It's no secret that travel is addicting. You cannot take just one trip and then return home without wondering what other spectacular sights, foods and experiences await. Expanding markets like India and China are unleashing more than a hundred million tourists into the foreign travel market a year and still growing steadily. The of rise social media influencers and digital nomads have shown the public that it is possible to travel and have a successful career. That combined with the abundance of professional travel bloggers and vloggers are inspiring a new generation of informed travelers.

Navagio Beach aka Shipwreck Beach in Greece

But once the travel bug bites, what do you do?

Find a way to incorporate work into your travels. In this digital age where so much can be done from a phone or tablet and wifi is never far away, it is easier than ever to work online.

Take amazing photographs?   Consider selling your photos online. You don't even need a portfolio or blog, just join one of the popular stock photography web sites. Alamy and Shutterstock are two of the most popular, both with photographers and customers. Already have a web site? Check out PhotoShelter or SmugMug. In fact here is a great guide on the most profitable places to sell your photos online.

Native English speaker? Bilingual?   English speakers are in demand in a lot of non-English countries. TEFL courses can be taken in person or online, and likewise classes can be held in a physical room or via Skype. Hell some countries don't even care if you have no experience or degree, just that you are a native English speaker. (Like Vietnam!) Professional translation services are also in demand because, let's be honest, Google translate just isn't that reliable.

Already well-traveled or know one location VERY well?   Become a tour guide or travel agent. Several veteran travel bloggers have started their own tour companies. Use your knowledge and eperience to help other people have a rewarding and worry-free trip.

That's what my friends Gunjan and Pranjali did.

Gujan and Pranjali of Tripoetic at Yellowstone National Park in the USA
Gunjan & Pranjali at Yellowstone

After having lived in the United States and traveled around Asia and Europe, Gunjan and Pranjali moved back to India. As more and more Indians are acquiring both the means and the motivation to travel abroad, they soon found themselves using their knowledge to help plan trips for friends and family. Soon they realized their next logical step was to turn this into their career.

Everyone starts off as a tourist and, if they visit enough places, eventually become more traveler than tourist. Travelers learn more, appreciate more and experience more than tourists. That is hands-down the most rewarding way to travel.

The beauty of having an experienced traveler help plan your trip is that they can use their knowledge to ensure that your trip is more of an authentic travel experience, rather than getting caught in an unenjoyable tourist trap. With India's outbound tourism market growing at record numbers, there is no better time for Gunjan and Pranjali to start building toward the future. And thus Tripoetic was born.

Gujan and Pranjali of Tripoetic in Athens, Greece

Using contacts and friendships from their travels around the world, not to mention all their experiences from planning their own journeys, these two travel addicts are now planning trips for all sorts of people with many varied backgrounds. Every trip is custom planned based around your interests, goals, must-see sights, timeframe, budget and of course stomach. (That's right, if you want to make sure you can have your favorite comfort food once every other day, Tripoetic will ensure that an appropriate restaurant is worked into the itinerary.)

Beyond just simply making reservations and handling transportation, Tripoetic takes it one step further by provided extra little services to make your journey smoother. For example, every traveler is also given a daily sightseeing itinerary -- kind of like a miniature guide to everything nearby that might be of interest to you. After all, nothing worse than getting home and learning that you not only missed out on a spectacular site, but that you actually were within minutes of it and didn't even realize.

If you are thinking about heading abroad for the very first time and are a little nervous or only have a short time to pull off a perfect vacation, make sure to get with Gunjan and Pranjali at Tripoetic. They'll handle everything to ensure that you have a wonderful trip.

  Remember: The beauty of travel is that it is a powerful force towards economic uplifting and great tool for putting foreign money directly in the hands of the locals who need it the most -- but only if we avoid the massive international chains and trust in local, family-owned businesses. Travel far, buy local. And always trust in your fellow travelers. Because as Mark Twain famously said, "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness."

Published in India

When you're still new to a career and trying to make a name for yourself on the job, it can be stressful to take vacation time.

Heck, forget traveling for pleasure—even business travel can feel stressful. When you're juggling delayed flights or bad cell service with the desire to make a good impression on your clients and coworkers, travel can feel anything but relaxing.

But take a deep breath, because we've got some good news for you: You can travel the globe and continue to rock out at your job. Here's how four hard-working millennials make it happen.


Jenn Hirsch. Photo credit Brandon Smith

Draw work inspiration from your travels.

