Travel Tips and Tricks for Your Next Trip!

15 Travel Tips and Tricks for Your Next Trip!

I discovered these travel tips and tricks while traveling a ton last year. Say that three times fast. I thought I’d share my favorites. Oh, man, now I’m rhyming. These tips save time, help with packing, and have made traveling so much more enjoyable. Travel season is almost upon us!

I hope to travel again soon if Danny can get out of jury duty. *crosses all body parts*

Travel accessories - purse, dinky wallet and carabiner

Carabiners and Pint-sized Wallets

You’ve seen carabiners hanging on backpacks, maybe even on purses. I hang one on mine. They are so important for keeping things together. I’ve spent hours looking for my car keys. What a waste!

  • Clip a carabiner to Airbnb apartment and rental car keys to keep them together. I can easily find them in the great abyss of my purse or backpack since my carabiner is gargantuan.
  • I pared down to a tiny wallet. My driver’s license can be seen through the plastic making it super easy to use. It also holds my credit cards, cash and important stuff including business cards for my Wild Ride. You never know who I might meet along the way.
  • Since my pint-sized wallet has a ring attached, I clip it to my keys to keep from freaking out while going through airport security. I can clip it to a belt loop too.
  • THE OBVIOUS – I snap my headphones, hat, and water/coffee bottle to my backpack.

A Carryon Pack

I’m done with carryon bags. I’ve used almost every kind out there, but they are unwieldy to navigate down the narrow airplane’s aisle. Once stashed away in the overhead compartment, I always think of something I forgot to take out. Since I can still stuff something under the seat, I tend to take too much along on the plane.

Now I use a backpack! It carries all my important stuff: The crown jewels and my crown, of course, headphones, laptop, phone, book, camera, cords, and chargers. If I’m not wearing a jacket or sweater, I throw one in. I carry a protein bar, just in case we sit on the tarmac for a few hours. It happens.

Phone charger for the rental car.

I’ve “donated” a few phone chargers to Hertz, but they come in so handy when needing a charge while on the road so I always bring one along.

The Best Tip and Trick? Social Media!

socialmediaiconcollage

Twitter

I’ve used Twitter several times to contact people in the area I’m visiting. One time, I tweeted that I was heading to #Scotland and a young woman tweeted that her cousin Adhamh O Broin ran tours. We didn’t connect in Scotland, but ironically met in Boulder a few months later!

A selfie with Adhamh O Broin

I also check to see what’s trending to stay on top of the news. I found out about the London Bridge stabbings right before traveling there a few days later. Then I found out in person how they deal with terrorism.

Instagram:

When deciding where to go or what to bring, I always check out the city’s hashtag on Instagram. It’s been amazing to find out what locals wear and what they do to have fun. Plus the most Instagramable locations will trend. It’s an insider’s view!

If everyone is dressed to the nines, I bring my evening gown. If jeans are de rigueur, I pack accordingly but still bring a nice outfit for going out at night.

Same with outerwear. I paid close attention to how locals dressed for outdoor activities when heading to Europe for a month last summer. I planned for rain when I discovered several soggy Instagrammers.

Blogs

Sometimes when Googling an area, I want a personal viewpoint. I’ll Google the village, town or city with the word blog afterward. It’s a great way to find a new perspective before traveling.

Pinterest

I’ve pinned loads of travel information to boards on Pinterest. I always check to make sure the pretty photograph is linked to an informative blog post. This is a great way to make a list of things to do while visiting a new location. I especially love the unusual ones. Sometimes getting off the beaten path is the road to amazing discovery!

Culloden House view from the gate

The standing stones of Scotland

Waze 

This driving app will get you from point A to B no matter if you’re in Boulder or on a winding road in Belgium.

Weather

This can be a nightmare and very unpredictable as you know. I don’t ever check until two days before since no one really knows beyond three days. I hope for the best and plan for the worst. The last thing I want to do is sit inside while waiting for sunshine. I throw on a hat and jacket and go!

When we were in Scotland, we were shocked by how many slogged through the downpours while visiting castles. I bring a ball cap to keep the rain off my face.

Sterling Castle on a rainy day

What not to wear!

Layering, layering, layering. Whenever I bring some super thick sweater, it always sits all lonely-like in my suitcase unless it’s snowing and we’re heading out for dinner. Coming from the most unpredictable weather in Colorado where nights can be cool during our most scorching summers, I’ve learned to prepare for everything. Except for rain. We’re always on the lookout for those little black rainclouds.

Athletic wear. Even if I don’t plan on going to the gym while on vacation, there are days when I want to protect a clean shirt or stay warm so I wear a lightweight poly T-shirt underneath.

