Away jobs are the BEST! There is nothing like going overseas or interstate and getting paid to be there! During the time that you’re away, you tend to live in a bubble, the crew become like family and in the downtime, you can explore a new city/town/country. If you’re lucky enough to land yourself your first away job then it’s safe to say that you’ll probably start packing two months before you leave, okay, maybe that was just me but I like to be prepared! Unfortunately, however, unlike the days of school camp, where they used to send you a list of what to pack, apparently when you’re an adult you just have to figure it out??? So, I’ve decided to put together a list of away trip essentials that you may not have thought of…
Phone, iPad, laptop, portable charger…the list of devices adds up and if you want to make the most of your charging time, then a power board is definitely the way to go. It’s easier than having multiple adapters on the go. If you want bonus points then get a power board with USB ports to save space on plugs.
A portable charger is an absolute life-saver for away jobs – you’ll need it when you’re out and about working long days in the field, as you may not always have access to power. A lot of the time you’ll be relying on WhatsApp to communicate and it will chew through your phone battery in no time. I recommend getting two…that way if it gets rain-damaged, lost, borrowed and not returned, goes for an unexpected swim (it happens) or you just forget to charge it one night, then you always have a backup. You can get decent ones from Officeworks for around $30. I prefer the ones that can charge phones and tablets, allow for multiple charges and can fit nicely in your back pocket.
Wherever you go, whenever you go…guaranteed it will rain at some point and a good waterproof jacket will always come in handy. If you’re working on an outdoor production, then definitely don’t skimp on a waterproof jacket – a Kmart number is not going to cut it when you’re working in torrential rain.
LifeProof Phone Case
If you’re working outdoors and you’re using your own phone, then a LifeProof phone case is a good investment. It’s going to protect your phone from the elements and just means you don’t need to worry about it while you’re away.
As fun as working in TV is…it definitely isn’t always glamorous (actually most of the time it’s not) and that means that you’re accommodation isn’t always where you would chose to stay if you were going on your own holiday. The rooms you are staying in may be a bit musty or have the remaining and long-lasting stench of baboon urine from four years prior (true story). I was told this advice for my very first overseas gig and admittedly, I didn’t follow this advice because I’m a terrible over-packer BUT if you can manage to pack like a normal person, then it’s definitely worth squeezing it in to your suitcase.
If you’re going to be working outdoors and want to avoid whatever mosquito-born virus is circulating in the area then it’s a good idea to protect yourself from getting bitten. If you want to limit the amount of deet you’re using daily then Parakito is another option. Parakito is a chemical-free mosquito deterrent – it comes as a wristband or clip that you can attach to your clothing/chestpack. They’re available in most pharmacies and will cost you around $30 and that includes two inserts that will last you a total of 30 days. Obviously, this is an additional precaution and not a replacement for travel vaccination recommended by your doctor for where you are travelling.
It’s pretty grim but when it comes to away jobs, gastro outbreaks are kind of part of the deal and If you hadn’t survived a bout of [insert Pacific region] belly on the job, then were you even there?! Whether it’s the food, the water, that one person production are talking about when they send out the friendly reminders to be vigilant with hand-washing or just the fact that you have 300+ people living and working in close proximity…you need to be prepared for the reality of varying degrees of gastrointestinal discomfort. Charcoal tablets are available off the shelf from the pharmacy and are a must-have because everyone knows that gastro is shit!
While away jobs are a lot of fun, they are also most likely super hectic and when you have down time, you want to be able to enjoy it so it’s definitely worth bringing along a blue-tooth speaker to listen to music. Make sure you download some good playlists before you go (in case you’ve got limited internet access where you’re staying).
Hopefully you’ll find some of the above useful…as for the rest of your packing…it’s TV not school camp so you’re on your own!
Starting out in TV and wondering what a Story Producer actually does? Check out my post What Is A Story Producer In Reality TV?
What are your travel essentials for TV jobs? Leave a comment below with your thoughts.