What does a travel blogger need to work and travel?

One of the common problems faced by travel bloggers on the road is how to manage both travel and blogging at the same time. Spend too much time blogging trying to make money, and it kind of defeats the purpose of trying to escape the work slog of the rat race. Yet, if you spend most of your time travelling, then you may not have put the hours in the make enough money on your blogs, and therefore end up going home early with not enough travel cash to go on!

It’s a continuing dilemma I have, especially with my next big venture lying ahead.  Of course, if you enjoy the work that you do (and I really enjoy blogging!) then that makes up for a little of the time sacrifice. Also, being organised and managing your time appropriately allows you much more free time to do the things you left for in the first place. Are there however, practical things you can do that will make striking that balance between work and travel a little bit easier? Or are there simple things you can take with you that will help? Through my experiences so far, this is what I have found:

Bring a laptop!

First things first, if you plan to be location independent, and work from where ever in the world you are, then you need to bring a laptop! Internet cafes are fine for emailing home, but many places I have come across on my travels still have Windows 95! Also, the price of working in an internet café, i.e. using one of their computers, is extortionate if you plan on spending more than a few hours there a week.

Many places while you travel offer free wifi. In the long run this can save you a lot of money. In many hostels you can also access free wifi in your dorm room. This just saves you so much time and effort, and means you are not paying by the hour just to do some work.

Other big benefits of having your own laptop is that if you need to use any software for your work it is already installed, everything is saved on your computer already, and you don’t have to worry about slow computers in the internet café, or problems loading pictures or video content which happens a lot in many of the internet cafes I have been to. You also don’t have to wait in a queue to access a computer! Sometimes the computers may be full, either at the hostel or elsewhere. You end up having to wait about, come back later, or find somewhere else where you can access internet, and if it’s something that needs to be done right away then it can be a problem. Even just having your own little net book is better than nothing at all, although they don’t tend to have much memory space, or a disk drive.

Back up everything!

Although it doesn’t happen often, if you are working and travelling for a reasonable period of time you will probably find at some point that something crashes somewhere along the line. Whether it’s you actual computer, your website, the internet connection, or something else… Expect something to go wrong somewhere down the line and back up everything! Invest in a good USB memory stick, or use the space on your iPod to save files. The last thing you want is to have to spend hours trying to fix something while you have a looming deadline ahead. Also, if you have paying advertisers then it’s important that you have your site back up and running pronto should anything happen. Just a bit of preparation can save you much time, stress, and prevent you from loosing money!

Camera

Taking the work aspect aside for a moment, I recommend that everyone who goes travelling should bring a camera with them. You want to be able to capture some of the memories so you can look back on later in life, or at the very least have a laugh at what you did the other day! Sometimes when I have visited somewhere particularly awe inspiring, as soon as I have returned home, or moved onto my next destination, it almost doesn’t feel real that I was there. It’s then when I can look back on what I’ve done and just take it all in. From a work perspective though, you need to have some good images to add to your blog. It’s adds a personal touch to what you write, but also it’s just makes your site stand out more. A post without an image doesn’t stand out to the eye. I have just recently purchased my first SLR camera which is becoming increasingly popular with travel blogger because of the quality, but sometimes if I don’t have it with me, I’ll just snap something with my phone. You’ll notice from some of my travel blog pic’s, that I just had a cheap point and shoot camera on some previous travels. You don’t necessarily need an amazing quality camera unless you are a freelance photographer by trade. Any images are better than none at all, even if just for your own personal record of where you have been.

Tell everyone about your website!

Particularly when I first started RunawayJane.com, I found I spent more time trying to draw traffic to my site, and find advertisers, than I actually did writing posts, or working on anything content related. Several months on now, having built up a readership and a good page rank, I find a lot of advertisers and traffic coming to me without me looking for it. Some of the best opportunities however that have come my way, or the bigger advertisers who have approached me, have mostly came from stumbling across my website by accident. They had come across a link online, found the site via social networking/media websites, or just heard someone mention Runaway Jane. I’m a firm believer in luck, with some opportunities just seeming to come from nowhere, but if you put yourself in positions where you can be found, and you continue to produce good content, then things will happen. Tell everyone about your website, no matter where you are or who you’re talking to! Word of mouth is still one of the most important marketing tools out there and it costs absolutely nothing. Also, with the internet these days, even the simplest of things could go viral. All it takes is for one influential person to come across your site, and things could really take off.

Take Breaks

This is not so much something you can take with you, but something you should definitely do while working and travelling! In my haste to carve a career out of travel, I’ve been running myself into the ground lately, becoming almost a recluse just trying to avoid spending money as I save up, working long hours, and just generally not having fun! When you’re working, in whatever it is, it’s really important to make sure you take well deserved breaks! Lately I have been forcing myself to step away from the computer in my build up to going away, and I’ve came back with a fresh perspective on things, and lot’s of new ideas. Of course you need to work hard in order to make money, but what’s the point in doing it if you’re just going to get burnt out? Schedule time away from the computer each day to go outside and do something, even if it’s just going for lunch. Particularly as a writer or a blogger, you are inspired by the things around you even if it’ subconsciously. The more you live the more inspiration you will find, or ideas for blog posts, photo’s, or video content. Scheduling in some you time will allow you to come back feeling refreshed, and overall more productive. After all, you went travelling to experience life, not site behind a computer all day, so make sure you take time out for you, and most of all just enjoy yourself! If you can’t do that then you’re doing the wrong thing.

4 Responses to “What does a travel blogger need to work and travel?”

  1. ayngelina says:

    After 6 months I’m still trying to find a balance. I find what often works is just doing what I want. So if I’m on a roll and spend a few hours one day online I don’t sweat it because I know that I may not feel like it again for a few days.

    Oddly enough I find blogging relaxing and often do it during my down time.

  2. Jaime D. says:

    Great tips! I will be sure to use these for my blog and travels as well!!!

  3. LeslieTravel says:

    Great points. It’s hard to strike a balance between writing and enjoying the experience of traveling. I’m always annoying my husband by taking photos of everything we eat and all the sights we pass just in case I want to write about them! 😉

  4. You are absolutely right about taking a break from the computer. Sometimes I get lost in cyberspace. In the race to make a successful blog, too much focus on one thing is not good.

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