Although every press trip is different, you're gonna find a lot of similarities between them when it comes to the logistics. If you haven't read Tips on Taking Your First Press Trip, start there. For this round, we're going to cover the smaller, finer details of staying happy and productive on your next trip. I promise at least one of these tidbits will come in handy.
1. Leave space in your bag for all your incoming stuff.
You're always going to leave with more than you came with. Always. More often than not, you're going to be bogged down with something you didn't see coming – either a stack of paper so fat you could light a forest fire for days, a new pair of boots from that sweet boot factory, or Christmas presents you never intended to buy for your extended family. Whatever it is, just leave some space in your bag/suitcase. You'll be glad you did.
2. Confirm ANY and ALL changes.
This last trip I went on got modified by a day after the initial reservations were all made. They sent me the new flight itinerary, and I assumed everything else was all taken care of, too. Whoops. I got to the hotel, and the reservation hadn't been modified. Luckily the hotel had a room available for that night, but if they hadn't? That would not have been fun.
3. Take pictures of your information.
In case you end up not being able to find the papers you need (you packed them because you read the 1st installment of press trip tips, right?), take pictures of them on your phone. This way when Gmail decides that it doesn't want to show you the ONE email you actually need (damnit, Gmail, seriously?!), you don't have to set up your laptop in the middle of the lobby and wrestle with their wifi just to get a six digit code you never dreamed of actually needing in the first place. This didn't happen to me. Just a friend. Cough.
4. Bring a granola bar, some ibuprofen, and an empty water bottle.
Just do it and thank me later.
5. Use your free time productively.
It's going to be tempting to use it to nap or get back into your normal routine (aka Facebook), but get all your photo uploading, tweeting, instagramming done first.
6. Ask ridiculously, ridiculously specific questions.
Towns can get pretty generic, and they'll be hard to "market" if you don't have interesting little tidbits to spice up your writing when you're trying to fulfill your end of the bargain. You could write about the square footage of the art museum, or you could write about the jaguar that wandered into town last month. Sure, the second doesn't seem as relevant, but it's far more entertaining for literally everyone but the museum curator. You'll find that as you write about these destinations, it's these little details that stick out in your mind and thus will stick out to your readers.
7. Talk to as many individuals as possible. Or try.
I dunno about you, but I'm terrible at "finding my angle" unless it's right there in my face. Sometimes I only realize later on that an angle could've been had if I only would've talked to one more person. The variety of stories you can produce will exponentially grow when you have first-hand sources to quote. So don't take that tour and absorb info about the process; find out how the people there think about it and how it affects them. That's far more work-able.
8. Tip whenever appropriate.
It makes you look good, too, in addition to showing your support for the community and those who took time to help you/talk to you/facilitate you in doing your job. What's more, you're already on a free trip; don't be a jerk.
9. Tweet/IG/whatever you do in real time as much as you can.
This is why #5 is so important. If you get your act together, get your photos organized and edited, and just get your life in order, you can then sit back and dedicate 20 minutes to making the Social Media gods happy. This just shows that you're putting effort into your time here, taking it seriously, and that you are very conscious that you're not just bumming a "free trip."
10. Figure out your "ad value."
Someone's probably gonna ask you what your "ad value" is, meaning how much they would've had to pay for the publicity you're giving them if you were never there. Hopefully it's more than the cost of airfare and feeding you. But don't sweat it: they just need a number largely for tax purposes; they likely won't question whatever figure you give them. Make sure you include all content plus whatever social media buzz you generated with your time, too. Time is money, and, more importantly, YOUR time is money.
Got some tips of your own? Let's hear 'em!