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The Wasatch mountains from my plane as we came into SLC

I don’t travel a ton for work, which is great since I think my wife and 6 kids might kill me if I was gone every week :-), but last week I was gone at a work-conference in Salt Lake City.

(SEE ALSO: Finishing up visiting every county in Utah)

(SEE ALSO: When a hotel can’t get the little things right…)

Work paid for my flights (including a red eye flight where I used these 4 tips to survive!) and hotel.  I didn’t get a rental car, but my company’s travel policy does pay for taxis and other transportation from my hotel to the conference.  I actually found the policy a bit short-sighted as it made me stay in a hotel out at the airport because it was “cheapest” but didn’t really consider the costs of taxis to / from the conference

Do you travel differently when someone else is paying?

I think that there is already a bit of an ethical dilemma among business travelers, and one that is only exacerbated by the recent changes by Delta and United to give out miles based on the cost of your ticket.  I’m not a frequent business traveler personally, so I can’t speak a ton on this, but can only speak from my experience.

The first day of the conference, I had to return my rental car to the airport before going to the conference.  When I asked at the front desk of my hotel how much a cab would be, they suggested taking the light rail.

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Which is what I did, and it worked out just fine (total cost $2.50).

The second day, I called a cab, and the same trip cost me $23.

Do you travel differently if someone else is paying for it?

money-reimbursementI feel no ethical misgivings about taking the cab, but it did make me wonder.  I think taking a cab is totally reasonable, but because I’m such a cheapskate (see the budget for our family of 8 here), I wonder if I had been paying my own way, is that what would I have done?

Or instead would I have taken the hotel shuttle to the airport and then the light rail downtown, to save $20?

I didn’t have a 3rd day in town, so I didn’t have to decide, but for the record, on Thursday night I had a friend with a car drop me off at the hotel and Friday night since I was going to the airport I just took the light rail.

What about you?

Have you ever noticed yourself traveling differently when you’re on your own versus if someone else is footing the bill?  I’m interested to hear the perspectives of business travelers and other people who travel frequently.

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