sites (priceline.com, travelocity.com).
Additional money savers– On your way from the airport to the hotel or soon after you’ve arrived at the hotel, look for a nearby grocery/convenience store. You will save a good amount of money by stocking up on water and other snacks from a store rather than having to pay hotel prices for either. If your hotel offers complimentary breakfast, make sure you are taking advantage of that.
Some other great travel sites to check out:
Compare a bunch of travel sites at once with onetime.com.
Track low fares as well as receive refunds/credits after you have booked your flight if there are any changes—Yapta.com.
Please share any other business travel tips you have! Thanks!