As a surf retreat leader and a storyteller through (and founder of) Swell Story, Jenn Hirsch has learned firsthand that her travels can inform her work in big ways.

"My rule has always been to find inspiration from where you travel for whatever venture you have at present," she says. "[My] work is highly creative yet grounded in the present—kind of like traveling to foreign countries and surfing in general."

Communicate with your team before you leave.

Make sure your colleagues and clients have a sense of where you'll be and what your availability will be like before you leave the office.

"Before a trip, I think it is important to meet with your team and third-party partners to make sure all bases are covered," says Nolan Walsh, CEO of Thursday Boot Company.

Let folks know when you'll be out of touch, and also aim to make yourself available at times when they'll be working.

"I usually create a block of 3-5 hours that overlap with my work day back home," says Hirsch. "This is a great tool to find overlapping time when you travel. Share your travel itinerary with your close team members, and let them know when you likely won't be able to take calls. With advance communication, anything is possible."

Use long transit times for work.

Instead of bemoaning the time you spend in transit, put it to productive use.

"You're already stuck in a chair, and you'll feel better getting work done than watching the in-flight movie you never really wanted to see," says Walsh.

  Bonus: Get work done on the plane or train, and you'll have more free time to explore your destination.


Nolan Walsh at home in NYC

Stay charged.

The best hot spots and data plans won't help you get work done if you can't turn your devices on in the first place. Never underestimate the value of keeping your work gadgets fully juiced.

"I'd stress the importance of simply keeping your devices charged," says Charlie Ellis, founder and managing partner of Oxford Consulting Group. "I always travel with two hefty battery packs, a power strip, and a ten-port USB hub."

Embrace free time whenever it arises.

While business travel can take you to all corners of the globe, it can be tough to actually see those places when you're sitting in meetings all day.

The solution? Go exploring whenever down time presents itself, says Hirsch, whether that's during a midday lunch break or at the wee hours of the morning. Especially in major metropolitan areas (think London, Tokyo, or New York), there's something to see no matter when you get a free moment. Don't miss it.


Ricky Joshi (foreground) whitewater rafting in Tennessee

Mix business with pleasure.

I really enjoy visiting places for business where I can add on a couple of extra days to explore an area," says Ricky Joshi, co-founder and CMO of Saatva Mattress. "Los Angeles, Miami, and Chicago are great for this… I [also] really enjoy Central and South America, where I can go on a more adventurous trip. The Caribbean island of St. Kitts and the Portland area of Jamaica are also personal favorites."

It's also smart to plan trips around your personal preferences.

"I've never fully adjusted to New York winters, so in Q1 and Q4 I'll jump at any excuse to take a meeting or contract in Southern California," says Ellis.

You'll improve your mental state and your productivity if you go somewhere that inspires and uplifts you.

Roll with the punches.

It's unavoidable: When you're traveling the world, sometimes things go wrong.

Try discovering that your airline lost your luggage after you've touched down in Bolivia, as Joshi did. "Because I was so "off the grid," it was so difficult finding a place to even try to call them to track it," he says. "I finally gave into my fate and bought essentially a new, very light, wardrobe."

It may not have been ideal, but Joshi made it work. When fate hands you lemons, go find yourself an orange.

  Bonus: Practicing adaptability and efficient problem solving will serve you well on the job.


Charlie Ellis in Montana

Unplug every once in awhile.

It's not a good idea to go MIA without letting clients and coworkers know you'll be off the grid. But everyone—everyone—needs to unplug once in awhile, and that includes you. Do it responsibly by setting clear expectations before your digital detox, setting up an out-of-office email reply, and then committing yourself to not checking your email or phone, says Hirsch. Your mind will thank you for it.

Far from being a hassle, traveling as a millennial—for work or pleasure—doesn't have to be a career killer. Communicate with your team, be open to expanding your horizons, and don't forget to enjoy yourself. After all, there's more to life than work.

  This article was originally published on Hipmunk's Tailwind Blog on April 11th, 2016.

Published in Travel Inspiration

Everyone needs to get away, sometimes. Whether it’s from the place you grew up in, or a city with too many stories, or just somewhere you've become too familiar with, the world is full of new exciting places to explore and call home. As a young girl growing up in the rural US state of New Mexico, I never imagined my life would one day take me to the cosmopolitan streets of Europe's fastest growing city, Berlin.

