This post is based on Episode 243 of the ProBlogger podcast.
If you’re travelling over the holidays – to see family and friends, or just for a vacation – then you might be worried about you’ll keep up with your blogging. (This can also be a challenge if you travel regularly.)
Here are five broad options you might like to consider, depending on your situation.
#1: Take a Complete Break
A break will allow you to focus on your trip. It will also give your readers a break, which can be a good thing from time to time.
#2: Get Ahead Before You Go
If you write and schedule posts ahead of time, there won’t be so much to handle while you’re on the road. (This is something I do quite a lot.)
#3: Use Your Archives
While you’re away, you could republish some of your popular posts (perhaps after editing them a bit), or publish posts that link to some of the best pieces in your archives.
#4: Use Guest Bloggers
You could ask one or more guest bloggers to post on your blog while you’re away. And ask if they’re happy to answer comments as well so you can have a proper break.
#5: Work While Away
Finally there’s the option of blogging on the road, which is what I’ll be covering in the rest of this post. But to make things easier for yourself, you should probably stick to straightforward posts that don’t take too much writing or managing. (This isn’t the time for an in-depth reader poll or a huge multi-person interview post.)
Working While You’re Travelling
When I started blogging in 2002, smartphones weren’t really a thing. My Nokia offered rudimentary internet access, but it was a very slow and clunky experience.
Back then (and even today), most bloggers would find internet access along the way. I’d look for an internet cafe, or borrow a computer from the friend I was visiting. Sometimes I’d visit the local library, which often had computers with internet access.
I’d take a notebook and outline my blog post on the go. Then when I was at the internet cafe, the library or my friend’s computer, I could write that blog post quickly and efficiently. So if you want to travel without any technology, it’s certainly possible.
But these days most of us travel with some sort of device, whether it’s a mobile phone, tablet, laptop, or a combination of them. So let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of using each one.
#1: Blogging from Your Mobile Phone
While you can create text content on your mobile phone, I find it cumbersome. I wouldn’t want to write much more than 100 words. Anything longer would be slow and frustrating, and I’d make a lot of mistakes.
But some things are easy to do from a mobile. For instance, I might check in on social media, interact with comments, or even make minor edits to blog posts.
So if you’ll be focusing on the social media side of your business while travelling, a mobile phone would certainly be an option.
#2: Blogging from Your Tablet
In the past I’ve found using my iPad to create content a bit clunky. But a while back I won an iPad Pro with a keyboard, and I can plausibly use it instead of a laptop.
Obviously a tablet takes up a lot less space than most laptops. So if you’re on holiday for a week or two and just want to be able to check in on things and do a bit of work if/when inspiration strikes, a tablet could be a great option.
My iPad has apps that let me do pretty much anything I need to do with my blog, such as log into the backend of WordPress. (I can also do it through a browser on the iPad). I can chat with my team, access Google Analytics, and much more.
#3: Blogging from Your Laptop
When I’m on a work-related trip I always take my laptop. Presenting at a conference is more reliable from a laptop. And chances are I’ll be working on the plane (each way), in the hotel, and so on. I’m much more effective on a laptop, and so for me it’s definitely worth taking.
But you might think a laptop will be a nuisance to carry around. Or you might be concerned about losing it, particularly if it’s an expensive one.
Whatever technology you choose, you then need to decide how to fit it all in while you’re on the road.
How do you juggle blogging with being on holidays, or at a conference? Obviously you want to focus on whatever you’re there to do – spend time with your family, catch up with friends, network at the conference, etc.
I’ve already given you one key tip: schedule as much as you can before you go, even if it means working extra hard for a few days or weeks.
Beyond that, I’ve found that what helps the most is to have a routine for working while you’re away.
With smartphones, it’s easy to be “always on”. But this can really intrude on time with family and friends. Find some blocks of time where you can work: perhaps a small block every day and a few bigger blocks for tackling larger tasks.
If I’m travelling with my family this means I’ll either get up early to do my social media, check my email, etc. or work after my kids have gone to bed. In either case I keep the main part of my day free to either spend with friends and family or be present at the conference I’m attending.
With any larger tasks I couldn’t schedule ahead of time (such as sending out a newsletter), I make sure I’m clear about when I need to do it, rather than springing it on my family. I’ll tell my wife Vanessa and the kids, “I’ll be working on Wednesday morning for two or three hours. I’ll need to find a cafe somewhere, and I won’t be with you during that time”.
Scheduling blocks of work ahead of time like this also helps me:
- Mull over the task I’ll be tackling, such as figuring out the subject line for an email or getting clear about the structure of a blog post in my head.
- Work efficiently. I can get a lot done in an hour if I know what I need to tackle and I get straight to work.
That being said, I generally try to avoid mixing work and relaxation too much. Even if we get our energy from blogging, we all need breaks from it too.
How do you handle working while you’re away? Share your tips with us in the comments.
Image credit: Oliur