Thursday, May 17, 2018

Work Travel is Expensive

I don't have an expense account for work for travel, conferences,and meetings. As it should be in my line of work, each expenditure is scrutinized for need. Still, when on business time, we are allowed a per diem based on the federal reimbursement rates. I believe $9 for breakfast, $11 for lunch, and $16 for supper. We have a specific max for ground transportation and parking, and air and hotel is arranged through the company travel coordinator so I do not even see those expenses. The per diem is figures out based on the days and time of travel plus any expenses covered by the meeting host then are excluded. this trip I have per diem for two breakfast, one lunch and two dinners. No ground transportation because there is a courtesy shuttle. 

My meeting is in the Chicago area. A quick Google look and you will see that getting lunch for $11 or dinner for $16 is nearly impossible unless eating fast food. The difference is out of my own pocket. Likewise, tips for the courtesy shuttle driver and tips for the baggage handler that retrieved our luggage put in storage as we arrived much earlier than our rooms were ready,and there is more out of pocket expenses. I'm over my per diem for the meals by $36.68. Even had I wanted fast food, I was in a suburb of a suburb with nothing but hotels and over priced chain streak houses. Add to this that I picked up Jimmy John's Tuesday night because DD2's track meet ran later than we thought (I went to it) and I still had laundry and packing. Dinner ended up up being an over priced diet coke, cheese, fruit, and cracker snack and an Almond Joy at the airport for $13.49, but I stayed within the budget. I nibbled while waiting for multiple hours.

Even when I used to have a more lucrative travel budget, there were still limits and I was always over. I also used to treat myself to a nice glass or two of wine when I traveled, might have this time if there wasn't a complimentary happy hour at the hotel. Oh yeah, tip for that though as well. Besides getting reimbursed for what I can, the hotel mistakenly charged the room to my personal card. I''l need to get that sorted as well. I had hoped for a bit more of my time away other than concrete, airports, and stuffy hotel meeting rooms.Still, the meeting content was good and it was nice to be there and back in under 48 hours.

11 comments:

  1. As I was reading I thought you wouldn't get much here in SW Ontario for that amount of money!! I see it's the same there.

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    1. Didn't go far in Chicago. It would have been ok in my home town.

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  2. That per diem is awfully low, no matter what the business line. Perhaps these meetings/conferences should include more meals, that certainly reduces the costs. I can't imagine how you could eat decently and stay within those guidelines. Even on fast food!

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    1. I was wron, a bit. Breakast $11, lunch, $23 dinner but still low. My dinner was pretty mediocre.

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    2. Lunch $13. $47 total per diem for day.

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  3. Hi Sam, I didn't forget about your trip. I don't think you need any recommendations for Paris do you, although for me personally, being a bit of a peasant, I wouldn't spend 7 days there. 3 or 4 would be enough for me, but like I said I'm a peasant. I asked my colleague whose parents live in Brussels and he said 2-3 days is enough. La Grande Place (of course), there is the Magritte gallery and beautiful Bruges is about 2 hours away by bus. When I mentioned the Normandy beaches he said it was too far - probably 7 hours drive, BUT la Bastogne is only about 2 hours away if you are interested in the military side of things. Can't help you out on Bonn. I don't know anyone who went there voluntarily (just kidding). Good luck. Anna

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    1. We want a lot of cafes, Seine, and garden time so think we'll be but if we get sick of city life, we'll try and head somewhere like we did in London. Thanks for ideas.

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  4. I had a seminar right on the main, expensive hotel downtown Chicago. You could see the lake from the windows. Thankfully everything was paid for and I stayed at my sister's in Aurora. Took the L train in. Don't forget to save those receipts!!!

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    1. Turning in Monday. At least you didn't have walls and concrete.

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  5. Most of my work expenses are covered (but, I work for a big corporation, so more flexibility on travel policy), although I often use my own miles to upgrade to business class on 10+ hour international flights. Certainly not required, but when you are traveling a lot & expected to bounce off of a flight & head straight into a 60 hour work week . . . it's no fun.

    I definitely find that, without me at the house, our personal expenses rise. We pay our nanny for longer, M goes out to eat with the kids more, etc.

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    1. I probably wouldn't have noticed so much ifvwe weren't doing some belt tightening or if the dinner had been better. In New Orleans I blew my supper per diem but both evening meals were delicious and unique. Wednesdays meal was mediocre, and DH grills a much tastier No Name brand steak.

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