When a business sends its employees abroad—or even a city or two over—it typically equips them with a corporate credit card and several pre-paid reservation receipts. If not, the company will reimburse for hotels, transportation and, sometimes, dining. For those non-reimbursable fees, most are at least tax-deductible. Nevertheless, you should watch out for the unexpected expenses below, regardless how well looked after you are by your company.
Data and Cellular Fees
When you exit the country, your cellular service will not drop off but rather hop providers. This is known as roaming and it incurs per minute, message and megabyte charges. Whether you’re emailing a customer or phoning a friend, your mobile activity will end up costing you significantly on your next bill. You’re best to just disable voice and messaging and use public Wi-Fi networks for all your data.
Business travel usually involves a few dinners or lunches out, but what about the meals outside of work hours? Sure, the hotel covers breakfast—or part of breakfast, depending on your expectations—but you’ll want to grab a bite in transit and after events. Fast-food adds up over the course of a week or two, so don’t forget to budget all meals off your company’s books.
Like dining out, your company will pay for a rental vehicle or the cost of driving to your destination, but there are other fees to consider. For example, street and overnight parking as well as the gas and/or maintenance if you own the vehicle (more mileage means earlier servicing dates).
Even if the entire trip is covered, there might not be room in the budget for delays like cancelled or postponed flights. An hour or two shouldn’t cost you more than a coffee or beer in the airport lobby, but should you need to stay the night, then expect to cover the cost of a hotel for the night (at least temporarily).