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Today:
*** How to Swap Coffee for Plane Tickets
*** How to Turn a Profit on a Feel-Good Trend
*** Reader Feedback: What to Charge for Your Article

Dear Reader,

It’s quiet here today. Even the Starbucks across the street is empty.

I was thinking about wandering over to get a latte but then I remembered an old piece I wrote in our archives, “How to Swap Coffee for Plane Tickets,” and figured I should probably stash my cash.

My point in that article was simple: If a venti latte at Starbucks costs $4.20 then by the time you’ve paid for two venti lattes, you’ve wasted $8.40.

$8.40 is all I paid for my hotel in Buenos Aires last year and it’s all you’ll pay in several other countries too – Argentina, Brazil, Thailand, and India among them. And on Ryan Air $8.40 can buy you a plane ticket from London to over 80 other European cities. (Now, that doesn’t include the taxes but even with those additional fees, the flights come to $20 or $25 each. In other words: six venti lattes.)

Point is: Cut out the venti lattes and you can easily pay for a hotel room in a good-value destination or for your next European plane ticket…

What’s more, The National Coffee Association reports that the average American spends $40 a week in gourmet coffee shops. If your spending habits put you in that group, then you should know: If you started saving those coffee dollars now, you’d have more than enough to pay for your next flight.

Scroll down below, for this week’s main article — coming to you on Friday instead of Saturday. (We’re keeping our dispatches to a minimum this week as most of our writers and photographers have taken a few days off to be with their families.)

You won’t miss this classic article from our archives. That’s because on New Year’s Eve, TV and radio station around the world will be rehashing the trends of 2006 and projecting new ones for 2007. And in Jennifer Stevens’ article, below, she shows you how to turn those trends into paychecks.

Have a great holiday week!

— Lori
Lori Appling
Director, Great Escape Publishing

[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.]

HOW TO TURN A PROFIT ON A FEEL-GOOD TREND

Some weeks back, at our Lucrative Traveler Conference in San Antonio, import-export gurus Gary and Merri Scott explored the importance of exploiting a trend when you’re targeting a market for profit.

In other words: Figure out what’s hot… and then “sell” to that trend. (It’s advice that makes very good sense when it comes to travel writing, too… and I’ll show you how to capitalize on it in just a minute.)

What’s hot now, according to the Scotts? Things that make people feel good. Items that make people’s lives the way they think they should be. People are stressed-out. They’re working long hours. They want an escape. Provide one, the Scotts say… and people will pay you for it.

(By the way, these guys should know. They’ve been reading trends accurately for 30 years now and bring home over $1 million in sales annually to prove it.)

FIVE TRENDS TO CAPITALIZE ON

So, more specifically, where does opportunity linger today, according to the Scotts? In —

1) Caring (People pamper their pets… are interested in educating themselves… want to age gracefully.)
2) Personal Discovery (“Who am I?” folks are asking themselves.)
3) Togetherness (People long for nurturing marriages… want strong family values… are searching for friendship and love.)
4) Peace of Mind (In an uncertain world, people are looking for inner peace.)
5) Health (Longevity is important, as is youthfulness. And people are looking outside the “mainstream” to find both.)

Now, the Scotts identified these markets in the context of import-export opportunity. Their message: Find (or create) products that feed those urges, and you’ll be well-positioned to profit.

But, as I said, that advice holds true in the travel-writing arena, too. Just take a look…

HOW YOU CAN TARGET THIS SAME AUDIENCE… AND SELL MORE ARTICLES

Take the idea of “caring.” Let’s use pets, which people certainly are pampering to a degree unheard of 20 years ago. I know here in Colorado Springs, we can take our dog for canine acupuncture, for instance. And you no longer just “board” your dog. These days, it goes to “camp.”

How can you capitalize on this trend? Well, ask yourself what folks who travel with their pets might need.

Answer: You could do a piece on traveling to a particular destination with pets. Your readers would want to know where to stay (hotels that allow — and maybe even cater to — pets), where to eat (are there restaurants with outside dining that don’t mind dogs sitting under the tables?), where to go for entertainment (are there dog parks, for instance?).

And where would you sell this piece? Well, I think certainly any number of pet-related publications or websites would buy a story like this. And quite possibly a regional or state magazine would, too.

Now, take the idea of “personal discovery.” How might you combine that with travel?

Answer: Think about what people might do to answer the question: “Who am I?” They might look for weekend retreats during which they explore their inner beings. I did a quick search on Google for “personal discovery retreats Colorado” and came up with, among the many thousands of results — Jesuit retreats, women’s adventure tours, yoga programs, New Age workshops, and more.

A link to Women’s Quest was among those my search turned up, and I clicked through out of curiosity. This outfit offers “Adventures for the mind, body, and spirit.” You can be sure there’s an article there — you could take one of their programs and write about your experience. Or you could make this one of maybe three such opportunities you profile in a round-up piece about where and how to pursue personal discovery. Either article might fit nicely into a health-focused publication, a women’s sports publication, or even a women’s magazine.

And what about “togetherness?” Ask yourself this: “Who’s getting together?” Seems to me, you could answer that question in many different ways. Grandparents and kids. Baby Boomers and their friends.  Parents and children. Young, professional, unmarried women. You get the idea. And in each group, you’ll find an audience for an article about how and where these groups are cementing their relationships.

Let’s take the Baby Boomers, for instance. My mother is one, and last year, she and five of her college girlfriends got together to explore New Mexico, shop, and catch up. They had a wonderful time on their trip, and now they’re talking about a second one for sometime next year. Where should they go? Where should they stay? What should they do? If you can answer those questions, you’ve got the makings of a salable article.

Who would buy it? A great variety of publications might be interested — city magazines, in-flight magazines, the travel section at newspapers, even non-travel publications that enjoy a readership of female Baby Boomers — like Ladies Home Journal or Sunset Magazine, perhaps.

By thinking about articles in this way — as feeding into these “feel good” trends — you’re positioning yourself well. After all, editors want to print what their subscribers want to read. And right now, this is where the interest is headed.

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