Imagine vacationing for a week in the Caribbean, but instead of staying in a standard hotel, you’re in a villa on the water, just 50 feet from the shoreline.
It’s on stilts hovering above the brightest blue water you can imagine. And, not only is the water blue, but it’s so clear you can see straight down to the white-sand bottom where starfish are the size of basketballs and fish are the brightest orange, yellow and blues you’ve ever seen.
You spend your afternoon in a handmade hammock on the deck. Miles of ocean stretch out in front of you. You enjoy tropical nights surrounded by good food, great wine, and cool ocean breezes.
Tomorrow’s itinerary includes snorkeling, diving for rock lobster, then grilling it oceanside.
Everyone on the island brings a side dish, including cracked conch, coconut pancakes… and you’re the guest of honor.
“Guest of honor” is something my dad says anytime he takes me (or anyone really) out to dinner.
“Your money’s no good here, Lori. You and your family are my guests of honor.” And that’s a lot like what it feels like to travel as a travel writer.
Meals, museum tickets, hotel upgrades, they’re all on the house. Someone else foots the bill.
And here’s something else…
When you travel as a travel writer, all sorts of great travel opportunities will open up for you. Opportunities you might not even be able to imagine right now.
Growing up in a small beach town in Delaware, my idea of a vacation was a road trip to Disney World. Fifteen hours of driving followed by eight hours a day of waiting in line after line to ride a two-minute ride. It all seemed worth it as long as I got to ride the rides.
As an 8-year old, this was my ideal vacation, and I couldn’t imagine anything that could possibly be better.
As an adult, however, I’ve gone back to Disney a few more times. And here’s the thing – a lot of the rides I loved as a child all do the same thing. They rise up in the air and go around in a circle. I’m not so sure what I was so excited about back then.
Throughout my travels, as I’ve had the opportunity to explore the world and I’ve thought back to that moment where I couldn’t imagine anything better than Disney World.
I could never have imagined I’d be seated on a small six-seater prop plane leaving Belize City headed to Ambergris Caye. And that the next day I’d be jumping into open water to swim with nurse sharks. Or that one day I sat in a field in Thailand surrounded by more than ten thousand people lighting rice paper lanterns to release into the sky – a sight straight out of a fairytale…
One travel writer I know was paid to take tango lessons in Argentina.
Another to dive along the Great Barrier Reef.
And another boarded a plane to Borneo to see the amazing orangutan sanctuaries.
To land all-expenses paid trips like this, your job is simple. Keep good notes about where you went and what you did. Take photos. And then write an article sharing your opinion about your experience — good or bad — with others who are interested in going there.
You might be asking how that could be. How could taking notes of all the fun things you’re doing actually fund your trips?
It works, because one of the ways travel-related businesses advertise is by inviting travel writers to experience (for free) what they have to offer — maybe a tour, cruise, special event, or resort package — in hopes that you’ll have positive experiences and write favorable articles in magazines, newspapers, newsletters, or online.
The more articles written about a place, the rationale goes, the more tourists will go there.
And more tourists mean more money.
Once you’ve got a track record with a few articles published under your belt, you can begin to cash in on perks like invitations for free travel and reduced-rate vacations for you and a friend.
Do that, and when you earn a few hundred… or even a few thousand dollars for an article… it’s pure profit.
And the truth is, you don’t need to be a gifted writer. You don’t need journalism courses. You don’t need a job in the travel industry. You don’t even need to travel – your hometown is a travel destination for somebody. (I’ll show you how to start locally and become a mini celebrity where you live in a minute.)
First, I’d like to ask you to get out a pen or pencil and some paper. Publications are always looking for new travel writers, and this is an opportunity to see if the lifestyle is a good fit for you. It’s a quick self-test.
Below, you’ll find a list of questions to help determine whether or not travel writing is for you.
There are 10 questions altogether. You’ll answer “yes” or “no” in each case and score yourself “1” for a yes and “0” for a no.
Now, I’m not there to watch you, so it’s up to you to be honest with yourself through all the questions… and then draw your own conclusion. We sometimes “think” we will act one way in a situation but in reality act another. Try to be honest with yourself.
After we get through the questions, I’ll give you the score that I’d call the minimum requirement for somebody looking to make it as a travel writer. And you can see how you measure up.
Question 1: Are you interested in exploring new places and experiencing new things?
You’d be surprised how many people feel uncomfortable when things don’t work while traveling the way they work at home. (If your answer is a “yes, I like experiencing new things and can roll with the unexpected” give yourself a score of 1, if you find this difficult (and be honest) mark zero.)
