Let’s start out with the facts, shall we? It’s going to cost you about $1000 to fly from Austin to Italy. As most experienced travelers can tell you, traveling abroad isn’t cheap, although you can cut costs considerably with a few critical money-saving tips on your next vacation.
Do-Gooders, Consider Volunteer Travel
If you’ve always dreamed of visiting the beautiful country of Italy, you may be able to fly from Austin to Italy for next to nothing – if you’re willing to work for it. The latest trend in the budget travel industry is volunteer tourism.
Throughout Italy, multiple volunteer programs are available that may best suit your personality, preferences, and skill set. For nature-lovers that prefer the great outdoors, you may enjoy working on a farm with Willing Workers on Organic Farms. In exchange, you’ll be provided with room and board, as well as the opportunity to tour rustic farms throughout the Italian countryside.
Most volunteer organizations will require a minimum time commitment in order to travel with the program. Depending upon the project, a volunteer trip can range from several weeks to more than a year; some organizations offer more flexible time obligations than others.
How to Save Money on International Airfare
If volunteer tourism doesn’t strike your fancy, you can still travel to Italy inexpensively with these helpful budget travel tips:
- Book an online flight to Italy far in advance to lock in the lowest rates available.
- Try not to travel in the busy season from May to September or on holidays.
- Consult student travel agencies, even if you’re not a student, to find out about discount flights to Europe.
- Check with a travel agent about consolidator tickets to Italy, normally sold at a discounted price by wholesale vendors that purchase airline tickets in bulk from airline companies.
- Fly standby to Italy if your travel dates are flexible.
Once you’ve made it to Italy, the fun doesn’t stop there. You can take advantage of your proximity to the rest of the EU to hop over to other countries on inexpensive domestic flights.
Insider travel experts reveal that if you want to visit another major city in Europe, like Paris, it’s best to fly to a nearby airport several miles away and take a shuttle to your destination. With just a few extra hours of travel time, you could make it to Paris for close to €20 one way.
If your company doesn’t have travel insurance for all employees that take business trips, you could leave yourself vulnerable to serious financial loss. It’s not like you are relocating and hiring movers in nashville, but comfort is essential. For a company with frequent or even intermittent business trips, business travel insurance is a must to protect against the unexpected – like flight delays, lost baggage, and accidents while traveling.
What Does Business Travel Insurance Cover?
If you’re looking for the condensed version, business travel insurance provides coverage for:
- Medical expenses
- 24/7 assistance
Perhaps the most common issue that could arise on a business trip is a travel cancellation. Hotel accommodations, cruise packages, plane tickets, golf reservations, and more can be easily canceled last minute, causing a business to lose their valuable investment if expenses are nonrefundable.
Most business travel insurance policies will provide a list of circumstances that will be covered for a trip cancellation. These reasons may include employee or family sickness or death, hurricane damage, employee layoffs, terrorist activity, client bankruptcy, and jury duty summons.
If an employee were to get sick or have a sudden death in the family, trip cancellation or trip interruption coverage will come in handy. When an employee has to return home for an emergency, travel insurance will reimburse a company for the last portion of a trip, as well as any extra expenses incurred to change flights at the last minute.
Business Budget Tips for Employee Travel Insurance
The truth is that most companies are encouraged to keep travel budgets to a minimum to reduce a business’s overhead. While that may be the case, it’s important not to cut out any extras that could actually save you money in the long run by providing protective compensation, like travel insurance.
A business can set aside money for much-needed travel insurance by keeping other travel costs contained with these helpful tips:
- Use videoconferencing instead of in-person travel whenever possible.
- Book hotel accommodations and airfare with a company MasterCard or Visa to redeem frequent flyer miles or bonus points.
- Take a train instead of an airplane for short trips.
- Meet clients for coffee instead of lunch or dinner meetings.
- Book airport or hotel shuttles instead of using taxicabs.
- Work with a business travel agent that can provide hotel, car, and airfare discounts.
- Book last-minute travel to take advantage of deeply discounted deals.
- Travel midweek on Tuesday or Wednesday and return on Saturday for lower airfare rates.
- Travel light with a carry-on to avoid extra fees for checked bags.
Within the past decade, business travel has fluctuated with changes in the economy. While business trips are stereotypically depicted as lengthy cross-country flights, the Research and Innovative Technology Administration reports that the majority of business trips in the US are taken within 250 miles of home.
On a shorter business trip, an employee is likely to travel by car. But once a business trip extends over the 500 mile marker, an employee will travel by airplane to get from point A to point B as quickly as possible.
If you’re planning a major corporate business trip for multiple employees, complete with air travel, keep these helpful tips in mind to save both time and money on unnecessary travel delays:
- Book with a travel planning website. If your company doesn’t currently work with a travel agent, you can kill multiple birds with one stone with the use of a travel planning website. There, you can book airfare, hotel, and car rental directly, often receiving an additional discount for booking a package deal.
- Book airport transportation in advance. Instead of paying for employee mileage as individual vehicles are driven to the airport and parked for several days, book an airport shuttle to take a group directly to the airport. When you factor in the cost of gas, mileage, and parking fees that will have to be reimbursed, the single cost of a shuttle is much more economical.
- Brief employees on airport security. A holdup at security could mean that a flight is missed altogether, costing a business hundreds of dollars if a ticket is nonrefundable. Before a major corporate trip, employees should be briefed on the best practices to move through airport security as quickly as possible. All employees should wear slip-on shoes and easily removable metal items, like belts. According to TSA regulations, toiletries should be placed in small Ziploc bags and packed at the top of a suitcase for easier access.
- Provide employees with separate laptop bags. Employees will appreciate this company bonus in a laptop bag that can be used for convenience and to protect a company-issued computer. On top of that, a security approved laptop bag will pass through an airport security checkpoint even faster without having to remove a laptop to place it in a separate security bin.
- Carry on whenever possible. Today, many airlines charge an additional fee to check a bag, which can add on to total travel expenses. For a short business trip, employees should be encouraged to travel with a carry-on only and pack lightweight, wrinkle-free clothing that can be used for professional meetings throughout a business trip.