3 Easy Tips for Writing While Traveling

    writing while traveling - map and notebook

    If you’re anything like me, you have a hard time breaking away from the fun of travel to actually sit down and write. It doesn’t matter if you’re on a 3 day holiday or living a nomadic lifestyle like I currently am, there never seems to be enough time to get all the writing done.

    If you’ve already developed strict writing habits then this advice might not pertain to you. If you write no matter what, no matter where you are, then you’re on another level and you probably already use the tips I’ve learned.

    Personally, I’ve set up my lifestyle to where I need to work 2-4 hours/day (in addition to writing for my blog) while I’m on the road or at home (which is currently nowhere since I sold all my belongings and rented out my house). Approximately half of that work time is devoted to writing and editing.

    If you’re not traveling, just having trouble finding the time to write, these tips will work for you too.

    1) Schedule Writing Time Like You Schedule Other Activities

    You schedule time to visit the sites in whatever city you’re visiting, right? There’s no reason why you shouldn’t do the same for your writing.

    I’ve found it’s easier for me to schedule in 1-2 hour blocks. The best time for me has been after lunch and before bed.

    Immediately after eating lunch I will head to a cafe, library, or park, and work for 1-2 hours on my laptop. If I haven’t scheduled anything for after that block of writing, I will take a short break, and then work some more.

    If I have scheduled an activity after that 1-2 block of work time I will then schedule another 1-2 hour block of writing time before I go to bed. Sometimes that means less sleep, but the work gets done.

    If you’re an early morning get-started-right-away type of worker, then scheduling your writing time immediately upon waking or after breakfast might work better for you.

    2) Write During Dead Time

    Even if you’re in the middle of a fantastic holiday you’ll find lots of dead time.

    Examples of dead time:
    – Waiting for a table at a restaurant.
    – Waiting for your food at said restaurant.
    – Taking a bus or train to your next stop.
    – Waiting for said bus or train.

    In an average day I probably have to wait 60 minutes for buses, trains, and food. During that time I pull out my small notepad or my netbook and write. If writing by hand I transfer it to my computer during my next scheduled writing session.

    3) Schedule Full Work Days

    This mostly pertains to you if you’re on a long, slow, trip. You don’t have to rush around seeing all the sites and packing it all in at once so you have some luxurious leeway. That’s my preferred way of living and traveling.

    And because of that style of travel I schedule full days where my only goal is to work. I still enjoy the city I’m in because I schedule some of that work time in local parks, restaurants, or cafes, but I can relax and write without feeling rushed.

    A friend I met in Sydney, Australia actually schedules full weekends in the Blue Mountains (~2 hours from Sydney) where he does nothing but write. He loves the mountains, and he loves to write, so it’s a double whammy.

    I’m currently in Adelaide, South Australia for a few days longer than expected because I didn’t make a train. I’m using this “found time” to mostly work.

    As a blogger I have myself on a set posting schedule. It’s one blog post per week, every Tuesday. I know that’s not as often as a lot of other bloggers, but it’s important that I meet that deadline. It allows me the time to craft well thought-out blog posts.

    I don’t believe in “writing it in.” That is, I don’t believe in free-writing a blog post and then immediately posting it to the blog. That works for a lot of successful bloggers, but it doesn’t work for me.

    I have to schedule a lot of time to write and edit my blog posts. I’m still learning and would love your tips for finding time to write when it might not be the most convenient. Leave them in the comments. With your help we can turn this simple blog post into WriteToDone’s Ultimate Writing While Traveling resource. 🙂

    About the author

      Karol Gajda

      Karol Gajda writes about Freedom, Health, Travel, and Life at Ridiculously Extraordinary. To learn how to live a Ridiculously Extraordinary Life subscribe to the RSS feed here.

    • Great tips!

      We have been traveling the world non-stop since 2006 on an open ended family world tour, so I’m always looking for ways to keep that balance.

      Today it’s not just find time for the writing while traveling, but also the photos & links, maybe add a video, time to tweet, Stumble, Facebook, bookmark, comment on other blogs, plus your youtube channel etc…. and internet connection can be slooooow!

      We’ve been to 32 countries, 4 continents & over 175,000 miles (most overland) so far & even though we travel slow to immerse deeply, it is impossible to keep up in real time with all of the tales.

      After worrying about that at first, I have found this to be the good news. I continually write and have tons of things already written (or in various stages), so I batch ahead from time to time. I also fill in with a photos series and batch those ahead from various countries on my blog.

