I'm back from my business trip (to a tropical locale, no less)! Since I was traveling to an area that is known for high prices, I wanted to pay special attention to my per diems; usually when I travel for work (which is rarely), I end up overdoing it and having to spend my own precious money to break even at the end of the trip.
This time, I did several things that helped me to stay within my business travel budget:
- I stocked up on snacks to eat at the airport and in between conference sessions, so I wasn't tempted by the $4 muffins at the Starbucks in the hotel;
- The conference supplied a free "continental breakfast" several mornings, which allowed me to skip the $17 version of a continental breakfast offered at the hotel restaurant!
- The breakfast muffins and croissants were often left out or replenished for the two daily coffee breaks; at the last coffee break, I would take an extra muffin (only when I knew there were enough for everyone) to snack on later;
- I avoided the more expensive restaurants to which my coworkers and new conference friends wanted to go to. This has been my downfall in the past: when everyone else is ordering the $20 hamburger, the $12 drinks, and the requisite dessert, it's tough to rein in my hunger/thirst AND stay within the $50 per diem for dinner!
- Finally, I avoided the trinket and tourist shops, and walked away with some edible gifts for the office but nothing for myself.