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How to Grow Your Business While Traveling the World

This blog post is being brought to you by Visa Small Business.

Raise your latte if you share this fantasy:

Taking a conference call from a balcony in Bali.

Meeting up with that hilarious, startup-launching Twitter friend – in Stockholm.

Popping over to Hong Kong to speak at a conference (with a three-day layover in Hawaii).

Sounds amazing, right? As more and more of us become location independent, building a business while having the freedom to travel is becoming a reality. But with jet lag, tiny carry-ons, and flight delays, is it worth it? Does all that travel really benefit your business? Or is it just wasted time? It’s pretty hard to do your best work on spotty airport wifi.

Traveling while working is worth it, but it does come with its challenges. For the last 10 years, I’ve spent several months a year in other cities and on other continents. After a few missed flights and some confusion about exchange rates, I’ve got this travel business down.

Here are six of my favorite apps, platforms, and tools to help me stay sane and productive while traveling.

 

Kayak Absolutely the only site I use for booking flights. With one click, Kayak searches every airline website, as well as Priceline, Cheapoair, Hotwire, and Expedia. They even let you search dates within three days of your departure if you’ve got some flexibility in your travel times!

Airbnb You know what’s depressing? Chain hotels next to the freeway. But I bet you knew that already. If you’re staying in a city for more than a few days, Airbnb is the way to go. It’s a platform that allows private citizens to rent out spare rooms or entire apartments, and it’s almost always cheaper than a hotel. Plus, you get so, so much more for your money. A few months ago I rented a condo on the water in Florida for $90 a night!

FlightFox Occasionally travel gets complicated: you want to take your dog on a multi-city trip while cashing in rewards from three different credit cards. SO OVERWHELMING. That’s where FlightFox comes in. For $50 they’ll take care of all of it, helping you save money in the process. Genius!

XE.com app Never again will you have to wonder if you just paid $15 for a taco. This app makes money conversion easy and it doesn’t require a data connection, so you don’t have to worry about overage rates when you’re calculating prices deep in the jungle of Nicaragua.

Buy a local sim card for your phone If you’re staying in a country for more than a week, rather than paying international roaming rates or adding an international option to your phone plan, just get a local sim card. They’re usually available at any corner store, easy to install, and cost a fraction of what your American carrier would charge you.

TripIt app It can be hard to keep track of the tour guide’s phone number, all your confirmation emails, and departure times for every flight, bus, and ferry. TripIt lets you keep them all in one handy place – and it’s free!

A few other tips:

* Bring a travel version of your favorite scented candle. It’s a great way to center yourself during a morning meditation (which helps relieve travel stress) and make a new place smell like home.

* If you’re staying somewhere for more than one night, unpack. Again, it’ll make your space seem exponentially more homey.

* Use that annoying 3-oz rule as an opportunity to try new beauty products! Save all those samples you get from Birchbox or the beauty counter, or buy some fun new things from 3floz.com.

Now I want to hear from you: If you take your business on trips around the world, give us your best tip. Or if you have a dream to grow your business while traveling, leave a comment and share where you’d love to go.

 

Visa Small Business Infographic:

Disclaimer: I am blogging on behalf of Visa Business and received compensation for my time from Visa for sharing my views in this post, but the views expressed here are solely mine, not Visa’s. Visit http://facebook.com/visasmallbiz to take a look at the reinvented Facebook Page: Well Sourced by Visa Business. The Page serves as a space where small business owners can access educational resources, read success stories from other business owners, engage with peers, and find tips to help businesses run more efficiently. Every month, the Page will introduce a new theme that will focus on a topic important to a small business owner’s success. For additional tips and advice, and information about Visa’s small business solutions, follow @VisaSmallBiz and visit http://visa.com/business.

2 thoughts on How to Grow Your Business While Traveling the World Leave a reply

  1. Sarah Kohl

    I love all the helpful apps. Thanks for trying them out and recommending your favorites. I find language conversion can be a bit tricky for me. Two of my favorite apps are DuoLingo and WorldLens. DuoLingo will help you brush up on any language while playing games. WorldLens is just genius- you don’t even need a wifi connection for it to work….just hold your phone up and the app translates whatever it ‘sees’ into English. Right now only a few languages are availble but since Google just bought it I think it will expand rapidly. What is your best tip to handle the language barrier?

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  2. Monika Mundell

    Timely post for me Natalie. Hubby and I have celebrated our first three month milestone being location independent. And the number ONE tip I can offer already is to: declutter your luggage. Seriously though, we’re carrying FAR too much stuff around with us. And even though we’ve chosen cruise ships as our main means of transport (which calls for a better wardrobe than say flashpacking your way around the globe) we still need to declutter some of our gear. :)

    I was wondering about the travel candle tip Natalie: do you have any issues carrying matches for those whne boarding planes? I got rid of mine because I didn’t want to go through the hassles of buying and throwing away lighters or matches every time we board a flight. Any suggestions there?

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