Whether it's travel for fun, work or maybe a little of both, iStock_000018934957Smallmost of us want to make sure that when we invest our hard-earned time and money to head out of town, we get the best bang for our travel buck. For me, that means trying to spend time with as many important people as I can fit into my schedule.

LinkedIn has some great ways to help you find those potential candidates who just might make a big difference down the road.

So grab your itinerary, your map, your calendar, and your LinkedIn account, and let’s go searching.

Find your connections

Click the Connections tab on the top toolbar, go down to the Filter by menu, and select Location. Type in theScreen Shot 2015-03-12 at 1.50.04 PM name of the city you're interested in. (LinkedIn users choose a major metropolitan area in the Location part of their profile).

LinkedIn will display all of your first-level connections in that city or area. You can then message these people through LinkedIn either one at a time or in groups of up to 50 and let them know you'd like to make a real, old-school connection with them on your upcoming trip.

Find your connections' connections

These are your second-level connections, and this step requires a little help in the form of an introduction from your friends (your first-degree connections). However, many times this introduction is exactly what makes the meeting so effective.

Click the word AdvancedScreen Shot 2015-03-12 at 1.48.02 PM on the top toolbar. From the Advanced People Search screen, select 2nd Connections in the Relationship column, and then scroll down to the Location box in the search criteria column on the left. Change that entry from Anywhere to Located in or near, and enter the zip code of the city you're going to be visiting. Select the radius you desire.

Before you click the Search button, you may want to filter this list further by adding additional search criteria, like Company, Title, College or other keywords you are pretty sure your targeted audience would include somewhere on their profile.

Once LinkedIn serves you up this list of “friends of friends,” look through the profiles and decide whom you want to meet. Then contact your shared connection and ask whether he/she will virtually introduce you to this person prior to your trip. Once you've been introduced, you're on your way to starting what will hopefully be a mutually beneficial relationship.

Find your classmates

Scroll over the down arrow to the left of the large, white search box on your top toolbar and select Universities. Type in the name of the school you attended. When you click the name of the school, you'll be forwarded to the school's University page. Choose Students & Alumni, and then go to the Where they live column and either click the name of the cityScreen Shot 2015-03-12 at 1.44.15 PM you're visiting or type the name of the city in the search box that appears when you click the magnifying glass.

If you filter by date of attendance or year of graduation, you can narrow the list even further.

Find your fellow group members

If you go to the Members tab of your favorite Screen Shot 2015-03-12 at 1.53.43 PMgroups and type your travel destination in the search box, LinkedIn will display all the group members who live in that city.

Find people at your targeted companies

Scroll over the down arrow to the left of the large, white search box on your top toolbar, select Companies, and thenScreen Shot 2015-03-12 at 1.41.51 PM type the name of a company you're interested in. When you click on the company's name, you will be forwarded to their Company page.

If you click the number to the left of Employees on LinkedIn, you'll be forwarded to the Advanced People Search page, which is a listing of all the employees. Screen Shot 2015-03-12 at 2.11.46 PMUnder Location, select your travel destination or click the +Add icon and type it into the search box. LinkedIn will then display all the employees at the company who have LinkedIn accounts and live in that city.  Feel free to use additional filters for Title, School, Keywords, etc.

After doing all this work, you may need to extend your trip a day or two!

Happy travels!