In the good old days, before the housing market did its swan dive and “austerity” was merely a weird answer in a crossword puzzle, business travelers had it made. Rare was the company that would even ask you to double up in accommodations, and it was assumed that you would stay in a hotel.
Those days might be coming to an end, at least for some companies. Increasingly, organizations are encouraging workers to stay with friends when they’re traveling for work. The good news is, many of them are offering financial incentives to do so.
Andrew Schrage, founder of the Web site Money Crashers, tells the New York Times that his company offers employees bonuses for skipping the hotel and bunking with pals. The amount depends on how much money they save, with workers earning 30 percent of the cost of the hotel bill.
Of course, there are some downsides to staying with friends instead of getting a hotel room. Betsy Flanagan, a social media specialist from San Francisco, told the Times that her decision to stay with a friend in Connecticut during a recent trip to a conference in New York saved her $300 a night, and allowed her to catch up with an old friend, but “it wasn’t as easy as staying in the conference hotel.” Others pointed out that internet connections are often less reliable at friends’ houses, making it hard to get work done.
No one mentioned the real tragedy in opting for couch surfing over the hotel experience: Your friends are less likely to be understanding when you walk off with their shampoo.
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