Here are some of the resources/tools/subscriptions I use. Some are free and some cost but they are all important to my business and I’ve tried to explain why. Some of the paid ones are affiliate links but I would recommend them regardless. I’m on a PC so you may find there are better software options when it comes to Macs:
I’ve been travelling for 3 years now but I’m not overly committed to specific flight and accommodation booking companies. However, there are some things I already find invaluable:
There are a number of different house sitting websites that connect home and pet owners with house sitters. The one I subscribe to is Trusted Housesitters (use that link for 25% off your subscription). It came recommended to me and after a little research it seemed to be the easiest to navigate, had a high number of listings in many different countries, offered some safety features for users (such as different levels of security verification) and provides a free 24/7 vet advice line. The cost of membership is the equivalent of maybe 2-3 nights accommodation so you’ll recoup your fee really quickly. Essentially, it’s like a bartering system – I provide house and pet care and the homeowner provides me with accommodation in a place I’d like to visit.
Who doesn’t know about AirBnB by now? In a nutshell, it’s a site/app where you can book accommodation around the world directly from the host – everything from a room in a house to a luxury villa, depending on your price range. If you’ve never booked through them before, you can get a discount on your first booking by using this link (and I’ll get a voucher towards my next booking too). My main advice when booking through AirBnB is to read & heed the reviews and description, and take photos of the accommodation when you arrive and before you leave (I’ve never had a bad experience but I’ve heard a few horror stories, as with any site like this).
Audio and Recording Tools & Resources
I use Adobe Audition (formerly Cool Edit Pro) for my audio editing and mixing. If you are an experienced audio producer you will probably use this too (or an equivalent software). However, if your editing needs are fairly simple, like recording and mixing podcasts, then a free programme like Audacity will be more than adequate.
Pamela for Skype
I’ve been using Pamela Professional to record my Skype interviews for years. There are other products on the market but this is the one I have found to be the most reliable and easy to use.
Awesome Voice Recorder Pro
AVR Pro is an app I use to record my voiceovers on my iPhone. There is a free version, which is worth downloading, but I upgraded (only $4.99) for the additional functionality. I tested out a lot of other recording apps before choosing this one as my primary app based on the sound quality, recording formats and ease of sharing files. My backup app (for the odd occasion when AVR Pro glitches) is Voice Recorder HD.
I am currently using the AKG D5 Dynamic Handheld Vocal Microphone. This is not a USB microphone – I had to be ruthless about what I carried while travelling and this microphone works well with my voiceover setup. You will also need a good quality mic cable to plug into the pre-amp. It needs XLR-male to XLR-female connectors and I only need a 1 metre cable.
Rather than plugging a microphone directly into my phone, I connect it to a Tascam IXZ Voice Recorder, which is an audio interface between your microphone and iphone app. It enables the connection of your dynamic microphone and improves the quality of your recording.
My priority for headphones while travelling was that they were lightweight and folded flat; so I bought the extremely affordable JVC HA-S160-B-E FLATS Lightweight Headphones. Thankfully, the quality is more than adequate for precise audio editing and playback. I also like the price – items like headphones can be broken easily when they’re being transported and I didn’t want to spend a lot of money whenever they needed replacing.
Screen Capture Videos
Most people use Camtasia for screen capture videos if they’re on a PC and it’s a great piece of software. However, many years ago I was offered the opportunity to trial FlashBack and I never went back to Camtasia. I couldn’t tell you which is better without giving them both a rigorous test although I believe Camtasia has more features, so make you own decision based on what you need.
Online Marketing Tools & Resources
I actually use a couple of different autoresponders for sending out emails to people who have subscribed to various websites. My current favourite is Get Response because it’s relatively easy to use and emails seem to reach inboxes!
Pixabay (and other free stock photo sites)
I must use Pixabay at least once a day to find great images to illustrate blog posts, social media posts and all sorts of other things. Photographers who share their pictures on there give you permission to use them however you wish – personal or commercial – without payment. You don’t even need to give them credit, although it’s good if you can. Pixabay also has a useful iPhone app. Another great site with stunning photos and a similar ethos (but less easy to navigate) is Unsplash. I also have a paid subscription to StockUnlimited, which I – surprisingly – use less often but it’s useful for finding more traditional, high-quality marketing images.
Online Design Tools: PicMonkey and Canva
I keep telling myself that I will invest money and time (for training) in Photoshop but almost everything I do with graphics can be done with PicMonkey. Canva is also a useful resource and it has some really great templates you can use (some images/elements are free and some you have to pay for) but check the T&Cs for how you can use them, especially if you want to use them commercially. Both sites have phone apps too.