Are you leaving money on the table when you travel for work?
There are plenty of hidden costs associated with travelling that rookie business travellers end up overpaying or having to pay out of pocket for. But there are also some simple tricks that will save them time and money.
We’ve rounded up a few of the most common mistakes travellers make that could wind up costing them.
Leaving expense reports to the last minute. Waiting to file expense reports is an accident waiting to happen. You could easily lose cab or meal receipts and wind up footing the bill out of your own pocket. Plus, there are often cash-only expenses that aren’t as easy to keep tabs on without a physical receipt. To make your life easier, use an organizational app like Expensify or Lemon to snap photos and download receipts along the way. When you’ve finished your trip, it takes only a few minutes to categorize expenses and organise them into a shareable spreadsheet.
Forgetting to deduct expenses at tax time. If your company’s per diem for food and lodging isn’t ample enough for your tastes, don’t forget that you can still get a tax break for business-related expenses. Just do your homework first to find out what qualifies. (Hint: That dinner cruise or sight-seeing expense probably won’t fly with Uncle Sam.)
Forgetting to let your bank in on your itinerary. There’s nothing worse than swiping your credit card overseas only to be denied because you just tripped your bank’s anti-fraud detector. It takes a few minutes to call up your bank before travelling to let them know your destination and to be ready to see some international transactions.
Using currency exchange counters. No matter what the glossy currency exchange counters tell you, they won’t offer the most competitive rates. Take out cash from ATMs to get the most bang for your buck, or simply use your credit card when possible.
Using the wrong credit card. Foreign transaction fees are any traveller’s worst nightmare. That’s the fee your lender will slap on every transaction you make in a different country. Do yourself a favour and be sure to carry a card that either waives these fees — or better, doesn’t come with them in the first place. Cardhub, Nerdwallet, and other credit rating sites often come out with lists of the best travel cards on the market. The Capital One Venture Card topped both their lists for 2013.