The Early Bird Catches the Discounts

Attending a business conference can be many things: fun, stressful, exhausting and exhilarating. But there is one thing you can always count on: its going to cost money.

Attending a conference for your business or career involves a host of expenses, some plannedairfare, car or discount van rental, hotel or other lodging, food and drinksand others less anticipatedtaking colleagues out to dinner or drinks, emergency dry cleaning, that Uber or Lyft you end up taking across a city during high traffic. And, of course, theres the cost of the conference itself. The list is almost endless.

Lets face it: expense accounts are not what they used to be. If youre a small business owner or work for a small businesswell, you may not even have an expense account at all!

Remember: Business conferences are meant to help your business. They are not geared to saving you money. So if youre not careful, you, or your company, could end up paying through the nose. But theres no need to panic. There are many ways for you to save big bucks when you attend your next business conference. All you need to do is put in a little extra work, plan early and be flexible.

1. The Early Bird Catches the Discounts Whether it is airline tickets, hotel, car or discount van rental, even the cost of the conference itself, everything is less expensive when you book early. Its amazing how many people and businesses forget this truism. The sooner you can lock in your travel and conference dates, the more you will save. A plane ticket purchased, say, eight weeks in advance of travel will be dramatically less expensive than one bought a week before you are due to fly.

This is also true of the conference itself. Many business conferences offer early bird specials. Check carefully: sometimes this may mean buying your pass and committing to a conference months in advance of the eventbut it is not unusual to save as much as 50% off this way. All conference pricing goes up the closer you get to the actual dates, often times by quite a bit.

And remember: even when you are already saving, such as with the great discounts at Airport Van Rental or reduced hotel rate, you can save even more by making your reservation early.

No two ways about it: booking early will save you big bucks.

2. Be Flexible About Accommodations Business conferences generally involve a special negotiated rate at a specific hotel. The perks of staying at the conferences preferred hotel are myriad: many conference events are likely to be held there, making things much easier and less hectic for you; most other conference-goers will be there too, allowing you numerous opportunities for networking and sharing information with colleagues; the hotel is likely to be centrally located, making it easier to get around.

But while it is simplest to book at that hotel, it may not actually be cost-efficient, even with the discounted rate. Indeed, hotels that cater to conferences and large corporate events are often on the pricey side and may not be used to catering to those of us on a budget.

When it comes to accommodations for your trip, think creatively and be flexible. In many cases, booking your room at a less luxurious or not-so-centrally located hotel or motel will be much cheaper. Consider alternative lodging such as AirBnB, where the difference between staying a few nights in a verified renters guest room versus booking the same amount of time at your conferences preferred hotel can easily be hundreds of dollars.

Do some research online or touch base with other attendees in advance of the conference: you have a lot of leeway for savings by being flexible about where you stay. At the end of the day, you are responsible for saving you moneynot the conference.

If you do stay at a hotel, heres a quick but necessary reminder: dont order room service. Theres no shame in bringing food back to your hotel room. And that will be so much cheaper than calling up room surface or dipping into one of those dorm-room refrigerators for a $5 bag of potato chips or $7 bottle of water.

3. Use a Corporate Travel Agent Many companies and small businesses are using corporate travel agents to get the best deal possible. And for good reason: a corporate travel agent has the power of volume bookings on their side, and their job is to use it for your advantage. They can find you steep corporate discounts not only on airfare, but on hotel and ground transportation as well. The clout and expertise of a corporate travel agent is especially helpful if you are booking last minute.

Be sure to fill in the agent on all your needs and let them know of any flexibility you may have with travel dates. Dont wait until you get to the conference to start saving money. Be frugal from the moment you start planning. This way, youll have greater spending flexibility once you get there.

4. Hit the Discount Travel Sites

If you are willing to spend the time and energy, check out Kayak, Orbitz, Travelocity, Expedia and other discount travel sites. These sites are popular for a reason: they can save you money. Many of these sites also offer significant discounts on lodging and ground transportation as well. It takes some work on your partand, againthe farther in advance of your trip you hit these sites the betterbut the savings these sites offer can be significant, no doubt about it.

As with any travel, whether you are booking it yourself or working with a travel agent, being flexible with your travel dates and times can mean big savings. And if you are game for it, bear in mind: flights with layovers are often markedly cheaper than flying nonstop. Sure, flying from Los Angeles to Boston via a three-hour layover in Denver is no fun. But saving $50 or $75 off a direct, nonstop flight will help ease the discomfort. (Just dont spend all your savings at the airport bar.)

Heres a tip: Even if youre flying coach, guess what? Its your right to inquire about a free upgrade. Who knows? You just may get bumped up from coach to business class, or business to first class for no extra charge. It doesnt happen often, but it does still happen.

5. Pack Carefully Isnt it amazing how many meticulously planned trips go awry over last-minute haphazard packing? How many times have you arrived at your destination, only to realize you did not pack your laptop charger? Or forgot your international calling card? And didnt you pack that great jacket for the after party? Uh-oh. Guess youll have to run out and do some quick shopping

We all forget things, or ruin a great, pricey item of clothing by thoughtlessly cramming it into our suitcase or duffel bag as we rush out the door. You are going to a business conference for businessnot to race around a strange city spending money on what you forgot to pack. So pack carefully. Youll be happierand richerfor it.

6. Consider a Discount Van Rental For ground transportation, consider traveling with co-workers and other attendees in a group via a discount van rental. The savings will be tremendousand navigating the conference so much easier. Think about it: when attending a business conference you will be going from airport to hotel to events to meetings. Here is a great opportunity for savings. Being able to carry your entire group in a discount van rental is far less expensiveand much more efficient (i.e., everyone arriving on time together)than you and your co-workers riding in separate taxi cabs, or each ordering your own Ubers, Lyfts or other ride-hailing service. With locations in some of the most popular industry conference cities, such as San Diego, Chicago, and Las Vegas, Airport Van Rental can be your go-to discount van rental company.

In addition, AVR has Corporate and Non-Profit Programs that offer discounted rates, priority booking and special customer service specific to your needs. AVR also offers discounts to AAA and USAA members.

A reputable discount van rental service is about so much more than just ground transportation. AVR can also connect you to great rates on hotels and motels through its Value Club Program.

Check out Airport Van Rentals impressive lineup of vans and amenities:

Traveling with a child? AVR has child seats available for rental for children between 10 40 lbs. Need WiFi? These days, we are always on our smartphones and laptops, especially when traveling. AVRs vans can connect up to 12 devices to the access point. AVR also provides GPS and discounted international calling rates. How great is that? Prepaid Fuel. No need to worry about fueling up. With AVRs Prepaid Fuel Service Option you can save both time and money. Just pay in advance for either a full or half tank of gas. Now theres no need to search for a gas station before you return the vehicle. One less item to worry about on your trip! GPS Unit. Choose your destination and the GPS does the rest. You can look up addresses, hotels and attractions all at the touch of the screen. Comes with a window mount. This makes traveling so much easier and less stressful. And helps ensure you get to where you need to go on time, hassle-free. Chauffeur Service. AVRs third-party chauffeur vendor will drive you and your team to wherever you need to go for a few hours or a whole day! ?When youre preparing for your next business conference, be sure to check out the options available at Airport Van Rental to make your easy and inexpensive. Start planningand savingtoday!