As we plan consider our return to the US at the end of this year, I’ve been thinking of business ideas that would help me stay connected to travel in ways other than just blogs and social media. I also would like to connect with more people offline and get involved with some form of work outside the home without doing a typical 9-5 kind of situation.
Some situations would be more mobile and could go with us as we do short-term travel while others would require us to focus more on traveling during the off season, which I prefer anyway. Naturally, the more location-dependent options would also be affected by which destination we choose as “home.”
Here are some ideas I’m kicking around.
I’ve long considered offering some form of trip planning services. Sometimes it’s fun finding the best route for the lowest cost, and over the years I’ve definitely picked up a lot of tricks and knowledge. My grandfather did some work as a travel agent just to fund their travels, but that was also in the days before the internet. I’m not sure how practical it would be these days. There are certainly some benefits of using a travel agent, but I think they work better for a specific type of traveler.
In looking at various options for this, I’ve also checked out travel agency software to make things a bit easier, especially on the business side of things.
Of course, the big issues come down to “Will people pay for this?”
A big advantage to offering this kind of service is the ability to be location independent, especially if we aren’t making big time zone leaps that often.
I really enjoy playing tour guide, especially when I can share some insights on cultural aspects of cuisine, traditions, etc. Some of my most favorite travel experiences have been food tours. Since I love food and sharing it, why not consider offering food tours?
One potential downside to doing this is our home location. Outside of a larger city or popular foodie destination, it can be difficult to not only establish an interesting tour but also to get enough visitors to make offering tours feasible.
Sometimes it just takes a little extra creativity. When I did a chocolate and beer tour in Brussels, there was a couple who had taken the train over from Paris just to do the tour. Of course, the place has to have enough memorable places to support that. A chocolate and beer tour wouldn’t really work so well in say Brasov, Romania.
I’m not sure the places we’re considering moving to would support food tours, but I’ll have to be on the ground to investigate that further.
At least I have plenty of ideas to work with. And even if it just ends up being more of a hobby business, it could still be a fun diversion.
I know some people doing tours in places they don’t live. If you can tap into a niche, that’s even better.
Although, I can’t say I’m overly excited with all the logistics a group trip would entail. It’s much easier planning for a couple of people or a small family than a bunch of people with different likes, needs, expectations and so on.
I also wonder about the viability of this in today’s global climate. I know of several places that are very safe, but because of recent events happening elsewhere in the country, or even in the region, tourism has undergone a major decline. I’ve seen many questions from people on the travel section of Reddit who are nervous and rethinking trips to places like France and Germany out of safety concerns.
It often doesn’t matter how much you explain, show statistics, etc. They just don’t feel safe.
And if I’m honest with myself, I’m not sure I have the temperament to conduct a group tour of this nature. When people are complaining on TripAdvisor because a hotel’s furnishings were “outdated,” I have to ask myself how I would deal with those types of customers.
I don’t think it would end well.
I know many people who pet sit, do dog walking, etc., professionally (i.e., charge). We certainly have enough experience and solid references to do something like this. It’s also something Tigger can help with, which is nice, and doesn’t require a big initial financial investment.
We could continue to use house sitting to help accommodate travel as well.
I have some other ideas, but a lot of them always invoke the “But will people pay for that?” question. I know a lot of these things just require a leap to see what will happen, and many of them are fairly low risk which is good.
No matter what, it’s nice to have options.