6 Essential Things Writers Forget to Pack When Traveling

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Hi all. I don’t think I’ve mentioned it yet, but tomorrow I will be getting on a plane and flying to India for two weeks. Just to give you an idea of how much I need to get done before I go to sleep tonight, here’s my to-do list:

  1. Write and create graphics for 3 blog posts that will post while I’m gone
  2. Write 2,000 words in Camp NaNoWriMo project
  3. Pick up anti-typhoid medicine from pharmacy
  4. Try to find a pair of neutral, loose linen pants in the mall
  5. Fold laundry, iron clothes so they will be ready when I come back
  6. Tackle the mountain of dirty dishes in my kitchen
  7. Finish packing.

That’s quite a lot, right? Well, for this post, I’m focusing on that last one. That’s right – today’s topic is Six Essential Things All Writer’s Forget to Pack When Traveling. Or at least what this writer forgets to pack. I’m notorious for forgetting to pack essential things (deodorant, toothbrush, socks, and even underwear have been absent from my suitcase in the past), so I’m sure there will eventually be an edit at the end of this post listing all the writerly things I wished I had brought.

1.    Something to write with.

I know, I know. This one is obvious. But like I said above, I’m notorious for forgetting the most obvious essentials. Just be sure to pack your computer, notebook, or (god forbid), your typewriter – and make sure you pack it in your carry-on (especially with laptops – you certainly wouldn’t want that to go missing if your luggage were to get lost. *makes sign of the cross*). Sitting in the flight is the perfect time to work on your manuscript, so you’ll want to make sure you have something with you so that you can do so.

2.    USB or external hard drive.

You will definitely want something to back up your work on. Personally, I like to follow the good ol’ rule of three when it comes to backing up my writing. At the end of every writing session, I save to a USB, to the computer itself, and to the cloud. Or at least I try to – this morning I woke up in a cold sweat because I realized I wrote 1,000+ words last night without my USB actually being plugged into my computer.

Backing up three times may seem overzealous, but let me tell you the story of a girl who once had the hubris of saving only to a USB, trusting her computer’s ‘autosave’ function to serve as a proper back-up. Well, that girl was me, and one day I sat down to write only to find my USB had been corrupted. That’s right – I lost a 60,000 + word manuscript that I had been working on for over three months.

Since then, my computer (which is really a tablet masquerading as a computer) has eaten two more flash drives. To be honest, I don’t trust my computer farther then I can throw it when it comes to saving my stuff – and neither should you, which is why you should always follow the rule of three.

When traveling, it’s not always possible to back up to the cloud, due to lack of internet connection. So it’s imperative to back up on your computer and on a USB – and then save to the cloud when you’re able.

You’ll thank me later.



3.    A copy of your most recent book.

You never know who you’re going to meet, and what kind of connections you’ll make. Of course, I don’t have any books to hawk myself. But if I did, I’m sure I would neglect to pack them. Which leads me to…

4.    Your business card.

If you don’t have a physical book to hand out, the next best thing is a business card with your contact info and a link to any digital titles you may have available. If you do have a physical book, it might be a good idea to slip your business card into the front cover – the reader will have a book mark, and your contact info!

5.    A travel journal.

Whenever I travel, I always like to bring along a dedicated journal to record the happenings of my journey. Normally, I would take a larger notebook and write in it at the end of the day, in a prose-y, narrative style. This, of course, took up a huge chunk of time – at least an hour that I would rather have spent sleeping or exploring. This time, I bought a smaller 3 X 5 inch journal (the expensive moleskine variety, no less) that fits into my pocket or bag, so I can jot down little notes when I’m out and about.

My travel journal...

My travel journal…

$13 dollars a pop. Better be worth it!

$13 dollars a pop. Better be worth it!

6.    A writing utensil.

Again, this one might seem obvious. But I guarantee the only time you won’t find your bag stuffed with ridiculous numbers of pens and pencils overflowing from every nook and cranny is when you actually need them.

Happy travels, my friends! And I will see you all in three weeks!



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H. Duke
H. Duke writes fantasy, horror, and more. Her works include the weird west / urban fantasy serial mashup, Jeremiah Jones Cowboy Sorcerer and the Christmas horror collection, Things on the Shelf: Three Tales of Christmas Terror, as well as the forthcoming Pagewalker series. She wrote the first season of Jeremiah Jones Cowboy Sorcerer while living in Arizona with her husband, Giru, and a shiny black dog named Jupiter. To see what she's up to now, visit her website.

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