It’s day four of our free series of travel writing tips, coming straight from the experts at the Ultimate Travel Writer’s Workshop in Denver, Colorado.
If you missed yesterday’s free report on freelancer Roy Stevenson’s techniques for making $1,800 on a single travel article, you’ll find it in our archives.
Today, travel writer Steenie Harvey (who we refer to around here as the “Freebie Queen”) explained the techniques she uses to enjoy entire vacations on someone else’s dime.
First, there’s the press trip option. That usually includes hotel stays and activities, and sometimes even airfare. It’s a ready-made tour, usually sponsored by a tourist board, tour company, or resort, and it’s packed full of activities. While these trips can be fun (and free for writers) Steenie mentioned that they often involve spending days on end in the company of a group of writers and photographers, being carted from one activity to another. And they don’t always guarantee you see what you’re most interested in seeing. A more accommodating alternative, she explained, is to create your own “press trip.”
** 1. Get in touch with the tourist board where you plan to travel. Let them know you’re a travel writer, and tell them about the story you plan to write. Don’t forget to include a few of your published articles (or links to them). Then, ask if they can help you find a place to stay and activities in their area that would fit to your article.
** 2. Call a hotel in the area and introduce yourself as a writer. Again, let them know what kind of story you plan to write. Then, ask if they have a “media discount” or “press rate.” Do NOT ask for a “free room.” And don’t ask to stay for more than three days, as that looks more like a vacation than a travel writing trip.
** 3. Find out what you need for your story. Do you want to write up the local music scene? Museums? Special festivals and events? Call the places you’d like to go and, once again, introduce yourself as a writer and ask if there are “press rates” available.
A do-it-yourself trip might not be all-expenses-paid… but you will have more freedom to see what you want to see. And you’ll likely save a load of money while you’re at it.
** TIP: Once you have a few “clips” (published articles), under your belt, then it’s a lot easier to land perks. Organizations sponsoring trips usually ask to see proof of your writer status, or even an assignment letter. So as evidence of your “track record,” be sure to include a few links to your published pieces or attach your clips to your emails.
[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.]