12 Travel New Year’s Resolutions
2016 is officially under way, but it’s not too late to think about New Year’s resolutions. While we here at Rocketrip acknowledge the importance of choosing resolutions that promote holistic development, we’re also pretty focused on business travel. With that in mind, here are twelve small things you can do to travel better in the new year.
- Review your company’s travel policy – Let’s start with a New Year’s resolution that’s easy to keep. Rereading your company’s travel policy (or more likely, reading it for the first time) only takes a few minutes, which is a mere fraction of the time you can save by knowing in advance what expenses will and won’t get approved.
- Make a business travel calendar – In his excellent list of travel saving tips for 2016, The New York Times Frugal Traveler recommends locking in the best price on upcoming trips by booking as early as possible. Though business travel is often more difficult to plan than personal travel, some trips can be added to your calendar weeks or even months ahead of time. Flight and hotel prices spike during major conferences, but these events are scheduled well in advance, and you can avoid the worst of the cost increases by thinking ahead.
- Spread your wings and fly, with a new airline – Earning frequent flyer miles will be a bit trickier in 2016. All the major carriers have now switched to revenue-based rewards system, which is good news for the highest-spending customers (especially those who regularly fly first and business class on international flights), less so for the majority of travelers who purchase less expensive tickets. If loyalty won’t get you as far as it used to, prioritize cost and convenience over brand when booking. In 2015, Rocketrip travelers who shopped around and flew with low-cost carriers saved an average of $82 against their flight budgets.
- Try a new hotel – Similar to how industry consolidation has led to “elite bloat” for airlines, a recent wave of mergers among hotel chains has changed the loyalty calculus for frequent travelers. Marriott’s acquisition of Starwood in November created the largest hotel chain in the world – and a great deal of uncertainty about the future of each company’s rewards programs. Some travel industry watchers have read the writing on the wall and declared that “2016 should be the year of the free agent.” Travelers looking for an alternative to the usual options have a growing number of choices, from independent boutiques, to new concept hotels the major chains hope will appeal to a younger generation of guests.
- Or, try Airbnb – The home-rental service is making a big push to win over the corporate market by introducing search and payment features specifically tailored to business travelers. For some travelers Airbnb offers a more personal trip experience, and major cost-savings: Rocketrip users who book an Airbnb beat their hotel budgets by an average of $116 per night.
- Reconnect with friends and family – While you’re branching out and trying new things, don’t forget to keep in touch with old friends! And if keeping in touch means you’ll have a place to stay when you’re on the road, well then that’s an added bonus. A big bonus – Rocketrip travelers saved an average of $245 a night on hotel costs by staying with friends.
- Get those expense reports in order – Admittedly, submitting your expenses in a timely manner is not the most exciting of resolutions. But unlike running a marathon or reading War and Peace, it’s one you have a chance of actually following through with. The latest generation of expense tracking apps let you photograph and submit receipts directly from your phone, meaning the only thing standing between you and expense report nirvana is a quick review at the end every month. Set up a recurring calendar reminder, spend a few minutes double checking that everything’s in order, and then get back to your marathon training and/or reading.
- Take the train instead of flying – Traveling by rail is not only less expensive than flying for many routes, it also has a lower carbon footprint. Depending on your company’s travel policy, you can realize even greater cost savings by utilizing other forms of alternative transportation, such as commuter buses.
- Mix business and pleasure – It’s like the travel equivalent of a mullet: business up front, party in the back. “Bleisure travel” refers to the increasingly common practice of blending business and leisure travel by extending a work trip into a short vacation. Adding a Saturday stayover gives you time to enjoy a new destination, and allows you to take advantage of lower weekend rates.
- Earn some extra cash – Rocketrip users earn more than $100 per trip with Rocketrip by saving on their business trips. There are so many ways to spend smart and earn rewards, such as flying a low-cost carrier, staying at a lower star class hotel, or even booking more than two weeks in advance. Independent of Rocketrip, some people choose to earn extra cash through Flightcar, an app which lets travelers rent their cars from the airport parking lot while they’re away.
- Stay healthy on the road – Don’t let business travel get in the way of your diet and fitness plans. Avoid fast food and room service by packing fruit, nuts, and other healthy snacks. To ensure you’ll be able to work out during your trip, book a hotel with a gym, or research running routes in your destination using Map My Run.
- Keep a travel journal – Traveling for work can seem like, well, work. But that doesn’t mean a business trip can’t present an opportunity for new experiences and meaningful reflection. To keep one trip from blending into another, invest in a high-quality journal and jot down a few memories at the end of each journey. When the year comes to a close, you’ll be able to look back at all the places you’ve been and start thinking about all the places you’d like to go in the year ahead!
Is one of your New Year’s resolutions to cut you company’s T&E expenses?
See how Rocketrip reduces average trip cost over 25% by motivating employees to save.