The Case for Disconnecting and Traveling as an Entrepreneur
I just got back from my honeymoon to Egypt and the Seychelles islands, and it was life-changing. As I flew and traveled to my various destinations, I thought about traveling as an entrepreneur and how it’s been one of the best ways to grow personally and professionally. While a number of my trips in the U.S. and abroad were for personal reasons instead of business purposes, they all had an impact on how I ran my companies and my view on the world.
Here are some of the reasons why I believe traveling as an entrepreneur is vital to success and a few of the places I recommend visiting.
It’s easier and cheaper than ever.
First off, it’s easier and cheaper than ever to travel anywhere in the world. Personally, I like to ball out when I travel, but if you’re a bootstrapped entrepreneur, there are hundreds of different tools that can make your trip easy and affordable.
Entrepreneur travel hack: I put everything I charge on one business credit card that provides a ton of benefits and points. Using one credit card for all of my company’s charges creates a massive influx of points that can be used for airfare or lodging. I recommend United’s Visa or if you have the spend, the Centurion by AMEX.
While booking my most recent trip I used Booking and noticed that the site let me schedule a pickup and dropoff ride for the same price I’d pay for Uber or Lyft. So, instead of waiting for my Uber, my driver waited for me. This made the whole taxing process painless. I dug around and found out the service was offered by Mozio. They power Booking, along with Hotels.com, SkyScanner, Despagar and a slew of others who’ve integrated with their API, making it easy for travelers to schedule ground transport rides. As an entrepreneur, I’m always looking for ways to save time and cut redundant corners. Being able to book and schedule everything from one site, at the same price, was a big win in my book. You can see the excitement on my face below.
Also, you don’t have to book a hotel anymore and can use Airbnb pretty much anywhere, if that’s your cup of tea. Its experiences are super cool too, which allow you to book activities at your travel destination. I’ve used it a handful of times, and have been more than satisfied each time.
You see the world from a different perspective.
If your business does any work with another country, you need to see the world from their point of view. It doesn’t matter if you’re outsourcing, purchasing products or selling your merchandise to those outside the U.S., it helps to learn how people approach life in general. This can help you with negotiations, marketing and understanding your customer in general.
I recently went to Spain. I have clients in Spain, and to see how they conduct themselves, the culture firsthand, and the day-to-day life of how people interact opened up my eyes. My clients are typically hard to get a hold off late in the afternoon. I’ve obviously known of the Spanish Siesta (translated to nap in Spanish), but until I was actually there in person, I couldn’t grasp the magnitude of what it meant. Siesta typically lasts from about 2 to 5 p.m. and pretty much everything shuts down: restaurants, businesses, even public transportation. If it wasn’t for going there and witnessing this in person, I don’t think I ever would’ve truly understood why I couldn’t reach my clients daily during their late afternoon.
I also went to the Bahamas a few months ago. I stayed at the beautiful Baha Mar hotel, which was gorgeous and new, with a ton of delicious restaurants and a manmade coral reef on their beach. I highly recommend it if traveling to Nassau. While there, I snorkeled with all types of animals from squid, to sea turtles and even sharks. Snorkeling with sharks was incredible -- being with sharks underwater created a million different feelings for me. I realized there were a lot of feelings that can be associated with starting a new business or daily emotions I experience as an entrepreneur, such as excitement, fear and uncertainty. Once we were done, I had a bunch of new ideas and mapped out a growth plan for one of my companies that had been an ongoing obstacle leading up to the trip.
The different perspective can be culturally or a natural shift in thinking like being underwater with a bunch of sharks. Regardless, the shift that occurs will benefit areas of your business you may not even imagine.
You’ll get inspired.
When you see the same things every day, you tend to get stuck in a rut. Traveling will open you up to new experiences that will inspire you. You may come up with a new product idea or see a way of solving a challenge you’ve been facing. Often, I find myself being hit with inspiration when I’m traveling and relaxing. While I consciously focus on the beautiful blue ocean or the fascinating landscape, my subconscious is solving problems I’ve been dealing with for weeks at home.
I also recently visited Kauai, where I stayed at the Kiahuna Plantation, a hotel I stayed at while I was a kid, and ate at some amazing local restaurants, including the Beach House restaurant in Poipu, Da Crack Tacos and Papalani Gelato. I always find that eating local cuisine, especially when I’ve never had it before, pushes me out of my comfort zone. Something as simple as eating different food or waking up to a different sight outside my window is all it takes to inspire me with new visions for my life, new ideas or to help existing obstacles I’m facing in any of my companies.
Entrepreneur travel hack: TripAdvisor is great for local info, but the best way to find the best local spots is to ask the locals! Anytime I travel I ask locals the best things to do, the coolest places to stay and the best food to eat. It’s a failproof plan to travel and experience the local culture.
You’ll recharge your batteries.
If you’re coming home every day feeling exhausted and simply have little desire to get up and do work in the morning, you need a break. Traveling gives you that. Get away from your normal routine and try something new and different. It’s not enough just to take a few days off work. You need to escape.
My most recent trip to Costa Rica was a complete escape for me. I needed a break from everything, so my wife and I took off.
Entrepreneur travel hack: I never turn my phone plan on when traveling. Rather, I just use wi-fi wherever it's available. It’s so much better and allows me to stay disconnected rather than tethered to my phone, messages and emails. Plus, when I’m on wi-fi it helps me get things done faster, knowing I have a finite amount of time to use the network. I also use tools to keep me off social media, like Antisocial, an app that allows me to limit the number of minutes I am allowed on social media per day. It’s great to keep my habits in check.
I’ve been to Costa Rica three times, and during this last trip, we spent most of the time snorkeling and white water rafting through the jungle. My wife and I love to stay in Manuel Antonio because it gives us the ability to go to the ocean and jungle easily. The combination of ocean and jungle is unlike anywhere else I’ve traveled; pair that with wild monkeys, fresh fruits, food and lush green wilderness and you’ve set the stage for the most disconnected and recharging trip of your life. When I came home, I felt completely renewed and ready to get back at it. Our favorite jungle tour company is Amigos del Rio, and we've white water rafted with them three separate times.
It’s easy to feel like the only solution to get more done is to work more hours, but I’ve found the opposite to be true. Yes, it’s imperative to work your butt off, and although it may seem counterintuitive it’s also vital to drop everything and travel. If you need to recharge, need inspiration or want to view the world from a different point of view, I highly recommend traveling. You’ll find that the many different experiences you have will make you a better entrepreneur.