Links below are affiliate links, which means I make a small percentage of the revenue made when purchasing products through these links.
Jenny W. Chan is a professional voice actor and singer in NYC, specializing in kids, tweens, teens, and young adult voiceovers. She especially loves recording children's media, and coaches real kids in voiceovers as well.
Contact Jenny at: email@example.com
Traveling as a voice actor can be tricky, and just another thing to worry about in addition to your vacation itinerary, filling out visas, going through airport security, etc. But there's really no holidays in voice over. There's always an unexpected audition, revision request, or booking. So what do you do? You have designated equipment so that you can record voiceovers on the go. At least that's what I do.
I haven't travelled without a microphone for an extended period of time for 6 years. It's up to you how much you're willing to "work" while on vacation, but for me, voiceover and play are synonymous, and my work means a lot to me, so I bring along all the equipment that I feasibly can.
I also take some extra precautions before going anywhere. I research the vacation spot to see if there are any nearby studios in case the hotel, Airbnb, etc. ends up being too noisy. I call my accommodations beforehand, explain that I plan to do voice recordings, and ask whether I would have control over the AC/heat. I ask if there is a closet, office, private room, or business center on-site that I can rent to work in. And while I have them on the phone, I also (politely) ask to be put in the quietest room with windows facing away from the swimming pool, parking lot, etc. I ask if I can have a room away from the elevator, and to be put on a higher floor away from the street. It's not fool-proof, but it will increase your chance of having a quiet area to record for when you do arrive. Plus, it doesn't hurt to ask!
Pro tip: Unplug the fridge when you arrive. You don't want the humming sound in your recordings!
I've gone through many "travel setups." There are pros and cons to them all, and I don't believe there is a "perfect" one, but here is my current setup that has served me well for now. My travel voiceover kit also serves as backup gear should anything at my home studio breaks, so it's just nice to have anyway.
First on the list is, of course, a portable VO booth!
There are many travel vocal booths or portable sound/VO isolation booths on the market to choose from (Tri-Booth to name one), but the VOMO was the most affordable, smallest, lightest, and quickest to set up booth that I could find. However, it's really up to you what you'd like to prioritize. The Tri-booth may be more spacious and have "better" sound, but I don't want to travel with a 40-48 lb booth (the VOMO is 17 lbs) in addition to my suitcase, backpack, etc! I need to be able to carry everything myself from the airport to the hotel, from the sidewalk to my room, etc. I also don't want to worry about packing muslin clamps and making a blanket fort in a closet with pillows, blankets, and couch cushions, so the VOMO was the perfect choice for me. At least for now. My voiceover "needs" might change in the future, in which case, I would give the Tri-Booth a try.
Now for some cons of the VOMO by VocalBoothToGo, I find that the sound recorded out of the VOMO is muffled and "boxy," but the space is very small, so that is to be expected. That being said, I have successfully recorded a spot for a well-known national brand with it, so it does work, just probably not in every instance. There may be times where you'll need to find a professional studio nearby regardless.
Also note that even though the vocal booth is advertised as "carry-on" size, I've had to check it in twice which is a huge bummer! I was flying Jetblue. Anyway, if it costs you X-amount of dollars to check it in, make sure it's worth the money (and hassle). Although, I'm assuming that if you own one of these, it will be worth it, because not having it will mean you'll miss out on income.
Speaking of size, here's what the VocalBoothToGo website says is the VOMO's dimensions: Closed Dimensions: 24" Wide x 22" Deep x 5.5" Tall Opened Dimensions: 24" Wide x 22" Deep x 20" Tall
For the VOMO to work well, you'd need to book a place with a desk and chair to be "most comfortable." I've tried placing the booth on a bed, and recording while kneeling (ouch, my knees) but the height was never quite right. Also, unless the VOMO is on a flat surface, your mic (if you use a desktop mic stand) is going to topple over. They do sell a tripod that you can attach the VOMO to, but I didn't buy it since it's just one extra thing to carry. You can if you want to! At my latest hotel, my head kept rubbing against the top of the VOMO because my chair was too tall and the table was too short. In that case, a tripod would have been nice.
Below is a photo of the rechargeable clip-on light that came with the VOMO. I don't think the battery life is really good. The on/off button is also too sensitive, so it's easy to accidentally turn it on/off. But hey, it works for now, and I don't travel too often. That said, I may replace this with a music clip-on light at some point, which holds a better charge.
Here's how the VOMO portable vocal booth looks closed up. I feel like a turtle while inside hehe. 🐢 I kind of wish it came in different colors, that would be cool. And yes, it does get kind of hot, but heat is something voice actors will struggle with in any type of booth.
The Rode NT-1 is a separate XLR mic that I travel with. I normally use the Neumann U87 at my home studio, however I refuse to travel with such an expensive mic and worth damaging it!
The mic comes with its own shock mount and pop filter, but they're both bulky for travel, so I replaced it with a mic stand and foam mic cover (which doubles as extra protection in the backpack). Moving forward, I will be replacing the foam mic cover with a standard pop-filter mainly because I think the foam alters the sound (some say it doesn't, but I think it does).
I love this microphone stand because of its small profile, sturdy base, and the clip which makes it super quick to put the mic on and take it off. I don't have to waste time and effort to "screw it on." Recording on the go is all about efficiency.
The Focusrite Scarlett Solo is a tried and true little thing! Small and lightweight, it just works (also a great audio interface for beginners).
These are some of the best quality cables you can buy, and it doesn't have to be very long either; I know they're expensive.
I really do love these headphones. They're sturdy, easy to wipe clean, and just works. Plus it folds down smaller than some of their competitors, like the Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro, for example. I love them so much, I have two: One for travel and one in my home studio!
I use the GOgroove backpack for all of my gear. It comes in mid-size and full-size. I got the full-size one since it'll fit more stuff, but still be considered a personal item. I like how the bottom compartment fits my voiceover equipment, and the top portion allows easy access to snacks, charging cables, etc. It fits great under the plane seat, and even comes with a rain cover.
Prior to the GOgroove DSLR backpack, I used the Mosiso Camera backpack, which was way roomier. However, I was also carrying my Solid State Logic 2+ and the original shock mount and pop filter from the Rode NT-1 at the time, so I needed a larger bag. While the Mosiso camera backpack did a great job (not to mention that it comes in a bunch of fun colors, had a semi-hard shell, and all), I didn't love the clam shell design. It made it hard to access stuff inside while I was on the plane (I need my snacks!! 😂). It also didn't have a compartment for misc items while on my flight, which is why I made the switch to the GOgroove. But if the forementioned don't bother you, the Mosiso Camera backpack is an awesome choice!
So that's all the gear I bring when I travel to make sure I never miss an audition or booking! It's extra luggage, and a pain in the back (both literally and figuratively), but it's sooo worth it. For the working voice actor, missing even a week of recordings could mean hundreds, or thousands, of loss dollars. As I mentioned earlier, it's up to you how much you want to work, but the more you put into your voiceover career, the more you'll get out out of it.