How to plan your research trip – from wardrobe to finance & check lists.

By Tee Ola (editor)

I am the queen of Project Management. Even if the project to be managed were my weekend, I am proud to announce that I would plan it down to the colour of flip-flops (ha!). My friends tease me a lot, “have you made it into Tee’s Calendar yet?” they prod unsuspecting new acquaintances; but i’m good *waves it off*. Some of us can’t help being excellently organised, and it has its rewards.

Planning research tripHow else would I be able to work as SA’s editor, a researcher at a creative consultancy, a band member at church (with rehearsal days), and combine all of these with paper deadlines, while I hang by the threads to the semblance of a social life? I’m the real Queen B people, I map the formation of my tasks with ease.

One of my many hats, a creative industry consultant, has me sprinting off to Nigeria for field study very soon. I thought this would be a great opportunity to share my tested and tried tips on planning a research trip (field work to be precise). This of course would include how I construct my capsule wardrobe to maximise the limited luggage allowance, and other aspects to talk about would be managing finance & expenses, domestic travel etc.

I reckon there will be more posts in the coming weeks, as a result of this trip. I am meeting with creative people, it is certainly bound to be eventful. Something I know i’ll find interesting is comparing my Nigeria field experience as a PhD researcher a couple of years ago, to this one as a practitioner (and less of an academic). I am really excited about this trip!

The first step in my planning so far has been to open an Evernote page in checklist format. I populate it at any time of the day, when something occurs to me.

ChecklistIt is no wonder the first item on the list is my Anker Powerbank! There is nothing as mood downing as a flat battery on your gadgets. I am gearing to stay charged up. This list grows as the days go by. I might share an abridged version with you if you’ll like that (let me know in comments).

Here are some other top tips:

Don’t forget to backup your computer and leave the external hard drive at home before you embark on your journey. Of what use is backing up your computer and losing both on your trip? You will remain safe in the knowledge that if anything happens to your computer on this trip, you will only be a few weeks late to the party.

However, pack a flash stick with you to back-up any additional important documents you generate in the course of your journey. I say flash-stick because the internet is not everywhere, and where it might be available, it might cost an arm, a leg, and some more – which means going on Dropbox or any cloud service that will sap your data in one whoosh is EXPENSIVE. I learnt this lesson the hard way. Don’t be like Tee. I remember that whenever I visited an office with unlimited wifi, I will make a dash for my laptop and update my Dropbox in an instant before saying hi to the receptionist (cheeky). I could sniff internet data a mile away.

Planning my research trip 2 will be about organising my wardrobe for the journey. If you don’t want to miss it, please scroll to the bottom of the page and subscribe.

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