      That frees me to do other writing, travel, rest etc. as well as adding a spontaneous extra posts when I want. I do much of my writing off line while moving ( train,plane, cargo ship,rv,ferry,car etc) or early in the morning /late at night when things are most still ( kidlet sleeps).

      Traveling and writing is such a great mix!

    • @Eric C: Thank you! Glad you loved the post. 🙂

      @Leonard: Thanks! Great tip RE: Panera Bread.

      @Denny: Awesome, let me know how it works out for you!

      @MoxieMom: Great tips. I’m guilty of usually checking my e-mail first thing, but since I schedule actual blocks of writing time I don’t look at it as anti-productive.

      @Andy: Awesome tip! When I was in Australia/NZ recently I didn’t have a mobile that had any features. What I did have was my Flip video, which I would use in precisely the way you describe. 🙂

      @Kay: Thanks for sharing! If you used Andy’s tip on the bus people might give you odd looks, but who cares? 🙂 If you need to get an idea down you need to get an idea down. 🙂

    • I frequently travel by bus to Boston. It takes about about three-and-a-half hours, just about the length of time the battery on my laptop lasts. I spend the time writing articles for my website and Portland’s Examiner. I just write. I edit when I get home, a process that requires three to four hours for every one I spend writing because I do some research to back up my ideas.

      I think you are having the time of your life, Karol. I wish you success.

      I’d take up Andy’s idea of using his cell phone, only the people on the bus would think me odd.

    • Andy says:

      Although this doesn’t pertain to writing when travelling as such it is a useful tip when out and about. I often find that whilst walking somewhere suddenly sentences and even whole paragraphs will enter my head for something I plan to write about. Instead of stopping and writing them down and in doing so breaking the flow, I actually use my mobile phone to record my thoughts just as you would use a Dictaphone. I often find that by the time I have gotten home I will have recorded so many thoughts, points and actual paragraphs that the piece I had planned to write will be nearly complete and saves time trying to remember what I was thinking.

    • MoxieMom says:

      Nice article. Thank you for sharing.

      I get up at 5:00 am before my family wakes up. The trick is you need to also NOT open your email but carve out the time just for writing.

      Right now I’m actually dedicating my time to copying in my 10 years of narratives for a publisher. Some years were lost because I did not back up my work. So my other tip is BACKUP YOUR WORK.
      Enjoy your travels. I look forward to following you.

    • Thanks. Very appropriate blog post as we travel off into the holidays with desires to continue productivity. @TweetRightBrain

    • When I travel by car for more than a few hours I go to the Panera Bread locator and find the Panera cafes along the way. I like to take a break after about three hours of driving, and while I get my coffee and meal or snack I boot up, make notes or write, and quickly check me email.

      Panera cafes offer free wifi and are happy to have folks sit around working.

    • Eric C says:

      Wow, this really hit me because last year I spent a year in Italy writing. What hit me is that I felt like I never had enough time to journal when I was on weekend trips. Eventually I found that since most museums and sights were only open from around 9-6 (things are different in Europe) I would wake up in the morning, eat breakfast, and get my ideas out.

      Traveling(actually moving from one place to another) is also a great chance to write. Boat, plane, train whatever.

      Loved this post.

    • @Iain – I enjoy it too. Although writing with pen & notebook on a bus is a tricky endeavor. 🙂

      @Unoblogger – thanks, I’m glad it’s helpful 🙂

      @Srinvas: I’m with you. I do that too, especially when I’ve scheduled a full day of work.

      @Charlotte: I think part of the reason it works so well is we don’t have many choices when we’re in transit. Read, write, procrastinate, or sleep. 🙂

    • Writing while actually in transit works for me. Something about the motion of a car or plane often jogs the words loose. I love writing while in motion and often the ideas I get while doing so seem completely new and different.

    • Karol,

      One of the most effective methods I’ve found is batch writing. I often will write 3-4 blog posts in a day and schedule them out for the following week.

    • UnoBlogger says:

      There are many articles on the web and this article encompasses well on the finer points. this sure will help on my travels….

    • I love writing while travelling. And I mean that in the literal sense: on trains, buses etc. Even if it’s just a case of making a few notes or scribbling some ideas, it’s a time when you’ve got little else to distract you.

      I’m also like you with blog posts – I like to take my time and make sure what I’ve written is contributing something more than ‘just another article’.

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