Thick Socks. I bought the most wonderful pair of super soft plush socks. They are great slippers when on vacation.

Loungewear. Because lounging.

Bring a scarf. Wear it on the plane to keep from inhaling every sneeze. Not a scarf wearer? Wear a hoodie and hide inside it. You don’t want to come down with the sniffles.

I could go on and on but I have to start packing. I’m an Aries optimist!

Do you like to travel? Are you a last minute person or do you have to plan everything?

Click for more adventure on the Wild Ride!

Related posts:

When Destiny Packs Your Bags

Scotland’s Culloden House, Loch Ness and Barb Taub’s Arran Island: Photo Essay

How Londoners Fight Terrorism

Pinterest Group Board Party!

Pinterest Group Board Party to Increase Blog Traffic

Pinterest is one of the best ways to increase blog traffic.

Joining Pinterest group boards can assist you in a big way. The idea is to pin across many boards to get traction and increase the number of repins. In other words, instead of waiting for others to build your numbers, you can pin on your boards then repin on group boards to get each pin started. By the way, when you join group boards they are added to your Pinterest home page along with the boards you’ve created.

Pinners also see your pins in their feeds. If someone chooses to repin one, most will click to your blog to make sure the link works. I alternate pins since I don’t want to spam the same pin every day all over the place. Soon, you’ll be unfollowed and thrown off group boards. It’s important to repin others. If you only pin your own, you’ll never get anywhere.

I haven’t gone viral yet, but there are many pinners, like SuzieSpeaks and Elena Peters who have. They tell me it takes patience and consistency.

Don’t have a Pinterest account?

Sign up! Start by creating a board with the title of your blog. Then add boards in your interests and have fun pinning!

I’ve been pinning for a long time. Pinterest is an excellent source for information. You’ll find everything from recipes, travel, photos, health, beauty, design, blogging, and humor to DIYs and how to use Pinterest.

Increase your views and join my Group Board!

Leave your Pinterest name in the comments and I’ll add you to my group board. Then pin one of yours to my group board and share at least one pin to one of your boards!

The party will rage all week, so join us anytime.

It should be a fun party where we all benefit. Happy Pinning!

Have you found success with Pinterest? Do you have an account? Be sure to follow my pins at Susie Lindau’s Wild Ride!

Related posts:

18 Best Blog Tips: New Ways to Promote Your Blog, Increase Traffic, and More!

Crush Procrastination, Boost Your Blog Rank, and Improve Writing

An Open Letter to New WordPress Bloggers

More from the Wild Ride.

 

Social Media Saturday!

Good morning, Wild Riders! Are you on social media? Do you have a Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, or Facebook Page? Would you like to increase your views and followers? Here’s your chance.

Drop ONE link from ONE social media account, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, or Facebook in the comment section and follow at least THREE more. This is a great way to increase your traffic and build your platform. More about that on Wednesday…

If you’re on Pinterest and you’d like to join a group board, let me know. Follow my boards and include your user name, and I’ll add you!

We can all use the support. Let’s have some fun!

Click for more posts from the Wild Ride.

Twelve Reasons To Use Twitter

I was shocked to read an article by the Associated Press about Twitter. Few have signed up for an account since the US election. I assumed with political tweets making worldwide news, people would be curious to see them first hand. Nope.

People use Facebook to keep in touch with friends and family. It remains the social media of choice. But Twitter has an expansive reach. We have the opportunity to connect with just about everyone with a public account. How cool is that?

According to Alexa website ranking statistics, Facebook is #3 in the world and in the US. Twitter is #18 in the world and #8 in the US. It seems this social networking site has become even less popular after the election.

Twitter Traffic Statics from Alexa

Twelve reasons to try Twitter:

1. You can follow anyone.

I can follow anyone with a public account. Although non-follower’s tweets won’t show up in my feed, I can check out their tweets and can tweet to them by using their Twitter handle. @susielindau is mine.

2. You can communicate with celebrities, politicians, athletes, comedians, best-selling authors… from around the world.
  •  A few years ago, a blogging friend wrote a satirical piece about Roseanne Barr. I tweeted the article to her along with my friend’s Twitter handle. Roseanne responded and they had a conversation on Twitter. How cool is that?

Continue reading

Wild Thoughts on Election Day #MyVote2016

keep-calm-and-go-americaThis election has been a crazy reality TV show where the most unpredictable moments have blown our minds. Admit it. Jaw-dropping shock value is addictive. The lack of decorum and respect, name-calling, accusations and bullying has been like watching a high school kid troll on Facebook, only the actions came from a seventy-year-old man. On the other side, gnarly old scars hiding secrets and lies of deceit were reopened in the hope the truth would finally come out. Many waited with held breath, but no earth-shattering revelations have surfaced. Even if our candidate wins, many of us will continue to worry long after the election.

