How to Travel While Running a Business

Traveling while running a business full-time has not been easy, but it has been one of the most fulfilling decisions I’ve ever made. At the age of 26, I left my corporate ties behind to jump into entrepreneurship and at the same time continue to pursue my love for travel. It taught me that you do not have to choose between being a broke backpacker or putting your career on hold: if you want to see the world and build something epic, you can do both.

Background: I own and manage a small business in the Philippines for almost 5 years. We are involved in the production of corporate giveaways and promotional items for local and international companies. We have a warehouse and a production facility with almost 20 employees. I do client and supplier meetings on certain days of the week, manage payrolls, supervise the projects, and do logistics when I need to.

Sounds complicated huh?

There’s a way to balance everything out. It requires discipline, but by developing a schedule around your own rhythm, it can be accomplished.

1. Think About How Much Time Off You Have
They might be entirely obvious but weekends are hugely important when it comes to travel plans. 52 weekends a year equals 104 days off. Add this with around 10 non-working holidays and you have 114 days off. Also, whoever invented public holidays on a Monday or Friday deserves an award.

2. Plan Your Trip
I usually plan my trips around the weekends. Whenever I travel local, I grab a late afternoon/evening Friday and Sunday night flight (or ride) on a short weekend jaunt – that’s two full days to have fun. #WeekendWarrior If it’s an international trip, the maximum number of days I take are five so I won’t be away for too long. If I do need to be away for an extended period, I always carry with me my laptop so I can get things done and catch up with work.

3. Transparency
The key to making your pleasure trip a real pleasure, is to prepare customers for your absence. Be sure to communicate your plans with your clients and keep them informed of how you are managing things away from the office and for how long are you going to be gone. If you have clients who tend to procrastinate, tell them you’re going to leave (or be will be unavailable) starting several days before you actually plan to leave for your trip. That way, you won’t have to deal with their last minute requests when you want to be packing and getting ready to leave.

4. Leave Detailed Instructions
Before you embark on this journey, make sure that you have trusted people behind. Otherwise, you won’t feel going elsewhere. Give them detailed instructions on what needs to happen while you are gone. I assign responsibility for handling problems to one employee, but let the others know that if that person isn’t around, they could and should handle any problems that needed immediate attention. I also tell them to notify me of the outcome of the issue.

5. A Stable Internet Connection is a MUST
When you’re running a business, you have to be reachable most of the time. Expect getting phone calls from from your clients or your employees while you’re on you’re trip. This is why I always carry with me a portable WiFi router. Making and receiving international calls is expensive, especially if you do so regularly and for long periods. There is a way to save on this; you can either Viber or use other applications to communicate with them. The methods that rely on the internet will save you more money as they are cheaper than an actual call. Also, you don’t have to look for cafes or depend on your hotel for internet connection.

6. Set Vacation Rules for Yourself
I get it. You can’t completely leave your business behind while you are on a trip. You will get tempted to do so. To avoid that, set a time of day and a time limit for checking in on the business. For example, every morning give yourself a half hour to check emails and maybe another half hour before or after dinner so that your trip doesn’t turn into mostly work and little vacation.  

Let’s put it this way, life is short, and travels are important especially when you own a small business. It gives you the time you need to recharge, relax, and come back to work with a clear mind. You work hard, so you deserve a little time to play hard too.

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Polly is a Filipina traveler and she believes that traveling doesn't require a massive amount of money for you to enjoy it. She's an advocate of Leave No Trace and Financial Literacy. Oh, and she loooooves ice cream!

26 thoughts on “How to Travel While Running a Business

  1. As a business owner myself, I am very critical about a company’s performance. I am a little hesitant whenever I plan to travel and I don’t feel leaving sometimes. Thank you for the tips!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yup, I blog, so I still work on it while I’m on vacation, but I step away and enjoy myself too. I just post on social media that I’m on vacation so I won’t be on as often so my readers know what’s going on.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My husband has his own business so we always consider these things when we take a vacation. Going somewhere without a stable internet connection is just NOT a possibility for him. I am still a student but I know when I graduate and have a job I will have to take these factors into consideration as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It’s so hard to NOT work when it’s your own business. I struggle to make time to be OFF. I know it is all on me because I could… but there is that rush of just making sure everything is ok and nothing is falling behind. I love your tips!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. That’s true that it’s not so easy to plan your holidays when you run your own business. Hopefully, I don’t have my own business, but I’m thinking of setting up one. I’ll keep these tips in mind. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I find it inspiring that at a young age you were able to figure out what you want to do in life and that is having your own small business and traveling. I work as a sales consultant and I would love to have my own company in the future. I am still trying to figure out how to make that work. More power to you.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. O wow I really enjoyed reading this post! Traveling and getting away sometimes is very important for everyone! However I agree people who own business need the break and the mental rest!

    Like

  8. Polly your blog is beautiful! I definitely have to look into getting a internet router though as me and my partner both work online and is necessary at times!

    Definitely taking advantage of your time of is a must! Sometimes it can be hard to me motivated, especially if you’re so busy at work and just want to rest on your time off.

    Your hikes look amazing too! If we ever come visit your country, which we will! You will have to take us on a tour of some of these awesome places!

    Like

  9. It’s difficult to travel while managing a business. It’s really important that you set a rule for yourself and make sure you leave a trusted employee behind to manage it.

    Like

  10. These tips are really enlightening.
    It’s nice to see that though it’s difficult to travel while running your own business, it’s definitely possible with planning!

    I hope to one day get to the point where i’m in a career that allows me time to travel. Right now i’m in food service management–Can’t tell you how much i miss having weekends off right now, or consistent days off in general! Travel is a pipe dream with my schedule and pay at the moment.

    But i’m happy about the experience i’m getting, and i’ve got a few side hustles i’m working on growing in my free time.. So there’s definitely hope that i’ll get to pack up my bags in the near(ish) future! Just a lot of trial and error and late nights in the meantime 😂

    Like

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