It is no secret that traveling opens up a world of new opportunities, views, and ideas that inspire. It also allows travelers to connect with people from all over the world. As an entrepreneur, it is important to expand your network and seek inspiration. So what’s stopping you? Here are some tips to help entrepreneurs travel more, both efficiently and on a budget.
- Plan Ahead and Make it a Priority.
If you want to travel, one of the first steps is to plan ahead. Many of us may know this but don’t necessarily put it into practice. Or maybe you just simply “love” to procrastinate. The best difference planning can make is that it results in a much-needed overview and room to avoid obstacles, allowing you to schedule meetings, events, and even some “me” time ahead of time. Hint: There are many city guides online, and some are even geared toward entrepreneurs and start-up businesses. They offer great recommendations and sometimes ways to save money by booking ahead.
Next, don’t forget to prioritize. What are your goals for this trip? What are you looking to accomplish? Answer these questions and then prioritize them. A successful outcome can depend upon these answers/ranking, so don’t skip this step!
- Invest in Yourself!
If you don’t invest in yourself, who will? We all need to compete; sometimes with others, but mostly with ourselves. Keep yourself current with trends by attending conferences, seminars, workshops, and events across the globe. This is a great way to draw inspiration for your business, learn new things, and meet new people. Open your mind to new perspectives, and hopefully, you will come away with ideas that you can implement to improve your business. It is also a way to compare your services or products and seek feedback. Make sure to visit other vendors. You never know where your next potential business opportunity may come from.
It’s all about the options available. The better your research, the better your selection can be. For example, if you live in a major city, like New York or Miami, there are multiple airports to choose from—compare the costs. You might be able to find a ticket for less or find a different connection to reach your destination. Consider package deals that include hotel and car rental. Be flexible—a layover may not be too inconvenient if it’s near friends you can visit with for half a day or even one night. Sometimes, opportunities for business and pleasure travel coincide harmoniously. Take advantage.
- Utilize Travel Resources.
There are many travel resources available with amazing deals. For example, when I am looking to compare flights, one of my favorite websites is Google.com/flights; the information comparability of costs between different airline carriers and dates is better organized than similar sites. It is easier and faster to get a clear picture of options available, and you can easily adjust the dates for comparison-shopping.
Another recommendation is Skyscanner.com (or download the app on your phone) because it allows you to enter your location and travel dates, and then it gives you a list of different destinations for your consideration, starting with the least expensive. It is also perfect for a last-minute, spontaneous getaway/vacation…we all need that! Let them pick a destination that matches your budget! Don’t forget to utilize the alerts that will text you as prices fluctuate (make it work for you).
- Hotels and Other Transportation on a Budget
First, there are many hotels that offer rewards programs where you can accumulate points and receive free stays or room upgrades. Ask about signing up—it’s usually free. Another option, Hotels.com has a deal where after a certain number (10, I think) days, you get one free.
A different option is an Airbnb where you can find apartments for rent, private rooms, and room shares for various budgets. It is almost all over the world, and it is easy to find great places. Just make sure that you carefully read the reviews about the host.
In terms of transportation alternatives to car rental, if public transportation exists, research daily or weekly pass options. Nowadays, there’s also Uber and Lyft where you can ride for less than in a traditional cab. I even used this recently in Amsterdam, and it was wonderful.
- Sign up for Airline Mileage Programs and/or for Credit Cards with Earned Miles Option Included.
As a travel entrepreneur, you can live-and-die by these mileage programs. You accumulate points that can be used for flights, upgrades, access to their lounge, pre-boarding, etc. Recently, I had to attend a conference in Miami, and I did not spend one cent on my travel. I just used my miles.
If you travel often enough, the right airline card can be one of the most important cards in your wallet. If you travel on a variety of airlines, it might not be worth it. So, flexibility is a key consideration. Opt for a credit card that gets you miles with every purchase, such as The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card which allows you to earn more miles than traditional airline credit cards on average but with the ability to transfer to popular frequent flyer programs at a 1:1 ratio (and earn 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants and 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases). It all adds up.
If you just prefer to have an airline credit card, make sure that you travel with the same airline more than 5 times per year to make it worthwhile. With these kinds of cards, you can also take advantage of companion fares. Regardless of the card, avoid getting into too much debt. It should work for you, not the other way around.
- Most importantly, meet local entrepreneurs.
If you constantly travel, it is good to make connections and network wherever you go. I think that’s the main reason an entrepreneur travels. Just make sure that you do the research to better understand the city you’re visiting and its entrepreneurial culture. How people conduct business does vary. Educate yourself! And then just network, network, and network! Meet other start-ups, like-minded entrepreneurs, listen to them, connect with them, help each other, and learn from each other. Bring lots of business cards and prepare your 30-second elevator pitch. Practice it in front of the mirror before you hop off your next plane onto your next adventure.
Olga Maria Czarkowski is a New York City-based travel and lifestyle Latina writer. Through her blogazines, DreamsinHeels.com and more recently LatinasWhoTravel.com, her aim is to inspire women to consider living more adventurous lives by embarking on journeys of self-discovery and curiosity. As a foodie and wine enthusiast, Olga loves to share her experiences and tips and has done so in Expedia UK Travel Guides, NY Daily News, Latin Trends, Livid Magazine, Vetta Magazine, and elsewhere. To further explore Olga Maria’s journey follow her: @Dreamsinheels