Sunday, January 15, 2017

10 insider tips for the traveling blogger

The traveling blogger is a fish out of water.

Away from the comforts of the home coffee maker, fluffy bunny slippers, and reliable wifi, they must be prepared for anything.

Of course it’s great to step out of your comfort zone and see humans face to face. It’s fantastic to get out your passport and see the world. It’s even better if you can continue to run your business without skipping a beat.

This blog post is a handy dandy roundup of my 10 best insider tips for the traveling blogger.

Use these as a starting point, and you won’t end up in the fetal position in your hotel hallway, begging passers-by for their Mophie chargers (see Tip #1).

Tip #1 – Be All Powerful

It’s more important to pack your charging cords than to pack your underwear. Seriously. But here’s a great tip I received from my sister-in-law (who travels frequently). If you forget your charger, ask at the hotel front desk; often they have a pile of cords that have been left behind by your fellow travelers. Away from my hotel, I always maintain my charge with my Mophie, the greatest invention since sliced bread. Throw a power strip in your suitcase for bonus points.

Tip #2 – Stay Connected (but Securely)

You know not to go on sensitive sites or apps using hotel free WiFi, right? It’s a little better if it’s password protected, but you still need to be cautious. The pros use a VPN to be completely secure while traveling. If you’re concerned, you can even buy a temporary VPN service, which simply encrypts your activity to keep the bad guys away.

Tip #3 – Leave Your Room

Writers need to fill their brains with new ideas, new viewpoints, and fresh air. Don’t go into your hotel room, close the blackout curtains, and eat room service. Be sure you keep up your healthy routines, use the fitness center or go for a jog outside! You might find yourself full of blogging inspiration from your new location.

Tip #4 – Be Prepared

At some point in your travels, you may find yourself in an unfamiliar conference room, in a long tunnel, or stuck in the middle of nowhere. Some things that will ease your panic: a USB stick with your presentation or work-in-progress on it, pre-loaded Google Maps, Band-Aids (for the blisters from your new shoes), and a granola bar (in case they’re serving Haggis).

Tip #5 – When in Rome…

If you’re traveling out of the country, don’t forget to check your data plans for overseas travel (some phone carriers have amazing roaming deals now). Do yourself a favor and buy a plug adaptor (American plugs won’t work in Europe). Appreciate the cultural differences and educate yourself about them before you go (in some countries, you are expected to sit in front with a taxi driver, rather than in the back). Pack a washcloth/facecloth if those are important to your routine, as they won’t be provided in most European hotels.

Tip #6 – Fly in Style

If you travel frequently, invest a little bit of time and money into TSA Precheck, you’ll thank me later. Take advantage of curbside check in (bring $ 2 per bag for the expected tip) and wave at the long line of people who inexplicably always wait in the inside queues. Take a screenshot of your digital boarding pass to access it quicker on your phone. While we’re talking about phones, download the airline’s app if they have one, and get details like gate change alerts and delay notifications early.

It goes without saying (hopefully), but it’s always a good idea to dress nicely and be respectful to the airline personnel, giving you both good karma and a better chance at being upgraded.

Tip #7 – Get Ahead of the Curve

Use your blogging platform to queue up some posts in advance of your trip. Use any downtime during the year to stockpile some great posts that are evergreen and can go live when you’re traveling. Queue up your blog post social promotion as well, while you’re at it.

Tip #8 – Don’t Forget to Bring Back Content

Take pictures, do some video interviews, do some travel journaling…make sure that you come back with content you can use for the rest of the year. You might want to bring a fresh notebook so you can jot down ideas on the road.

Tip #9 – Be Suitcase Savvy

Put something weird or colorful on your suitcase handle so you can identify it at baggage claim. Put a plastic trash bag in the suitcase for your wet swimsuit or dirty laundry. Pack like a flight attendant by rolling everything; you can fit twice the number of outfits. When your dentist gives you that little packet with a toothbrush and toothpaste, put it in your suitcase and just leave it in there for your next trip.

Tip #10 – Consider Unplugging Completely

This goes against all of the previous “bring your cords” advice, but if you’re able, consider taking a digital break. If you’re traveling because you’re supposed to be on vacation, prep some content in advance, let your audience know that you’re going away for a week or two, and take a deep breath. It’s important to be consistent, but it’s even more important to maintain your sanity.

What’s your best travel tip for the road-weary blogger?

Author’s Bio: Rosemary O’Neill is an insightful spirit who works for Social Strata — makers of the community platform. Check out the Social Strata blog. You can find Rosemary on Google+ and on Twitter as @rhogroupee

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10 insider tips for the traveling blogger

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