Five Things Every Traveling Entrepreneur Should Know
I just got back from a whirlwind two week trip that took me to New York, Miami, Austin, and almost Denver. Not only was I going from 40º temperature to almost 85º, I was also going from business to pleasure and then to a mixture of both. Here’s a few tips that helped me stay my best:
1. No Matter the Length of the Trip, Pack Carry-On Only
Sometimes you can’t help it – You show up proudly at the gate with your petite carry-on and the gate agent informs you that you have no choice but to check your bag. When that isn’t the case, it’s always best to pack minimally (especially if you aren’t nonstop!). Swap out the extra shirts for a few individual packages of laundry detergent and pretty soon you won’t even be embarrassed by your hotel bathroom turned laundry-room.
2. Make Time for Syncing and Downloading!
Technology is pretty dependable – and for me, that means I can depend on it failing me. While ordering an Uber in Miami last week to take me to the airport, my phone died – kaput – out of nowhere. I had to navigate without tech to an AT&T Store and an Apple Store and then run halfway through the airport to avoid missing my flight. #FirstWorldProblems
I can’t stress enough how important it is to set a few minutes each day to sync all of your devices and to make sure all of your new content is on the cloud. Trust me, you don’t want to lose 100 photos from yesterday’s conference because your phone became a casualty of your happy hour drink.
3. Be flexible: Physically and Mentally
I love to pack a lightweight yoga towel for hotel stretching. It’s amazing what a few minutes of stretching can do after a long day (Bonus points if you practice that inversion you’ve been too shy to attempt at the local yoga studio).
On the other side of flexibility, it’s crucial to roll with the inevitable punches that travel will throw at you. On my most recent trip, I ended up stuck in Houston on a layover. After several hours of sitting around and not making any Atlanta flights, I thought, “What’s flying out of Houston that I CAN make?” Low and behold, I hopped on a flight to Austin just as SXSW was in full swing. Let your worst travel luck become your greatest adventure.
4. Turn Awkward Moments into Epic Leads
I remember the first time I went into a bar by myself – I was traveling through Denmark and my hotel suggested a cocktail lounge down the street. I gingerly sipped my first drink while clutching my purse and making small talk with the bartender. Since then, some of my greatest leads and most productive networking has happened when I’m traveling alone – from meeting CEOs in hotel lobbies to making new work connections in UberPools. Embrace the awkwardness!
5. Always Extend Your Itinerary
I like to add on a few days before or after work obligations to get to know the city I’m traveling in. There’s nothing worse than returning from a work trip and you can only report on your hotel, whichever conference center you were working at, and the nearest Starbucks. After all, you’re an entrepreneur because you hated the monotonous routine of your cubical job… check into a hostel, get lost, and order food you can’t pronounce.