Just returning from a business trip to Chicago made me think of how much more I could have spent while traveling. It is easy to get sucked in all the gift shops, tips to hotel employees, and meals. The most important thing is to stay organized.
Plan the logistics of the trip. If flying, try to avoid driving to your local airport and paying parking fees. If a family member or friend is not available to drive you to the airport, a public bus may get you there. If you have to park at the airport, park in the economy lot. If you are driving, fill up on gas before leaving and avoid stopping unless you need more gas. Stopping at convenience stores or restaurants will entice you to spend more.
Spending on meals can be pricey, especially in a city like Chicago. I purchased crackers and granola bars for the drive and stay so I was not temped by convenience stores. Try to purchase food at restaurants you know are inexpensive.
It is preferred that you tip the valet, bell hop, taxi driver, and room service. A small gesture can go a long way, so a few dollars (less than $5.00 each) is acceptable. A big smile and a strong "thanks" will do.
What tips do you have?