Unlike reality TV, the hatred and lack of respect spewed every day, seeped through the screen into some of its viewers. Anger and frustration boiled over into real life. They became trolls on the internet. Some became vicious.

60 Minutes aired a story where a control group, led by Frank Luntz, spiraled out of control. People interrupted. Name calling ensued. They exhibited rude behavior even though they were being recorded and millions would see them. Luntz said his mother would have disowned him for the horrible language they used. What’s up with that? 

Luntz concluded that no one is interested in learning anything. They only want to be heard. He blames the internet.

I think he’s wrong.

I blame the program. We’ve been watching this show for so long and from the beginning, it has broken all the rules. Moderators didn’t take control during the debates. Commercials include bleeped out words little kids can figure out. Our voting system and democracy itself has come into question. Many of my online friends who live in other countries wonder how we ended up with these candidates. So do I. World leaders who hate us are asking their citizens, desperate for freedom, “Is this what you want?”

Many voters defend their choice of candidate by pointing a finger at the other. Instead of voting for a candidate they have chosen the lesser of two evils. Our country stands divided.

I believe we’ve outgrown the two party system. Most of us want the same things; quality of life for ourselves, our children and for others. We love our country and its freedoms.

It’s time to stop pointing fingers and reach out to those less fortunate as we approach the season of giving. Thanksgiving is only two weeks away, people!

I would expect this reality show to continue waaay after election day, even after the inauguration. Eventually, acceptance of our new president will quiet the noise of frustration. Most will change the channel to focus on something else.

In the coming months, show others you are above those characters on crazy reality TV.

End the hatred.

Be kind.

Be respectful.

Be grateful to live in the United States of America.

I am.

 

Check out more of my Wild Colorado Adventures!

An Ephemeral Exercise in Balance – Author or Blogger?

An Ephemeral Exercise in Balance - Author or Blogger?Five years ago someone asked me, “Do you want to be an author or a blogger?”

I scratched my head and wondered why I couldn’t be both.

Balance is something I struggle for all the time. I take a few steps on the slackline and feel in control just to plummet face first in the grass. “I can’t do it all.” I said that to my husband, Danny, a few weeks ago and he laughed. He knows how hard I work. Blogging while writing books and screenplays, promoting through social media, pitching, and querying, are all a struggle of priorities. I just love to write.

With requests made for my book, I set aside my new manuscript to polish the old. I wanted The Foreboding to shine brighter before sending it out on a wing and many prayers with hope that an agent or editor would see value in my work and want to represent it. But ideas for my new one have cried out from recesses of my tiny cranium and I had to work on it too. Blogging became a low priority. It threw me off balance.

I can’t imagine life without my blog. I already write in a vacuum alone with my thoughts most of the time. Blogging is where I practice. It’s where I get instant gratification in views and comments and feedback. It’s where I “see” and meet up with my writing friends. It’s my hollow in the woods where I let crazy ideas flow and I share my life adventures.

Therein lies the conundrum, the paradox, the tangled cat’s cradle that trips me up and tosses me off balance.

If blog posts are like paper to the flame, books are the mighty oak. I’m still waiting for the gratification of feeling the weight of my first novel in my hands. It will happen. In the meantime, I stoke the fire with kindling and fan the flames, and breathe life into my words until they crackle and burn. I watch the word count rise up until…. Sorry. I got carried away….

Any writing is like breathing. It’s all good practice and something I have to do.

Last weekend I met someone online who gets thousands of views a day on her blog through social media. Seduced by the thought of going viral, I downloaded her tips and tricks. I assumed she held back. She didn’t, but the list was dang long. It would take a huge time commitment promoting, editing photos, and writing generic or shocking posts to get views and shares. And there is still a ton of luck involved. That’s when I hit a wall.

Slacklining Susie“Nope. Not doing it. It’s not my goal to be a professional blogger.” Don’t get me wrong. I would love to get thousands of views here every day. Most writers want to be read. “Look at me! Look at me!” It’s what we do when sharing posts on Twitter and Facebook. If I didn’t want people to read my work, I’d write in Dear Diary.

But spending even more time blogging is not why I started writing. I have much longer stories to tell. They require many hours and self-discipline.

And so I’ll continue to seek balance on this unstable line between blogger and author, even though it’s an ephemeral, momentary mirage. It will never be perfect. I’ll rise up to the line and I’ll flail. I’ll fail. I’ll fall. I’ll face plant and it will hurt. But I’ll brush myself off. I’ll take a deep breath.

I’ll rise up to the line to try again.

Do you find it hard to balance your time with blogging? Where are you seeking balance?

