Even when you have a fun, exciting job that you love (like voice over), you still need a vacation from time to time. But as a voice over artist, since your voice IS the business, taking time off can end up being more stressful than if you stayed home and worked as usual. After all, there is no accrued paid vacation time and telling clients you’re unavailable is never fun.
The bottom line is if you’re not working, you’re not getting paid.
Sometimes you just want to take your studio equipment with you and set up shop from your home away from home.
If you’re planning a working vacation this summer, or just want to be on-call for emergency projects for your best clients while you’re away, I’ve got equipment suggestions on working from the road.
Setting up a recording space while on vacation is similar to setting up your first recording studio on budget.
And there are many options that’ll work when it comes to selecting which items to include in your vacation VO gear.
Before I give you equipment suggestions, there are three important questions you’ll want to answer when preparing for your vacation.
1st – Will It Fit?
Since you’ll be traveling, it’s best if your studio gear takes up as little space as possible. Plan to carry only what you need to get the job done. Think about buying shorter XLR cables or how to protect your gear without big, bulky cases.
If you’re flying, you may want to make sure everything fits in a carry-on bag so you can keep your bag with you.
Extra Tip: If you’re planning to fly with a carry-on bag full of foam padded equipment cases, audio cables, and electronics, there’s a good chance your bag will be thoroughly searched at the security gate. Arrive early to allow for the time it takes to remove, explain and repack your bag.
2nd – Can I Afford to Lose it?
Years ago, I would take the gear from my home studio with me when I traveled. Not only was it a pain to break down and then set back up once I returned, but there was also the chance that my expensive gear could be lost or stolen. Depending on how often you travel, all the bumps and hits that go along with it will eventually take a toll on your equipment.
Now I’ve got a setup that’s only used when I travel.
3rd – Have I Considered the What Ifs?
Voice over is an internet business.
The number one thing you need to prepare for is – what if you don’t have internet access. Yes, the hotel, condo or house may say they have WiFi, but what will you do if you get there and it doesn’t work? Without a backup plan, you wouldn’t be working.
If you find yourself in this vacation disaster situation, here are two solutions:
If your phone’s data plan allows, you can setup a mobile hotspot and connect through it. You’ll want to test this before you leave to make sure it works.
Another option is to use free WiFi at a café or restaurant. You’ll want to locate these before you leave so you know where to go if needed. Look for places like McDonald’s or Panera. While you can’t record from that location, you’ll be able to download scripts, check email and send or receive files through the free WiFi.
Once you travel a few times, you’ll be better prepared for the challenges that tend to be recurring.
Now that you’re prepared, here are some suggestions on what to include in your VO travel bag
The Apogee MiC 96k is a small and easy to travel with microphone that has rave reviews. Since it’s USB, you won’t need an audio interface. If you’re using a mic with XLR, you can convert XLR to USB with a Shure X2u adapter which is very portable.
Any laptop or tablet with your audio editing software will do. The best choice would be one with an internal SSD as they are much quieter. This way you don’t have to worry about getting the mic far from a laptop’s fan noise.
Other things to include would be a small mic stand, extension cord, surge protector and short run cables.
The only other thing to consider is dealing with reverb in the room you are recording in. The best sound I’ve found is with a pillow blanket fort. Stack up pillows in front, blankets over your head and make a recording fort. You can also try a Kaotica Eyeball.
Remember to keep it simple and think about the questions above – so that working on vacation, won’t stress you out.
If you want more tips for recording on the road (including a voice over vacation checklist) check out this post on Recording Your Voice While Traveling.
About Jason McCoy
Jason McCoy has been a voice over talent for 15+ years and a Voices.com member since 2006. His voice has been used on projects for Dell, Walmart, Honda and many more. He specializes in voicing explainer marketing videos and corporate narration. Listen to Jason’s demos or check out his blog for guides and resources on topics related to voice over.