A Comprehensive Travel Expenses List: What To Include In Your Travel Budget

Organizing business travel is tricky when you have to manage many different things. Creating a travel expenses list should be your priority if you or your company has frequent business travel. 

When you travel globally, you may prefer to book directly or rely on an international travel company. Still, you want to ensure everything is on point and well-organized. 

The goal is to understand your travel expenses list and how much you can save.

Get an overall understanding of what to include in your budget

Understanding your travel expenses is essential to budgeting effectively. Look at what you’ve spent in the past, what you spend now, and what you plan to do in the future. That way, you can make informed decisions based on the results of your research, like what changes to make to your current or future budgets.

If you want to feel confident about your money and trip, check out this travel expenses list for setting up a travel budget.

#1 Transportation

Transportation costs are basically everything you need to get from one place to another. They form the bulk of most people’s travel expenses list and include some of the following:

  • Flights: When planning a business trip, you may consider it convenient to book your flight through an international travel company. That way, you won’t have to worry about documentation, speed, or the cost. The airfare amount you pay for your ticket will depend on the airline, route, travel season, etc. But there are other costs to factor in your travel expenses list and budget, like paying for your luggage, taxes, and transfers. 
  • Ground transportation costs – car, gas, parking, toll: If you’re planning a business trip to a new place, you may need ground transport to get around. Ground transport could include car rental, airport shuttles, taxis, etc. It all depends on the distance you travel and how many days. The cheaper option is to rent a car rather than a taxi. You’ll also have to factor in parking, tolls, pit stops, and other fees. Remember that parking fees vary by city and can be hourly or daily. Also, toll charges apply to certain roads and bridges, and car rental expenses include insurance, gas, and repairs. If you’re planning to drive a lot, it’s a good idea to get a fuel-efficient car and check out the average gas prices in the area.

#2 Accommodation costs

If you’re planning a short-term business trip, accommodation expenses account for 30% to 50% of your travel expenses. Prices can vary depending on where you’re staying, if it’s a star-rated hotel, and what amenities it offers. Take the expert guidance of your international travel company to get accommodations at a reasonable cost and save money.

Likewise, understand that your travel expenses list may need to cover things like room service. 

#3 Food: Meals and beverages

Whether on a business trip or at leisure, you must ensure you have a budget for food and drinks. The travel expenses list should include subsistence expenses and the whole trip’s worth of meals and drinks. Set a limit on how much you can spend on meals daily. Or, you can tell your employees to get all the receipts and send them in for reimbursement. Just ensure you include the total meal expense limit so that nobody overspends.

#4 Incidental Expenses

If you’re on a business trip, you may spend money on things you do not need to. Things like laundry, tips, Wi-Fi, business center fees, phone calls, and baggage fees can add up to a small out-of-pocket expense. It might seem like a small expense, but it’s actually a big one. For example, if you need a cab to get to your hotel from the airport, you might have to pay the fare and tip the driver if it’s customary.

#5 Tipping expenses

Tipping is a common thing to do in most countries, especially when it comes to restaurants and hotels. The amount you can tip depends on how good the service is and what customs you’re used to. Generally, it’s 15-20%. Additionally, you may have to pay for service charges. To ensure you’re getting the most out of your trip, set aside a budget for tips and service fees. Everyone at the hotel, restaurant, or other place relies on tips to make a living, so give them a break when you can. 

#6 MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions) business travel expenses

Expanding your brand, learning new skills, and developing new markets can help your business succeed in the ever-changing market. You can expect to pay for meetings, conferences, trade shows, seminars, product launches, and training sessions. At times, you can expect shipping and freight fees. But there are some things you can’t cover, like clothes, parking fines, stolen or lost items, and damage to personal vehicles. Check your travel expense policy to ensure you have everything outlined for what your company will not cover.

#7 Emergency funds

No matter how well-planned your trip is, it’s crucial to prepare for any unexpected costs that might come up. Things like a serious medical emergency or a natural disaster will require money. Ensure you have emergency funds and buy travel insurance for medical bills or lost wages. When your employees go on a business trip, they might have to deal with many different things. For example, they might meet with an accident, need to overstay or get caught up in a natural disaster or political upheaval. Have a flexible business travel budget that covers contingencies like booking last minute, canceling, or rescheduling.

Consider areas to save

It will cost you less if you rent a car than a ride or a taxi. You can also save on food and accommodations by choosing affordable options. Monitor all your expenditures to know how much the company or traveler spends and stay within budget. Tracking with a reliable travel platform shows you areas where your expenses can get tightened.

The Bottom Line: Estimate the travel expenses list

Understanding and tracking your business travel costs doesn’t have to be a huge hassle. Follow these steps to become more budget-friendly. Then, you can estimate your travel costs over time, consider an expense management system, and work to make it easier and more cost-effective for business travelers. 

If policies make you anxious, hire an expert international travel company like ITILITE. The platform helps you set up granular policies to ensure you’re compliant. Also, ITILITE can help you streamline your expense process by connecting expense processes on a unified platform.

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