Minimum costs, maximum gains… here’s how to ensure you get everything you can out of business travel when you’re first starting out.

By Jody Porowski (Founder, Avelist)

To say that I travel a lot is an understatement. Especially the last couple of months I’ve found myself traveling from coast to coast, meeting with investors, entrepreneurs, and mentors.

Here are five ways that I’ve learned how to keep my travel cheap and effective:

1. Lodging: Crash with a Friend

Crashing with friends saves some major money. I’ve lucked out and have friends in most of the cities that I travel to (New York, San Francisco, Charlotte and Washington DC.)

I love them and I also love their couches and air mattresses 🙂 If you don’t have a friend to stay with or don’t want to impose, try AirBnB, couch surfing or a hostel. Just be safe.

2. Fill Your Trip with as Many Meetings as Possible

Book your travel around a few specific meetings or conferences and then fill the spare time with as many meetings as possible.

How do you find people to meet? Try emailing people you know in the city and ask for intros.

Note: Be very specific when you ask for intros. Explain exactly who you want to meet or at least exactly the type of person you want to meet. And don’t be scared to cold call. Email (or tweet!) people you want to meet. Tell them you’ll be in their city. What do you have to lose?

3. But Leave the Last Day of your Trip Open for Spontaneous Meetings

This is a trick I learned when I first started business travel. I would completely pack my trip with meetings and then when people tried to introduce me to follow on meetings, I wouldn’t have any time slots left.

So… I started leaving my last day of travel (or at least half of it) open. Usually it fills up pretty quickly once I get into the city and meet people who then introduce me to more people!

4. Allow Yourself to Spend Money on the Important Things

I am a super frugal (read: cheap) traveler. I run a startup — it’s kind of in the job description. BUT I have found that some things are worth spending money on.

Buying the person I’m meeting a coffee (good taste, I think). Paying for a taxi to get across town if I want to prepare before a meeting or if I’m running late and iffy on my knowledge of the public transportation.

5. Pack Smart

Because there’s nothing worse than blisters, getting stuck in a downpour without an umbrella, or freezing because you didn’t check the weather ahead of time. Here’s a list I made of Packing Tips for Business Travel. It’s a good one.

This post originally appeared on Avelist.

These tips will greatly come in handy if you’re traveling to San Francisco for our upcoming How To Conference!