Some of you may have noticed that I haven’t been around for the past few weeks. Perhaps you have been worried that James decided to tell me to push off, or perhaps that I’d fallen down a well in some rural area and got trapped down there with no food, water or internet. But never fear! I have returned – I’ve been off in the middle of nowhere in Virginia doing completely non-WordPress related stuff but now I’m back and will posting regularly again :)
While I was away I did do some blogging and to celebrate my return I thought I should write about some essential things that every blogger on the move can’t do without. Of course, I had to do without some of these things – this is my “in an ideal world” list. But I’m always hopeful that James will want to kit me out for my next adventure later in the year ;)
NB: This is based on my own experiences travelling as a foreigner in America – but I think it should stack up for anyone travelling anywhere.
Starbucks has been my number one essential tool for travelling. Not the coffee – although I drink a lot of that too, but the free internet. I am addicted to my iPhone and if I can’t check my Gmail every five minutes I start to get dizzy and can feel a panic attack coming on. Like a tiny boat, cast out from its mooring and lost at sea, in the United States I am cut off from the 3G network. Starbucks is everywhere and their internet is free. Sometimes I will go in and drink a coffee, at other times I will just stand outside, trying to get that instant Gmail hit.
Countries with Starbucks offering free wi-fi:
- United States
- UK (need to get a Starbucks card and register)
I couldn’t find a comprehensive list of countries with Starbucks offering free wi-fi but I’m pretty sure that Starbucks are rolling out free wi-fi in all countries that they operate in.
Note that McDonalds also offers free wi-fi – I have spent many moments lurking in McDonald’s carparks.
A dongle would have been nice – then I wouldn‘t have been so reliant on Starbucks. If you’ve got the cash then a 3G dongle could be the way to go. Then if you’re sat in the middle of nowhere you can still upload photos, video and text to your blog. (Though, I admit, sometimes it is nice to not be able to access the net).
Examples of countries with short-term contract and PAYG internet dongles:
- USA – Virgin Mobile
- UK – Orange, Three
- Asia – Singtel
- South America – Movistar
- International – Abroadband
Whether you’re lurking outside McDonalds or Starbucks, or if you have the luxury of a dongle, if you’re blogging with WordPress while you’re off on your travels then your mobile apps are going to be essential.
Cameras are vital for any holiday but it is especially important if you are doing any sort of travel blogging. In my excessive ways I find it’s a good idea to travel with two cameras:
- Nikon D40x (with jammed on UV filter from when my lovely husband dropped it – this and he refuses to lend me his new Panasonic GF1 – guh!)
- Panasonic Lumix point & shoot
The reason for bringing two cameras is that I can take the SLR out for when I know that there’s going to be some good photos to take. The point and shoot is for taking snapshots on the hoof. The Lumix is pretty good – especially with its Leica lens <3
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5. Flip video
This is a new one for my list and unfortunately I didn’t have a video camera on my latest trip abroad. However, my travelling companion had an iPhone 4 and shot some nice HD video. With a flip video it’s easy to shoot HD video and upload it straight on to your blog or vlog. On my next trip away I plan on taking a whole load of video and uploading it as I go.
6. Pencil and paper
Despite all of that high-tech equipment you can’t beat a pen/pencil and a piece of paper. There will be times when your laptop is out of reach, your smartphone is at the bottom of your bag, and you just want to jot down a few ideas. There really is no quicker way to do it than the old fashioned method. If you’re like me and struggle to read your own handwriting, try to write more neatly than usual :)
An iPad 2 or Motorola Xoom is going to be top of my wish list for my next trip away – and I don’t know which one to go for so they’re both being listed. Either way, a tablet is definitely the way to go for travelling and blogging on the go. I have lugged my Acer all the way around Virginia and there have been times that I’ve wanted to toss it out the window of the car. With a tablet you not only get the functionality of your computer but you can also ditch all of those travelling extras – Kindle, Nintendo DS, etc etc. If anyone has any tips about which one I should invest in then let me know – am very torn :(
Is there anything that you find essential for blogging while you’re travelling? Let us know in the comments!