Click for more of my life adventures!

Crush Procrastination, Boost Your Blog Rank, and Improve Writing

Life Hacks * Tips * Blogging * SEO * Movies * Links * Inspiration

Wild Rider Magazine: Bringing you discoveries from around the web and my wild life. This issue explores procrastination and how to end it for good. Links to improve writing skills and sites with SEO information will help boost your blog. Read on to see how your blog ranks!

In school or out for good, here are a few tips and life hacks to help you beat procrastination and links to improve your next blog post or writing project. We all want to do that, but a lot of things can get in the way. Procrastination or lack of focus (Wait. What was that sparkly thing over there?), fear of missing out on social media, and the lack of new information can throw our latest WIP (work in progress), into a death spiral. We can only get so much from the internet.

I’ve put together Ten Ways to Help You Reach Your Goals.

How to crush procrastination. Blogging and writing tips, hacks and links to boost blog rank

Fight Procrastination:

We’ve all faced procrastination. It can lurk in the shadowy background of any project. It comes out of hiding as soon as we don’t want to work hard, we lose interest, or can’t solve a problem.

Most of us find it hard to disconnect from the Internet. We plan to get our work done, but with temptation only one click away, it can be super tough. I looked into a few apps and then realized we could do most of this on our own.

Tips for combatting this enemy:

Reset your notifications. Popups used to drive me nuts while writing. I tried shutting down a few of them but ended up turning all of them off. If there’s a fire somewhere, I’ll get a phone call.

Set a timer for 25 minutes. I’ve done this several times to make myself settle down and start on a writing project. Once the 25 minutes are up, I either quit, reset the timer, or continue writing.

I also have used this method for writing blog posts, limiting myself to 25 minutes. Sometimes I spend hours and days on posts only to get the same amount of views. Nope. I didn’t use a timer on this one.

There’s a timer on your phone or you can use this site to countdown.

Make a list of goals.

If I don’t write them down, I space out half of them. I bought a daytimer in January and make a list and check off at least a couple items every day. I have long term goals in the back of it along with contest entry deadlines. I know many people make lists on their phones and that’s great, but there is something about physically crossing them off that gives me an extra special sense of gratification. I’m all about gratification and rewards. Promise me a gold star and I’ll work for it.

#UNPLUG4HOURS

Announce to your social media friends that you will “peace out” for a few hours. You’re on the honor system and could lurk, but if you comment or Like something, you’ll be busted. I use #unplug4hours on Twitter. It helps me stay on track when I’m having a hard time focusing. For more on unplugging check out my post called Unplug 4 Hours. It works!

Twitter. Find a posse of writers trying to finish a project and meet up on Twitter or Facebook. Do a writing sprint and meet up again to give your buds virtual high fives.

Didn’t you love watching movies in school?

What the movie, Blair Witch Project can teach you:

The first Blair Witch movie proved you didn’t need a stellar cast or elaborate sets to make an intense movie. With one view from a movie camera lens, it created and executed tension so taught, it was exhausting to watch. Have you been told you need to create tension in a scene? You need to make your reader care what happens to your protagonist? This is the movie for you. The sequel, Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2, comes out September 16th although this one seems bent in the horror direction.

Links to writer’s conferences and podcasts:

It’s not too late to find a writing conference. Check out the Association of Writers and Writing Programs at AWP.org. I will attend The Colorado Gold Conference in Denver September 9-11. See you there!

The Writer’s Life will link you up with 15 writer podcasts. There are many tips and interviews to explore.

Use iTunes? Then check out The Open University for all kinds of free classes. Don’t have a Mac? Check out The Open University website and search for a variety of topics.

Follow this website. You’ll be glad you did:

I found Donald Maass’s blog, Writer Unboxed, and check it frequently for insightful writing and business tips. I also use their search bar if I’m looking for something in particular. Donald posts once a month and always blows my mind. A new article is posted every day by knowledgeable Writer Unboxed authors.

How does your site rank?

Ever heard of Alexa? Well, there are probably quite a few in the world, but only one ranks your website. With Google constantly changing their logarithms, mine has been on a roller coaster ride for months. I still check once in a while for kicks and giggles.

Blog content is key so the aforementioned links could help you.

SEO information from the experts! 

Posting more regularly may help your rank. For SEO information, read MOZ’s Whiteboard Friday. Let me know if something works for you.

So now you should be ready to rock your new projects and learn something new. You can kick procrastination, and take your blog and writing project to another level. You might want to start by making a list.

Click here for last month’s issue of Wild Rider Magazine.

Click for more of the Wild Ride.

Any comments or questions? Maybe you can think of something to add that may help another Wild Rider.