Light, Cheap, and In Style

Add the word "travelling" in front of the title and all of a sudden the title makes some sense.

Greetings from Sacramento! I just flew in from LA and got myself set up in the hotel. Work has kept me quite busy and I'll be on the road for a while, so if you don't see any new posts for a couple of weeks, that would be why.

This is my first business trip ever, so I had to figure some things out on the fly. Scheduling also made things tougher--since I attended my dear friend's wedding all day Saturday, followed by Mother's Day the next day, I only had a couple of hours after returning home from the office at 12:30 a.m. on Saturday morning (before the wedding, that is) to get all my stuff together. Once I brought all my work papers home, it was time to pack.

Packing was actually the easy part. I packed a mix of casual and business-casual clothes (one blazer, a couple of sweaters, along with several tops), a pair of flats, brought my laptop, all sorts of electronic gadgetry, and their accompanying cables in an organza bag that used to hold something else; if I didn't have that bag, I would have used a ziploc baggie like my roommate wisely suggested. I hate having to check in bags because it takes up a lot of time, so I made sure that everything fits in carryon luggage. The clothes, shoes, toiletries, and cables went into a duffle bag, while my work papers, laptop, fashion magazine, electronics, and other things I want to access readily went into a large and sturdy faux leather work tote that I got from Target for $30 a while back. Whatever was too bulky to put into bags were worn--for colder nights, I brought my big Mike & Chris coat; for a more casual pair of shoes, I brought a pair of sneakers. This is my idea of travelling in style:

[Gap stripey tee, Mike & Chris coat, Juicy Couture jeans (sample), Adidas Prajna sneakers (probably one of my best finds at Ross since I love them)]

The harder part was the car rental. I was quite overwhelmed with all the different options. Sure, I'll ultimately get reimbursed, but it's quite expensive up front. I wanted a regular sedan with GPS (which is a necessity, given I don't know the city at all), but they ran out of cars with GPS, so they gave me an SUV. That's another extra $12 charge per day, and you can see how it can start adding up. Then there's the gas option--either you can pre-pay at $3.75/gal (which is cheap) bring the car back with an empty tank, or fill up the tank at the end or risk a $7/gal fee. I don't anticipate doing all that much driving, but given the fact that my car is an SUV, it seemed like a draw. Then there's the issue of insurance. I'm a pretty careful driver, but sometimes you never know what can happen. I ended up taking the full coverage option, and when the final estimate bill came out...holy smokes! All the "add ons" were even more expensive than the price of renting the car itself!

What's your stance when it comes to insurance on a rental? Any business travel dilemmas? I'll probably run into a few (food comes to mind) as the week goes on.


LP said...

I wouldn't purchase rental insurance because the insurance I have on the car I own also covers a rental car (most policies include that). However, if I was not already insured, I would definitely tack on the fullest coverage possible--peace of mine is important to me, especially when traveling!

Lindybug said...

I concur with lp, but I would add that if budget is not an issue with your client (i.e. no history of nitpicking your firm's invoices), I would go with the options that create the least stress for you, including full coverage, etc. for peace of mind. That's because I bet your traveling expenses are so minor compared with your hourly billing rate, and with you less harassed by the various traveling issues, you will be more focused and efficient on the work.

Poster Girl said...

I would recommend against insurance on a rental, especially if you're insured as a driver. The main benefit is that if something happens with the rental, then your own insurance agency wouldn't find out/raise your rates, etc.

Anonymous said...

Sure, you might decline insurance on a rental if you're renting the car for personal use, but your personal auto policy may not transfer coverages to a rental car if you are using it for business use. Check with your agent to be sure. It could be a costly oversight. Also, if your policy will indeed cover the car, it may exclude coverage for the loss of use of the rental car in the event of an accident. Gee, guess what industry I'm in?

ambika said...

I've only ever rented a car when on business trips with the boyfriend and he always turns down the insurance because supposedly his work would cover anything (they're an insurance company so I think that's why it works that way.)

If I personally was renting a car, I'd probably be inclined to hope the law of averages would be on my side and then drive 25 miles an hour the whole time to be certain of it rather than pay the money.

continuum said...

Your existing insurance or your company's travel policy will cover any rental insurance damage. Skip the rental company's offer.

Skip prepaid gas, too. It's cheaper to fill up before you return it, unless you're always short on time. =P