There’s no secret that travel writing is a lot of work. Crafting a flawless travel story is more than just writing about your experiences on the road.
Piecing together a captivating narrative about a destination that encourages people to go there (or to travel in general) can be a tedious and frustrating job—but it’s also incredibly rewarding.
And whether you’re on assignment for a media trip or doing some long-term travel while writing remotely, there’s some technology you can’t do without. Here are 5 basic things you need to be a travel writer.
1. A Really Great Laptop
Ok, let’s start with the most obvious. Having a really good laptop is essential to life as a travel writer.
That could mean a lot of things. If you’re like me, you aim for making life as easy as possible, and so a lightweight, fast laptop is the best option. But if you’re also a photographer, or if you work in other media, you might want something more durable and more capable of handling bigger jobs. Look for things like a high processing unit and video editing capabilities.
The beauty in technology is that it’s always getting cheaper, which means you can find a really great laptop for affordable prices nowadays. If you’re looking for the best laptop deals online, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Wait until there’s a sale. Technology gets discounted all the time, especially during holidays like Black Friday and President’s Day.
- Check major retailers. While I’d usually suggest supporting small businesses, when it comes to a big purchase like a laptop, larger retailers get better prices from manufacturers which they can then pass on to you.
- Buy refurbished. People return stuff all the time. And when it comes to laptops, once the box has been opened, they can never sell it again as new. And sometimes laptops that were once defective get fixed by the manufacturer and resold. These will almost always come with a must lighter price tag.
2. Quality Camera Gear
You don’t have to be a photographer to be a great travel writer. But it does help.
Admittedly, photography isn’t my strong point. Ages ago, I bought a DSLR and a few lenses because I naively thought I’d be incredible at it. Instead, I never shot in manual mode and I ended up carrying around way too much extra weight.
But I did realize that having a camera is a necessity for travel writing, and so I picked up a really great Canon mirrorless point-and-shoot. Publications have used my images, but also, having all that photo evidence is just a great idea for when it’s time to write. You’d be amazed how many memories a single image can trigger. Nowadays, travel photography gear comes in all shapes and sizes.
3. Cloud Storage
Always, always, always have a back-up! I can assure you, there is nothing more devastating than losing your work mid-draft. Or any of your previous work that you may have tabled for publication at a later date.
Ideally, you should back-up your laptop once a week. But we all know that never happens, so aim for at least once a month.
I started out using external hard drives, but now I rely solely on a cloud backup system like Dropbox. Using cloud storage is better for a number of reasons, but especially because if your gear gets stolen while on the road, you’ll still have your files in the cloud.
4. Portable Battery Charger
As a travel writer, there may be long stretches of time without any power source to recharge your batteries. That means no laptop, no phone, and no camera.
You will almost always use your portable battery charger at least once while traveling. Go for something lightweight and durable, like the Anker PowerCore. Just one charge of the Anker will give you 2-3 charges for your devices!
5. Notepad and Pen
Ok, so this isn’t technology, but I will forever encourage all writers to carry a small notepad and pen with them wherever they go. Writing things down is scientifically proven to help you remember important facts, and slowing down to take notes is much better than just hoping you’ll recall all your ideas later.
Plus there’s the obvious benefit that it’s just easier to take a notepad and pen into the field with you (rather than your laptop, for example). And besides all that, having a notebook of journaled travel moments is one of the best souvenirs you’ll ever have. Opt for a small one that you can easily fit into your pocket or purse.
That’s it—5 basic things you need to be a travel writer! What tools can’t you live without?