Simple and effective ways to get more of your blogging work done while you’re travelling.
Most travel bloggers live a balanced life where they’ll travel for a few days or a few weeks before returning to a home base to relax, recuperate and create content for their blog. It’s a great way of living; a week of adventure followed by a week sat in cosy cafés writing about the trip and editing photos and videos before setting out on the next adventure. This is the travel blogger dream, right?
But what about the travel bloggers who don’t have the luxury of spending a whole week working in that cosy café? Many travel bloggers balance full time jobs, freelance careers or other commitments like families, so they don’t have that extra week to create their content.
You could do your blog work in your evenings and weekends but it isn’t long before blogger burnout creeps in and you start to resent all that blog work that’s piling up. Before you know it, six months have passed since that weekend in Barcelona and you still haven’t written about it. You need to stop accepting press trip invites because you simply don’t have time to write about the trips and this fun hobby becomes a chore.
If you blog alongside other commitments or you simply want to be more efficient with your time as a travel blogger, keep reading to find out how I create all of my blog content during a press trip.
I’ve been blogging for almost 10 years and for 5 of those I’ve been full time. I used to travel 2-3 times a month and then return home where I’d be glued to my laptop for about 12 hours a day. Press trips were fun little holidays and it was when I got home that the real work began.
‘Then I had a baby and it became more difficult to get that blog work done once I got home. And then I had a second baby and it became impossible to get any work done at home!’
Then I had a baby and it became more difficult to get that blog work done once I got home. And then I had a second baby and it became impossible to get any work done at home!
I had two choices. I could either put my kids into fulltime day care or I needed to find a way to become more efficient with my time. If I couldn’t get my blog posts written after a press trip, I had to get them written during a press trip.
This is often easier said than done, especially during those hectic trips with back to back activities, but I’ve been doing this for about 3 years now. I aim to have all of my blog posts written, all of my photos edited and all of my social media scheduled before I get home. The only thing I don’t do while I’m away on a trip is video editing and that’s because I like to do it on a big computer at home. If I could take an iMac on a plane with me I would!
Here’s how I get all my content created during a press trip
Research the hell out of your trip before you leave
I do so much research before a trip that I basically already know what I’m going to write about before I get there. I make notes, jot down facts and write questions if there’s something I’d like more information about. These notes then make the skeleton of my blog posts and once I’m in the destination I can flesh them out. I use these facts and figures and then add personality and character to create a story based on my own experiences.
‘I do so much research before a trip that I basically already know what I’m going to write about before I get there.’
Researching everything helps you have a greater understanding of your destination, making it much easier to write about. It’s also going to help you know what you’re going to blog about so you can ensure you get all the information and photos you need.
It also helps you know what you won’t blog about too which is equally important as you won’t waste any time while you’re there.
Don’t be afraid to skip activities you know you won’t blog about
If there’s something on your itinerary that you know you won’t blog about, don’t be afraid to ask to skip it. You could either switch this activity for something you will blog about, or you could use this time to start creating your content.
Keep a journal
I know many people struggle to write about an experience immediately after it’s happened. If you do, I recommend writing a journal each evening. A journal will help jog your memory when you come to write the ‘proper blog post’ or your journal may take an unexpected turn and become a proper blog.
Sometimes I’m not sure what I want my blog post to focus on, so I’ll sit down and begin writing a journal which will take on a life of its own. I’ll usually find that with a bit of editing a journal becomes a blog post. Even if it’s not good enough for a blog, it will often become the backbone to something else or possibly a wordy Instagram caption. I often don’t realise something was such a special experience until I’ve written a journal and realised I’ve written 1,000 words about a hike or the atmosphere in a hotel.
But don’t just keep a journal while you’re travelling, keep a journal while you’re at home too. One thing that definitely helps me get all my work done during a press trip is the fact that I’m a very quick writer, and I put my speedy writing down to practice. As a child I always wrote a journal and as I got older I was that friend to who sends you long, wordy emails describing every part of their day! I start writing in my head before I’ve even got a pen in my hand, so I’ll often mentally half write blog posts while I’m in the shower or while I’m waiting in the security queue at the airport.
Always pack a portable charger
Never underestimate the amount of work you can get done on your phone while sat on a bus! The only thing holding you back from doing more work on your phone is usually the battery life so make sure you pack a portable charger.
Download apps like Google Docs and Google Sheets as well as your favourite photo and video editing apps.
Keep all your photos and video clips organised
If you only take one piece of advice from this post, make it this.
Every evening when you go back to your hotel room, put all your photos and video clips onto your laptop and/or external hard drive, organise them into folders and name them appropriately. This is one of those boring tasks that doesn’t take long if you do it daily but it’s a mammoth task at the end of a big trip.
It’s also so much easier to label your photos when names and places are fresh in your mind. Edit and resize your photos too and if you’ve got a decent wifi connection, you can also upload them into WordPress so they’re ready and waiting to go as soon as you’ve written your blog posts.
If you’re on a short trip it’s usually important to attend all meals as a way to socialise with your group and get to know the brand and PRs who invited you. But if it’s a longer trip, don’t feel like you need to attend every meal, especially if it’s just another hotel dinner.
I’m not a food blogger and I rarely blog about my meals so I’ll sometimes skip the evening meal in favour of room service and a few hours work.
Save the easy jobs for when you’re tired
Yes, this trip is going to be tiring. It’s going to involve lots of late night and lots of early starts so keep this in mind when you’re planning your work. If you’re a morning person, use this time to do the jobs that require the most concentration and save the easier things (like organising and editing photos) for late at night.
Accept that you’re going to be tired
‘This isn’t a holiday, it’s a press trip. This is work. You’re not there for a jolly, you’re there to create content!’
This isn’t a holiday, it’s a press trip. This is work. You’re not there for a jolly, you’re there to create content! I’m not suggesting you don’t enjoy yourself. Yes, let your hair down and have a drink after a long day but keep in mind that you will be working long hours.
The first ever press trip I went on was with super bloggers like Abi King from Inside the Travel Lab and Kash from Budget Traveller. It was during this trip that I realised how hard bloggers work during press trips, so mentally prepare yourself before you arrive!
You’ll need to get up at about 6am to do an hour or two of work before breakfast and then you’ll be up for an hour or two after dinner too. This often means you’re only getting 5-6 hours sleep every night but it’ll be worth it when you get home with all your blog posts complete.
Don’t leave the airport until you’re done
So you’ve landed back at home but you still haven’t finished all your blog posts. You could get them finished in about 3-4 hours so you go straight home and promise yourself you’ll crack on when you’re back…but we all know that’s a lie. You’ll get home and see your friends and family. There’s a cold bottle of wine in the fridge and your favourite TV program is about to start. There’s no way you’re doing any work tonight! Then a week passes, then two weeks, then three weeks…..
I’ve been known to land at Manchester Airport and instead of going to pick up my car, I’ll go straight to Café Nero to carry on with my work.
I’m not going to lie, it’s tough! But arriving at home knowing you’ve done all your work is the best feeling so it’s 100% worth it, I promise.
Monica is the founder of The Travel Hack, a blog focusing on travel tips and hacks to make your travels as smooth and simple as possible. Monica has been blogging since 2009 and The Travel Hack is one of the UK’s leading travel blogs. She now runs an e-course, The Blogger Course, and has her own suitcase (which she’s super proud of!), The Travel Hack Pro Cabin Case.