9 Ways Creatives Can Make The Most Of Their Travels

 Photo taken by Devonte Wilford of Rare Sighting Photography. New Orleans. April 2018.

Photo taken by Devonte Wilford of Rare Sighting Photography. New Orleans. April 2018.

The imaginative little kid inside of me loves to travel.

I always feel like trips out of town help me to rediscover myself, stock up on new forms of creative inspiration, and rethink the habits that I traditionally adhere to when I’m back at home.

The adult inside of me who pays rent every month struggles to appreciate trips out of town in full, on occasion. I’m extremely protective of my time. I have to be. I’m also a recovering workaholic, and no matter how efficiently you handle a plane, bus, or train situation, you’re going to see habits disrupted. You will lose time in transit. You will

I don’t want to get caught up in a mentality where I can’t avoid an out of town trip. Doesn’t matter if it’s a business outing, a family vacation, a lowkey baecation, or something else altogether. I’ve been thinking about how to make the most out of out of town trips, without losing sight of that trip’s original intent.

Read below for nine suggestions on how you can make the most of those trips.

 

1. Do your research.

Make it a goal to find people and locations of interest before you even touch down so that you can hit the ground running when you land. The internet is full of starting points for new relationships worldwide, if you’re diligent enough to do your own research and proactive enough to reach out. People’s portfolios, thoughts, and interests are all over the internet. Social media location tags reveal a lot. Google never fails. Don’t be a creeper, but don’t be afraid to drop a stranger a line and start a conversation. Even if you end up not clicking with them, you might find out more about your destination and other people you should connect with.

 

2. Ask your network to put you on game.

Good people tend to know good people. Chances are, you have a lot in common with the people you’ve connected with on social media. Use that commonality to your advantage. Don’t be afraid to ask your followers what they know about your next destination. You might get food recommendations, or suggestions on landmarks to visit. You might even find out that an old friend who you lost touch with lives in the city, or will be in town the same time as you. Until you put it out there, you never know. If you know people who travel a lot or have ties to your next location, reach out to them individually and see if they have any recommendations for you. A friend of a friend could be your new friend, tour guide, or connect.

 

3. Leverage your skill set to be of value to others.

If you treat a trip like an opportunity, it can become one. Think of your trip as an entry point to an new network of creatives, businesses, and customers who you might otherwise never meet face to face. If you’re a photographer, reach out to people you’d like to shoot or venues you’d like to create content for. If you’re an author, why not bring a few copies of your book and give them to a few businesses that you run across? If you are a performer, see if there are some stages you can share your talent on. Whatever your skillset, look into how you can showcase, develop, or utilize it during your trip.

 

4. Talk to strangers.

I know, I know. This breaks one of the biggest rules that you learned in third grade. As an adult who believes in the power of face to face conversation, I believe that this rule is one we can all break in certain situations. You might get some recommendations from locals on cool things to do nearby.  Don’t limit yourself to exploring the most well known parts of the city. Like any industry, tourism is driven by profit. Word of mouth can be a great way for you to find unique local businesses, family owned restaurants, and local landmarks that are relatively “off the map.”


"Trust your instincts, use your resources, give yourself space to be spontaneous, and appreciate the beauty around you."

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5. Explore.

Researching beforehand is a great way to set yourself up for success, but nothing can replace the value of seeing things for yourself.Once you’ve arrived, take advantage of your “up close and personal” time. The people who gave you recommendations might have different preferences than you do, and there’s no guarantee that any guides or articles you ran across are unbiased. If Yelp is a thing wherever you are, take advantage. If you’re active on twitter, feel free to search the names of venues, businesses and restaurants that you run across to see what word on the street is. Trust your instincts, use your resources, give yourself space to be spontaneous, and appreciate the beauty around you.

 

6. Don’t overplan.

Having a tight schedule in your own city is one thing. Trying to do the same thing in an unfamilar location is a more difficult battle. You can’t explore an entire city during a short trip,and you probably can’t do everything you think you want to do. Don’t try it. You can plan your trip to a certain extent, but trying to add too many destinations to your days will subtract from your happinesss. Avoid putting yourself in a position where everything feels rushed. Doing so will prevent you from seeing opportunities and appreciating moments. Appreciate the experiences you’re able to make time for, and keep the ones that wouldn’t fit in mind for the next time you come back.

 

7. Document your time.

If you wanna do it for the gram, feel free. Even if you don’t, consider documenting your time away from home. Write about your experiences, take lots of pictures, and absorb all of the new things you come across. You might choose to share with the homies on social media. New destinations can be great conversation starters. You might even get some recommendations on how to spend your time as you document your journey in real time. If you want to keep your memories private, that’s cool. The pictures and videos that you collect can fuel new perspective about your life and your goals. Writing down how you feel in the moment can be a poignant snapshot to reexamine six months down the road. If you’re observant and take time to reflect, new destinations are full of teachable moments and inspiration.

 

8. Make plans for how you’ll use your time spent in transit.

I’ve written some of my best articles on planes, buses, and trains. The article you’re reading right now was conceptualized, structured, and halfway written during a flight from Washington, D.C. to New Orleans. It was fueled by airport food, soundproof headphones, and one of my favorite Soulection playlists. We don’t always have a lot of time to execute our creative ideas. Work, family, friends, smartphones, and a million other distractions are always around to pull our focus elsewhere. If you plan the right way, that five hour train ride or two hour flight can give you the degree of quiet and isolation that you need to knock out that new article you wanted to write, draft those introductory emails you’ve been meaning to send, listen to that informative podcast that will help you to level up, or research that new project you want to execute. Don’t waste your travel time.

 

9. Plan an extra day or two for yourself and your creative ventures.

Don’t try and turn your family reunion into a networking trip. Don’t miss your friend’s wedding because you wanted to get some photo shoots off in your formal attire. Don’t get fired because you were out too late to make the first meeting in the morning. Don’t have bae mad because you spent more time “connecting and building” than enjoying their presence. Whatever the original purpose of your trip is, don’t let your secondary creative goals distract you from the mission. If possible, see if you can extend your trip a few days longer so that you have space to take advantage of the creative opportunities that your destination holds for you. If that’s not possible, just remember to hold tight to your priorities. New destinations always throw off habits, so its important to have a solid plan in place before you touch down.


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