I have been published somewhere around 15 times, and that’s important to know, because I don’t think any of this would have been possible (I probably wouldn’t have dreamed of applying for press trips or travel writer discounts) if I hadn’t already followed the protocol in the program and gotten my first bylines.
Here’s what I did…
My daughter loves the hit TV show Breaking Bad. So for her birthday, I found a Breaking Bad travel tour, crafted my very own press trip, and we got to enjoy the experience together.
It was thrilling to board the RV from the show, decked out in all its glory with props. With each stop on the tour, my daughter’s excitement grew—we looked on at Jesse’s house, ate lunch at Los Pollos Hermanos, and toured the infamous Car Wash, aka money laundering business for the characters on the show.
Later we found ourselves walking through the actual laundromat, looking exactly the same as in the show. My daughter was enraptured and the look on her face was priceless. Best birthday ever!
And here’s how I used my travel writing to put together this amazing trip, which included so many more freebies and local attractions in addition to the Breaking Bad tour:
With the plane tickets already booked for New Mexico, my first step was to contact the tourist office in Albuquerque to gather information regarding places to stay and sights to see and tell them I was coming. Their website became a springboard of ideas to enhance our trip.
I also contacted the Breaking Bad tour operator directly. He later became our guide on the day of the tour.
The final detail I needed to secure was lodging… and our mini holiday would be complete.
I realized it would be best to stay in the central area of Old Town Albuquerque where everything we wanted to see and do was within walking distance. This included our main tour, along with local outdoor markets, shopping, and museums.
During my research, I stumbled upon the Chaco Hotel and decided to contact them first.
When reaching out to venues, whether by email or by phone, I always introduce myself as a freelance travel writer. Then I tell them when I’m visiting, and I explain that I plan to write several articles based on my experiences. I also show them clips of where I’ve been published in the past.
From there, on this particular trip, I corresponded with the hotel staff several times, and it was during these conversations that a relationship began to build… leading to a complimentary stay and more—a testament to the power of networking!
The generous staff helped to arrange other activities, too. They suggested an evening of dance, provided us with comped tickets to the hotel’s tableau flamenco performance, and arranged a one-on-one interview with their artist-in-residence. An unforgettable experience.
They even brought a birthday box of gourmet foods and chocolates to our room as a surprise. Compliments of the house. All because, in the life of a travel writer, work and play can be indistinguishable.
Camera in hand, I purposefully took photos with an eye toward shots that would support the articles I was crafting. Even though I was having fun, I remained well aware that the real work would begin after returning home, and I wanted to have the shots I needed.
Back at home, with my notes and photos, I settled in to begin organizing and composing. I wrote drafts of my articles and fact-checked along the way.
I wrote and I edited and I wrote and I edited. In the process, I got to relive those memories of Albuquerque and all the wonderful people we met.
As the articles began to appear in print, I reconnected with the companies and organizations that helped make this FAM trip a great success, providing them links and copies of the articles written.
By me! The travel writer!
[Editor’s Note: Learn more about how you can fund your travels and make an extra income with photography, travel writing, blogging, and more in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel. Sign up here today and we’ll send you a new report, Five Fun Ways To Get Paid To Travel: A Quick-Start Guide, completely FREE.]