It’s great to go to conferences or attend other types of networking events in different areas. Outside of registering for the event and booking a hotel, you might still need to think about how you’ll get around once you’re there. Here are tips to plan that part of your business trip and possibly get a deal on transportation.
1. Open your mouth
Ask people you know from that area or others that might have traveled to the area where you are heading. They can give you tips that digital maps or websites might not address. They can also make you aware of traffic patterns, help you dodge tolls or find the easiest route. Also, human beings have judgement that you can’t necessarily find on a GPS. They can clue you in on their experiences as well as the dos and don’ts when traveling in certain areas. For example, when traveling to New York City. It’s easier to take public transportation or walk versus renting a car. I wouldn’t recommend it to someone that’s never been in the area. Also, it’s not really necessary since there are so many other options like taking the subway, a taxi, bus or Uber. If you don’t want to worry about figuring out how to get somewhere, Taxis can get you places quickly and many of them actually accept Bitcoin or other payment methods.
2. Get the real scoop
Many travel sites paint a pretty picture of an area but don’t tell you what to avoid or be aware of that might not be so pleasant. Check blogs or TripAdvisor.com that will give a more balanced perspective of an area. On a recent trip to Baltimore, I made sure I stayed in walking distant from an event I attended. Someone on the site asked if it was safe to walk back to their hotel at night. The site listed people’s experiences and opinions based on traveling to that area. These types of sites will give you the inside scoop and won’t really sugar coat anything. I found it very helpful.
3. Check with the event planners and hotel staff
See if the venue gives information about this on their website. Many conferences or organized events will often compile this type of information for you. If you don’t see it on their website, reach out to the person planning the event and inquire. It couldn’t hurt to ask workers from the hotel in advance as well. They’re used to answering these types of questions and tend to be skilled at it. It couldn’t hurt to ask.
4. Car rentals have their place
While buses, trains and planes all have their place in the world of transit, it sometimes makes more sense to rent a car. If you explored all of your options for getting to your destination and renting a car is the best one, look into getting one as soon as you realize that’s the best way to get around.
If this is what you choose, employ some of the following tips to spend less. In my experience, when looking for a rental car, the earlier you book, the better in terms of getting a lower rate as well as the make and model that you want. The price tends to increase closer to the date. Also, you’re options can be more limited if you book closer to the date you need it. You can be stuck using whatever vehicle is left too.
I was able to use a AAA discount through Hertz. Where I rented, there was a 3 day minimum requirement. Keep in mind that while you can rent it for a day, many services you might charge you for multiple days like Hertz. Also, be aware that you can be charged more money if you’re hoping to have additional drivers too. Find out what rental car places are available in that area. Try to get a discounted gift card in advance to pay for the rental. Hertz and Alamo can be found on the Raise App. Also consider carpooling with other people that you know are attending to split the cost. Venmo is an easy way to divide the costs evenly and pay your share to the person that rented the car.
Money Saving Expert, Andrea Woroch suggests checking warehouse clubs like Costco and then compare them to prices on Carrentals.com. She explains, “Some car rental companies like Budget now have a ‘pay now’ feature that helps you save and you can often apply a coupon on top of that from sites like CouponSherpa.com.” She personally used the pay now feature and coupon to save on her last 8 day rental. It came to a total of $230 and thought it was better than paying full price. Prices vary so looking early is key.
The Bottom Line
After you register for an event and book a hotel, you might be tempted to stop planning for awhile. Think about how you will need to get around when you are there. Doing this in advance can save you money, allow you to know your options in advance and free you up from worrying about what to do when you get there.