Question 2: Do you enjoy meeting new people?
As a travel writer, you’ll need to engage with others to get a real insider’s perspective about a place. (Again, score yourself a 1 for yes or 0 for no.)
Question 3: Are you opinionated?
In other words, are you able to articulate why, specifically, you think one place or experience is superior or inferior to another? (Write down your score. 1 for yes. 0 for no.)
Question 4: Are you persuasive?
Can you convince an editor with genuine conviction that your story is right for their publication? (1 for yes. 0 for no.)
Question 5: Are you observant?
Do you pay attention as you travel to what you see, taste, hear, feel, and smell or are you more likely to day-dream and miss subtle details? (1 for yes, I’m observant. 0 for no, I’m not.)
Question 6: Are you willing -- and even eager -- to travel on your own (or with friends and family) without relying on a pre-packaged trip or tour?
This means sometimes being able to play some of your travel "by ear," maybe abandoning reservations occasionally, so you stumble on lesser-known villages, hotels, restaurants, and so on, as you discover a destination. (1 for yes. 0 for no.)
Question 7: Are you polite?
The more pleasant and easy you are to work with, the more likely an editor will be to call on you again. In addition, when you’re traveling with your camera, the more polite you are, the more likely you’ll find people willing to let you take their picture. (I’ll let you in on a little secret here: I know editors who are more willing to work with somebody who is easy to deal with, though not the best writer in the world, than with a stronger writer who is not so personable.) (So give yourself a 1 if you’re polite. 0 if you think that’s something you could work on.)
Question 8: Are you willing to read and do research?
You don’t need to spend hours in a library, but you do want to make sure that your time on the ground in a place is well-spent. So a bit of research ahead of time can help enormously -- and provide you with better context for your piece. (1 for yes. 0 for no.)
Question 9: Are you able to follow directions?
The writers who do what a publication's Writer's Guidelines suggest find more success, faster, than those who don’t. (So give yourself a 1 for yes. 0 for no.)
Question 10: Are you driven by something – a goal, a dream or a deadline?
Are you a creative person trapped in a desk job? Maybe you’re looking to retire and hoping for an opportunity that supplements your retirement funds but is also fun and rewarding. We’ve found over the years that the most successful travel writers are ones that have a reason and a goal for making it work.
They’re going to retire in X years or months or they say: I’m going to be out of this desk job by such and such date.
Or they’ve always wanted to go on a trip in x number of days so they have that goal for getting started. (Be honest. At this time, do you have a goal or reason in mind? 1 for yes. 0 for no.)
Now, to the moment of truth…
Take a moment to total up all the 1’s you scored during this test. And, don’t be worried about the zeros.
Now, the number I’d be looking for as a minimum score from an ideal candidate for travel writing is… 7.
If you scored 7 or higher -- congratulations! This is an indicator that you have that extra bit of edge that makes you well suited to the life of a travel writer.
And if you didn’t score a 7 or higher, you needn’t bow out just yet. These are just things you need to recognize and work on to make it.
The truth is, as long as you have a burning desire to get out there and take on the world as a travel writer, then -- with a little commitment from yourself to change those zeroes to ones -- you still have every chance of success.
Now, before you decide for sure, let’s look at what a typical day for you might look like should you decide to give travel writing a try…
Over the last decade I’ve had the opportunity to personally get to know many successful travel writers.
As I’ve talked with these writers, and gotten to know them, I’ve learned that in this industry, there really is no “typical” day. For many, that’s one of the most attractive things about being a travel writer.
Most of them didn’t even know travel writing existed until they found us online. But today, they’ve traveled as far as Norway, Mexico, France and Japan on trips that were paid for through their experiences. Here are just a few…
One writer was wined, dined and pampered across Malaysia. She’s been given free spa treatments… been hosted by Michelin chefs at their private tasting tables… she’s gone white-water rafting in Thailand… visited orangutan sanctuaries in China… and breakfasted on fresh apricots and buttery croissants near the golden beaches of Corsica. All paid for by someone else.
Another told me one of his top three all-time favorite travel writing trips was a pampered cruise through Patagonia around Cape Horn, the southernmost landmass in the world. His excursions included walking with penguins and sipping cocktails from atop a glacier. And again, he didn’t pay for this trip.
And another sent me this note: “My favorite luxury travel and spa writing perk was when my husband and I spent a week boating on French canals on a 12-passenger barge — entirely free of charge.”
