Frequently Asked Questions

You're ready to travel the world … and get paid for it. It's just that you'd like a little more information first …

Do I have to be a published writer to take your programs? What if people always tell me I have great travel stories but I was never very good at English in school?

We've had both published and novice writers take our programs. And, to the last, they tell us it was worthwhile – they'd do it again.

As one such member, a full-time reporter who covers the health beat for Irish publications, put it:

"Thank you all for the program. I found it incredibly helpful in an extremely practical way. I feel as if you have opened a mental door for me and I spent hours writing in the airport on the way home. I am determined to forge ahead now … " – Jean F.

Another established writer told us:

"Loved the opportunity to write creatively again. Absolutely I would recommend this program … I've been a copywriter for 30 years and feel like I've been reborn. Thank you." – Kathryn L.

And still, a lot of our members are first-time writers and have never been published before taking our programs. Most, if not all, of our travel writing programs are geared for someone who is not a writer (at least, not a travel writer) but who is interested in launching a sideline or full-time career as such.

If you're already familiar with the industry … then you probably know all about how to put a story together, how to approach an editor, where to find publications who are looking for writers, how to best frame a topic for an article, how to target various audiences to write articles geared toward them, how to find out about press and fam trips, and what makes for good writing, etc … in which case you don't need this program.

We've designed it for the many folks out there who are interested in writing about travel, who like to travel, and who may in fact already do another kind of writing as a career … but who have no idea where to begin when it comes to travel writing.

Do I have to buy the travel writer program to write for International Living?

No. You can write for IL without purchasing The Ultimate Travel Writer's Program. Lots of writers already do. Go to International Living's website at: to find the writers guidelines, which will tell you exactly how to do it.

How much can I expect to make as a travel writer?

It's true that you can make a full-time living as a travel writer – quite a few people do. But a quest for big money is not what draws most people to travel writing. Most want the lifestyle rather than the money. They want the opportunity to travel and the freedom to live where they like and work when they want.

And they want the many perks that come with being a travel writer too – like offers of hospitality (free press trips and familiarization tours, special discounted rates at hotels or resorts, previews of museum exhibits, VIP treatment, etc.).

For many, it's simply a way to "justify" travel. They take a trip and then write an article. Their earnings might pay for their airfare, for example, and their expenses might be deducted as a business-expenditure on a tax return.

To give you a better idea of how much you can expect for each article, flip through a few issues of Writer's Digest magazine. Or look at a book like Writer's Market (you can probably find one in your local library). There you'll find a listing of publications that publish freelance travel articles and how much they pay for each. The range is significant. Coastal Living magazine, for example, pays $1 per word. Marco Polo magazine, on the other hand, usually pays $200 for a 1,500-3,000 word article. You'll find that compensation usually depends upon the publication, the length of the article, and your credentials.

If you're a good writer, and you do what the program teaches (as far as writing and marketing yourself) it would certainly be possible to make a five-figure salary as a travel writer. One established, successful full-time freelancer we know told us she brought home $50,000 last year from travel writing (and received an untold amount in free travel and other perks).

You must, however, be good at your craft. You can't simply buy the program and expect to be a good writer overnight. It just won't happen. You need to be able to produce consistently good copy, develop a proven track-record, and market yourself full-time if you intend to make this a full-time endeavor.

Our programs are really a way to jump-start your career … a primer that shows you everything you need to make this kind of lifestyle work for you. We're talking about real-world techniques that will not only help you write better, but will help you market yourself effectively and painlessly. The idea here is to cut months, even years, off your learning curve and prevent you from making mistakes that can easily be avoided by knowing a few industry secrets most people don't know.

What do I need to be a travel writer? Can anybody do it?

Yes … anybody can be a travel writer.

From financial consultants, university professors, and travel agents … to acupuncturists, actresses, and photographers … people from all walks of life and all levels of education and experience have successfully reinvented themselves. Now they are traveling the world and getting paid to write about their experiences.

You don't need a degree in journalism or a mastery of the English language to become a travel writer. You don't need a fancy laptop or lots of money. You don't even need to travel far from home (where you live is a destination for other people).

