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At the start of the New Year, I like to take a look back to see what worked in 2011 and what changes we might need to make to our writing and photography in 2012 to make more money.

Below is an article from travel writer Roy Stevenson.  Roy first joined us at an Ultimate Travel Writer’s Workshop in Portland, OR back in 2007.  Since then, he’s gone on to publish over 700 articles in more than 160 different publications.  He travels for next to nothing and is really living the travel writer’s life.

Take a look below at the story ideas that sold well for Roy in 2011 and what he thinks will still sell well in 2012…

WHAT’S HOT IN TRAVEL WRITING IN 2012?
By Roy Stevenson currently traveling in New Zealand   

Beginners should start pitching their travel stories to online travel publications before expecting to be published in printed magazines. It’s how I started in 2007. And I think it’s still the way to start today.

The good news is, online publications are growing.  Many print travel publications are adding an online presence, and a few have gone completely to an online format and discontinued their printed magazine all together.

I don’t think we will ever see the complete disappearance of the most popular printed travel publications, but the popular magazines are adding an online magazine to appeal to younger readers who prefer this media.
 
While writing for online travel magazines does not pay very much (if at all), it is an excellent way for novice travel writers to break into travel writing. If a travel editor wants to check out your credentials before sending you on an assignment, she might google your name to see what online travel stories you have published or if you have a website.

For this reason, I have been submitting travel stories to online magazines more and more frequently over the past 12 months, and I only see this trend intensifying in 2012.

I have also found–much to my surprise–that tourist agencies such as convention and visitor’s bureaus are happily accepting assignments from online travel publications for complimentary or low cost assistance to their areas. You might not get paid much for your article when it’s finished.  But you can dramatically reduce the cost of your trip if you have assignments lined up from these online pubs.

Here are some topics that worked well for me last year and I think will continue to work well in 2012…

With the worldwide recession, people strapped for cash are turning to vacations closer to home. You should be pitching your local regional magazines with story ideas about low cost or low budget travel as frequently as you can come up with them. Hint: You can pitch two story ideas to most regional magazine editors in the same query letter, and this is perfectly acceptable to most of them.   

Budget travel story ideas for international or out-of-state destinations are also popular with editors of some travel magazines, so pitch those stories, too. Budget travel story ideas will continue to sell well in 2012. e.g. are there any local cabins, yurts, or campgrounds that you can pitch to regional magazine editors?

In 2011, I broke into food, wine, and beer magazines and online magazines with surprising ease.  

A scan of the plethora of food, wine, and beer magazines on the racks at your local Barnes & Noble is evidence of the demand for these types of stories. A local wine magazine in the Pacific Northwest has contracted me to do a series of winery travel articles from 2011 through 2012, which has resulted in some marvelous wine-tasting trips in Oregon and Washington.

Finally, you should not hesitate to pitch your story ideas to specialty magazines in 2012. They are screaming out for solid content.

I write this article from New Zealand, where I have just finished walking the Queen Charlotte Track which runs across the northern part of South Island’s beautiful Marlborough Sounds.

I pitched a story about walking the track to a New Zealand walking magazine, which picked it up immediately. Then I pitched roundup stories about Queenstown and Rotorua to a U.K. travel magazine that specializes in Australia and New Zealand, which also picked these stories up immediately. As a result, my wife and I enjoyed several days in these resort areas with complimentary entry to their tourist attractions, accommodation, and gourmet meals, saving us thousands of dollars. 

[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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