Consultant Travel on the Cheap

Travel has been on my mind quite a bit lately for two reasons. The first is that my husband and I just returned from a trip to Iceland where we hiked on a glacier, visited the meeting point of the North American and European tectonic plates, and swam in the Blue Lagoon. Check out our picture taken by Blue Lagoon silica-rich seawater. The second is John Lynn’s recent blog post about a mini power strip and finding/sharing power in a pinch at the airport. By the way, how genius is this?!

I’ve also been researching Around the World (RTW) travel and considering ways to travel on a shoestring a.k.a. cheaply. It has me thinking, as a consultant, can one do the same? In this potentially softening healthcare IT market, clients are going to be cutting back on cost and that often includes travel budgets. It may no longer be approved to expense an airport trip to Starbucks for water and coffee for example. Therefore as a consultant, can you travel on the cheap? Here are my ideas.

Bring your own food! There’s nothing worse than reaching the checkout counter at the airport Hudson News and realizing that measly two-pack of Fig Newtons is $3.50 and the Dasani is $2.50. $6 for this?! Instead, while eating lunch at the client site’s cafeteria get two sandwiches, a cookie, and a granola bar. Then on your expense report, you’re able to house your airplane snacks under one big lunch instead of an “extra meal” at the airport. Hey, you are just really hungry every Thursday.

Take your own water bottle, but take one of these instead of a traditional bottle. I’ve lost countless water bottles, nice ones and crummy ones, to airport security. Supposedly you are allowed to take an empty water bottle through security, but there have been times when I had to throw away a good water bottle because the TSA agent commanded it. However, never again with these roll-up bottles that you can hide away in your bag when empty and fill up on the other side of security. Yes, they are dorky looking, but think about the math. If a bottle of water from Hudson News is $2.50 and you fly twice a week, that’s $5. Let’s say you traveled to a client site 40 weeks a year, that’s $200 that you could save by just not buying water! Also, the earth will thank you for using less plastic.

Finally, the worst money pincher of all, checked baggage fees. Most veteran consultants I know have packing down to a science, but for the newbies out there, let’s analyze how you can eradicate bag fees from your world. Is it possible to only take one bag with you? Maybe . . . Check out one of my favorite travel gear companies Eagle Creek. They make solutions for everything from luggage to packing solutions that eliminate the “digging around to find something” factor. I’m especially fond of this backpack that is carry-on approved and has a laptop sleeve included plus a full 35 liters (you can carry on up to 40 liters) of space that you could easily pack four days’ worth of clothing in. Let’s tackle the same math, at $25 per bag fee per flight two times a week is $50. For 40 weeks of travel, that’s $2,000 per year. So carry-on and save you or your client 2,000 bucks a year, because do you really need four pairs of shoes for four days?

What do you think readers? What travel-on-the-cheap tricks are up your sleeves? Please leave in the Comments section below!

About the author


Cassie Sturdevant

Cassie Sturdevant is a Senior Recruiter for Impact Advisors, a healthcare IT strategic and implementation services consulting firm just named 2013 Best in KLAS for Overall Services. She specializes in humor and follow up.

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