Become a Travel Guide
By Roberta Beach Jacobson in Karpathos, Greece

Are you the expert that other people turn to for advice when planning their vacations, their weekends away, or even just a day-trip to a nearby town? Are you enthusiastic about your town or region — and can you share that enthusiasm with other?

If so, perhaps you have what it takes to become an About.com Guide.

About.com is the web’s leading provider of practical solutions to everyday problems. The experts at About.com offer advice on hundreds of topics, ranging from action movies to great getaways. Some topics of interest to travel writers would be the many locations around the country, for which About.com is seeking experts.

The best part is that you’d be covering an area you know and enjoy. This is a great place to share your expertise with others. Plus it’s certainly credibility building — something you’d want to let editors know about when you query them with your article ideas (read: clearly you’re a pro, or you wouldn’t have this regular gig). What’s more, with a guaranteed outlet for your stories, you’ll be in a strong position to land spots on press trips, too.

Current topics available (that is, looking for guides) include Louisville, KY, Senior Travel, UK Long-Haul Holidays/Travel, Miami for Visitors, El Paso, TX, and the list goes on and on. You can browse through it at: http://beaguide.about.com/topics.htm

As a guide, you must —

** 1) have a passion for your topic,
** 2) be familiar with HTML code,
** 3) publish (at a minimum) two full-length articles on your topic every two weeks, and
** 4) post regular updates to your blog site.

The most successful guides also maintain a directory of the best content within their chosen topic and serve as community leaders in the About.com discussion forums.  To get an idea what is required to be successful as a destination guide, take a look at a sample guide site for Cleveland, OH at: http://sample2.about.com/

To get started as a guide, you choose a topic from the list of topics that are currently available. Then you apply online at: http://beaguide.about.com/applynow.htm. You’ll be asked to submit a writing sample relevant to the topic you choose, and you’ll also be asked to share your relevant experience that shows you’re qualified for the job.  If your application is successful, you’ll begin a 17-day online training program called “prep”. You’ll find all the details here: http://beaguide.about.com/training.htm

When you successfully complete “prep” and your site goes live, you are guaranteed to make at least $725 per month — and it’s likely that you will make much more than that over time. Compensation is based on page views. The more people you attract to your site, the more you get paid.

All About.com guides are freelancers who work online and set their own schedules. As a travel writer you’ll have the flexibility to log on from anywhere in the world whenever you have the time.

[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.]

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