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5 Tips for Building an Online Business While Traveling

Believe it or not, starting and running an online biz is easier when you’re on the road! These tips for building an online business while traveling are from Adam Costa, author of Business in a Backpack: How to Build and Run a Profitable Business While You Travel the World.

“Building an online business while traveling is in fact easier than back home,” says Costa. “For one, there are far less distractions, such as birthdays, BBQs, and get-togethers. Even more importantly, traveling provides you – and consequently, your business – with something that ‘home’ rarely does…”

Below, Costa explains how starting and running an online biz is easier on the road. This is just an appetizer; to get the full meal deal, read Business in a Backpack: How to Build and Run a Profitable Business While You Travel the World.

How to Build an Online Biz While on the Road

Guest Post – Adam Costa

According to conventional wisdom, building an online business while traveling is more difficult than in a comfortable office (or home). After all, travelers experience power outages, slow internet connections and – let’s not forget – those little annoyances known as hurricanes.

Despite all this, building an online biz on the roadis in fact easier than back home. There are far less distractions (birthdays, BBQs, get-togethers, etc). But even more importantly, traveling provides you – and consequently, your business – with something that “home” rarely does…


My wife and I backpacked through Southeast Asia last year (sort of like an extended honeymoon). During our travels, we discovered a cozy little bungalow right along the beach on Ko Lanta, Thailand.

Idyllic? Yes, though it wasn’t your average 20-something beach scene. While other tourists lounged on the beach all day, I sat on our porch punching away at my laptop, hammering out what would eventually become Business In A Backpack. In addition, my wife was designing a website for our new business, and we did some consulting work with Australian and American businesses (talk about outsourcing!).

During downtime, we’d talk about future destinations. When your office consists of a laptop, the world opens up in ways few can appreciate. It’s an inspiring lifestyle, and a challenging one.

The following is a list of hard-won advice from working on the road (and it may be particularly useful for writers who want to turn their hobby blog into a business)…

Learn How to Easily Maintain Internet Access

Yes, you’re free to jet-set around the world… but… there is one cruel mistress all “digital nomads” abide by: internet access. It hurts to admit this, but we’ve left beautiful villages early due to limited or no Internet connection. Therefore, it’s important to either adapt a flexible work schedule or plan your travels around available internet connections. Wireless internet is certainly ideal, though internet cafes work in a pinch.

Insider tip: Before departure, use Google Maps and search for “cyber cafes (name of town, country)”. This at least gives you a listing of (mostly) hard-line cafes, which you can use for checking emails. Alternatively, use Airport Express (works on both Macs and PCs) which turns most ethernet connections into wifi. Also, bring along a USB drive to upload files from your computer to the Internet. When you’re building an online business while traveling, you need to be prepared.

Automate… Automate… Automate!

No matter your what your online business is, there are several automation tools at your disposal. Not only does it free up your time, your customers appreciate instant responses and delivery of digital goods. For example, let’s say you sell eBooks. Simply set up the payment process with Paypal, and use e-Junkie to automatically deliver a download link once payment is received.

Another example of automation is scheduling Google Analytics to run reports on a weekly basis. This way, you can gain valuable insights about your website’s performance just by checking your email.

But perhaps the biggest automation tool is the autoresponder. Services like Aweber and GetResponse allow you to automatically send emails to your customers at scheduled intervals. For example, Joe signs up on Monday and receives email #1 (while I’m scuba diving). Then, on Wednesday he receives email #2 (while I’m sleeping). The best part about autoresponders is that they scale; it’s as easy sending emails to ten people as ten thousand. When you’re building an online biz, you need to stay in contact with your customers and clients.

Always Plan Ahead for Online Obstacles

Your laptop could crash… in the Malaysian jungle. Internet connections go down. Theft. All of these have happened to me, and (thankfully) I was able to keep my online business going. When traveling, prepare for the worst: if you’re a freelance writer or blogger, always extend delivery times. If you think it’ll take you two days to write that post, say a week.

And no matter your business, back up files every chance you get. I frequently use Mozy to backup important files for free.

Outsource Even the Smallest Online Tasks

Outsourcing is all the rage right now, and with good reason. But what many people don’t understand is that outsourcing comes in all shapes in sizes. At the smallest end, use Fiverr ($5 for everything!) to have someone install WordPress, create a Facebook page for your business, record a short commercial and thousands of other tasks. On the other end of the spectrum, you can hire part-time or full time virtual assistants through Elance, oDesk or Amazon’s Mechanical Turk program.

Find or Create a Co-Working Environment

Co-working may sound strange at first. A group of travelers voluntarily work around each other… sort of like an office, but without the job? Truth is, coworking environments can help keep you focused, and your “co-workers” may have some great ideas about your business!

While these tips will certainly help you build an online business while traveling, the single most important thing is that you go. As someone who’s traveled to over 20 countries (laptop in hand), I’ve come to realize that – if you plan accordingly and keep your wits – you can successfully build businesses anywhere in the world.

For more specific tips about making money online, read The Best Ways to Advertise on Your Blog – 5 Ad Placement Tips.

Got questions about or tips for building an online biz while on the road? Comments welcome below…

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About the Author: Adam Costa (@MrAdamCosta) is the author of Business in a Backpack: How to Build and Run a Profitable Business While You Travel the World, which shows how to travel the world while building profitable businesses. He and his wife Darcie currently live, um, somewhere.

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5 thoughts on “5 Tips for Building an Online Business While Traveling”

  1. Hi Adam,

    Thank you for these tips on building a business while traveling. I’ll look at your book but first I have a question: how does your and your wife’s family feel about you not being home? I’m just curious, because my family is very close. My mother would flip if I said I was leaving the country! Was this a problem for you?


  2. @Jason,

    Yeah, co-working seemed rather odd to me at first, but being around other people who are working is a great motivator (instead of staring at the beach)…


    We’ve got a number of business, though content creation is our biggest business. It’s been paying the bills for two and half years now 😉

  3. You have certainly broken out of the mold of the “traditional job”. I think many would love to do that if it were possible. The world is changing, perhaps it will become more of a reality some day. I’d think the “co-working” suggestion would also allow one to gain some social interaction that I know many people thrive on in an office, as well as the sounding board/idea generator that you mentioned.

  4. Thanks for your tips on building an online business. Can you tell me, what is the business you built? Do you support yourself full-time from it? Thank you for your time.