Bootstrapped Travel, The Way It Is Meant To Be 'A scientific approach to the way founders should travel, that maximises returns on effort and planning'

By Pratyush Kukreja

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VUCA is an acronym used by the American Military to describe extreme conditions in Afghanistan and Iraq. It stands for Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous.

A startup founder's life is all of that – there are volatile emotions, uncertainty in market conditions, complex decisions to make and ambiguous schedules.

Like everything in the founder's life, an international trip to meet investors, incubators, customers or strategic partners can come up unplanned. Here is a scientific approach to how a founder should travel, that allows her to focus on the why of travel and not on how to travel:

1. Carrying a prepaid forex card while travelling is a no-brainer – It has marginal conversion charges, offers a safe and convenient way to carry large amounts of currency and can be used at most point of sales with zero transaction charges. Beyond these, below are some hacks to get more out of a prepaid forex card:

  • On-demand reloadsfrom anywhere in the world – A founder can store as many as sixteen currencies on a single card, that would work in more than 50 countries. It can be recharged on-the-go, just like a mobile wallet, from anywhere in the world. This takes away a major pain away from that erratic trip or an extended stay overseas or an unplanned layover.
  • Expense manager – A prepaid travel card not just lets the founder spend money, but also keep a track of the expenses. It is possible to get real time SMS alerts on every swipe, all expenses are logged and stored in an online account. This makes the life of the admin guy easier –just take a printout of the expense log and submit for reimbursements and processing.
  • Lost and found – Lost your travel wallet that had your forex card? The founder can request for a 24-hour delivery of a new forex card anywhere in the world, along with doorstep delivery of currency notes at short notice for immediate expenses.

2. Staying connected while travelling is every founder's fundamental right – Smartphone and internet are the ultimate productivity tools that enable a founder to remotely monitor their teams and delegate important tasks; and it is essential for her to stay connected as much as possible. The founder can

  • Either opt for a voice + data bundle in a SIM card as per her requirement, or
  • Choose a data device that works on 4G bandwidth in most of the countries worldwide. Using a data device, up to 20 devices can be connected in case entire teams are travelling; or for large data use cases like uploading codes to be deployed on servers or video conferencing.

3. Staying insured for Murphy's law while travelling – Cash is a scarce resource for every founder, and travelling internationally is a large ticket purchase. On erratic travel schedules, the founder often does not get a lot of time to research, and that is where travel insurance comes in handy.

  • For as low as 1% of the total travel cost, an insurance policy can help cover for delayed flights, misplaced baggage, lost/stolen passports and health or medical issues.
  • Unlike Indian airlines, most European and American airlines are bound to reimburse the ticket charges and penalties in case of delays. This awareness can come in handy while choosing carriers and booking tickets.

Founders and employees zipping in and out of the country for an official trip need wise budgeting. One might feel a company-paid trip is the best gift they can get - well, how many of us know that all that glitters isn't gold, there are many pains that erratic travel trips puts them through – physical fatigue, personal compromises and lower professional acuity.

Startups at times to cut cost do not realize the hassles their employees go through. A scientific approach to planning travel is a key feature companies should imbibe that will not only retain an employee but will also be a wise monetary decision.

Pratyush Kukreja

COO and Co-founder, YuMiGo Webservices Pvt. Ltd.

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