Traveling does not have to hinder your blogging. Instead, you can use this time as an opportunity to engage and interact with your community even more. There are many tools available to you and with the prolification of wifi hotspots in major cities, getting on the web while on the road is as easy as ever. Your next vacation might be just what your blog needed.
Disclaimer: I’m a very Mac-centric kind of guy and because of these you’ll notice that a few of my tips make use of making use of the iPhone. I’m sure the same tips would also apply for any other smartphone, such as an Android, Palm Pre or BlackBerry.
1. Use location based social networks to keep track of where you’ve been.
I’ve been using Gowalla for a few months now and just started using Foursquare at the beginning of my last trip. Both of these location based social networks allow you to “check-in” and ultimately track where you’ve visited during your trip.Â In my opinion, Foursquare is the better option of the two and I will tell you why.
The great thing about Foursquare is that often times special deals will appear when you check-in to certain places. For instance, after I checked-in at a small cafe on Powell Street in San Francisco during my last trip, a little icon popped up on my screeen mentioning that another establishment nearby had a special deal waiting for me if i checked in there as well. Gowalla recently announced that it has partnered with the likes of Adobe and Chipotle to hand out special offers, but why wait, take advantage of what Foursquare has to offer now.
Here’s another example: When we did the Napa Valley Wine Train, I was awarded with a physcial voucher for eight free glasses of wine on board the wine tasting train. The “mayor” of the wine train, who was there at the time, actually greeted me and handed me a voucher. How awesome is that? Pretty awesome, I think.
- Use Foursquare to keep track of where you’ve been (because you know you’ll blog about it later) and to score some awesome deals.
2. Use Google Docs To Store Your Itinerary.
Google Docs is a life saver. Why? Because even when your laptop is not available, your documents still are (give that you’ve got a computer with Internet access available). That’s the beauty of cloud computing. Even when you need to rely on the dreaded hotel computer running some argaic version of Windows, you’ll still be able to access your itinerary by simply logging into Google Docs.
- Keep your travel itinerary safely stored in Google Docs.
3. Bring An Extra Media Card.
This tip is a no brainer. I always bring along an extra media card for whatever camera I am using. I typically take enough pictures during the day to fill my memory card up to the max. To make room for the next day of photo filled sightseeing, I upload my photos to my Mac.
But what if I forget to upload my photos before I leave the hotel? The last thing you want is to have to spend time flipping through your photos on your camera trying to decide which ones to delete just so you can take even more photos. Have an extra media card ready and this will be a non-issue.
- Bring an extra media card just in case you forget to upload the photos from your camera.
4. The iPhone Makes For The Perfect Travel Companion.
The built in GPS on the iPhone and the plethora of apps make it a powerful travelling companion. Lost? Use Maps on the iPhone to help you find your way to your destination.
For instance, during my 2008 visit to San Francisco, despite having pre-printed Google directions, road changes and sign removals ultimately caused me to get lost in the middle of wine country. The solution? We found a Wal-Mart that was nearby, used the GPS in the iPhone to track our location, and then input the address of our destination. The iPhone got us out of that little pickle in no time.
- The built in GPS on the iPhone makes getting lost a thing of the past.
5. Yelp Can Be Very Handy.
Bloggers need to eat. And for those times when you need to deviate from your itinerary, the Yelp app is a real lifesaver. We spent an afternoon during our most recent trip to San Francisco exploring the Mission District. And although we had planned to eat at a certain restaurant beforehand, it unexpectedly closed just as we arrived there.
With the Yelp app for the iPhone, we were able to find our location and got suggestions as to what other places around the area were highly recommended by other Yelp users.
And if you blog about food, Yelp comes in handy since you can draft a review of you experience right into the app itself. Neat!
- Use Yelp for times when you need to deviate from your itinerary or when you’re feeling spontaneous.
- Draft reviews of your experience directly within the Yelp app.
6. Use Notes and Voice Memos To Capture Ideas On The Go.
When it comes to capturing a passing thought in your head, you don’t need a fancy app. The apps you really need come built right into the iPhone. I recommend both Notes or Voice Memos to document any ideas you have while on the go.
Most of this post was written on my iPhone using notepad (and then edited later in my browser) while I waited for the Urban Outfitters on Powell St. to open. I was killing time before my shuttle was scheduled to pick me up and drop me to the airport. The idea for this post came to my head and so I started typing, errr, tapping away.
- Capture passing thoughts, ideas or concepts using Notes or Voice Memos on the iPhone.
7. Make Sure Your Hotel Offers Some Form of Free Internet.
If you’re a blogger then you live and breathe the Internet. It might be practical to find a hotel with free Internet access. You’ll often have to pay to use the internet from the comfort of your room but a hotel that has free wifi access in the lobby makes life that much easier (and cheaper).
- When booking your hotel, search for ones that provide free Internet access.
8. Backup While On The Go.
We all know tht we should back up our most important files (and probably even the not so important ones). Sometimes, uploading your travel photos to iPhoto is not enough. After all, hard drives do fail. An easy backup solution is to use Flickr to upload your full-sized and high resolution files.
If you plan on uploading a lot of photos to Flickr then I recommend that you invest in aÂ pro account. Regular Flickr accounts limit you to 200 “viewable” photo uploads. Worried about other people viewing your more raunchy travel photos? Set your privacy to private and you’ll have nothing to worry about.
Alternatively, you could use cloud backup services like theÂ Mozy Unlimited Backup and Backblaze to back up your stuff on the fly whenever you have Internet access on your computer.
- If you have a Flickr Pro account then use it to back up your travel photos.
- If you rather keep your previous travel photos private then set your privacy setting accordingly.
9. Don’t Let Your Blog Go Postless.
The savvy traveling blogger does not let his/her blog go postless for the duration of their vacation. That would be a mean thing to do to your dedicated readers! Have a few posts prepared and have them autopost while you’re gone. You can do this easily in WordPress by changing the date of post. I recommendÂ at least one autopost a day, especially during weekdays.
- Prevent a blog dry spell during your vacation by preparing a few posts beforehand and having them set to autopost.
10. Keep Your Community Involved While You’re Gone.
To do this, I use a combination of Twitter and Foursquare/Gowalla. Keep your community in the loop and they’ll feel like they’re on vacation with you.You might also receive a few vacation tips from locals or tweeps who have lived in the area you are visiting.
Also, you can automate your WordPress blog so that it sends out a tweet each time one of your automated posts are published. With this set up, it’s like you’re not even gone.
- Use a combination of Twitter and location based social networks to keep your community involved while you’re gone.
- Twitter Tools will allow full integration between your WordPress blog and Twitter.
Iâ€™d love to hear what tips you have when it comes to blogging on the go! Leave a comment below in the comments section and let me know!
If you enjoyed this post then please, please, please, tell youâ€™re friends about it! A simple Tweet or post on your Facebook page will help to get the word out, and a link back on your blog would be greatly appreciated!