But you do need a desire to succeed. You need an interest in seeing new places and meeting new people. You need to be opinionated. You need to be observant. And, finally, you need to have a commitment to put words on paper.

In other words: You do have to apply yourself. You wouldn't expect to stroll out onto a golf course and play six under par if you'd never actually put a club in your hand or taken a swing. You have to practice. Professional athletes, musicians, dancers … they practice all the time. It's what allows them to master their crafts.

With travel writing it's no different. If you really want to hone your skills and achieve expert status, you've got to actually put words to paper.

It's a matter of understanding the internal structure of a travel article and focusing on the benefit to your reader. It's about engaging him or her on an emotional level. And it's about making sure that you're writing the right story … for the right reader.

Then, certainly, there's the issue of marketing yourself and your stories … of figuring out what each editor is looking for and designing your story to meet her needs.

These are all skills and techniques that our programs teach.

Travel writing sounds too good to be true. How can I be sure this is a real opportunity?

Why are travel writers able to take advantage of free trips … meals … accommodation … tickets to shows … invitations to museum openings? Why do people roll out the red carpet and treat travel writers with such respect … and prestige?

Actually, it's pretty easy to explain, once you understand how the system works.

You see, around the world, tourism generates $1.2 billion in spending per day, according to the World Tourism Organization. And competition for those tourist dollars is fierce – particularly now, post-9/11, when people are staying closer to home and are more hesitant to travel.

It's no wonder, then, that hotels … tour organizers … cruise lines … airlines … even local governments are willing to spend big bucks on travel writers – in hopes that they'll have a positive experience and write about it favorably in a magazine, newspaper, or newsletter.

The more articles are written about a place, the rationale goes, the more tourists will go there. More tourists means more money … simple as that.

To give you a sense of the scale of this industry, consider The Bahamas. The estimated annual budget for the Ministry of Tourism there is $69 million. In New York City, the official tourism-marketing organization has a budget of $14.5 million.

In those places – and elsewhere – a portion of those "tourism" funds is earmarked for wining and dining travel writers.

How do I get free travel offers? Do you give them to me?

As you begin to get articles published, and your name becomes known in the business, you'll start to receive offers of hospitality.

And the easiest way we know to get started, to get into "the business" as it were, is through The Ultimate Travel Writer's Program.

It gives you all the tools you need – all the how-to information about what to say to an editor (and how to say it) … insider's tricks to landing plum assignments … how to find the best publications for your articles … and more.

Plus you will be provided the leads you need to actively seek out free travel opportunities for yourself.

So you won't just come away from this with the writing skills you need … you'll understand how the industry works, and you'll also know exactly how to take an article from the "idea" stage all the way through to the pages of a magazine …

But please understand … while the perks of travel writing can't be beat, it's not all-play-and-no-work. You do actually have to write articles.

The organizations sponsoring travel writers, treating them to free travel, resorts stays, opera tickets, and more … aren't doing it for their own health. They're doing it to "get press." And it's your obligation as a travel writer to, well, to write … to get published.

But this program makes that part easier, because it's designed to take years off your learning curve.

Jen Stevens, who put our program together, was the past editor of International Living and of Island Properties Report. She was an editor at Trade & Culture magazine before that. She's lived all over the U.S., in France, and in Africa.

In designing this program, she drew on her own, considerable experience as a travel writer and editor. And then she started calling and emailing the top people she knows in the business … an expansive network of contacts.

She asked a Wall Street Journal reporter, a New York Times correspondent, an acclaimed guidebook writer, an award-winning publisher, and a whole host of freelance travel writers – to share their hard-won secrets. And she catalogued all their tricks of the trade … the techniques the most successful writers use to get their articles into print.

You'll find all of them in The Ultimate Travel Writer's Program.

Are publications really looking for articles from freelancers?

Indeed they are … in fact, the 2003 edition of Writer's Market lists 8,000 book and magazine editors who hire freelancers. That's just U.S. publications. And that doesn't include newspapers or smaller, regional publications.

