Money To Live

September 23, 2008

Business trips

Filed under: career,travel — by moneytolive @ 5:00 am
Tags: ,

Today is the start of my first business trip. I’ll be gone the rest of the week, returning home on Saturday.

In training, we were told a few things about business trips:

  • Business travel should be cost neutral. All meals and reasonable expenses (i.e., taxis) will be reimbursed. I appreciate this because if it were on my dime, I might walk a mile to the metro station to take the metro into DC to catch a train; since I can expense it, though, I will be more comfortable taking a taxi to the train station.
  • Expenses should pass the “red face” test. If my face turns read telling my manager about a business expense, I should just pay for it myself. I guess that means no mani/pedi on the expense account.
  • Carry cash, and do not count on management to pay for cabs.

One rule of thumb for carrying cash when traveling is to take $1 for every mile away from home. On this trip, I will be 450 miles from home. $450 seems like a lot of money to carry!

To figure out how much cash to carry, I estimate my expenses:

Taxis: $200-$300
I will be traveling with three other people, so we might take turns paying for cabs. But, I would hate to run short and will budget for paying for all of the taxis myself.

Meals: $70
For the most part, meals can be paid for with a credit card, and I can put the tip on the credit card. If I buy something small or from a street vendor, it may be easier to use cash. If we go out to a bar, I will pay for drinks with cash because I am hesitant to open a tab with a credit card.

Hotels: $0-30

Hotel arrangements have already been made, and the only cash hotel expense I foresee could be tipping.

Everything else that I can think of I can pay for with credit card (and I have a separate credit card for business expenses).

That puts my cash expenses at $300-400, which is not too far off the $450 estimate based on miles-from-home.



  1. $1/mile is a helpful rule of thumb. And you know I’m happy to see you traveling with cash as I never understood how a young person could get on a plane, train, or automobile absolutely certain that $35 cash would last for a week. Of course, my generation went the other direction and carried large amounts in traveler’s checks that were never as convenient as they were touted to be. (I think I bought my last ones in 1989 in support of a cross-country move.) Yes, credit cards have eased the hassle of travel.

    Comment by Mary Bold — September 23, 2008 @ 8:52 am |Reply

  2. That’s a good thought. I have been using a separate card for my personal and business use. If I use my Citibusinesss credit card I am able to get a different set of rewards and points than what I can expect to get from my personal card (

    Comment by Nellie Tom — October 7, 2008 @ 5:08 am |Reply

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