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By Karen Pevenstein

Pre- and post-trip research doesn’t have to be (and shouldn’t be) painful. The trick is knowing where to look. The internet makes this a piece of cake. I used many of these links in preparing for my trip to Yorktown, VA, and suggest you do the same before your next trip.

Here are eighteen websites every travel writer should have at his fingertips:

Useful Sites for Research

www.towd.com

A great place to start your research is your destination’s tourism office. This site will link you to national and international offices where you can find media kits, photos, and other valuable help and information. I was able to access contact names for the Yorktown tourism office, which then led me to access free media passes.

www.google.com

Google is the largest search engine out there. Whether you’re researching destinations, hotels, restaurants, or past articles, “googling” will put you in touch with a wealth of useful websites. I found several great links to B & B’s, historical sites, and articles by googling “Yorktown.”

www.xe.com/ucc

A great place to double check prices on returning from your trip. For example, you dine at a great brasserie in Paris, and the bill comes to fifty Euros. Log on here to quickly find your country’s monetary equivalent to share with your readers.

www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/index.html

At The Ultimate Travel Writer’s Workshop I attended in Paris Jennifer Stevens said, “statistics may not grab the reader right off the bat…but they sure can help prove a point.” Since your article cannot be built on opinion alone, use this site to find quick facts like population statistics or historical profiles to beef up the credibility factor.

www.newspapers.com

The best way to find out what else has been written about your destination is to browse local newspapers. This site links you to the large publications (New York Times, Washington Post) and to the smaller ones in your area. Read past articles to get a feel for what they’re looking for. Plus you can search most of their archives for free.

Find Press Releases and Press Trips

www.travelwriters.com

www.mediakitty.com

www.marketwire.com

www.prmedia.com

Where to go to Sell Your Article

If you’re an Ultimate Travel Writer Course Graduate you have an “in” with these publications:

www.internationalliving.com

www.escapeartist.com

Written course graduates can find their writer’s guidelines and instructions for submitting their articles under the AWAI umbrella in your course book or live workshop course book.

You can also check out Writer’s Digest or Writer’s Market where you’ll find a complete listing of thousands of writer’s guidelines.

Writing Tips

www.writersdigest.com

Another good place to get plugged into the industry. Here you’ll find writer’s guidelines, tools, resources, writing contests, plus more tips on getting published.

www.dictionary.com

Not just a dictionary or thesaurus. Here you’ll find grammar tips and even be able to double check the spelling of that foreign reference you want to throw in your article.

Travel Tips

www.tripadvisor.com

Includes reviews from fellow travelers. Hear what everyone else is saying about the place before you go. I found it insightful to read through readers’ stories about lodging and dining in Yorktown.

www.fodors.com

The most comprehensive resource for all your travel needs. From lodging to dining to great travel bargains, check out Fodors before you hit the road for your assignment.

www.onebag.com

A travel writer can never be weighed down with heavy luggage. Visit this site to find out how to travel anywhere in the world with a single carry-on sized bag.

A word of caution: These sites are great for getting ideas and story leads, but always double check what you read against a credible source. You don’t want to confuse someone’s opinion with fact.

[Karen Pevenstein attended our Ultimate Travel Writers Workshop in Paris. Graduates from our live travel writing workshops boast more success and see more bylines than most, which is why these events always sell out. To find out more about upcoming workshops, click here.]

QUICK TIP: HOW TO “BOOKMARK” A WEBSITE

If you’re using Internet Explorer:

1. Go to the website you wish to bookmark

2. Right click on the page

3. Select “Add to Favorites.”

If you’re using Netscape:

1. Go to the website you wish to bookmark

2. Right click on the page

3. Select “Add Bookmark.”

(Note: You might consider renaming the site to something you’ll remember if the site doesn’t suggest a useful name for you.)

Then, when you’re ready to prepare for your next trip you can simply click the “Favorites” or “Bookmark” tab at the top of your toolbar and all of the sites you bookmarked will appear in a window off to the side.ready for you to visit again.

[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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