Travel activist, Lauren A. Koenig, is the Founder and CEO of TWIP - a platform that connects travelers based on their travel personality or ‘Travanality.’   TWIP - Travel With Interesting People, provides a unique algorithm that combines behavioral psychology with travel industry knowledge to create once in a lifetime experiences.  With over 10 years in the travel and hospitality industry, Lauren knows that a great travel experience is not only based on new adventures, but as well as finding like-minded and compatible travel partners.  An alumni of the Women’s StartUp Lab Accelerator in San Francisco, Lauren is passionate about all female entrepreneurs finding the support and encouragement they need to be a great founder, as well as CEO.  Find out how you can see the world with interesting travel companions, share once in a lifetime experiences, and invest in yourself as a female founder!

Find out your Travanality and how you can travel with interesting people here!

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TWIP helps users find like-minded travel partners to enjoy once-in-a-lifetime experiences.

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Global Destination

Who should take a TWIP trip this year?

TWIP gives travelers the opportunity to find like-minded travel partners to enjoy once-in-a-lifetime experiences through an online member-based platform.  TWIP enables users to discover their true ‘travel personality,’ or as we say, ‘Travanality,’ and build a unique travel profile.  This profile connects members with optimal travel companions and exclusive group travel experiences.  We want to help you understand who you are away from home; allowing you to travel farther and deeper than you ever have before.

How can we travel with interesting people based on Travanality?

When you take away time, destination, and price – why do you travel?  TWIP helps you discover your ‘why’ through Travanality – the essence of your personality when vacationing away from home.  Travanality is distinctly different from a person’s day-to-day or at home disposition and is critical to the enjoyment of your travel experience.  TWIP combines travel industry knowledge with behavioral psychology to provide a survey platform and first-of-its-kind algorithm that determines a user’s Travanality.  We use that information to help travelers filter, discover, and connect with other Twippers and experience trips that are truly satisfying.  Every Twipper has a unique Travanality wheel, which is made up of ten different Travanalities: Altruist, Culturist, Epicurean, Imaginavo, Maverick, Purist, Soulager, Urbanite, Victor, and Wayfarer.  Imagine receiving destination recommendations and travel companion suggestions delivered right to your  inbox based on your Travanality; how could you possibly travel better?

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TWIP helps you discover your Travanality – the essence of your personality when vacationing.

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What are your favorite Twipper travel and adventure stories?

My favorite success story is the inspiration for how TWIP started.  I celebrated my 30th birthday in NOLA with 17 of my closest friends from around the U.S.  No one knew each other before the trip, except for a profile I made for each guest and shared digitally with the group.  Providing this information prior to the trip helped everyone have an epic and unforgettable travel experience!  I was able to curate a group, that all got along well, and had the same travel needs and desires.  The insight I gained from this celebration was the birth of TWIP.

How and where can millennials see the world on a budget?

We all know everything is less expensive when you can split the cost!  But what if that friend or family member has a different Travanality than you or wants to visit a different location?  What if one member of your party hates to fly or has a completely different budget?  These are not reasons to miss out on travel all together!  TWIP brings together those with the same travel mentality and gives you the opportunity to see destinations by splitting the cost with your newfound, like-minded travel companion!  TWIP allows you to go offline and create your own itinerary or you can join one of our exclusive TWIP trips.  We do the legwork to give you access to the most exciting destinations and experiences with interesting people!

How are we matched with the perfect travel companion personality?

Visit www.twip.co and sign up to be notified of our launch in 2016 and receive a membership invite!  Once your membership has been validated, you can fill out a TWIP profile, which includes specifics about how you like to travel (and we get down to the details!).  This will include questions such as your preferred mode of transportation or if you like to workout on vacation.  Based on the information entered into your profile along with a completed Travanality assessment, TWIP suggests like-minded individuals who have similar travel preferences, as well as once in a lifetime exclusive trips!

TWIP hosts mixers every month at various locations throughout New York City where travelers can get together, share their travel experiences, and meet prospective travel partners in-person.  During these mixers, we spotlight new travel-inspired brands and giveaway prizes for travelers to win awesome TWIP swag.

TWIP.2The knowledge you absorb from different cultures will show up in your life when you least expect and need it most.

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Leadership Journey

What have you learned from travel influencers you’ve featured?

Every week I’m blown away by our Twippers.  I learn so many tips and secrets from them, but most importantly, they give me inspiration to continue exploring the world!  One Twipper that stands out is Robert Reid from Reid on Travel and Natural Geographic Traveler’s Digital Nomad.  Robert is a travel writer, videographer, and speaker who prefers to travel a little differently.  He doesn’t travel for the sake of seeing places, but to see what happens when he reaches a destination.  He taps into his childhood dreams and lets the trip make them real.  He has a way of showing what the world and media often overlook – that traveling is fun!

We’re also excited to have announced our Twipper of the Year for 2015 who comes from Germany.  Maureen from Miss Everywhere tells a beautiful story of stylish adventure.  With a collection of articles, photos, and videos, her blogging style emulates a luxury travel magazine, compelling her readers to not only follow her journey, but to see the world themselves.

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I challenge every female founder to invest in herself.

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What are the hottest trends in travel we should know about?

Experiences are the new black.  Self-educating through travel allows you to better understand the world around you.  Taking time to understand yourself will ultimately help you travel in ways you never thought possible.

My favorite travel apps are:

TheVane: This app tells me what to wear and pack based on the weather (fashion is the only reason I care about the weather in the first place!).

HotelTonight: I can literally book an incredible hotel while running on the treadmill at offensively inexpensive rates!  Can we say #winning?  And to be honest, I have actually done this!

TripIt: I was an early adopter and as an organized neat freak, TripIt keeps me Zen.  Check it out.