Here’s Patti Morrow, a former lobbyist turned full-time travel writer just last year. She told me she is addicted to traveling. So to fund her “hobby”, she became a travel writer.
She’s been to London, Mexico, South Africa, Tijuana, Japan and Bora Bora. She’s written stories about sky diving, dressing up as a Geisha, white water rafting, swimming on coral reefs and more.
Travel writing, she told me, is more about purpose than it is about money. She already loves to travel. Now she just has a better excuse for it.
And here’s Terri Marshall. She’s another great example. She, too, started part-time but then she started getting invitations for more free travel and more articles to write so she eventually quit her job as a tax accountant to travel more.
“Taxes aren’t fun,” she said. “But travel writing, now that’s fun.”
One of my favorite stories from Terri is when Ben and Jerry’s ice cream flew her to Vermont to tour their headquarters, sample their ice cream, and create her own flavor.
It highlights a super important part about being a travel writer -- in addition to free travel, spa treatments, world class meals and fun experiences, travel writers are often invited to do things typically tourists can’t.
They go behind the scenes and they get to meet people they’d never get to meet traveling as a tourist.
Terri says she’s the coolest grandmother on the block now. She’s been paid to harvest cacao in Belize. She’s had chocolate spa treatments and martinis all over the world. She’s been cave diving and waterfall climbing. She’s even driven a reindeer sleigh in Norway.
On at least two occasions she was encouraged to bring her grandchildren, too, so she could write about multi-generation travel.
All this while still working part-time as an accountant.
So whether you decide to pursue travel writing part-time or full-time, there’s no one right way to do it.
Before we continue with details on how to get started, let me introduce myself and the companies who pay for you to take these trips…
My name is Lori Allen and I’m the Director of Great Escape Publishing.
Here, we publish home study programs and we run live workshops that help people get paid to travel – everything from travel writing, photography, import/export, tours, and travel blogging.
Our newest Kindle book: 101 Places You Can Get Published in 2018 lists a hundred and one options for where you might sell your stories when you return from a trip. The trick is to not limit yourself to straight travel magazines. Magazines that focus on smaller themes publish travel stories too.
Take, for example, the following three magazines who say this on their website…
A lot of our members get their feet wet by getting articles and photos published in International Living Magazine, too.
The very creator of our Ultimate Travel Writer’s Program, Jennifer Stevens, is the Executive Editor there.
International Living is a great place to get your first byline if you’re interested in overseas travel.
Here’s what they told me…
“We’re looking for travelers willing to share their experiences, insights, and recommendations with International Living readers.
“You must be willing to explore new places, ask lots of questions, make friends, and discover destinations as an insider would.
“You may be asked to loll on the beach… shop… try new foods… taste-test local cocktails… attend concerts and art shows… visit museums… hike… dive… sail… ride a horse… golf, and more…
“A good candidate is comfortable getting lost – because sometimes you find the best stories when you’re not expecting to.
“No writing experience necessary.”
When you try out to be a travel writer, you can write for thousands of publications around the world including English-speaking magazines published in other countries like Germany, Australia, the United Kingdom and more.
International Living told me that they wrote checks in excess of $26,000 to writers for travel stories last month alone and I’m sure they’re not alone.
The travel industry is huge and magazine publishing is still profitable. Couple that with the ever growing need to publish new stories on a magazine’s website, on their social media sites, on their blog, and more… and you’ll quickly see that more stories are getting published online today than ever before.
And in a lot of cases, travel writers are paid for their stories and paid additional money for their photos. And that’s on top of the free travel perks you receive. The value of learning how to do this just keeps growing.
Now let’s take a look at the kinds of stories I’m talking about, because they’re not that hard to write.
Here’s a copy of one of the inside sections of International Living Magazine, for instance…
One of the things they -- and other publications like them – are always in the market for is these short “front of the book” pieces.
Typically 3-7 paragraphs long and less than 250 words (a single typed page), these short articles are the easiest to sell when you’re first starting out. Almost every magazine needs them and they’re not too hard to write.
Here’s, typically, how you go about getting started…
You can try it on your own. Locate and research publications (our Kindle book or your local bookstore is a great place to start)… figure out the best way to approach editors… plan your first trip… get assignment letters that vouch for your status as a writer… write the stories… take the photos… and hope they sell.
Or, if you’re not interested in wasting your valuable time, we’re happy to do the hard work for you. Get you out there fast. Show you how to arrange that free trip to Venice… how to photograph the city in a way that makes your photos saleable with your stories… and allows you the time and freedom to focus on the fun stuff – seeing more of the world on someone else’s dime.
