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“Let’s get real — how much opportunity is there for freelance travel writers, these days?”

Christina here, coming to you from the last day of our Travel Writing and Spanish Immersion Expedition in Cotacachi, Ecuador.

The class fell silent today when someone in the back of the room asked the question above.

But then our instructor, Denver Post Travel Editor Kyle Wagner, told us something that put us all at ease…

239 new magazines launched in 2011, alone.

With more and more magazines launching each year, there’s an even greater opportunity for freelancers to break in.

And here’s the best part: As a travel writer, you aren’t limited to just travel publications. As Kyle told us today, all kinds of different publications need travel articles to fill space in their issues.

From health, food, parenting, and outdoors magazines, to business, performing arts, hobbies, and lifestyle… ALL of these publications need travel articles that tie in with their main focus.

The opportunity here is, in fact, immense.

Kyle stressed that you shouldn’t be afraid to approach non-travel publications with a travel article. It’s a great way to show your versatility. And, you should be thinking about different publications and niches where you might be able to submit articles.

From just one trip, there are hundreds of stories you can get published. For example, Kyle gave us great suggestions for topics we could be writing about right here in Cotacachi:

** Fitness – In a place like Ecuador, where many of the cities are at high altitude, you could write an article about some things you can do to mitigate the effects of altitude.

** Lifestyle – What’s it like to live here? Interview natives and expats to get both sides of the story.

** Outdoors – If you’re traveling in a place where people do outdoor activities, like climbing, rafting, biking, and hiking, you could profile a few and do a small article, including where to stay and eat nearby. You could try the activities for yourself, but you don’t have to if you do a little research and talk to folks who do.

** Hobbies – Magazines exist for all kinds of hobbies, from crafts to antiques to gardening. Here in Ecuador, we could write articles about local weaving crafts, or the organic garden we visited on our first day, and pitch them to magazines that run those kinds of stories.

** Performing Arts – What music, theater, or dance is special to the region where you’re traveling? See a performance and write up an article for a magazine that specializes in dance, theater, etc. We’ve seen a lot of music and dance here in Ecuador that would make for an interesting story.

** Food – And, of course, there’s always food. Wherever you go, you’ll find a local specialty. Try it out. Here in Ecuador, they eat guinea pig. If you’re not up for extremes, try something else… here they also make fantastic fruit juices that merit an article. Or maybe you’ll stumble upon a little-known restaurant with outstanding cuisine. You can also visit farmers markets and farms for great food article fodder.

These are just a few of the types of travel stories you could write and pitch to non-travel publications. Once you start thinking, the possibilities are endless.

As the workshop comes to an end, I’ve overheard a lot of attendees wishing we had just a few more days to explore Cotacachi and continue to get to know the locals, expats, shop-owners, hotel staff, and one another…

But we’ve learned so much that we’ll carry with us into our next travels… and now we have the skills to fund those travels doing something we love.

Besides, it’s not over yet… tonight we go back to La Mirage for our farewell dinner… a four-course meal where the waiters wear white gloves and the first appetizer arrives on a tiny plate inside a wooden music box that plays while you eat!

Until next time…

Adios!

[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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