7 Tips to Manage Your International Business Travel Expenses
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Updated date : 09 December 2020
The earth is often referred to as a ‘Global Village’ thanks to greater connectivity between different countries. People not only travel abroad for holidays but also for business purposes. In fact, more and more companies conduct business overseas and need their employees to travel abroad for the same. In case your employer requires you to travel abroad for a business trip, your travel expenses will be covered by your company.
When going on a business trip, you need to watch your travel expenses as not everything may be covered by your employer. There may be some restrictions to the amount and the type of expenses you may incur while travelling overseas for business. For instance, your company may cover the cost of travelling in a taxi but may exclude the drinks that you have at the hotel bar. Similarly, your company may not cover you under group travel insurance and need you to buy a corporate travel insurance policy by yourself. Moreover, you may also carry the pressure of keeping your travel expenses as low as possible.
To get your trip expenses reimbursed by your employer, you will have to provide receipts to all payment that you made during your business trip to your company. As a result, you need to keep a track of all your expenses during your business trip and report it to your employer. Doing so can be extremely difficult, confusing as well as messy. What you need is to manage your travel expenses efficiently when going for an overseas business trip.
7 Tips That Can Help to Manage Your Overseas Business Travel Costs
Here are seven tips that can help you to manage your travel expenses efficiently during an overseas business trip:
1. Learn About Your Company’s Travel Expense Policy
The most important thing is to know about your company’s travel expense policy. This policy will define what will your employer pay for and which kind of travel expenses will get reimbursed. It will specify the type of bookings that will be covered and what all details do you need to provide to your employer after returning from your business trip. For example, the policy will help you get clarity on whether you can book your stay at a five-star hotel or not. Go through the policy carefully and reach out to your HR representative in case of any doubts or confusion. Once you have understood the policy, you can spend accordingly during your business trip.
2. Note Down Business-Related Expenses
When you are travelling abroad for a business purpose, you must note down various details related to the expenses that you incur. Jot down the who, what, where, when and why of your payments. For example, if you spent on dinner with your clients, you must note down the name of the client, restaurant, date, time, number of people, etc. These details will help you recall the intricacies of the expense and you’ll be able to fill the travel expense report accurately upon your return. Apart from the details, you must save all the receipts of all the payments that you make during your business trip. This will ensure that you file a reimbursement report for the correct amount.
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3. Use Travel Expenses Management Apps
Keeping a track of all your expenses during a business trip can be quite a task. You have to remember to note every detail and save every receipt but even a small mistake can cost you a lot of money. To avoid such a situation, you must use travel expense management mobile applications offered by a few travel management companies. These applications help you to manage and save details of your expenses during a business trip efficiently. They track everything from bookings to day-to-day expenses. Some organizations also offer their own travel management apps that allow you to track your expenses, submit a payment receipt and get expense approval while you are still travelling. However, you must save the hard copies of all payment receipts despite using these apps as your employer may ask you to submit the same.
4. Travel Light
Make sure to travel light during your overseas business trips. Packing light and travelling without heavy baggage can avoid incurring any additional expenses that you may otherwise have to pay for excess baggage. Your employer may have a baggage limit under its travel expense policy or may not cover excess baggage at all. Therefore, you must ensure to travel light with only essential items and avoid overshooting your airline’s baggage limit. Also, make sure to go through your travel expense policy carefully to learn about any weight, quantity or size limit for baggage that your employer allows during the business trip.
5. Cut Travel Costs When Possible
If you need to travel abroad for a business purpose, make sure to cut your travel costs whenever possible. For example, use public transport when possible instead of using a cab. Your employer may have limits to certain types of bookings and expenses. If you spend without thinking, your travel expenses may not get reimbursed and you may have to pay from your own pockets. However, cut your expenses only at the right places. For example, don’t opt for a low-budget hotel that may be far and require you to travel for a long duration to meet with your clients. Doing so will reduce your productivity or increase your local transportation costs.
6. Keep Your Personal Expenses Separate From Business Expenses
While travelling abroad on a business trip, you may also spend money on your personal needs and expenses. Make sure that you separate your personal expenses from your business expenses. Do not mix your payment receipts for your personal expenses with your official payment receipts. This will avoid any mixture of information and help you file the correct expense report to your company after your return.
7. Stay Covered Under Corporate Travel Insurance
In case you need to travel abroad for a business trip, make sure to cover your trip under a corporate travel insurance policy. A travel insurance policy for corporates covers business travellers against any unforeseen dangers or expenses, such as flight delays, medical emergencies, baggage loss, etc. Most companies cover their employees under group travel insurance if they are travelling abroad for business purposes. In case your employer does not cover you under a group travel insurance policy, you must buy corporate travel insurance on your own.
In a Nutshell
Going for a foreign business trip comes with a huge responsibility for an employee. You have to fulfil your professional responsibilities while keeping a tab on your travel expenses. To avoid hassles, follow the above-mentioned tips and manage your business travel expenses like a pro. Also, make sure to cover your journey under a corporate travel insurance policy to avoid any unexpected expenses.
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