When you’re self employed conferences, seminars and out of town meetings can rack up quite a bit of traveling expenses. Even if you’re being reimbursed, there’s still a delay before you see that money again which means a decrease in disposable cash for the time being.
Last weekend I attended the 3rd annual SCCTO conference; once again I was travelling for business from Ottawa to Toronto. I’ve always loved taking the train – more restful than driving, cheaper than flyer, and a million times more comfortable than the bus. Via Rail now offers free on-board WIFI on many trains making your time on the train as productive (or not!) as you want it to be.
This time i decided to travel business class. Now that was a treat! The extra leg room is great – but more than that there’s the service! I had a complete meal on both train rides and the food was amazing. The service was impeccable – coffee and drinks followed by your meal (served with wine), followed by more drinks, followed by snacks. Being pregnant I couldn’t partake in the alcoholic portion of the offerings but I’m also constantly craving ice and the attendant kept my ice glass full without my needing to ask for it!
The panorama lounge was a great experience too – comfortable seats, coffee, drinks, charging stations… Overall this girl never wants to travel economy again! Check out their website for the latest deals and to book your next trip > you can even pay with Interac Online, saving you the burden of borrowing costs!
The trick to affording these luxuries is to plan carefully: advance purchase business class tickets are often close (if not cheaper) than the full regular price of economy class tickets. If you’re going to be eating a meal when you arrive at your destination and the difference to upgrade is less than $50 – why not? You’ll get fed, you’ll be comfortable, and overall you’ll be sticking to the same budget. Via Rail often has 50% off deals – you just have to keep your eyes open for them.
Plan ahead and do your research: before booking the first available flight and a luxury suite at the hotel, consider all your options. There are plenty of discount sites offering up to 50% off on hotels, flights, etc. You can always make a road trip out of it, take the bus or train, or a combination of choices. Do you need to stay in a hotel that extra night or can you travel at night and save yourself the extra cost? Do you have points or miles you can cash in?
With some careful planning and creativity you won’t need to go broke the next time you travel – what will you do with the extra cash?