Freelancing is awesome—you get to decide what projects to work on, set your own schedule, and drink wine in the middle of the day if you want to. It’s a good life.
Of course there are also a few disadvantages, mostly related to money. You want to take a vacation? Whoops! No PTO. And business travel? Well, you may still travel to meet clients and attend conferences, but you probably don’t have an expense account to pick up the tab. If you’re meeting clients, you can certainly invoice them for some of your expenses, but if you are attending an industry conference, you’re likely out of pocket for the whole affair.
Cost shouldn’t prohibit you from traveling, especially when that travel is essential for your career. Here are six strategies freelancers can use to save money on business travel.
Join Hotel Engine
Freelancers don’t have the same advantages as other business travelers, who often have access to corporate hotel rates. Fortunately, that doesn’t mean you have to pay out the nose for a hotel room. Hotel Engine is a new site that offers not only the best rates on hotel rooms (and an ad-free experience), but also a rewards program that blows everyone else out of the water. On every booking, you earn up to 10% back in rewards dollars, which can then be applied to subsequent bookings. There is no hassle, no waiting period, and no blackout dates, just money in your account to use for future trips. Membership is free, and Workfrom members get a $25 credit just for signing up.
If you are the social type and want to have a more “local culture” experience, AirBnB is an excellent choice for finding cheap accommodations. With rooms available starting at around $30 per night in many major cities, you have your choice of unique places to stay.
Join loyalty programs
Joining an airline loyalty program is pretty much the only way to get any deals on airfare these days (it’s going up faster than inflation, and don’t even get me started on fees), but there are also loyalty programs for hotels, car rental companies, restaurants, coffee shops, even retail stores. In many cases, businesses team up, for example, FiveStars is a loyalty network that includes small and medium-sized businesses from restaurants to dry cleaners.
Join Freelancers Union
Freelancers Union is an organization that helps freelancers gain access to healthcare, retirement services, and other benefits associated with working for a company. Their membership perks also include corporate discounts on things ranging from car rentals to co-working spaces.
Take advantage of tax deductions
As a freelancer, you are entitled to tax deductions on any travel that is solely for business purposes. Airfare, hotel rooms, taxi fares, parking costs, meals—these things are all tax-deductible to some extent, so track what you spend and keep your receipts.
Finally, if you haven’t already, join Workfrom. In addition to providing information about work-friendly cafes, co-working spaces and other establishments, Workfrom also has partnerships that entitle its members to discounts at restaurants, on business services, and more.
Do you have any hot tips for how freelancers and others can save money on business travel? If so, please share them!