How to Break into Spa Writing and Cash in on Perks

If you think the travel writer's life is full of spectacular perks -- and it is -- wait until you experience this...

It’s a specialty niche within travel writing that doesn't get much attention. And yet, the perks are possibly the best in the travel writing world.

I’m talking about 90-minute full-body massages, five-star meals, first-class hotel accommodations in top-notch locations, and more... all on someone else’s dime.

This week, I'd like to introduce you to four fellow readers who are enjoying extreme perks in exchange for sharing their experience in this special niche: spa writing.

We’ll kick off the week with reader Phyllis Pittman, whose first spa writing experience led to “luxurious accommodations, gourmet food, and access to nature trails and outdoor activities...” plus tennis, cooking classes, and more... all compliments of the house.

How did she land that gig? Find out in her story, below.

By Phyllis Pittman in Fairhope, Alabama

Since I can recall, I’ve loved to explore new things: new ideas, new foods, new activities, new places. I’ve also loved to write ever since I could hold a pencil. It seems a natural evolution that the two connected and I began to write about my new experiences.

I never thought I had “what it takes” to publish my work. So I journaled and wrote a little poetry for myself. They were pursuits that fulfilled my need to explore and write.

But then one day a friend read an essay I wrote and encouraged me to submit it as a column to my local newspaper, The Hattiesburg American.

With fear and trepidation, I did -- and it was accepted, opening the door for many future articles and columns.

This small success gave me the courage to submit articles to a larger newspaper, the Jackson, Mississippi Clarion Ledger. They not only accepted my work, they began to give me assignments for “Day Trippers,” places I could travel to and from in a day.

I was ecstatic! I could see things I was interested in, for free, enjoy writing about it, and someone would then pay me. Hello! I went white water canoeing (beginner level), I went to ghost towns, alligator farms, country stores, gypsy cemeteries, and a haunted opera house.

Then I was asked to visit a health spa.

I took a friend to Jolimar Summit Plantation in southern Mississippi. We both received luxurious accommodations, gourmet food, and access to nature trails and outdoor activities.

Frankie, my friend, luxuriated in a foaming herbal bath, had a massage, played tennis, took a toning class, and received personal instruction from the resort chef on the cultivation and use of herbs. What did the weekend cost us? Nothing. Nada.

After a wonderfully relaxing, rejuvenating weekend, I went home and wrote an article about our experience at Jolimar: the foods, the activities, the amenities, and the costs.

Readers got the information they needed to check out this gorgeous health resort. Through my story, they discovered the nature trails, the open-jeep ride and wildlife viewing, and the 890 acres of woods, paths, and rolling hills.

Then there’s the fact that I also got a check and a byline from the newspaper. Can we say win-win?

Now more than ever, I want to travel and write about it. And I've realized that I can do it. I want to spend time exploring the wilds of Wyoming and the plein-air cafés in Europe. I want to take horseback rides from castle to castle in Ireland and spend a week in the wilderness of Alaska. And I want to get paid for it.

I am looking forward to living my dream and enjoying my life to the fullest. If it ever looks a little scary or out of reach, I remember when I took a chance, submitted an article, and the doors opened to new opportunities.

[Editor’s Note: Learn more about opportunities to profit from your travels (and even from your own home) in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel.]

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