Travel Writing: 5 Essentials in Your Travel Bag - article

As a travel writer, you pack differently than the average traveler. Sure, you need basics like clean clothes and toiletries, but there are certain essential items you want to be sure to take along, among which are the following:

  1. Things that identify you as a writer, like business cards, professional association membership cards, and assignment letters. These are great tools for getting you past gatekeepers, into events, discounts and the like. You also might encounter a potential interview subject or two. Having your credentials will surely make them more likely to be cooperative.
  2. A digital camera. You may not be a professional photographer, but you want to have your trusty camera with you at all times. Even if it’s just a simple “point and shoot”, it will be an invaluable aid in helping you document things you might otherwise have forgotten.
  3. A digital recorder. It’s a much easier way to record an interview, or your impressions, than writing them down. When it comes to retaining spontaneous flashes of insight or just plain brilliance, the digital recorder is a must have item.

    Important note: A good smart phone can fill many roles, including camera, voice recorder, video recorder and, last but not least, a phone. A smart phone with a GPS application can be a life saver, literally and figuratively.
  4. A supply of large envelopes. These will make it easier for you to mail home things like menus, maps, brochures, and programs from plays and events you might have attended. Since you have your writer’s credentials, you can take advantage of the less expensive “media rates” for postage. Not only can this save you time and trouble, it can also save the regret you’d feel if you left something behind, and the financial sting of having to pay extra for overweight baggage.
  5. Pens, notebooks and highlighters. This is self-explanatory but can’t be stressed enough. If you plan to write at the end of the day, they are essential. If you’re high tech, and like to write on a computer, consider using the computer in the hotel’s business center (if available) to save you the trouble of having to lug your laptop around. Just make sure you bring a thumb drive so you can save what you write and take it with you.

So, here’s the take home lesson. As a travel writer, you are much more than just a casual sightseer. You’re there with a purpose, and your purpose is best served when you have the right equipment.

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