Add to that ever-expanding number a whole host of travel-related web sites. And consider, too, publications elsewhere in the English-speaking world. Australia, New Zealand, the U.K., Hong Kong, Kenya, Israel … the list goes on.

What's more, plenty of non-travel publications include some travel coverage. Take Medical Economics, for example, which publishes travel features that would interest its physician readers. Or Parents magazine, which includes articles about traveling with kids. Or the AARP, which publishes travel articles in its magazine and on its website.

Point is: There is almost unlimited opportunity to get your travel stories published. The key is in finding the right market for what you have to say. You have to understand your audience … discern what will appeal to an editor and her readers, and write that story (not another one). That's just one of the secrets, techniques, and skills our program delivers.

Is travel writing a full-time or a part-time job?

That is up to you. Travel writing is certainly something many people do full-time. They travel regularly to report on far-flung destinations and also augment income earned that way with stories about places closer to home. Depending on their income goals and how fast they write, they might produce anywhere from one to five articles a week – maybe more.

Travel writing is equally well-suited as a part-time endeavor. It's ideal for somebody who already travels for another job or for somebody looking for an excuse to travel (it's a great way to justify that extra vacation).

Jen Stevens, the author of our program, offers these three examples:

Example 1: How full-time freelancer Steenie Harvey works

"My long-time friend and colleague, Steenie Harvey, has been a freelance travel writer for fifteen years. She works at it full-time. She travels, on average, two weeks a month, and she writes more (and faster) than anyone I've ever met.

"In addition to stories about Mexico, Poland, Borneo, England, Spain, Mauritius, Italy, Latvia … the list goes on and on … she's writes regularly about her adopted country of Ireland.

"She's been published in top-tier publications in the U.S., the U.K., Australia, and Germany. She's also the author of three guidebooks. Nearly all her travel is paid for through press trips or by publishers for whom she's writing."

Example 2: How Jen Stevens justifies her family's summer vacation

"Travel writing lets me justify vacations I might otherwise not take. For instance, I'm bringing my husband and my two-year old to Honduras for a couple of weeks this summer.

"I figure if I can write at least four articles about my experiences there (I have two real estate pieces in mind, another on travel with kids, and a fourth on a volunteer-vacation opportunity). I'm estimating that pay from those pieces should easily cover the cost of airfare for the three of us plus defray about half the cost of the hotel stay. In addition, most of my expenses will be tax-deductible.

"Sure, I have to work – I have to write those stories – but the way I look at it, we're getting two weeks in luxury accommodations on a Caribbean beach for roughly the cost of a day-long theme-park trip."

Example 3: Why a woman who travels for her job writes travel on the side

"A woman who participated in one of my live travel-writing seminars is a bass player in a band. She told me she decided to take my program because she finds herself in far-flung locals as she travels the world on tour … with nothing to do until her evening performances.

"She figured travel writing would force her to go out and 'see things' instead of dawdling away days in hotel rooms, and that it would also offer her a way to make a few extra dollars on her travels. She's already had success writing club reviews for a NY-Los Angeles guidebook publisher (and getting paid for them)."

What if I order The Ultimate Travel Writer's Program and decide it's not for me? Can I get my money back?

Yes. Absolutely. No questions asked. Enroll in The Ultimate Travel Writer's Program and examine your first installment for 30 days. If you decide within that time that travel writing is not for you, simply let us know by phone, fax or email and we'll send you a full refund. It's that simple.

(While you're at it, check out the FREE bonus mini-guide also included when you sign on, Money-Making Travel Photography, and find out how easy it is to earn extra money on the same job.)

Phone: 561-278-5557
Email us online: Contact Us
Fax: 561-278-5929
Address: American Writers & Artists Inc., 245 NE 4th Avenue, Suite 102, Delray Beach, FL 33483.

For less than the cost of a single college credit – and without any of the risk – you can be on your way to one of the most life-fulfilling careers there is.

What makes your program better than a book I could pick up at the library or a class I'd take at my local college?