After catching the travel bug during a year exchange to the UK, I put all my efforts into making it back to Europe once I graduated. With a friend already living in this fascinating place, and it being the most reasonably priced city in Europe, I decided to give it a try … and I haven’t looked back since.

This city provides so much incredible history combined with one of the youngest and hippest crowds in the world. It sometimes feels like the only people here are between the ages of 20-38, and are here doing what they love; investing in their own futures and in the city's at the same time. Berlin is now considered the startup capital of Europe, and there are young people flooding in from all over the world, looking to be part of it. I was lucky enough to find a job with a coffee startup gourmesso.com, and it's been a great opportunity. Working in Berlin can usually mean you conduct your day-to-day activities in English, sharing thoughts and ideas with Germans, Italians, Spaniards, British, Turkish, Eastern Europeans, and that’s only in a small company.

The last six months have been full of new experiences, people, languages, jobs.... more than I could ever imagine. But enough about me, let me show you just how unique Berlin can be, and the flavors this city offers to those who call it home.

 

Monday in Berlin.

Many of the startup companies in Berlin have rooftop offices, with amazing views like this one.

The Berlin Skyline. Photo by Heather Berghmans

After work, the favorite hangout spot for many people in the city is the main canal running through the district of Kreuzberg. There's plenty of little stores affectionately called spati's where you can grab a drink and sit by the water.

The canal in Berlin, Germany. Photo by Heather Berghmans

 

Tuesday 

There's so much history to find in the once divided city. Just a close train ride from my office at trip.me and I can be at the last standing piece of the Berlin Wall. It's something awe-inspiring to really reflect on all the situations and changes the streets of Berlin have witnessed, and how the new atmosphere of the city is influenced by it. This photo shows one of the iconic murals on the remaining section of the Berlin Wall, now called the East Side Gallery.

Faces in the East Side Gallery, Berlin, Germany

 

Wednesday

The winters are long and cold in Berlin, but they create a sort of mystical atmosphere in the city.

Snowy Eberswalder Str, Berlin, Germany

 

Thursday

The Brandenburgertor (or Brandenburg Gate) is the most famous former gate between East and West Berlin, and is one of the main attractions of the city. At all hours of the day and night you can find people from all over the world standing in front of the towering pillars, taking in its granduer.

Brandenburg Gate, Berlin, Germany

 

Friday

The Berliner Dom is the most famous cathedral in Berlin. In the evenings you can catch a concert by the Berlin Philharmonic inside under the beautiful dom.

Berlin Dom, Berlin, Germany. Photo by Heather Berghmans

 

 Hackeshermarkt Berlin, Germany. Photo by Heather Berghmans

 

Saturday

Once the sun comes out, things get interesting. The carnival celebration happens every year in May, just as the city comes to life for the summer time. The street parades and all-day parties take up an entire district of Berlin, and you can find everyone enjoying the sun and good vibes.

Carnival in Berlin, Germany

Everybody here knows how to have a good time.

Carnival, Berlin, Germany

 

Sunday

If you enjoy jogging, riding a bike, long boarding, roller skating, or just having a picknick in a wide open space, then Tempelhof is the place to go. This former airport was used by the US Airforce during World War II to provide supplies to the residence of West Berlin, and it has since been turned into a public park. Lay out on the runways, in the grass, or make your way over to the beer garden... there is always something interesting going on in Tempelhof.

Tempelhof airport, Berlin, Germany. Photo by Heather Berghmans

There really is something unique around every cornere here. Things like the horse head in the photo below become the norm after living in Berlin for a few months, and people who have been here for years barely even bat an eye any more. It might even be stranger if Berlin lost its wacky vibes.

A stroll through Berlin. Photo by Heather Berghmans

Almost every weekend you can find a free concert somewhere in the city, ones playing everything from electronic music, to folk, to rock, even some Austrian polka, or open air Salsa and Samba. Below is a photo from the Fete de la Musique, which is a whole weekend of 100's of live, free concerts all over the city.

Free concerts in Mauer Park, Berlin. Photo by Heather Berghmans

 

There is so much more still to discover and see in this incredibly diverse, spectacular city, and it's only been six months. Every day brings something new. The only way to really get a taste of it is to come explore it for yourself. I highly recommend that you do, and be sure to spend enough time here to really get to know the dark beauty that is Berlin.

Published in Germany

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