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Business Travel style versus more frugal vacation style

Business Travel style versus more frugal vacation style

Old Mar 6th, 2004, 10:57 AM
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Business Travel style versus more frugal vacation style

Am wondering if anyone else has trouble switching from expense-account style travel to you-are-paying-for-it travel. My husband travels often for business - not extravagently, but standard Marriot/Sheraton type hotel, dinner in nice restaurant with drink, appetizer, dinner, dessert. I am self-employed and travel far less for work.

When we travel as a family we spend enough to enjoy ourselves, but are conscious of what things cost. In fact, now that the kids will soon be leaving the nest, we have talked about traveling more often, staying at lower priced places, and economizing in easy ways yet not feeling "deprived" - skipping the appetizer, drinks in the room before dinner instead of the bar, avoiding the usually over-priced hotel breakfast. Notice, I am not talking about eating granola bars in the room 2 meals a day and sneaking extra people into attractions.

Still, it is difficult for him to travel in 2 different styles - he will admit he does not even think about whether we are paying or company is paying - especially difficult if we happen to be in same city he has recently traveled to on business.

Wondering if others find themselves traveling in different financial styles for business and pleasure, choose to not make a distinction, forget who is paying, or any other relevant comments.
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Old Mar 6th, 2004, 11:53 AM
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I know exactly what he means. I travel a lot on business in a fairly uppercrust way and when I travel on my own $ I'm very torn - I hate to waste money on things I really don;t need - but I'm so used to doing things a certain way that I feel deprived when I can't.

So I compromise. On the biggies (class of air fare and hotel selection) I keep to my budget (but I admit to shopping like mad to get nice 4* hotels at 3* prices) but in some smaller things I won't give up the convenience. For instance, when I arrive at an ariport I always take a cab (although I don't book a limo like when I'm traveling on business) - the idea of using public transport with luggage is just too painful (I'm jet lagged and tired and need a nap and a shower - I'm dammed if I'll take public transport to save $30 or $40.)

I think this is a fairly common phenomenom - and have a friend who argues with her husband all the time - he's a real cheapie (not just on this issue but overall a real cheapie) and she refuses to compromise at all vs what she;s used to in business travel.
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Old Mar 6th, 2004, 01:18 PM
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Look at is this way ... At least you get to experience living it up a little when you travel for business. It is hard when you're used to higher end accomodations and meals to go more budget when you're do the paying, but not as hard as getting the bill that's out of your budget range if you go more extravagent on your own dime!
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Old Mar 6th, 2004, 01:26 PM
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I think our issue is I am likely to be the more frugal one - and he is the one traveling on business. I am the one researching the vacation to death before we go (by mutual agreement - he hates doing that sort of thing) and the one who sees the credit card bill when we get home.

But we both would like to be able to travel for fun as much as possible - and that amount increases if we can economize. Neither is willing to sleep in lumpy beds, camp, steal things from buffets, or share a bathroom with anyone (even with each other on vacation is a stretch!)
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Old Mar 6th, 2004, 02:27 PM
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gail...

If you pay for the buffet and put items in your travel bag then according to "travel rules", it is not considered stealing.

Now, if you throw buffet food away after you have slipped it in your travel bag then according to "travel rules", it is considered wasting.

No camping? Ever?

Happy Musing,
Oaktown Traveler
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Old Mar 6th, 2004, 02:36 PM
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When I stopped business travel and had to pay for things (although my business travel was for my own business so I was pretty frugal then too) I used to say that I was now "roughing it". My definition of "roughing it" was staying in a hotel where the VCR and the TV worked from two different remote controls instead of from one!
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Old Mar 6th, 2004, 06:58 PM
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We've been doing some form of RVing for the last 26 years. LOVE IT! It's hardly called camping when you have your own bed, sheets, bathroom, kitchen, refrigerator, microwave, etc.

DH goes once a year to a convention and a once in a while we get to go to family timeshares. To tell the truth...while it's nice once in a while...we prefer our motorhome.

Now I will admit that the price of a new motorhome doesn't really make it a frugal way to travel, but we bought an 8 year old motorhome 10 years ago for $17,000. We can still get $5,000 or $6,000 for it today. We've spent well over 250 nights in it in the last 10 years...I think we've gotten our money's worth out of it. Besides we prefer our own cooking.

Utahtea...the other side of the coin.

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Old Mar 6th, 2004, 07:08 PM
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Great topic! I am very much used to staying in nice places and dining in great restaurants for work. I can't give up all those terrific perks for personal travel. BUT there is a bit of a difference. I stay mostly at the same hotels for work and use the same airlines. The frequent points add up and I am almost always able to use the points for free hotel and airline tickets.

In fact my husband and daughter and I have been to Florida four times, California, Texas, and Europe in the past few years all with FF tickets. In 2 months we are taking my in-laws to California using 5 free tickets and actually 2 of our hotel nights will be covered.

As for eating out, we just don't think about it too much. If we are in the mood to get dressed up and go out we do or sometimes we just hit an Outback Steakhouse or whatever.

