Reader Ginny Ripley knows how to take advantage of travel writing’s many perks.
As a published travel writer, she often arranges half-priced hotel stays and meals, plus free side-trips.
Another perk of her fabulous travel writer lifestyle is that she gets to share the experience — and the discounts — with her husband Mike. He’s become a great photographer, she tells us, and the two collaborate on travel articles they can sell.
“It’s terrific to have someone fun to share these adventures with,” Ginny says.
Interview with husband and wife travel team, Ginny and Mike Ripley, by Bonnie Caton in Portland, OR
BONNIE: Ginny and Mike, what’s it like to take trips together as a travel writing team?
GINNY: It really adds a whole new dimension to our vacations. I like how travel writing “sharpens the senses” as we explore a brand new destination. We can’t afford to just go brain dead on the beach anymore — we have to be observant, noticing all the interesting details around us. We take two notebooks, two digital cameras (in case one conks out) and a Flip video to record our travels, names, places. You’d be surprised how quickly you forget these things if you don’t record them somewhere.
MIKE: We also like to explore on our own once in a while — when we get back together, we can tell each other about our excellent adventure and do a quick peek at the pictures. We also firmly believe that sometimes you have to just be on vacation — take some time away from the notepad and the camera and just savor the moment.
BONNIE: Have you published stories and photos that you finished together?
GINNY: We’ve collaborated on all of our published articles. We overlap quite a bit, which is helpful. Even though Mike’s more into the photography and I’m more into the writing, sometimes he does parts of the writing and I take some of the photos. It’s nice to have another brain and two sets of eyes working on the project.
BONNIE: Do you plan stories together, or do they come out after the trip?
GINNY: Part of the fun for us is the pre-trip planning and all the online research we do. So we typically have a good idea of the article’s direction.
MIKE: But then there’s always the surprise storyline that pops up and presents itself without warning. That’s when you can take one trip and spin off several articles, which AWAI is always advising us to do.
BONNIE: Steenie Harvey often travels with her husband as her photographer and receives discounted travel for both of them. When one of you gets travel discounts, is the other person included, too?
GINNY: We both get offered all the same discounts, and I always present us to hotel and resort management as a team. It’s usually half off the hotel room and meals. We’ve had some excursions thrown in for free, and sometimes champagne and a fruit basket in the room when we arrive.
BONNIE: What’s up next for you two? Do you have any goals for traveling as a pair and getting published?
MIKE: I’d like to take some of your photography workshops and keep upgrading my skills. And we’d like to visit each continent — we’ve got four in so far.
GINNY: We’d really like to hit some of the “big glossies.” We haven’t broken through on bigger print magazines, yet.
BONNIE: Any tips for couples who’d like to travel as a writer/photographer team?
MIKE: The more you write and photograph, the better you get, so keep at it. It’s like a muscle you have to exercise.
GINNY: And read other travel articles so you can see what creative things others are doing out there.
BONNIE: Thanks, Ginny and Mike!
[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.]