Maintaining a travel blog while travelling is definitely one of the most difficult things about travel blogging. No matter how much of a fan of your own work you are, playing out in the sun with your new pals is usually more appealing than being tied to your laptop.
Most people set up a travel blog to tell mum / dad / grandpa / whoever all about the fun they’re getting up to overseas, while they’re there. Before they go they’re all gung ho, giving the URL out to anyone who’ll listen. A few weeks in and it’s a different story – the enthusiasm can start to fade.
After three years of travel blogging I’m here to show you how you can keep it up, and even get better with age.
Write on your phone
Actually being in transit is one of the most productive times I have. I can’t be drawn in by the azure lull of Facebook, the 140 characters of addictive gibberish on Twitter or any of the other time wasting social media platforms. I have my notes section on my phone, no Wi-Fi and that’s it for entertainment. My writing process usually involves tapping away anything that comes to mind on a topic on my phone in ‘notes’ and then emailing it to myself to work on, on Word when I have time. This is when I get most of my writing work done.
There are other apps you can use to streamline this, like Evernote and Jotterpad, but the simplicity of Notes just works for me.
Don’t stay in a hostel
Or at least pick an unsociable one. When I was in Japan I was a big fan of the capsule hotels. Cheap, everything you need and a curtain to block everyone else out, it was the perfect way to keep on track with my blog and writing work. Hostels are great if you want to make friends, but if you’re falling behind on your blogging schedule find one that looks a bit quieter – perhaps the opposite of what you’d normally choose.
Shut down social media
Work more productively by using apps like Cold Turkey for PCs or Freedom for the Mac. These help you to specify which sites you want to block and for how long. Or, you can just block out everything but the specific sites you need.
I also use Rescue Time, which gives me a report on how long I spend on every site. My Facebook use can be shameful. I use these apps every day to concentrate on my work. I’m an addict so it hurts a bit to turn it on, but when I do, I’m a machine.
Allot yourself a time
If I’m being a bit slack I’ll set a timer and force myself to write for 30 minutes, at least, non-stop. At the end of that 30 minutes I’ll promise myself a treat – maybe to check my emails, Facebook or to have dinner – but more often than not, by the end of that 30 minutes I’ll be so into whatever it is I’m writing that I’ll want to carry on. You just need to get started and who knows where it’ll take you.
I relish my time that I’m not connected. I’m writing this while I’m not connected. But I can only feel like this when I know where my next Wi-Fi is coming from. I’m currently in Spain, and staying in a pretty nice hotel so I know that I can get it later. When I was in the Philippines though, it was a very different case, and I was tearing my hair out wandering round El Nido like a mad woman. If you’re travelling somewhere where the Wi-Fi is limited, have a look at some of the options like tethering your phone or signing up for portable Wi-Fi.
Keep at it
Whether your blog is on gapyear.com, WordPress or some new platform that’s just been thought up, to maintain it, you need to keep up with it. Don’t come back a week later from when you normally post and start off with how sorry you are that you haven’t posted and list a thousand reasons why, unless they’re interesting of course. Just accept how often you’ll be able to post and stick with it. When it comes to your readers under promise and over deliver.
Make sure you’re comfortable and have all you need to be productive before you sit down. Don’t waste time faffing about with passwords, food, drinks and the toilet. Especially if you’re by yourself as you’ll have to keep getting up and taking your laptop with you to the bathroom, wasting time in hopping on and off the Wi-Fi.
But not too comfortable
I know when I’m getting restless in one place, as in one position. Sometimes if I’ve been working in a particular bar all day, or desk, or even in bed, all I need is to move to some place else and my creativity is replenished.
Hide if you need to
If you’ve made some good pals and don’t want to be a bore around them (never do work around people that are having fun, spoils it for all of you) then just take yourself off somewhere to work. Set yourself a deadline “As soon as I write this post I’ll go and find them for a beer” and you’ll be amazed at how quickly you manage to polish it off.
Obviously running a travel blog shouldn’t take you away from your travels but if you want to make it a good one, you need to show some dedication.
Maintaining a travel blog while you’re travelling can be a lot more difficult than it sounds, especially if you’re a chronic FOMO sufferer like me. With these steps though, you’ll be the next top travel blogger before you know it.