Our biggest weakness is that we LOVE to order late night treats from room service!
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Old Mar 7th, 2004, 04:40 AM
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I must be very lucky in that I work for a company that does its best to keep costs in line. Gotta give the customer the best bang for his buck ya know. Work would be so much more fun if it wasn't for those darn customers and accountants.
When traveling for pleasure I stay at places as nice or better than I do for work. As for dining, I don't skimp either way..I like to eat good food.
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Old Mar 7th, 2004, 06:32 AM
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All my business travel is within the US, so I take nearly all my vacation time outside the country...or in places that I would never get sent to on business (like southern Utah). I'm a little more frugal when I'm paying myself, I guess...but it certainly never bothers me.
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Old Mar 7th, 2004, 10:22 AM
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To me, they are both so different, I don't find that I have a need to adjust.

Up until recently, I probably spent 100 nights a year in hotels. Working away from home is a chore. Anything I can do to make that time more comfortable I will do.

Staying in a hotel for leisure is something I want to do as opposed to something I am forced to do.
 
Old Mar 7th, 2004, 10:56 AM
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So true GoTravel! One thing I love to do is camp out and i mean really rough it! I love to toss a tent and a cooler in my Jeep and spend a long weekend at Assetegue Island with the mosquitos and the wild ponies!

My customers wouldn't know me!
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Old Mar 7th, 2004, 01:46 PM
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I'm as frugal for my lodging when a customer or my employer is paying as I am with my own money. I really don't give a damn about most of the amenities, as long as the place is clean, safe & quiet. Some of my customers think it strange that I'll stay at a Red Roof instead of a nearby Crowne Plaza. My meal reimbursements are the same as personal expenses too -- one night a real nice dinner, pizza the next, then moderate - probably about a cycle of those three.
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Old Mar 7th, 2004, 02:04 PM
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There is no way I could eat expense account dinners in nice restaurants as much as I am able. I would weigh 300 pounds.

I don't change my eating habits on company business.
 
Old Mar 7th, 2004, 03:19 PM
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I guess that's what I was saying too, GoTravel. I've had co-workers who thought it necessary to spend the maximum allowed whenever they went on company travel. I eat (and spend) about the same on the road as at home.
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Old Mar 7th, 2004, 03:51 PM
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My company had a business meeting and sent all the VP's to Vegas. By no means did they splurge. My boss said they stayed at the Flamingo, that the room looked old and worn, and she wouldn't stay there again.
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Old Mar 7th, 2004, 04:09 PM
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does your husband accumulate points for the hotel stays and miles for the air? Can you use those to help offset the costs of nicer places?
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Old Mar 7th, 2004, 11:41 PM
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Thanks for all your interesting responses - good to hear my husband is not only one who has some difficulty switching business - versus personal. Also surprised to hear from those who don't make any distinction. And since his clients are mostly non-profits, he does need to keep expenses on business reasonable.

Short responses to a few questions posted - CAMPING - never say never, but been there and done that - in a tent (RV does not count as "Camping") - At this point in my life I want a comfortable bed and a bathroom that does not involve going outside at 2 AM where there are scarey creatures and bugs. Have considered buying a small RV in our later years. May have to sell hous4e and live in it after we pay for kids college!

FF miles and Frequent Sleeper Points - have them, love them, use them.

Thanks again.
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Old Mar 8th, 2004, 03:23 AM
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It's interesting how many people assume that because you stay in a nice hotel or eat in an expensive restaurant you might be taking advantage of the company you work for - At least that's the "undertone" I am reading here.

I think the real situation is much different. I know in my case it is.


The difference may be our various professional positions.

Firstly, I do not have an expense allowance. I am always reimbursed for whatever travel expenses I incur.

It is my understanding that for tax purposes a receipt must be provided if meals exceed $25 a day. My company receives corporate discounts with various hotel chains like Hilton. When choosing a hotel. obvious things must be looked at and YES one thing is what my customer thinks. The same with restaurants, I would never think to take my customer to Denny's of course, but often times (at least 50%) my customers take me out. So of course business is not all the same. My sales job is not so much "cold calling" as it is maintaining my customers. Which means I don't get paid a commission but I do put in long hours. Yes I enjoy being able to order room service at 6 am because I was out late with a customer and have an 8 am meeting.

I'm sorry to rant but I felt that things needed to be explained a little. I understand that not all jobs are the same (my brother in-law has to share his room when he travels!).
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Old Mar 8th, 2004, 04:26 AM
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I agree with LilyLace that there may be some confusion here. As far as I'm aware only a very few top execs at major coporations have "expense allowances" that they can spend as they chose.

On travel my company simply reimburses me for what I spend - and everything above $5 must have a receipt. Whenever taking a client out to dinner the receipt must list the names of all the attendees and the business discussed during the meal (and believe me it is!). Also, I don;t select the class of travel or the hotel - our corporate travel office does that and it is based on our client's standards (we always follow the client's standards - so trips for different client have different rules.)

That said, however, international flights are always either business or first (domestic is almost always coach) and the hotels used range from basic business (Hilton, Sheraton, Hyatt) to more upscale (Ritz Carlton, Four Seasons, Mandarin Oriental) depending on the type of meeting - and on which property is giving the best discounts (frequently deep discounts). As far as dining is concerned we always take the client somewhere pleasant - but sometimes it is inexpensive and fun - and rarely is is the most expensive place in town.

Obviously, if I'm traveling on my own $ I would love to live this way - but don;t want to pay what it costs from real $.
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