Travel blogging? More like blogging while travelling. In this post I’m going to talk about how to safely and efficiently blog while on the road anywhere in the world.
Once you start to take your blogging more seriously at time will come when you need to work while you’re away.
It might be a holiday in India or it might just be a weekend away to visit the family.
Of course, if you can take time away from the blog that is great. But for some of us it’s a full time gig and that means researching and writing posts, answering emails, etc.
I’ve had to do this from all around Australia, Europe and even China. But it doesn’t matter if you’re in England or the USA – the principles are the same.
Here are some top tips everyone’ll need at some point.
How to travel and blog at the same time
This isn’t going to be a post about ‘how to start a travel blog’ – a blog where you get paid while talking about your various travel destinations around the world.
Although those blogs are really popular at the moment, I feel like I covered the topic of starting niche blogs pretty well in my articles on how to start a fashion blog and my ultimate guide on how to start a blog.
I want this post to be more relevant to every type of blogger who occasionally needs to travel and work at the same time. That being said, there will be some overlap.
Let’s get into those tips:
1. Prepare as much as you can before you leave
Preparing as much as you can before you leave is absolutely vital.
Things are often a bit different to your regular setup and so you want to make sure you have things ready to go in case you are restricted in some way.
Darren Rowse from ProBlogger told me:
My top tip for blogging while travelling is to do as much work as you can before you go!
The first time I took a week long trip to the US to speak at a conference I naively thought I’d take advantage of the portability of my work and blog from the road.
Day 1 was fine because I wrote on the 14 hour flight into LAX but that’s when it all fell apart. A combination of jet lag, the busyness of the conference and some technological challenges with the hotel wifi meant I didn’t blog again until I returned home a week later.
These days I work doubly hard in the weeks before a trip to enable me to travel and just focus upon the trip itself.
I schedule blog posts and most of my Facebook updates before I leave. This is a massive task (last time I went away I pre-scheduled 40 Facebook updates) but means that I can be fully present and concentrate on the task at hand of speaking, engaging with other conference attendees and enjoying the new surrounds.
The only blogging related work I would then do on the trip would be networking (which is invaluable), gathering ideas for future content and some live social media of the conference I’m attending.
Note that Darren talks about networking as being part of blogging.
It’s so true.
If you head overseas for work or even for holiday it’s a good idea to spend less time online and more time offline meeting people and trying to make new connections.
In other words, do the things you can’t do at home.
2. Get your head right while you’re away
When I reached out to some of my blogging friends for tips I actually hadn’t considered this one but as soon as I read it I felt a bit guilty for not thinking about it.
Have a look at what Ryan from Blogging from Paradise says about blogging on the road:
Blogging safely and efficiently is an inside-out game Ramsay. If your mind ain’t right you’ll be doomed when your day begins. Example; I have about 30 things or more to do daily while blogging from paradise. Not just online work stuff either. I’ve had to walk 5 miles daily to get my lunch and dinner in Savusavu, Fiji and in spots like Hoi An Vietnam we had to bike for about 40 minutes a day just to get lunch and/or dinner. Factor in the tourist-type stuff we do, and we travel bloggers are busy bees. Here in Bali we have plenty of motorbiking treks to and from town to grab grub and to enjoy a day or 2 at spa.
Meditating is hands down the most powerful thing I do daily to think clearly, and clear thinking has helped me secure my blog, by tuning into all those safe little tips from my techie blogging buddies (avoiding internet cafes, using public WiFi sparingly, using tools like BruteProtect to secure your blog). I also act effectively and blog efficiently by knowing what to do, and when to do it, while blogging on the road. Example; since time is a precious commodity for me – and everybody – I’ll write one, kick butt, in-depth, targeted post weekly instead of many shorter posts. Helps me reach more interested readers with less work, so I can do the island hopping thing while prospering. I received an intuitive nudge to do this right after one of my meditation sessions.
Work on your inner world and something funny happens; you attract all the tools, techniques, prospering blogging buddies and brilliant ideas to build a sustainable business on the road.
If you do one thing today sit in a quiet room and watch what comes up. After dealing with the mental vomit/limiting beliefs that everybody spews in the beginning you’ll receive clarity of thought, you’ll develop peace of mind and you’ll be able to listen to your intuition guide you, blogging-wise and life-wise.
This advice obviously is also really important for your regular work life. Keeping your head on straight is such an important aspect of running your own business. In my experience it’s never the external circumstances that make you happy, it’s how you deal with your thoughts about them.
I wonder who agrees?
3. Know your strengths and weaknesses
Some people are really good at travelling.
I’m not one of them.
I find the change of routine really whacks me around and I feel tired for days. But that doesn’t mean you should stop working. Jodi from Legal Nomads has some good advice in this regard:
One of the hardest parts of writing has been the lack of stability in terms of place. With no set base for 7 years, I’ve turned to creating routines around the act of writing instead of around the place itself. I am most productive when writing on planes or trains, so I save longer form pieces for those times. I edit photos when most tired, I keep a notebook on me during long wanders, etc. Essentially a process for maximizing the productivity around writing despite leading a not-so-normal life. Tools like Scrivener, Evernote, and a Moleskine Notebook are all my go-tos for getting this done.
This is also really about knowing your business. Everyone’s is different and that means you need to think about the different things you’ll need to do when you’re away.
If you have a solid process in place you’ll be able to find tools and structures to help you keep going even when your normal routine changes.
4. Figure out how much you can do offline
It’s tempting to think that you really need to be online 24 hours a day if you work in an online business.
