Traveling the world and experiencing new cultures and ways of life is a dream of many human beings. The thrill of an airplane lifting off, the excitement of getting a visa stamp from a foreign country, and the first taste of food that you would have never dreamed of eating all make life a little more interesting. As we come to the end of another year, you may even be making plans for some exciting destinations that you plan to travel to in the New Year. You may have added some places to your bucket list.
Traveling the world, however, is not cheap. Plane tickets cost real money. Food and a place to stay will set you back some dollars. If travel were free, our world wouldn't be the same. There are some ways for you, as an entrepreneur, to travel the world for low costs or without spending any money from your pocket. These are methods that not only will help you travel, but could help you grow your business. The world is a big place and there is a lot to see. Here's how to see it and maybe even make a couple of bucks while enjoying the journey.
1. Travel hacking.
Basically, travel hacking is where you use credit cards and their rewards to travel for free or for a very small fee. There is a great article here on Entrepreneur that explains this concept in-depth. I want to say right off that the bat that I haven't personally used travel hacking. I do book all my flights with the same airline alliance and I generally stay in the hotels of that alliance so I can build my frequent flyer status and miles. Being Platinum with Delta has allowed me many benefits that make international travel a little easier.
Related: Business Travel 101: 3 Ways to Get the Most From Your Trip
But, you can take advantage of different credit card offers and literally get millions of miles and points. These miles and points allow you to travel — a lot of times in first class — for little or nothing. If your business generates money while you travel, it's a win-win. The entrepreneurs who use travel hacking are very passionate about it. They have been featured on major news outlets about it, and there are websites dedicated to teaching you how to use travel hacking to see the world through miles and points.
2. Booking paid speaking events.
Every day — all over the world — there are conferences that you, as an entrepreneur, can speak at. More than that, there are conferences that would pay for your knowledge. You can get booked to speak at a conference and get a speaking fee plus your expenses covered if you feel comfortable getting in front of a crowd. There are websites like Lanyrd that can help you find events. Once you find an event that appeals to your skillset, send the event organizer your proposal.
Related: These 5 Travel Tips Will Turn You Into a True Road Warrior
Is it that simple? Sometimes yes and sometimes no. Conferences hire who they feel are "experts." If you don't have enough social proof, work on building some more and then re-pitch events. Paid speaking has gotten my travel to at least 12 countries paid for. My flight, hotel, transportation and food were all covered on top of the speaking fee I received. If you have worked hard to build a successful business, you have knowledge that conferences would gladly pay for you to teach to their audience.
3. Getting hired to consult at companies.
Along with paid speaking, paid consulting work at companies can also pay for your travel and more. Companies pay outside consultants a lot of money each year. You can share your knowledge of starting a business, marketing, sales, systems and more at companies all over the world. You can collect a generous fee and get your travel expenses covered. Again, companies hire who they feel are experts. Build your social proof and pitch some companies locally at first. Once you build your resume locally, go national and then international.
Related: 6 Travel Hacks From Experienced Business Travelers
At the end of our lives, we won't remember all of the things we bought. We will remember our experiences. Travel allows you to create experiences that you will take with you the rest of your life. These past two years, I've traveled over 400,000 miles. I've spoken at conferences and in companies in over 20 countries. Whether it was riding camels at the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt or seeing Paris from the top of the Eiffel Tower, my business created opportunities to create lifelong experiences.
You can see the world using these three ways. Don't stay stuck in one area of this huge globe. Create new experiences. Meet new people. Get shaken out of your comfort zone and make a couple of dollars while doing it.