*** Cool, New Gadgets… Cheaper Flights… and a $20,000 Contest
*** Practical Writing Prompt of the Week: The Best of city here>
*** Reader Feedback: Should You Double-Space Your Query Letters and Articles?
I have a lot to tell you this week. For starters…
*** Cheaper European Flights
I came across an old article from Consumer Reports over the weekend titled: “Where to Find the Cheapest Tickets to Europe.”
The article claimed that while U.S.-based travel sites like Expedia, Orbitz, and Travelocity might give you the lowest fares on domestic flights, they aren’t necessarily the best bargain sites for European flights. In fact, they’re not even in the top five, according to a study conducted by Consumer WebWatch.
Instead, sites like Airstop (www.airstop.com), the German version of Expedia (www.expedia.de), Opodo (www.opodo.de), Belgian version of Travelprice had a much higher percentage of lower fares to Europe when compared to their U.S. counterparts.
I did a quick search on these sites to see if I could save any money on my trip to Paris this May. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any luck for this upcoming trip.
However, in all my searching I did turn up cheaper flights on this site: http://www.flights-to-europe.com. It’s not one Consumer Reports recommended, but I’ll take a bargain wherever I find one. Flights from D.C. to Paris were $200 cheaper here than at www.kayak.com, which is the low-price flight finder I use most often.
In any event, I’m planning to check all of these sites before I book future European travel, and I hope you will, too. While they didn’t deliver lower fares this time, they just might the next.
(By the way, not all of these sites are in English. Nevertheless, I still found them fairly easy to navigate. It wasn’t too hard to figure out that the button with the picture of the airplane is what you click to check flight prices and the field with a date filled in and a calendar next to it is where you put your arrival and departure dates.)
*** New Gadget for Photographers
The Gorillapod (http://www.joby.com) — a tri-pod like nothing you’ve ever seen before — seems to be a favorite among our readers for Best Christmas Gift this past year. A lot of you have written in to recommend it. And our very own Jennifer Stevens got one for her father, and he LOVES it. In fact, he just spent three weeks with it hiking and taking pictures in New Zealand, and had nothing but praise upon his return. It’s lightweight, works absolutely everywhere — he attached it to a street sign, balanced it on rocks, and even wrapped it around tree branches. The Gorillapod comes in different sizes — for point-and- shoot cameras, SLRs, and video cameras — so be sure to pick up the right one when you’re shopping.
*** Is Conde Nast Traveler reading The Right Way to Travel?
From across the room, I thought the cover said the winner of Conde Nast Traveler’s photo contest would win $2,000. But no, its $20,000 — and it’s in the form of an all-expenses-paid trip to St. Martin.
OK, so while we here at the Right Way to Travel, can’t compete with that — our yearly photo challenge prize pays but $2,000 — I can guarantee that you’ll have less competition (and a greater chance of winning) in our contest. Here’s this month’s theme: This Month’s Photo Challenge Theme
That said, I think you should try the Conde Nast Traveler contest, too: http://www.cntraveler/dreamtrip. Some amazing pictures have been submitted for our little photo contest. It’d be great if someone from our readership won. When you get a chance, check it out.
And don’t forget to keep me up-to-speed on your travel-writing or photography success. If you have a story to share, send me a quick note at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Director, Great Escape Publishing
[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.]
PRACTICAL WRITING PROMPT OF THE WEEK
The big headline smeared across the cover of January’s Conde Nast Traveler is: Gold List: The World’s Best 700 Hotels, Resorts & Cruise Lines.
It’s the mother of all round-up articles. And this type of piece — certainly one of such scope — is most often written by multiple staff members or known freelancers. (In other words, a round-up of this magnitude would not be a project doled out to a novice freelancer with only a few bylines to his name.)
That said, even as a beginning travel writer, you certainly can write round-ups. It’s simply a matter of writing about something you know. You need a certain amount of credibility to write a round-up. So write about places near you.
I, for instance, grew up in the small town of Bethany Beach, Delaware, which happens to be a summer tourist destination for folks from Washington, D.C and Baltimore (Delaware has great beaches). So I could certainly write an article about the best B&Bs in Bethany or neighboring Rehoboth Beach and pitch it to local D.C. and Baltimore publications.
Spend some time this weekend thinking about the types of people that are most likely to visit your town. Could you write a “best places to stay in…” or “best places to eat in…” for that readership? If not, what would your fellow residents like to read? The best place to find discount antiques? The best place to view the Fourth of July fireworks?
Think of something with “The Best of” theme and write to that. You needn’t come up with 700 picks, by the way. Anywhere from three to ten or so would work just fine.
READER FEEDBACK: “Should I submit query letters in double-space format?” — Tom Mosseau
When you’re submitting a query or article to an editor, you want it to be as readable as possible.
Use white paper. Use a standard, readable font — like Times New Roman, 12-pt — never use anything smaller than 12-pt. Should you double-space?
First, read the publication’s writer’s guidelines to see if the editors specify to this extent what your manuscript should look like. Some do. Follow the writer’s guidelines to the letter. If the guidelines say nothing about whether your article should be double-spaced or not, then it’s really up to you.
Again, you’re aiming for maximum readability. Personally, unless otherwise instructed, I submit my copy with single-spaced paragraphs and a line space between paragraphs (like this e-letter you’re reading now) and I don’t indent my paragraphs.
— Jennifer Stevens, Author, AWAI’s Ultimate Travel Writer’s Program