The Ultimate Travel Writer's Program offers numerous advantages a book or a standard university course simply cannot match. Here are just 7 of the ways our program gives you more. It …

    • Builds your understanding with practical, real-life lessons geared, at every step, to get you working immediately … and earning real checks as a travel writer. There's nothing lofty, vague, or fanciful in it. That's because Jen Stevens, the author, focuses on the practical, proven-in-the-real-world techniques she's used over the years as an editor to help travel writers produce better stories.
    • "It will take years off your learning curve," or so says accomplished freelancer Steenie Harvey, who didn't have the benefit of this program 15 years ago when she was starting out. As she says, "In the early years, the commissions didn't flood in the way they do now. It would have been a lot easier if I'd had someone to advise me where I was going wrong. Not every piece I ever wrote got published. And I wasted a lot of time and effort sending off articles to magazines that were completely unsuitable."
    • Helps you, very directly, get your first "clip," your first by-line on an article you're paid for. This program gets you a foot in the door with the editors at a publication eager to pay you for your work. We've arranged with the editors at International Living to give special consideration to articles written by members of The Ultimate Travel Writer's Program. In other words, they'll put submissions from people who have completed the program on the top of their in-box pile.

What it means is that you'll be working on a "live" original piece of work as you go through the program-- not some made-up useless exercise. And when your article is done, and you've polished it under the guidance of this program, you can send it directly to the editors. If they like it, they'll publish it … complete with your by-line. And pay you, too.

It's a fantastic opportunity to get your first story under your belt, get over the "hump" of having your first "clip" published with your name on it so you can start building your new career … and enjoying all the prestige and perks that come with it …

    • Provides a network of built-in support. This is not like other programs you might have seen – where you sign up online and then that's it … good luck, hope it works out for you. (For that matter, it's not like most universities either, where you get your degree and then it's out into the real world with no practical guidance.)

Instead, here you get a whole network of built-in support. If you have questions or a problem while you're working through the program, you can always Contact Us for help.

    • Gives you a regular dose of encouragement and advice. Members receive AWAI's weekly e-letter, The Right Way to Travel, at no charge. This popular publication keeps you connected … and motivated.

In it you get success stories from your fellow travel writers, who explain how you can follow their lead … interviews with proven writers, who reveal things like how they leap-frogged over obstacles early in their careers or stumbled into a trap you should avoid … insider's tips about writing and useful exercises … plus job listings, the contact information for publications where you could get your articles published …

  • You can work through this program at your own pace. If you're like most people, you're busy. Time gets away from you. And squeezing in a class a few hours twice a week just seems impossible. With The Ultimate Travel Writer's Program, you work through the program at your own pace, from the comfort of your own home.
  • Surprisingly affordable … a truly astounding value. Unlike a university course that could easily cost you thousands of dollars, you can get started here for less than $50, the price for your first installment. Though the secrets, techniques, and industry contacts this program provides are certainly worth four figures … the total price tag is less than $500. What's more, the program can quickly pay for itself many times over in free travel and paid-for articles.

You offer both The Ultimate Travel Writer's Program and live travel writing workshops? Which should I take?

The Ultimate Travel Writer's Program and our live travel writing workshops are, of course, very different in the way they're delivered. But they're also very different in their content...

The Ultimate Travel Writer's Program

This program quite literally walks you, step-by-step, though the process of writing an article and getting it published. Jennifer Stevens, the author, explains everything in great detail – from how you come up with salable story ideas to how to write great articles (seven easy templates are included in the first few lessons of the program) … to how to find editors and publications willing to pay you for them. You'll also learn the ins and outs of scoring the best assignments and cashing in on travel perks like free meals, vacations, concert tickets, and more.

This written self-study guide is nearly 300 pages long, extremely comprehensive, and written in a very conversational, easy-to-follow format. Naturally, we aren't able to discuss these things in such depth at the four-day live workshops.

Another benefit of The Ultimate Travel Writer's Program is that it's self-paced – you can make whatever time commitment you are able to each day, or week, or even month and still move steadily through the program. You choose the time of day that you study and you don't have to be anywhere at a specific time.

And it's also very affordable. On the monthly installment plan, you can get started for just $45 and then pay only $35 each month for the seven months that follow. Plus, it's flexible. You can put payments on hold temporarily or double up on payments so you complete the program faster – whatever works best for you.

