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Claire Prest, co-founder of Grass routes Claire Prest has lived and worked in the Indian Subcontinent since 2000. More significantly she has travelled its length and breadth and quite simply fallen in love with the place.. In honour of this irrefutable bond and in gratitude of the countless people who have shared their genuine hospitality, she co-founded Grass Routes.

The premise of that business is to provide fantastic holidays for travellers whilst enabling them to engage with local communities by working in partnership with local people. In fact, Claire's company does the best of both worlds, it provides a unique experience for holiday makers, whilst at the same time encouraging responsible tourism.

Proving that not all successful businesses have vast amounts of venture capital behind them,

kimsmallcropped Blogging can be a solitary pursuit, especially for those who are just starting out. When you have questions like how to get traffic to your blog, how to generate revenue and do not know where to turn for the answers,  it can be a daunting prospect starting a blog.

But this is all set to change with the recent launch of a new travel blogging social network Founded by Kim Mance of, the aim of the site is to offer a platform where travel bloggers can congregate, offer tips, advice and support to each other.  

TraBveling Mamas (Beth- third from the left) There is life after Motherhood, says travel writer Beth Blair. And it is worth writing about. Hence the blog Travelling Mamas. "We realized that by using our sister-like chemistry combined with our experiences, we could start a blog to inspire moms to travel and remind them that life doesn't end with motherhood ." As the site exists a year this month, we asked Beth to tell us what the mamas have done this year, what 2009 holds in store for the site and the travel industry as a whole.

What has this year been like for you?

Sally Broom Finding gluten free products in Russia or organising a ten day tour through Mongolia, Sally Broom, founder of Your Safe Planet does it for anyone who wants to travel internationally with a local perspective.

For those of you unfamiliar with YSP, the concept is simple. You register on the site and tell them where you want to go on holiday and they then tee you up with a local friend or fixer who will help you out with any of their travel arrangements.  The key to Sally's success has been building up a trusted network of local contacts, who are all vetted, and paying them a fair fee for their services. As Sally says:

Spare Room Start Up – How to Start a Business from Home, is a practical guide for anyone who wants to become their own boss in the comfort of their home. Written by Emma Jones, founder of Enterprise Nation, the book covers three topics – business, lifestyle and technology – with lessons from both Jones and other business fou

Whether you travel the majority of the time, or once in a while, having what you need to be productive on the road is a must. Carol Margolis, founder of SmartWomenTravelers, a recently launched community of businesswomen travelers provides her ‘must-have’ list (apart from phone, PDA and laptop), whether you’ll be working in your office in the sky as well as hotel room desks, client offices and meeting rooms.

Air card

"Connect virtually anywhere and anytime with your air card (available from major mobile phone providers). While there is a monthly cost for air card usage, it is a small price for having the ability to be more effective more of the time.  No more downtime while at the airport waiting for your flight or sitting in a taxi.  And it’s less expensive than paying for hotel internet if you’re in a hotel for more than a few days each month."


"I love, love, love my scanner from NeatReceipts.

Global bank HSBC is offering passengers at Heathrow's Terminal 1 a chance to create their own in-flight magazine,  it is reported.

At a HSBC kiosk in the terminal, travellers can select their articles sourced from global media on topics they're interested in and have them bound into a hardback form they can take on their flight. They can choose from the topics home and abroad, commerce and politics, health and sport, and media and culture. Passengers can also choose from five writers, including celebrity chef Jamie Oliver and former tennisplayer Björn Borg.

London city girlsEuropean Director of TED, Bruno Giussani, points us to "Exactitudes", a truly amazing art project about similarities in the dress codes of different social groups.

This month saw the launch of the TRAVEL WEBSITE of British Airways. It's the online version of articles which appear in High Life and Business Life, the magazines in the seat pockets of plane chairs.

BA's travel websiteThe site offers tips on the smartest restaurants, finest hotels and interesting cultural spots. For the busy business woman who wants to fit in a shopping spree, it features articles on 'speed shopping' in Paris and 'quick style counsel courses' in Milan under its Fashion and Shopping per country section.

Nicoline Westen, founder of PURE! Nicoline Westen's dream was to help kids in Cambodia lead a better life, the internet enabled her to make that dream a reality. She founded Pure!, a volunteer organisation that support children's projects in Cambodia, be it financially or by providing helping hands.  In our questions for start-ups series, she told thenextwomen how she started out.

1. How did you come up with the idea of your start-up?