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Traveling on Business, They Seek Out Cheap Eats, Hotels, but Do Bosses Notice?
Everybody knows them - those expense account tight-wads who go out of their way to keep business-travel costs low for the better of the company. But do the bosses notice? Photo: Getty Images.
When Boris Siperstein travels for work from his home in Austin, Texas, he often does so with a folding bicycle tucked under his arm.
He expensed the $180 Dahon model, bought on sale, to his private-equity firm, but biking to meetings in such locales as New York City, Mumbai and Mauritius, he says, has saved his company a few thousand dollars in cab fare. Mr. Siperstein, 38 years old, was also known to sleep on the floor when he visited the company's former Manhattan headquarters rather than pay upward of $200—his personal cutoff for a hotel.
Ryan Collerd for The Wall Street JournalBoris Siperstein brings his folding bicycle to get around on business trips. Pictured, in Philadelphia.
And forget about flying business class. He folds his 6'3" frame into a coach seat—even on 16-hour hauls to India, where many of his company's investments are based.
"I would never in my wildest dreams spend an extra thousand dollars to stay in a hotel room that's slightly more comfortable than the bed I get in a $100 hotel room," he says. "Why would I do that with an airline seat?"
Welcome to the world of expense-account tightwads. Citing everything from habit to principle to commitment to their employer's bottom line, these workers go out of their way to keep expenses low, staying in bargain hotels, swearing off room service and scouring the Web for cheap flights.
In an era of belt-tightening, employers would presumably be thrilled with staff who scrimp on travel and entertainment expenses, which average 8% to 12% of corporate budgets, according...