Springfords LLP blog

Some news, views and comments about everything and anything, relevant and irreverent.

Business Travel Costs

19 April 2016

What’s the real deal when it comes to getting around to get the deal done?  Springfords can make sure your business travel is properly accounted for, but are you cleared for spending before you’re cleared for take off. 

The problem with business travel is that it tends to get done during business hours.  How often does that mean travel at peak hours, at peak times and when travel generally costs as much as it’s possible to cost.

There’s not much opportunity for off-peak when it comes to business.  Transport operators know what market they’re addressing when they put out those cheaper leisure fares.

Smaller, nifty little enterprises - right down to sole trading micro-businesses - can more readily combine business travel with other necessary journeys.  They can often make their travel plans to take advantage of cheaper fares or less congested hours of the day. 

However, while a single-minded entrepreneur may be willing to arrive an hour or two early and sit in a supermarket cafe catching up with their email correspondence in advance of a client pitch, there’s less likelihood that a board-level delegation from a big corporation will be happy to spend an extra couple of hours sitting amid the grocery shoppers, nursing a latte, in order to get a cut price train fare back from their conference.

As any finance director will have spotted, a last-minute train fare can cost as much as buying the train outright, and a timely flight purchase can be a few pence less than that early morning coffee.  However, some of the incidental expenses can leave you spluttering into your cappuccino. 

You may be able to fly from Edinburgh to London and get change from a tenner, but the express train from Heathrow is, mile for mile, the most expensive rail journey in the world.  You might want to consider the tube instead, if you can spare the extra thirty minutes.

Parking at a city centre station?  Your car could cost more for not moving than you do for hurtling across the country.  Consider getting a colleague to drop you off or ride-share all the way – much more economical.

We’re not travel agents at Springfords, but we know a few experienced ones.  They all tell us it’s almost always easiest to turn up and take off, but that’s always going to be the expensive option.  If financial planning is the answer to keeping costs down, then it’s probably time to do a spot of travel planning to keep costs down too. 

We can help you ensure that you are claiming the right proportion of allowable travel costs as a legitimate business expense.  But it’s up to you to make sure that your business travel is economical without always being economy class. If the board of directors haven’t actually tried it yet, we can tell you - supermarket cafes have actually gotten quite pleasant these days - and the coffee isn’t bad either.  Not as good as ours of course.

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