Ultra Cheap Travel Tips for Startup Founders

September 5, 2015

10:00 pm

That $10 million Series A may be coming down the pipe soon, but until then you have to squeeze value from every penny. Having now experienced “startup business” travel for the last four years or so, I have some ultra cheap travel tips for startup founders:

Book Flights Using Discount Sites, Red-Eyes, and Unpopular Transfer Routes

Cheapoair and its competitors are my best friend when booking startup flights. While many people are wary to book directly from the discounters, I take my risks: they can usually mix and match carriers and times to find me unmatched rates. Also, I will feed info into their systems to help: taking redeyes or early morning flights can also reduce your costs by up to half in some cases, and if you combine it with an unpopular stop transfer, your savings can be really huge.

Book Flexibly and Take Flight Vouchers to Move to Later Flights

With the consolidation of carriers and flight routes, more planes than ever are at capacity. This is a boon for airlines but often puts them in a tough spot: many flights are routinely overbooked. If you are flexible, take that $300 flight voucher, go grab a Starbucks, and wait three hours for the next flight.

Book Via Apartment-Share Apps or Last-Minute Hotel Booking Apps

It’s pretty amazing the kind of deals you can get for single-room apartment shares on sites like Airbnb and Misterbnb, among others; especially if you book in advance. For last minute, when apartment-share sites don’t work as well, use HotelTonight or a similar last minute booking app; if you keep your standards in check, the rates are exceptional because the properties know they won’t fill the room otherwise. Two months ago, my colleague got an ultra cheap rate in San Francisco during our taxi ride from the airport: we were literally pulling off the highway when he pressed the booking button.

Secure Speaking Gigs or Passes to Reduce Costs

It’s always a good idea to look around where you are traveling for interesting opportunities and match if you are flexible. For example, last year I needed to do a business development trip to South Florida sometime during the January-March period, and it turned out that a local angel network was doing a pitch event during that time and needed a (at least moderately interesting) speaker and judge. The stipend to come reduced by trip expenditures by over half.

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I am an entrepreneur, angel investor, and early-stage VC living and working in New York City.

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