What did you learn at the Women’s StartUp Lab accelerator?

WSLAB is single handedly the best thing that happened to me during my entrepreneurial journey.  I’m very thankful for such a wonderful opportunity.  WSLAB is a different kind of accelerator.  They don’t have all of the answers; they don’t meddle in your business or tell you how to go about launching your first marketing campaign.  What the team at WSLAB has perfected, is giving you the tools to handle all of the above and more.  This accelerator focuses on the ONE thing that matters most in running a business – YOU!  The female entrepreneur!  If you’re open and willing, the program can be quite transformative. 

The program was challenging, scary, emotional, uncomfortable, and is not meant for everyone.  I was broken down to the core, but then emerged as a whole new woman and CEO when I completed the program.  I had to declare my strengths and let go of my weaknesses.  WSLAB makes you deal with the real sh*t that’s going on in your life – past and present.  The program forces you to focus on, and overcome, the personal issues that hold you back from true greatness, so they don’t show up later on when you’re raising money, building a product, or going through an acquisition.

I left the program stronger, more focused, and open to the greatness that lies ahead of me – all while having a new and deeply connected ‘family’ in San Francisco.  I truly understood and accepted the role I have taken on.  Not only am I a CEO, but I am a FOUNDER – I am the seed that started this life cycle and I have learned that if you do not love thyself and do the work, the cycle will be a short one.

I challenge every female founder to invest in herself.  There are many programs for personal growth, however, WSLAB is truly unique and I am proud to have been a part of the 4th Cohort: ‘The A-hoy Ladies!’

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You can’t do everything.  Accept your strengths and delegate your weaknesses.

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What has been your biggest lessons learned as an entrepreneur?

Sometimes I feel as though I can’t learn fast enough.  There are points where my learning curve is so intense that I feel as if I’m in the movie Limitless.  Everyone’s journey is different, however there are a few key takeaways that I think can apply to most entrepreneurs.

1.  You can’t do everything.  Declare and accept your strengths.  Outsource and delegate what you’re not good at doing.

2.  Efficiency is key.  Create processes and be organized to heighten productivity.  Remember that it’s survival of the fittest and there is always someone working smarter than you.

3.  If you can do it in less than 2 minutes, do it now.

4.  Find the signal and ignore the noise.  There’s a lot of noise in this world.  It takes a great amount of strength and discipline to focus on what really matters.  However, the little things do matter.

5.  There’s a vast difference between being a Founder and CEO.  You need to know the difference and be able to change hats quickly.

6.  There's a lot of money in this world, however, not all money is good money.

7.  Don’t expect anyone to understand the entrepreneurial path you’ve chosen.  Ever.

8.  Keeping the vision is a daily battle that only you can conquer.

9.  Share.  Be open.  Let your brothers and sisters know they’re not alone.  You must truly give to receive.

10.  Running a company will be THE HARDEST THING YOU EVER DO IN YOUR LIFE.  Remind yourself of this daily.  Write it on your mirror in lipstick.

11.  Get a life coach.  Really.  Just do it.

12.  Relationships are everything, especially the one you have with yourself.  Be kind to your soul.

How can we be smart like you when we travel with interesting people?

Travel as much as you can.  Stretch your dollar and visit one more place; you never know if the opportunity will present itself again.  You’ll never be able to put a price on travel experiences.  These moments are invaluable and the knowledge you absorb from interacting with different cultures in different countries around the world will show up in your life when you least expect and need it most.  Self-education through travel is the best kind of love you can give yourself – it opens your eyes, nurtures your heart and deepens your soul.  Trusting your life process is not an easy task, but when you start to, that’s when life really starts to happen. 

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Self-education through travel opens your eyes, nurtures your heart and deepens your soul. 

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Meet Lauren A. Koenig

Neighborhood: Sunnyside, Queens

Occupation: Travel Activist, Brander, Artist, AC/DC fanatic, CEO & Founder of TWIP

Twitter: @twiptrips

Instagram: @twiptrips

Women I Admire: Oprah, She-Ra, Charlize Theron, Angela Ahrendts

Dream Mentor: Richard Branson

Look of the Season: Power Chic

Ultimate Accessory: Statement necklaces and jewelry

Favorite Store: Zara, Express, Kenneth Cole

Go-to Outfit: Anything black and sexy: Black high-waisted pants, Eva Mendez Mila Bodysuit, Via Spiga stiletto knee-high leather boots, black pashmina, red lipstick.

Must-have Shoes: Black stiletto pumps

Favorite Nail Polish: CND: Romantique or Rouge Red

Can't Live Without Product: Dry shampoo, sunblock and coconut oil

Salon Recommendation: It’s a secret spot, but facials.  If you are over 30, get facials!

Signature Scent: Chanel Eau Tendre + Personalized mixture of almond/vanilla/black coconut body oil

Beauty Essential: Le Metier de Beaute 'Maldives Magic bronzer, sleep and a workout

Cocktail of Choice: Vesper

Best Date: Considering I haven’t experienced an actual amazing date, I’ll just go with … April 16th — my birthday ;)

Travel Destination: South Africa and Fiji are on my list. I have a love affair with Montreal and Prague, but my family’s summer lake cottage in Muskoka, Canada is where half my soul lives.

Current Craving: Knowledge

Best Advice: Have mentors and be a mentor.

Favorite Quote: 'As we let our light shine, we...give other people permission to do the same. As we’re liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.' –Marianne Williamson

De-Stress Technique: Spin class or boxing workout.

Latest Gadget: Plantronics BackBeat Wireless Earphones.

On My Playlist: Everything. I am a Spotify junkie. I wish they offered a lifetime subscription.

Favorite App: TheVane (fashion + weather app) and Hotel Tonight

College / University: Ball State University

Sorority: BSU Women’s Swim Team

 

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