For small business owners, traveling for pitch opportunities, acquiring new business, or exploring business partnerships is often the norm. And regardless if the travel is near or far, the goal is always to make the trip goes as smoothly as possible and to keep the resulting administrative work simple and streamlined.
While I was always a fan of business travel, I became overwhelmed with the details of “tracking my every move” and I would get lazy and not track mileage or expenses and lose out when tax time rolled out.
So, with high expectations, I decided to test a few travel hacks during my most recent cross-country excursion to Albuquerque (from Philadelphia). And I was not disappointed.
Here are the travel hacks I used to help me manage my travel and expenses so I didn’t lose time or money, and didn’t feel overwhelmed by a heap of madness upon my return.
- Lyft Rides FTW. I previously used Uber as my primary mode of transportation when I traveled out of town. But for this trip, I switched to Lyft so I could cash in a few discount codes I received. To my pleasant surprise, I logged in to set up my account and realized that Lyft offers the opportunity to configure separate accounts – one for personal travel and one for business. These settings do not require separate logins or passwords (whew!). Instead, the app allows you to separate rides so you can use separate payment methods and print/view travel logs/expense reports. Simply put, this is genius and incredibly helpful in keeping defined lines between business and personal expenses.
- Mile IQ. Speaking of expense reports and tracking travel, Mile IQ is my mileage-tracking savior. As someone who always (yes, always) forgets to check the odometer readings before and after a trip, I began using Mile IQ so my mileage would automatically be tracked and I wouldn’t have to take the time to manually enter readings and do the resulting calculations to determine actual miles traveled. Mile IQ tracks all my rides and allows me to label the destinations. Through intelligent learning, the technology “learns” my frequent destinations and provides a recap of my ride from “home to office” or other routes I travel often.
- Neat. Although this is an app I use often, it is also one that I decided to commit to using during this past trip. I made a conscious effort to avoid carrying wads of paper in my wallet during this trip by making a promise to scan every receipt after making a payment and even committing to purging the paper once the data capture was verified. By using my Neat app and making the commitment, I was able to immediately scan and categorize my expense data and save it to my account. My accountant was also able to check out my expense info and provide real-time updates on our monthly expenses and other financial calculations that helped me stay on track and on-budget during the trip.
Travel is hard. Use these and other travel hacks to make the most of your trip and let you focus on what matters – your business.