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Today:

*** Turn Your Family into Cash (without Selling the Kids)… Plus, Budget Travel Magazine Wants Your Family Pictures
*** Practical Writing Prompt of the Week: Walking Tours
*** Reader Question: Do I Need a Release to Quote Someone in an Article?

Dear Reader,

In Wednesday’s issue, I asked you: Which of these family members is the most lucrative to photograph: your niece, your nephew, or your mother?

The answer?

Well, I can’t be certain this will always hold true. But for professional photographer Shelly Perry, it’s her niece. This picture has sold over 500 times on istockphoto.com: (click here)

And this photo with her niece and nephew together isn’t too far behind, with close to 300 sales: (click here)

So what does that tell you?

People sell. People doing everyday things like laughing, hugging, and shaking hands. And they don’t have to be model-perfect people either. In all likelihood, you have right there in your family the makings of some fast cash (and you don’t have to sell your children to get it).

Plus don’t forget your pets. Shelly’s pet goldfish is certainly earning his keep. This photo has sold almost 80 times: (click here)

Tomorrow, I’ll send you an article from Shelly on the difference between traditional print stock agencies and the new online stock agencies… and how you can use them to your best advantage.

OUR 300th ISSUE OF THE RIGHT WAY TO TRAVEL

In just over a month, we’ll be publishing our 300th issue of The Right Way to Travel. To celebrate, I’d like to include as many success stories from you and your fellow readers as possible.

If you’ve got a success story to share — an article published, a photo sold, or an import/export goal reached — and you’d like to be included in our round-up of stories, drop me a line here: lori@thetravelwriterslife.com.

Be sure to include your full name, email address, city, and state (in case I need to reach you — I won’t publish that information).

Thanks!

And don’t forget to scroll down to this week’s writing prompt and reader question…

— Lori
Lori Appling
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

I sketched out some of the walks we’ll be taking for our upcoming workshop in Paris in May and it reminded me – walking tours make for great travel articles.

And the best part is, you can tailor your walking tour to different markets, depending on your audience. For instance, a religious publication might be interested in a walking tour of all the colorful churches in Bermuda (in fact, a photography magazine might also be interested in that with just a slightly different slant). A military magazine might be interested in a walking tour that takes in some of the lesser-known or new memorials here in D.C.

Think about places near you. Can you come up with a walking tour of the best antique shops or best places to get a photograph? It might be that there’s a tour already in place that a reader can sign up for. But if not, create your own.

After a short paragraph or two of introduction, you can simply structure your piece as stop 1, stop 2, stop 3, and so on. And for each, write up a quick description of what the reader will find there. It’s a straightforward story to write, and you don’t need a conclusion at all. Just stop when you’re done describing the final destination.

READER QUESTION: “Do I need a release to quote someone in an article?”

I passed this along to Jen Stevens, author of our Ultimate Travel Writer’s Program. Jen responds:

The short answer is no. You do not need a formal “release” to quote somebody as you would to sell a picture of that person for commercial use.

But it can be a bit more nuanced than that. Let me explain.

Say you’ve arranged a formal interview with the marketing manager at a hotel. You should begin your interview by thanking the person for speaking with you. You might want to explain briefly what you’re article is about. Then ask your questions.

In this context, the marketing manager should understand that what he or she says is “on the record,” in other words, yours for use in your story. But if you want to be absolutely sure he or she understands that, you can say something like, “Just to make sure I get it right up-front, can you spell your name for me and give me your official title? I’ll assume, unless you tell me otherwise, that I can quote you on what we discuss today.”

In the context of a travel article, most of the time you’re not covering controversial topics, and so it’s quite unlikely that you’ll encounter somebody who won’t want to be quoted. As a travel writer, you’re a harbinger of good press. People will want you to quote them! Hotels and tour operators and so on love it when you mention them.

But I can imagine a scenario where, say, you’re writing about a new hotel going in on an island where there’s a fragile coastal eco-system. Perhaps there’s animosity between a local environmental group and the developer that owns the land.

It’s possible, in that “newsy” context, that you might encounter a person who’s willing to talk to you, but who doesn’t want his or her name used. Or even a person who will talk to you about the situation “on background” to give you information, but doesn’t want to be quoted — even anonymously. How will you know? They’ll tell you. And you do need to honor their wishes.

Now, say you’re wandering about in the Out Islands of The Bahamas and you want to get some input from the travelers you meet. (A good idea!) So you strike up a conversation with the fellow next to you at the bar.

You’re chatting, and he says “You know, I’ve been coming down here every year for the past five. I tried Hawaii. I tried Bali. I tried Bermuda. But the truth is — they’re just not as nice as here. I like the fact that I can leave in the morning and be on the beach by mid-afternoon. It’s affordable. It’s friendly. It’s nearly deserted. And just look at that water. There’s no prettier view on Earth. To my mind, this is the perfect escape.”

Now, you recognize this as a great quote, and you think you’d like to use it in your article. So at this point, you should say something like, “I’m here vacationing as well — though I’m a travel writer, and so I’m planning to write a piece about it. Would you mind if I quoted you?”

The person is likely to be perfectly fine with it. So, get his name and where he’s from. And, if I were you, I’d also get his email address (or some contact info) and say, “I’d be happy to send you a copy of the story when it comes out. What’s the best way to contact you?”

And then, of course, do follow through and send a copy of the article. Even if you don’t quote the person, you may want to send it anyway. You can scribble a little note that says something like, “Thanks again for talking with me at Fernandez Bay. Your quote didn’t make it into the article after all — limited word count and a lot to include — but I do appreciate you sharing your thoughts about the place. As you can see, they certainly influenced my perception of the island.”

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