Capture the magic of travelling

My lovely friend,  Zoë Dawes, has just written a post entitled ~ 10 questions and top tips before going on a Blog Trip.  I am going to reproduce it in full because the advice is so good.

To me, It is all about the magic and privilege of travelling ~ capturing the moment and the place ~ and taking your reader there.  And being responsible about how you travel and what you do on this wonderful planet of ours.

It is also about integrity, that is the most important factor ~ you mustn’t go on a ‘Blog Trip’ because it’s free, you must go because you’re excited about seeing this new destination and want to go there.  If you are excited and enthusiastic, it will shine through in what you write.  If your blog makes someone else want to go to the same place, then you have been successful!

Enjoy reading Zoë’s article.  The website is www.thequirkytraveller.com.

What is a Blog Trip?  It’s an updated version of the Press Trip, often offered by tourist agencies, PR companies and tourism businesses which generate publicity for their venue, resort, hotel, attraction or other holiday destination.   They are similar to Press Trips and may include journalists from newspapers or magazines as well as online bloggers.

Here are 10 questions for first-time blog trippers to consider before accepting a tempting invite or leaving for that dream destination.

Blog trippers in Sweden

  1. Will ALL your expenses be covered?  Sometimes you will get paid everything from the time you leave your house to the moment you return, but other times you may find yourself quite out of pocket.  Remember that even if meals, accommodation & transport are generally covered, drinks, taxis, duty free/souvenirs (well, sometimes you have to!) all add up. You will need some currency so get yourtravel money before you go – you may not have much time to change money on the trip.
  2. What is expected of you in return for the trip?  What does your client want re Social Media ie Twitter, Face Book, StumbleUpon etc.   How many blog posts are you expected to write? You’re going to be busy and it can be tiring so don’t overpromise.  Do they want you to write them whilst you are away?  Which leads to …
  3. What’s the WiFi or internet connection going to be like when you get there? Is it included in the package?  Uploading photos can take ages when you have a slow connection.  Remember – if you are using a smart phone abroad those Roaming charges quickly add up.
  4. Who else is going on the trip? Where are they from? You may be the only blogger going in which case you will have an exclusive or you may be part of a group.  It might be a Press trip as opposed to a dedicated Blog Trip, in which case you may be along with journalists from newspapers & magazines.  If you are on your own, check if you will have a host or someone to show you round and help if anything goes wrong.
  5. What’s the itinerary? Does it coincide with your interests?  You may be given a choice of activities so do think about your readers and what they might like to read about.  WARNING – some companies put together really great things to do but remember – you will need some time to yourself so don’t be afraid to ask for free time.
  6. What research do you need to do beforehand?  You may like to just turn up at a place and go with the flow, but it can pay dividends to find out some basic info about the country, customs and culture.  (I usually get the Culture Smart guides when I go somewhere new.) There are some fantastic travel Apps that you can download before you go.
  7. What clothes do you need to take?  Of course you need to know what the climate is like, but also whether you will be expected to dress up for a special dinner or doing adventure activities.  Some countries are more formal in dress code than others so do check.
  8. What are the rights to your writing?  Does the client expect exclusive use of your articles and photos or can you use the material elsewhere.  There are all kinds of regulations over Intellectual Property and it’s changing all the time for internet use, so it’s helpful to clarify it beforehand.
  9. On your return what is expected from you? Do you let the client know when articles are posted or links used? Is there anything else they want from you?  Let them know you value the relationship and hopefully it will lead to other opportunities for travel …
  10.  What else do you need to remember?  Of course you have to have your passport – do make sure it’s up to date as you may be asked to leave at short notice.  Keep a bag packed with essentials – ie passport, travel money, toiletries, travel plug, sun cream, mosquito repellent, first aid kit.  Charge up your laptop, cameras, smart phone, camera prior to departure and make sure all the right leads and plugs are packed.

Finally, remember that this is supposed to be fun so make sure that you really do want to go on this trip – your readers want to share your enjoyment too!

Cruising & blogging

The effervescent Quirky Traveller, cruising and blogging

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Blogging ~ it’s the latest fashion!

Everyone is doing it ~ blogging that is!  I am, writing this post!  You can happily wile away hours reading different blogs.  Earlier today I had a LinkedIn request which led me to the blog, thebigmozey.com.  Written by John Wilson, he decided to up sticks and travel with no specific destination, just travel!  But then what better way to live your journey though life ~ learning about different cultures and countries, making new friends and discovering something new every day ~ remind’s me of the title of James Stewart’s film; It’s A Wonderful Life.  John’s blog is good and easy to read.

I follow many blogs, it’s an eclectic mix.  Some of my favourites are the travel ones, naturally (with beautifully shot photographs), Matthew Teller’s ‘Quite Alone‘, Andy Jarosz’s ‘501 Places‘, Evelyn Hannon’s ‘Journey Woman‘, Abigail King’s ‘Inside The Travel Lab‘, Dave’s, ‘The Longest Way Home‘, Simone Falvo’s ‘Wild About Travel‘, Zoë Dawes’ ‘The Quirky Traveller’, Laura Porter’s ‘About London‘, Melvin Boecher’s ‘Travel Dudes‘, Keith Jenkins’ ‘Velvet Escape‘, Janice Waugh’s ‘Solo Traveler‘ and so many more.

And then there are some blogs where the writing is so boring, all factual or just plain negative, it’s awful. But this is just my opinion! When you write about travel, you are the eyes of the reader ~ your words can motivate people to actually travel to the country you’re writing about.  You have to be able to make that person walk alongside you on your travels, to be inspired, to want more! I read yesterday that to be an expert in what you do, you have to spend at least 10,000 hours on learning all about the subject, that is one heck of a long time!

There are plenty of websites that will give you tips and pointers, but I firmly believe in the Chinese saying ~

Tell me and I’ll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I’ll understand.

Zoe Dawes of The Quirky Traveller and Mark Elliott of Better Photos are giving you the opportunity of being involved and immersed in a workshop on writing and photography. The workshop is on 8th October 2011, that’s less than a month away.  But if you love travelling and finding wonderful, magical places, then this course is for you. Not only will you take away expert knowledge, you will be doing the course at Leighton Hall, one of Britain’s beautiful country houses and set in a stunning location.

Zoë Dawes has the deserved title of ‘Britain’s Best Travel Blogger 2011’ and always enjoys looking out, not for the norm, but for all things quirky!  That is what makes her writing so special ~ it comes alive. That’s why her website is listed as number 5 in the Top 25 Travel Blogs 

Lanthwaite Woods In Autumn ~ The Lake District

Mark Elliott is passionate about photography and believes, as I do, good photography adds such a plus to a blog post. It gives the ‘WoW’ factor!

Good writing and good photography will lift your blog up there with the best of them.  Book your place now!

The price is £175, excellent value & includes a light lunch and a free copy of ‘The Quirky Traveller Travel Notes’.

To book, contact Zoë:     01524 735715       or zoe@thequirkytraveller.com