What You Need For Your Storyteller’s Travel Kit

By Kaylin R. Staten

Wanderlust is in the air. Do you feel it? I certainly am craving an adventure outside of my own ZIP code and comfort zone.

As a storyteller, my obsession with travel commenced at a young age. I loved road trips when I was a child. I would curl up underneath a blanket with the air conditioner on full blast and gaze outside the window. To this day, I love enveloping myself in another local, regional, national or international culture. It revives my spirit and motivation in ways being at home just can’t fulfill.

As spring comes to a close and we prepare for our summer vacations, we create our to-pack lists and check off all of the planning boxes for our trip. We devote time, money and other resources to these trips of a lifetime, and you better bet we want to to chronicle each moment. I ensure that I chronicle each trip through physical mementos, the written word and photographs. That’s all you need to tell your travel story!

This month, Hourglass Media will give you travel tips. These three items help me tell my travel stories before, during and after the trip has come to a close:

Pack light.

Chances are, you will want to capture the aura and overall story of the trip through souvenirs. My office and home tell their own stories through my travel findings over the years: snowglobes, photographs, journals and much more. When you’re packing for your trip, leave some extra room for the inevitable stowaway items you will pick up along the way. If it’s a standard week-long trip, I will take a small or medium suitcase, a carry-on bag (like a backpack) and my purse/camera bag. I have also been known to put a small suitcase inside of a large suitcase for longer overseas trips. I like to roll my clothing, take only the makeup I need and purchase travel size and throwaway toiletries. After all, one needs souvenirs, even if that means taking a large suitcase classified as a “trunk” and paying 200 Euros to get said “trunk” back across the Atlantic. Oops. But, I need items to help me remember my trips. I am nostalgic that way.

Log your experiences daily.

Whether you prefer writing in a journal or typing out your thoughts on an iPad, be sure to write about each day as it happens. If you’re handwriting your experiences, take one or two of your favorite pens. It just adds a small boost of inspiration as you begin the unpacking-of-your-day process. It’s easy to crave that extra 30 minutes of sleep at the end of a long day, but taking the time to jot down even bulletpoints will help you remember your trip. Do what feels right to you and your own method of storytelling. You don’t have to make outlines or web charts, but chronicling your experiences will invoke the sights, smells and other wonders behind the scenes. Write about your activities, #foodporn, discoveries, the weather, whatever your heart desires. And, of course, you gotta Instagram your trip, too! (Just a side note: It’s never a good idea to post that you will be out of town on social media. Unless you feel 100 percent comfortable posting about your trip while you are gone, I would suggest waiting until you get back from your trip! It’s better to be safe.)

Take a camera.

These days, cell phone cameras are a viable replacement for a clunky DSLR camera; however, I cannot go anywhere without my Nikon D7500. Affectionately named Commander William T. Riker, my camera goes everywhere with me. (My first Nikon, a D5000 named Captain Jean-Luc Picard, is halfway decommissioned.) My two Nikons have seen the world through my eyes, whether it has been standing on the same Philadelphia Museum of Art steps that Rocky stood on or capturing a picturesque multicolored sunset on the main island of Provenciales in Turks and Caicos. Take photos, and take them often. If you don’t have a professional camera, then take your cell phone. You could even purchase some external lenses for your phone. Photos help to tell the stories you can’t remember or didn’t write down. They give context to your adventure, and you can frame your favorites when you return home. (I kid you not, most of the photos in my house are my own travel photos, family photos or engagement/wedding photos.) Make sure you take HD photos, videos, .gifs and other forms of media. You can use them personally, professionally and anywhere in between.

My one most vital piece of advice? Don’t get so caught up in the schedule of your trip that you miss out on experiences. Trust me, mishaps between Points A and B can occur, and you add an exponential amount of stress to your vacation. Also, don’t be so focusing on telling the story that you miss to actually experience your surroundings!


Kaylin R. Staten, APR, is an award-winning public  relations practitioner and writer based in Huntington, WV with nearly 16  years of professional communications experience. As CEO and founder of Hourglass Media,  she uses her compassionate spirit and expertise to delve into the heart  of clients’ stories. She is a recovering perfectionist, mental health advocate, wife, cat mom and Leia Organa aficionado. Connect with Kaylin  on LinkedIn.