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Today:

  • Travel Insurance: Are You Getting What You Pay For?
  • How to Use Buying Rights and Copyright to Your Best Advantage
  • More Opportunities and Resources for Writers

Dear Reader,

At 5:25 p.m. I took my seat on board a United flight to Chicago.  At 10:15 p.m., nearly five hours later, we finally pushed back from the gate.

On my second trip to the bathroom in that five hours, I overheard a woman tell someone else — “thank goodness we got travel insurance on this flight.”

I didn’t have the heart to tell her that most travel insurance companies don’t cover weather delays.  On top of that, most will only reimburse you for expenses incurred during the hours of your delay, which means if the restaurants in the airport are closed in your terminal and you can’t grab a bite to eat until you land, there’s nothing to reimburse.

In fact, on the two trips where my luggage was lost by the airline… the three trips where my flight was delayed enough for me to miss my connection… and the one flight where my flight was canceled and I had to buy another ticket on another airline in order to make it out of the city before a big storm hit, travel insurance didn’t cover a thing.  It seems it’s always me versus the disclaimers and fine print.

So what is travel insurance good for?

Well, medical emergencies, mostly.  One of the attendees at our Denver Ultimate Travel Writer’s Workshop, a physician, recommended this company for evacuation insurance — http://www.medjetassist.com

I checked it out, and while the website doesn’t mention things like delayed flights or lost luggage, maybe that doesn’t matter. The truth is, I’ve yet to find any plan that covers that.

The company does offer a yearly membership plan for only $200, which I might consider next year.  On top of the trips I have planned for AWAI, I’m also going around the world for my honeymoon with stops in Jordan, Russia, Thailand, and China. With that much travel, I can see that an annual plan might well make good sense.

Travel insurance is also good for covering the costs associated with group tours or conferences when you have to cancel a trip due to illness – yours or a family member’s. Just be sure you get a doctor’s note the day you cancel your trip.  You’ll need that to file your claim.

And you’ll also need proof that the expenses you incurred for your trip (even if you don’t take the trip) are non-refundable. In other words, if you were supposed to travel to New York for a conference, and the conference organizers reimbursed you when you couldn’t make it, then you cannot file a claim to cover that conference fee.

I always recommend to our workshop attendees that they buy travel insurance that will cover our non-refundable conference fee, should something prevent them from coming.  One woman, for instance, couldn’t join us in Denver last week because, at the last minute, her mother took a fall down the steps.  The travel insurance company I recommend to our attendees — http://www.travelguard.com — should cover that.

All this brings me to a request: If you know of a travel insurance company that insures luggage, flight delays due to weather, or missed flights due to traffic problems, let me know: lori@thetravelwriterslife.com

A word to the wise: Until we identify the ultimate travel insurance policy (and, really, even when we do) remember to read the fine print before you buy any insurance.

You know, one of the things I like most about attending our workshops is getting to meet such interesting, well-traveled people.  I pick up so many valuable tips from both the formal presentations and the off-the-cuff remarks our speakers make and, too, from the input our attendees offer – both during the sessions and out at breaks.

As I mentioned, at our Denver workshop, that travel insurance recommendation came from an attendee. And another participant offered up a good packing tip for jewelry: Use drinking straws to keep your necklaces from tangling.  Open the necklace and thread one end of it though the straw.  Secure the clasp and the straw will keep your necklace from tangling and knotting.  You can do this with bracelets too, just cut the straw in half.

You know, we learned so much at that event — not only about how to write saleable travel articles, but also how to sell them again and again for twice, and even three times the profit.

To do that, you need to understand what rights a publication is buying. When you agree to sell your travel article, you grant a publication the right to use it.  But you don’t have to give away the right to use it exclusively.  Sometimes you can reserve the right to sell it again and again.

Read on to figure out how…

And, as always — let me know about your travel-writing or photography successes. If you have a story to share, send me a quick note at lori@thetravelwriterslife.com.

Have a great weekend,

— 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 USE RIGHTS AND COPYRIGHT TO YOUR BEST ADVANTAGE
By Lori Appling in Arlington, VA.

When you agree to sell a travel article you’ve written, you’re granting a publication the right to use your work. How that publication does so is up to you — and hinges directly on the agreement you’re able to negotiate with the editor.

As most writers will tell you, you should aim to keep as many rights to your work as possible.

The more rights you maintain, the more profit you can squeeze from every piece you write.

Which rights should you be concerned with?

** First, Serial, or More: What Rights to Sell

Most often, travel writers selling their material in the U.S. market sell First North American Serial Rights to their articles. That means the writer offers a publication the right to publish an article for the first time in a North American periodical. All other rights remain with the writer. In other words, that writer could still legally sell the same exact piece to a publication in Europe, for example.

Here is some additional information about other rights you’ll likely come across:

  • One-Time Rights: These are exactly what they sound like. One-Time Rights are nonexclusive. The writer sells rights to an article to a periodical to publish once and only once. But at the same time, the writer can be selling the same “one-time” rights to another publication in another market.
  • Second Serial (Reprint) Rights: These are nonexclusive rights given to a publication to publish a manuscript after it has already appeared in another newspaper or magazine. (That other newspaper or magazine might have had First-Serial Rights.)

    Occasionally an editor will contact a writer for Second-Serial Rights, but more often than not the writer has to shop around to get reprint offers.

  • All-Rights: This means a writer sells to a publication every right to his article. In other words, when you sell all rights, you can’t ever sell that copy again. Selling all of your rights to a piece doesn’t mean you can’t recycle the material and use it to write another article. It just means that those exact words cannot be resold to another publication.
  • Electronic Rights: These are rights that cover a large range of electronic media. They include online magazines, databases, and CD-ROM magazine anthologies.

    Most publications list the rights they buy in their Writer’s Guidelines. Many times publications want First Serial Rights and Electronic Rights.

Once you’re established as a travel writer, you’re in a better position to negotiate when it comes to rights — especially Electronic Rights. At the outset anyway, expect what you find in the Writer’s Guidelines to be firm. Remember, as you launch your travel writing career, you should be most concerned with getting by-lines and less concerned with the money.

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