MARTA, BART & Other Friends of the Business Traveler

Would your boss or client like it if you could save hundreds, perhaps thousands, of dollars on travel expenses?  I can’t imagine they wouldn’t. Here’s one way to do it.

If you are traveling to a city with an excellent mass transit (i.e., train) system, like San Francisco Bay Area, Chicago, New York City or Atlanta, you can save literally hundreds per day by staying at a hotel away from the city center.  Admittedly, that’s not as cool as staying downtown, but depending on the trip, it might be well worth it.

This week, for example, I’m going to a trade show in Atlanta.  Instead of staying downtown, near the Georgia World Congress Center, I booked a hotel in a neighborhood called Perimeter Center.  According to my new friends at the Atlanta Convention & Visitor Bureau, this area is easily accessible on the Red Line of MARTA, the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority, and offers two stops within walking distance (Dunwoody and Sandy Springs, in case you really want to know.) Not only is my room a mere $180 per night less than the big name downtown hotels, the Red Line passes right through the hot restaurant area, Buckhead, which is to Atlanta what Lincoln Park is to Chicago. (In other words, where the after-show action goes on…)

Anyway, by staying there, I’m saving a ton on my room, skipping the rental car thing completely, and probably cab fares, as well.  And I’m not driving in an unfamiliar city.

And I’m being green. What’s not to like?

Admittedly, this strategy won’t work in Houston, Phoenix or other auto-centric cities, but it sure is sweet for those where mass transit is too good and too convenient to pass up. So next time you’re planning a business trip, check out the commuter train options.  Your boss, client and accountant will be glad you did.