As a travel writer, your main costs are getting to the destination, accommodation, and, to a lesser extent, entrance fees to attractions. Unless you can get yourself on an all-expenses-paid press trip, you are unlikely to be able to save on transportation. So, one workaround is to write a lot of articles based on your locality. I’m based in Shanghai, China, and so local for me is anywhere within an easy train or bus ride.  I saw an alert one day on TravMedia from the editor of Tiger Tales, the inflight of Tigerair, looking for someone to do an article on Ningbo, and I jumped at the chance to explore a city I hadn’t visited before. Less than a two-hour journey and $30 bullet train ride away, it was easy to cover the expense. I contacted them, showed them where I’d been published in the past, and they gave me an email confirming my assignment and giving me the proof I needed to show tour operators and hotels that I wasn’t just an average tourist looking for free room and board: I was writing for a magazine.  (Jennifer Stevens talks about this in The Ultimate Travel Writer’s Program.) The article I was to write required a sidebar showing a range of hotels, so I targeted five-star hotels in what seemed like convenient locations, and I went straight to their PR person. Shangri-la responded and agreed to put me up for three nights. Ningbo, despite having a population of over 3 million, doesn’t even make an appearance in newer versions of the Lonely Planet. Preliminary research came from Internet sources and an old guidebook. I then used the hotel PR people to help me with setting up some of the required interviews that I needed for the Tiger Tales article. I spent a very busy but enjoyable four days and three nights exploring the city, doing interviews, and taking pictures. Shangri-la, along with giving me free accommodation, also gave me a dinner highlighting some of the local seafood specialities. The article in Tiger Tales brought in $640 plus I received an extra $130 for four pictures of mine that they used. As I said earlier, you need to maximize your sales. One way is to sell the same article more than once. In the case of airline inflight magazines, you are often not allowed to sell the article again. But that doesn’t stop you from using the same research to write another article! It so happens that Shangri-la has an online magazine called Inner Circle and that last year I did some work for them. I contacted the editor to ask her if she would also like something on Ningbo. That resulted in an additional $225 commission using information I had already gathered for the Tiger Tales story. Share on Facebook [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.  Sign up today here and we’ll send you a report, Get Paid to Travel as a Travel Writer, completely FREE.]

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