If you decide to go this route, your next step is easy. You’ll order through the discount link below.
You’ll fill out the online application and by tomorrow you’ll have everything you need.
The Ultimate Travel Writer’s Program includes things like:
What’s more, not only does The Ultimate Travel Writer’s Program do all the hard work for you, it also comes with three free gifts and a 100% satisfaction guarantee…
Your three gifts include:
101 Places to Get Published. It’s hard to find those small, niche publications willing to work with first-time writers. We’ve done that hard work for you. Here you’ll find editors’ names and e-mails, plus links to the publication’s writer’s guidelines.
Money-Making Travel Photography. Photo-article packages are more attractive to travel editors -- and mean higher earnings for you. While it's true that photos help you sell your articles, it's also true that you don't need lots of experience or expensive equipment to take the kinds of shots that can illustrate your stories. You’ll discover some easy techniques you can put into practice immediately to take better shots every time… We sell this guide separately on our website for $25, but I’ll send it to you free.
101 Story Starters for Instant Success. This guide is designed to inspire your story ideas. You’ll never have to stare at your blank computer screen again wondering how to begin your story. Instead, read through a few pages of 101 Story Starters and the possibilities will be endless. Pick a “story starter” template that fits your article, and you’ll be on your way to a publishable piece in no time.
You have a FULL YEAR to try it out risk-free. If you don’t think you can write a travel story you can sell with this program quick and easy, we’ll buy it back from you. No ifs, ands, or butts.
Richard, of our members, sent us this note:
“After taking your Travel Writer’s program and following the suggestions and completing the assignments, I have landed a month-long stay in Rome, Italy to learn Italian. This is all paid for by the school I’ll be attending. So not only will I be able to stay for an entire month in the Eternal City, but I’ll also be able to expand my knowledge of Italian. I can just imagine all the story ideas I’ll be able to get from this stay in Rome. This will really help to launch my career as a travel writer…and it’s all due to this program! I found it to be invaluable as I am able to achieve my goal of traveling the world.”
And Connie, another one of our members, says:
"I experienced 10 successful press trips within two years that resulted in a plethora of articles and a good income. I remain thankful for all you have done for me and my career."
I guarantee The Ultimate Travel Writer’s Program will shave months -- and even years -- off the time it could take you to do it on your own or I’ll give you your money back. It’s that simple.
It’s been designed by editors who know what they want. Give them that, and you’ll find it leads ultimately, to a by-line and paycheck for you…
Above all, travel writing is fun. And so is our program. You won’t spend hours revisiting English grammar and punctuation. Instead, you’ll learn things like…
And so much more…
And here’s something else…
Our program was created with input and practical advice from a seasoned team of travel editors and writers getting paid to travel all over the world.
Editors, freelance writers and photographers who have worked with such illustrious publications as The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Parent, Chicago Tribune, the Frommer’s guides, The Denver Post, AAA Magazine, Caribbean Travel & Life and more have all contributed.
And your guide through the program, Jennifer Stevens, makes learning all their secrets easy and fun.
She walks you though the straightforward steps you need to take, one-by-one. And you can see how – even without any experience as a writer, you, too, could find success and be getting paid to travel sooner than you ever thought possible.
Just imagine the feeling of getting your first piece published in such a high-profile publication! One by-line there and you’ll be up-and-running…
It’s worked out for many of our trained writers so far…
And remember, there’s no risk to you.
As with all our programs, this one comes with a no-risk, 100% satisfaction guarantee. Try it out for a FULL YEAR. If you don’t think you can plan your first trip and take advantage of it as a travel writer… or use this program locally to become a celebrity in your own hometown, we’ll send you a full refund.
The only thing I urge you to do is try it TODAY. Don’t wait because the big discount and extra bonuses expire soon.
And remember, it’s not all about the dollar earnings you can make as a travel writer. It really is the coolest job in the world.
You get the prestige of seeing your words… your name… your photos in print… and having the most envious job imaginable.
You can land all-expenses-paid trips to places you’d never get to explore if you weren’t “on assignment.”
You’ll have more time to spend on the things you love doing (whether it’s diving, tasting chocolate, hiking, or sinking into a hot-tub) -- and getting paid to do them, by working them into your travel pieces… and more!
But this offer doesn’t last long.
I hope to hear stories of your success soon.
Director, Great Escape Publishing
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