For more details, go to: The Ultimate Travel Writer's Program

The Ultimate Travel Writer's Workshop

The biggest benefit of attending one of our live workshops is that they are live presentations, so you can ask questions and get immediate feedback. You also get to network with working writers, publishers, and editors and you'll find that the off-the-cuff remarks from your presenters make all the difference in the world.

These intensive, three-day travel writing workshops are fun, but also quite fast-paced and designed to leave you with a publishable article in hand, ready to market to a magazine or other publication. The biggest advantage of the workshops is that the members who take them regularly achieve a higher success rate – they come away motivated and prepared to be a travel writer in just four days. And since they leave with a publishable article in hand, they are ahead of the game from the get-go.

For information about upcoming workshops, go to: Events

What about your other programs and workshops?

Turn Your Pictures into Cash

Can You Take a Simple Photograph?

This program acts much the same way as our written travel writing program, only it's geared toward photography. You'll find here in-depth coverage of everything from how to take better pictures to how to sell them in an extraordinarily wide range of markets, including stock agencies, publications, fine art, corporate, and more.

You'll learn how to take pictures in the snow, on the beach, in high-contrast lighting situations, in the rain, etc. And while you get a lot of marketing advice at our live photography events, the marketing sections are covered in very great detail in this written program – everything from where to find clients, to how best to approach them, to what to say when you do, and so on.

While we certainly address this issue at our live photography events, we can't possibly do it full justice. It would take a whole week of talking to pass along all the intelligence you'll learn in the more than 700 pages that make up this excellent, comprehensive written program.

For more details, go to: Turn Your Pictures into Cash

The Ultimate Travel Photography Workshops

Hands-on experience is the key here. There's absolutely no better way to jump-start your new photography career (a perfect compliment to travel writing or as a stand-alone endeavor) than by attending one of these live events. Here you can ask questions and get immediate feedback. You also get to network with professional photographers and head out with them on photo shoots, too.

At these live events you learn how to take the kinds of photos that sell best, and we talk about the smartest and most effective ways to market your photos. In particular, we focus on how to get started fast – the quickest and easiest ways to get your career going. And this jump-start approach really works. We've had photo workshop attendees sell their photos within three weeks of returning home.

Now, while we address the marketing of your photos in much more detail in our written program than at the live events, there's no better way than in person to learn the ins and outs of your camera and to discover the best ways to work in different lighting situations, for instance. When it comes to the technical aspects of what works and what doesn't – you can't beat the live workshops.

If you're looking for a really solid footing, an increased comfort level with your equipment (a simple digital point-and-shoot will do), and the push you need to just get out and start shooting truly salable shots, the live workshops are the way to go.

For information about upcoming workshops, go to:

The Ultimate Travel Photography Workshops

Our photography workshops are ideal for somebody who'd like to combine both photography and writing.

In fact, what you'll learn on the writing front you'll find just as useful if you're interested in writing destination-specific articles. You'll gain practice interviewing for and reviewing hotels, restaurants, and tourist activities.

What's more, you'll be just as focused on learning your camera, how to take the most salable shots, how to shoot "on the fly," and more. And, naturally, you'll go out on shoots with our professional photographers as your guides.

What are other people saying about The Ultimate Travel Writer's Program and the people behind it?

These notes are typical of the praise we get …

The information and examples included in your Travel Writers program were so good that I've landed an assignment with an international travel magazine even before completing the total program … I largely credit the program material for putting me firmly on the path to success in travel writing.

– Larry L., Sugarland, TX

… I've learned a lot from the program already, but I wanted to know whether this can hold its own in the "real world" out there.

So three weeks ago I applied as travel editor for Austria at a well-known content platform, and sent another query to a travel publication.

I was totally prepared for rejections, but last Monday I got a go-ahead to write the article (on spec), and my application has made it to the final screening. So now I'm really busy, and I'm determined to do well on this. The program is working! Now I'm excited about doing the assignment as well.