Well, that’s not always true.
In fact, if you’re smart about it, you might be able to get quite a lot of your work done while you are offline. My friends Caz and Craig from yTravel Blog are constantly traveling and have some tips in this regard:
Because we’re travelling with children and have challenges with WiFi connections in Australia, I rely heavily on Windows Live Writer. Therefore I can easily work when we’re driving, or I have a few spare moments in between parenting juggles. I write and edit all my content in Live Writer first and then quickly post the drafts to the blog when I can get connected. It has made my work so much more efficient and saves a lot on data costs.
My friend Chris Ducker has some similar advice:
This is a simple tip, but it’s saved me a few times. When I’m on the go I never know when I might be caught with a low laptop battery. So I make sure to write my blog posts via a Word document that is saved automatically in Dropbox. That way, if I do lose power, I know that the work is saved in my Dropbox folder and I don’t have to start all over again. The alternative is losing it all, if I was to be writing the post (like a lot of bloggers do) directly into the WordPress dashboard – Ouch!
Of course, you can’t be offline all the time. But if you can learn how to do the majority of your work on your computer without connecting you will feel like you aren’t really all that far away from your work.
5. Be online when you post your articles
I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but when I send out my mail outs I always let people know that I’ll be around in the comments for a while to chat.
This has the effect of helping me get more comments and also being around to put out any fires that may happen when the post goes live and there are either server issues, mistakes in the article or controversial discussions happening.
Neil Patel mentions this in his tip:
The biggest thing I recommend is to write your posts in advance and schedule them. This way you stay consistent with your posting schedule and your traffic should continually grow. And if possible, try to avoid being on a plane during the days you are publishing content.
I personally think it’s really important to “show up” when your post goes live and really be a part of the process. That way it is less about lecturing to your audience and more of an organic discussion.
And it’s also incredibly important to ensure you’re fixing issues as soon as possible.
6. Keep your security tight with a VPN and monitoring tools
Your blog is your baby.
And things like email and social media accounts are vital for how you get things done.
For those reasons it’s absolutely integral to make sure you keep things safe. Total safety is a myth but there are some things you can do to reduce the risk of things going wrong.
- Use a VPN
A VPN (virtual private network) is something you should use if you ever have to connect to a public Wi-Fi network as it encrypts a lot of your data and makes it harder for people to spy on your passwords. I absolutely NEVER log onto essential accounts from public networks, even with my VPN. Here’s a VPN review that I did last year.
- Secure accounts with your phone
Many services like Google and Facebook allow you to use double verification. This means you need your phone to log in as they send you an SMS. At a minimum, set up security notifications so that if someone logs in you get an sms sent to your phone notifying you to take action.
- Make sure your computer is safe
Every computer should be up to date from the software side as well as all of the browsers that you use. Many of those pesky updates that we all hate are made for security reasons. Here’s a list of tips I wrote a while ago to help you keep your computer and other online assets a bit safer.
The purpose of all this stuff is not to make you paranoid. There is no point in being overly worried about mysterious deviants lurking in the shadows.
But you do need to be aware and smart about it.
7. Have good communications channels with trusted contacts and admins
One of the absolute best things that I have done when traveling overseas is have a trusted contact or two that can login to my email, website, bank, etc. if something were to go wrong.
Obviously you need to make sure you trust this person with all the material before handing over the logins. That means a local staff member (not a VA) or a family member that is competent and knows their way around online.
Then you can do things like:
- Write down passwords
Write down your logins on paper and give it to them. Never send these via email or an online service and always make sure that they are somewhat anonymous in case someone steals the piece of paper.
- Give them a quick tutorial
Sit down for five minutes with your trusted person and give them an overview of what to do in some of the basic scenarios. It might just be as simple as how to reset or change a password if it were to get compromised.
- Communicate with your host and important admins
As far as a blog is concerned, it is your hosting admins that are most important. If something goes wrong with your blog you need to be able to get on chat with them and sort out the issue. This can be very hard if you’re “off the grid” and so you want someone at home to do it for you. Consider shooting your techs and email ahead of time letting them know that someone else has permission to act on your behalf while you’re away.
Again, you probably won’t need all of this stuff but it makes it so much easier should anything go wrong if you’ve planned ahead of time.
Preparation is key.
Keeping your blog profitable while you’re away
So far this post has been about how to keep working while you’re on the road.
But what about keeping your blog profitable?
It might seem odd, but profit and work are two completely different things.
I know a lot of bloggers who work really hard and still don’t make any money. And I know other who hardly work at all and make a fortune.
I was overseas for around 11 days in November during which time I sent this Tweet:
One of the greatest things about an online business is the ability to keep it kicking along without you constantly having an input.
There is a certain freedom in knowing that you’ve set up your blog(s) so that they will continue to make sales and get links and traffic while you’re offline or away.
It’s not easy, but it is very possible.
And it mostly comes back to creating a distinctive brand that has an effective content strategy.
One of the big things I’ve been helping my Private Coaching clients achieve is a clear and deliberate content strategy that is aimed at achieving a very specific goal. That means no more random posting and a lot more strategic connections, linking and so on.
In 2015 I’m going to be writing a lot more about this with the goal of making Blog Tyrant a place where people come to get “serious” about their blogging and online marketing – more specifics and less tips and tricks.
Any tips or questions?
I’d be really curious to know whether you have any tips about blogging and working on the road. Or perhaps you have a question about the last paragraph on strategic blogging? Either way, I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below so please let me know. Oh, and feel free to leave links to your own posts if you’ve got similar stories or tips to share.