I first began blogging 6 years ago, when I worked for the Travel Channel in 2008. After I left the network in 2010, this blog continued on as a hobby– a way for me to share my travels with family and friends.
But sometime around 2011, things got real. Instead of writing about my infrequent travels to far-off destinations like New Zealand and Argentina, I instead decided to become the authority on a place I could really get to know and write about comprehensively and all the time…. namely, my backyard, the mid-Atlantic.
I began focusing on writing itineraries, reviews and other helpful (I hope) posts— all intended to really showcase the mid-Atlantic as an awesomely diverse region and help others have fulfilling day and weekend trips in the area, too. Right around that time, I received my first press trip.
The term “press trip” might be a bit obscure for those not in the blog-o-sphere, but basically it means that sometimes when I visit a destination, the local tourism board will provide me with complementary accommodations, meals and activities. I work closely with them to come up with an itinerary that serves my travel perspective (which sometimes can take months of planning) and in return I write about my visit and share my findings with all of you. All opinions are completely my own (and any blogs that come as a result of said press trips have a disclaimer), but the tourism board helps facilitate the planning and logistics… and sometimes offers to cover the costs, too.
These trips are amazing, but when you’ve got a jam-packed itinerary, with people and businesses to meet with at each turn, it can be really easy to feel overwhelmed while writing notes, taking photos on cameras and iPhones, posting updates to social media and trying to have an intelligent conversation with a business-owner all at the same time.
I realized that I had to learn how to get professional… fast. When I really thought about it, I found that most of my traveling stress centered around how I carried all my stuff. And I realized that staying organized is an issue that many non-professional travelers have, too.
So, friends, it’s time to provide some secrets of a travel blogger as I share my must-have trip essentials and answer the question: Just what is in my bag?
- A Moleskin notebook… great for taking notes on the go
- My camera
- Extra camera batteries (At least 2, fully charged)
- My iPhone, loaded with a few key apps: Yelp, Instagram, PS Express (my top app for photo editing), AudioMemos (for interviews), Waze (for avoiding traffic)
- A Mophie juice pack– for on the go power (and corresponding cable)
- Folding Ray Ban Wayfarer Sunglasses— seriously, they fold in half. They couldn’t be more space-efficient. And stylish.
- A bottle of room temperature water (because cold water sweats all over everything)
- Hand sanitizer
- A box of my business cards.
- SIDENOTE: Aren’t they cute? 🙂
- A planned-out itinerary with twitter handles written down for each and every place I’m planning to stop.
- Along with the itinerary, I always map it all out using Google Maps, which allows me plan my journey ahead of time so I know exactly how to get from place to place… and how long it will take for me to get there.
- A iPhone note pre-loaded with hashtags for social media.
- SIDENOTE: As I began my all of my frequent local travels, I found that the momentum of my trip would come to a grinding halt as I tried to post photos to Instagram and write out all of the relevant hashtags. Trying to post to social media quickly and accurately became stressful, and I realized that there had to be a better way! So, I began doing all of my hashtag planning in advance, and putting them into a iPhone note so I have them ready to copy and paste while I’m on the go.
- Lastly, we can’t forget the actual bag itself. It has to be big enough to carry all of my aforementioned essentials (yes, ALL of the items above), while also being stylish, comfortable and durable. It’s a tall order, but I found true love with my Kelly Moore B-Hobo bag ($169): a purse/camerabag/daypack that fit all of my needs and more. And the best part? It never gets in my way… and isn’t afraid to get a little dirty!
That’s what’s in MY bag… what’s in yours?