– Maria Ortner

"AWAI as an organization has given me the best learning experience I've EVER had, providing me with encouragement and support every step along my journey toward a new career. In short, you folks are great. You've helped me see plainly what I need to do to succeed and given me the roadmap, information, and support I need to get there. I can't thank you enough.

– Sharon O., Oakland, CA

Several times a year we invite our students and others interested in travel writing to join Jen Stevens and the other experts behind our Ultimate Travel Writers program for a live workshop. We've held them in Paris and in Mexico, so far. Here's what people had to say …

I've had two bits published by, guess who? International Living! It's a good system to subsidize the program fee! And clip-generating, of course.

– Peter H.

I've been comped four nights at a deluxe resort on Oahu after advising them of my plans. I wrote a letter explaining that I am a 'freelance travel writer' intending on writing an article on 'Hawaii's Most Romantic Room Views.'

Although I won't be on 'assignment,' I've gotten some pretty good feedback from a couple of newspapers … so wish me luck!! I've got another idea, too. Something about 'Affordable Luxury in Paradise … Off-season in Hawaii.' I'm sorry to ramble on and on, but I'm pretty excited!

This could be the start of something BIG! Thanks a million!"

– Alice C.

Loved the opportunity to write creatively again. Absolutely I would recommend this program … I've been a copywriter for 30 years and feel like I've been reborn. Thank you.

– Kathryn L.

… the time spent learning in Paris that first week flew by, and thanks to your sincere efforts and generous nature, will always be fondly remembered by me. Thank you for offering so much to all of us, and providing not only a marvelous array of speakers and events, but excellent textbook materials that will be a tremendous resource I know I will turn to often. Classes were to the point, inclusive of our individual needs and concerns, and covered an exhaustive array of quite valuable tools and tips. I have been telling everyone who will listen what a great experience I had. Thank you.

-Colleen A. Quill

Many thanks for the wonderful seminar. It was most worthwhile from all aspects and we would attend another in a heartbeat if available. Material covered was extensive but well presented in the time permitted. We were impressed as to how well qualified and informed our instructors are.

-Duane and Harlene Harm

I just returned from the Travel Writers' Workshop, 2nd session, and I was overwhelmed with the material covered and the information disseminated. It was more than I expected and I learned more than I can put to use in a lifetime. The travel arrangements were perfect, economical, no hidden costs to surprise me, and since I was traveling alone and not in a group, surprisingly easy to negotiate. Thanks for making it so pleasurable my first time out in the city of lights … and you can quote me.

-Constance Daley
American Reporter Correspondent

Just wanted to tell you that my "postcard" was published in the May issue of the IL Lifetime Society Communiqué. Certainly is the "cherry on top" after the fantastic workshop in Paris. Thanks.

– Ron Montgomery

Well and enthusiastically presented; You all really do want to share and I think you stimulated everyone to rush out and try their hand.

-Bobbie Hamilton

John gets the info across with humor; entertaining and painless; I'm really impressed with both the curriculum and coordination of this workshop.

-Laura Gagnon

Let us know what's next – Let's do a follow up to Program 1; Loved it!

- S. Thomas

Definitely, this workshop gives you every tool box of skills, information, writer's secrets and how-to's for writing. The completeness of the workshop's travel writing "helps" surprisingly works for any articles, not just for travel writing. A college course packed into 3 days which I'd recommend to any aspiring writer.

–Judith Allred

Yes, the program is thorough and well-organized offering valuable, useful information as learned and presented by actual working professional writers. I am somewhat astonished by their generosity in imparting their hard-earned knowledge.

-Carol Delgado

Yes, powerful tool in improving one's writing and it gives insight into what is required.

-Rick Terry

Best workshop I've attended in many, many years-focused, practical tools and templates for successful travel writing and the nuts and bolts of how to get published.

–Nadia Beiser

This excellent, realistic and easy to follow workshop provides a step by step guide to becoming a travel writer. There is no better way to absorb the culture of another country then to write about it.

–Dale Gaber

Excellent orientation for people who are interested in writing for a living, but who need a little push or encouragement to try to do so.

–Ruth Ann Green