Travel Writing Secrets

First off, this blog is about writing while traveling, not travel writing, although it does’t exclude travel writing. It seems my life is more and more about traveling. I love visiting family and seeing new places. I don’t love getting there.

There’s nothing like cramped legs to make me cranky. So I end up walking the aisles of a plane, putting my feet up on the dash of the car or taking up the whole back seat to stretch out. What does this have to do with writing? A lot. I write every second I can spare, including while traveling. It’s hard to concentrate if I’m not comfy. So I’ve learned a few tricks to make the experience bearable. Then I get a lot more writing done.

I wear my traveling pants. These are not my best looking pants. They’re the stretchy ones with a little extra room. They look a little baggy when I stand up, but it’s worth the extra comfort when I’m stuck in a sitting position for hours. I also dress in layers to allow for the wide variance in temperature in cars & planes. 

I wear slip-on shoes and minimal metal. Who wants to untie & tie shoelaces while trying to unpack the laptop and get everything else onto the belt to go through security? I don’t wear a belt with a metal buckle or much jewelry. It’s not fun making the security machine beep and having to go through multiple times. Except for my RNA medicine, which can’t go through the X-ray machine, I put my quart size baggy full of liquid & gel toiletries in my checked bag to decrease the security hassle. It’s bad enough getting patted down without security sniffing my shampoo too.

I include supplies for one day in my carry-on bag and stow it by order of access. If I get stuck overnight, I’m covered. I pack basic first aid, including decongestant so my head doesn’t explode when landing. My snacks include chocolate because I’m sure I would die without my minimum daily requirement. My favorite carry-on bag is a rolling backpack with lots of individual pockets. Even my laptop, which isn’t small, fits inside, with my small purse and all my valuables, including jewelry. I found out the hard way, baggage handlers steal. Airlines take no responsibility for theft of items stowed in carry-on bags, so make sure your carry-on fits in the overhead bins or under the seat.

I take memory foam. I can’t sleep on hard Hotel mattresses. So I cut an inch think memory foam mattress topper to the width of a standard pillow, made a case for it from a sheet, and I take it along to make the bed softer. If I’m traveling by plane, I roll it up to make a standard size pillow and stuff it in a case which fits in a large carry bag with a handle. It counts as my personal carry-on item. I can actually sleep with this thing, unlike a tiny neck pillow. If my connections are tight, its faster to stash my laptop in this bag than my backpack. I don’t travel far by car unless hubby’s driving, and then I use the pad folded in half as a seat cushion.

I take power sources for the trip. My old laptop took 2 batteries for one 5 hour flight, but my phone would last 3-4 days without charging. Now it’s the opposite. I pack an extra phone battery for my android, but my new laptop lasts 6 hours so I don’t need an extra battery for it. I bought an inverter for the car with a house and usb plug so I can use my laptop all day. I take a high-gain usb antenna for my laptop to use where wifi isn’t within easy reach. Even in hotels with wifi, this comes in handy if we get a room too far from the office.

I have more travel writing secrets but not more time. I need some sleep. If you have secrets of your own that make writing while traveling easier, please share. They shouldn’t be secrets.

Share A Heart

Indie author-friendly freelance editor, children's book blogger for picture books through YA, kid lit, SF/fantasy lover with special fondness for middle grade, pun-loving SCBWI member, meter-maid for poetry and rhyming picture books.


  1. I wrote this weekend using a minilaptop in the car while driving 4 hours to WI and back. It was not fun – well the writing was fun, but the cramped driving/writing scenario, not so much! You sound like a traveling pro!

  2. I agree, getting there is a pain, but can you imagine what it must have been like before our modern modes of transport? Crazy uncomfortable! Looks like you’ve come up with several solutions. Cool. 🙂

  3. Sounds like you have it all under control! Great post.

  4. Wow! You really travel prepared. I like the memory foam idea. I hate hard mattresses, too.
    But my wife can’t sleep on too soft a mattress. (We call our arrangement “marriage”) Ha.
    I just wish someone would come up with luggage large enough to hold my muse.

    Great, and informative, post!

  5. These are the best travel tips i have. You have covered practical points that could help reduce the stress levels significantly. Great post.

  6. I think I now have laptop envy. Mine only lasts 2 hours tops.

  7. Writing while travelling is really a great experience of exciting. This give a opens space to think innovative. Excellent post.

  8. Writing while travelling is really a great experience of exciting. This give a opens space to think innovative. Nice post.

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