Tag Archives: travel advice

Freelance Road Warriors: Lessons Learned While Working on the Road

Vinyl-Road-Rage-Record-Storby Joe Wallace

I’ve been working from the road as part of my cross-country blogging journey writing about indie record stores for my site Turntabling.net. The trip, called Vinyl Road Rage, isn’t a vacation–I kept working my regular freelance clients while out and about.

On this trip there was plenty to learn about the joys of extended time away from the office, using coffee shops as your office, and how to survive on the road as a freelancer.

A lot of what I filed away for future reference on this trip hasn’t been about the business of freelancing per se, but rather how to keep yourself ready to DO business as a freelancer while on the road.

One of the best investments I made in preparation for the journey? A 12-pack of bottled water that cost me $2.50. That’s the price of two gas station bottled water purchases, more or less. Every little bit counts in this economy.

Another excellent frugal traveling thing I’ve done this year was to take full advantage of the hotel continental breakfast. And I do mean “take advantage of”, as I stashed plenty of extra free fruit, oatmeal packets and other sundries to eat while on driving, sparing me a stop and a lunch bill.

Add to that a little trick I’ve learned to do over the years; one of my favorite kinds of food is Thai cuisine. Thai is extremely portable, especially if you have a cooler or ice chest with you. One Thai lunch is usually enough to split into two meals anyway (or at least it is if you eat like me) so I found myself getting double mileage out of my lunches when I did shell out for them.

Neglecting food is a bad idea for a freelancer–I try not to skip meals when I’m doing these cross-country drives, but I do like to make good time, too. From experience I’ve learned that a skipped meal equals poor productivity, reduced concentration and a higher potential for errors when working online. So I pack a lot of portable goodies like nuts, yogurt, low-fat cheese and organic peanut butter to tide me over when I’m trying to get some good driving time in.

When you’re in our line of work, it’s important to be healthy so you can perform in any required high-stress situation that needs your attention, whether that’s in the middle of a road trip or sitting in your pajamas in the living room. Find ways to stay fed, keep from getting sick, and still meet your road trip goals and you’ll have little problem making them habitual–the rewards are well worth the effort.

One last tip for a road tripping freelancer–the farther outside your destination city the hotel room is, the better the prices seem to be. Just sayin’.

Three Travel Tips – GroupOn, Wikitravel & Room77


Here are 3 recent travel tip discoveries & the associated web sites:

  1. GroupOn, LivingSocial, etc. – Unless you live under a rock, you’ve most likely heard of these flash deal sites. One overlooked way to use them though is for your next vacation. A few weeks (or even months) ahead of time, start subscribing to the daily deals for your destination. Find deals for great restaurants and cool activities. There are deal sites like these all over the world now as well.
  2. Wikitravel.org – This is my go-to site for general travel-planning information. They have good overviews for each country and most cities worldwide. For really popular destinations the information goes really in-depth. Like all wiki’s though, you should take the recommendations with a grain of salt. Anyone (e.g., hotel and restaurant owners) can easily go in and recommend their own places.
  3. Room77.com – This is a new company that launched last week. They’re the “SeatGuru for hotel rooms”. Not all hotel rooms are created equal and this site will help you find and book the room with a great view. They’re only in 16 cities so far, but expanding quickly.

Jason Demant is the co-founder of Unanchor.com, where you can find self-guided tour itineraries for your next trip. For the latest on travel-writing you can follow him on Twitter @Unanchor, or join the I Love Travel Writing Facebook group.

Travel Advice — Health Insurance


The two most frequent travel related questions I receive are “how do I setup my money” and “what do I do for health insurance?” I previously answered the 1st question and today, I’ll address the 2nd.

While on the road, World Nomads is hands down is the health insurance of choice.

World Nomads is essentially emergency-only health insurance. For United States residents, your co-payment is $100. This means if you’re going in for something routine, you’re going to pay for it. But if it’s something catastrophic, you’re covered.

Other reasons why I like World Nomads:

  • Covers you while participating in all kinds of crazy activities – surfing, scuba diving, bungee jumping, skydiving, snowboarding, etc…
  • Travel insurance is thrown in for free if your things are lost or stolen.
  • Available to residents around the world (not just US residents!).
  • Easy sign-up process and easy to extend while traveling.

Some things to be aware of before purchasing:

  • Unlike traditional health insurance, if there’s an accident, you pay fully out of pocket first, then file a claim to be reimbursed.
  • While they cover you if your things are lost or stolen, only $500 of electronics are covered. If your new Macbook Air is stolen, you’re not going to be reimbursed for its full value. If you travel with expensive jewelry or electronics, you should consider purchasing additional traveler’s insurance.
  • If you’re a United States resident and purchase domestic health insurance, you’re not covered if you’re within 100 miles of your permanent residence.
  • Lastly, make sure to read all of the fine print of your policy so you understand exactly what you’re getting. It’s surprisingly easy to read.

Check out their website, WorldNomads.com for more information and if you have any questions or opinions on World Nomads, leave a comment, I’d love to hear them.

Jason Demant is the founder of UnAnchor.com, where you can find detailed do-it-yourself travel itineraries for your next trip. For the latest on travel-writing you can follow him on Twitter @UnAnchor, or join the I Love Travel Writing Facebook group.

Full Disclosure: All links to World Nomads are affiliate links and by using them you support my travel habit. You’re awesome!

Photo Credit: Laura4Smith

Travel Writing? Let the Traveler Beware


So you want to take a stab at freelance travel writing? If you’re new to the business, here are a few things you should know before you get started. This advice isn’t about creating the finished product, this is more about protecting yourself when you’re on your way to and from the story:

  • Be very careful when booking your tickets online. These tickets are often non-refundable. If the name on your tickets doesn’t match your ID, you won’t fly that day OR you’ll fly after purchasing a second full-rate airline ticket.
  • Excess baggage fees are now $50 and higher. Pack lightly and take as much in your carry-on as possible.
  • You can write off your tickets as a travel expense, but what does your tax pro say about excess baggage fees, parking tickets and other hidden charges? Know before you go.
  • You don’t need the insurance on that rental car unless your auto insurance policy does not cover rental cars. Ask your insurance agent and save your money.
  • Read your car rental agreements CAREFULLY. Did you know rental agencies in some states have the right to charge huge fees for smoking on a non-smoking vehicle, taking the car across the border, or racking up too much mileage?
  • Hotel checkout times are firm. Don’t get charged extra for failing to check out on time. That’s a “no duh” bit of advice, but what’s not so obvious is that many hotels will be more lenient with you on checkout time IF you make arrangements in advance. If you need an extra hour or two, let the front desk know the night before and see what they say–you might get a break.
  • If you are traveling internationally with a Mac laptop, you may be surprised to discover that your Mac is compatible with the local power supply. In Germany, for example, you need a converter plug (an easy purchase at any Apple Store or online) but your Mac will run fine. That’s because of the nature of your Mac power cord. Beware though–if your plug has any defect at all the current could fry your laptop. You run a risk anytime you plug in to a non-USA power source without a voltage transformer, but that said, many people have used their Macs overseas without anything more than the converter plug.
  • If you need to send large images back to an editor, consider sending via YouSendIt or some other transfer service designed to handle large files with speed. Sending large images via e-mail, especially from overseas on borrowed bandwidth, is a right pain.