So, you want to get paid to travel? I’ve got just the ticket for you.
Becoming a travel writer is one of the best travel jobs around. It’s a fun and exciting career that can help you see the world while getting paid for it.
Of course, travel writing jobs aren’t always easy to find. To help you get started, I’ve gathered 25 professional travel writers to share how they landed their first travel writing job and give their top tips for becoming a travel writer.
So, if you want to get paid to travel, keep reading to find out how. Enjoy!
Table of Contents
- How I Started as a Travel Writer: Tips from the Pros
- Ariana Arghandewal
- Richard Frisbie
- Laura Longwell
- Leslie Price
- Roger Wade
- Sarah Funk
- James Cave
- Skye Sherman
- Tessa Juliette
- Nathan Aguilera
- Samara Meade
- Lyn Mettler
- Lisa Niver
- Kristen Slizgi
- Jennifer Agress
- Elizabeth Borsting
- Sucheta Rawal
- Zoe Macfarlane
- Ketki Sharangpani
- Nicholas Bratton
- Sherri Johnson
- Caroline Lupini
- Sue Reddel
- Final Thoughts
How I Started as a Travel Writer: Tips from the Pros
The travel writers below are all successful writers with at least 12 months of experience in paid travel writing. As you can see, there isn’t just one way to enter the field!
My Story: I got my first paid writing job after I launched my blog, PointChaser. An editor from a company that owned several travel hacking blogs came across my blog and appreciated my writing style. He offered me a guest posting opportunity for one of my favorite blogs – Frugal Travel Guy. It paid $75 and I remember being shocked and excited that anyone would actually pay me to write. A while after that first post, I was offered a full-time position as Managing Editor.
It was a great gig, but it wore me out after about a year. I decided to leave and focus on growing PointChaser, which worked out nicely because the company offered me an even better deal to stay onboard as a freelance contributor. In addition, a few blogger friends referred me to well-paying blogs. It all worked out nicely and I did that for the next three years.
Top Tip: My top tip for getting paid writing gigs in the travel space is to carve out a niche first and establish your authority by creating your own blog. That is how I was “discovered” and how I made connections that got me more travel writing gigs. Networking and exposure are really key in establishing a successful freelance writing business. Not only will starting your own blog provide you a platform to showcase your writing abilities, but you’ll be able to use that platform to network with bloggers and editors who can send more business your way.
My Story: My first travel writing job came through a competition run by gather.com. My invitation to join the new social network billed “gather” as a social media site for people who listen to NPR. Shortly after joining they announced the creation of several paid correspondent positions and invited me to submit entries. I wrote sample articles and went for two positions: Food and Travel. I won both! They told me I could only have one. If I took Travel I could only write about travel, but if I took Food I could write about anything food-related, including travel. Since I travel a lot but eat more often, I became the Food Correspondent for gather.com.
They nationally syndicated my column as Richard Frisbie (my name) and paid me $50 a month for the next 6 years, expecting at least one column a month and social involvement. As they wound down to total obscurity they fired the correspondents one by one. I was the last to be let go. There is no record of my work for them online.
During my tenure I was recognized as a culinary travel writer by tourism boards and PR firms. That began a series of press and FAM trips to exotic locales and Michelin restaurants worldwide, trips I’m still invited on. Today I write for several online sites and any periodicals that will pay me. My culinary travel articles are included in anthologies such as “French Reader” and Oxford University Press’ “Savoring Gotham”, as well as being prominently featured in Vacations magazine and award-winning travel websites.
Top Tip: The best advice I can give an aspiring travel writer is the advice I gave my students in my Travel Writing Class: READ. Read classic travel writers like Chatwin and Theroux, then pick up anything by Andrew McCarthy. Read travel blogs and magazines and think about how you would cover the same destination differently. Mentally edit them. Then write about what you know in the same way you would talk to a friend about your experience.
My Story: Like many people, I got into this as a hobby. I started a travel blog over 10 years ago with my husband. It was a hobby to share our travels with friends and family. Somewhere along the way, we realized that tens of thousands of people were reading it every month. At the time, I was working 70 hours a week in a corporate job that I didn’t particularly enjoy. In 2015, I ditched the cubicle life and jumped into travel photography and freelance writing full-time.
My very first paid gig was actually my photography. I sold a photo along with the caption to a travel brand, who had approached me. That led to a second larger photography assignment, which in turn led to a monthly writing column on a much larger travel blog. By networking, I was able to pick up a monthly column with another major travel brand.
Top Tip: First, don’t overlook your strengths. If you’re really good with photography, social media or something else, capitalize on your strengths and then leverage that into a paid writing gig. Second, always network. You never know where your next assignment can come from. And third, think beyond the obvious. It seems that all aspiring travel writers start out with the same websites in mind. Move beyond those obvious opportunities and find something that matches your interests.
I have been a paid travel writer for the past four years. I write for a travel tour company in China, Matador Network, YourTango, Travel Pulse, and more. I also write branded travel pieces for Lives Abroad.
My Story: I got my first travel writing gig from the site Fiverr. I wrote a few travel-related pieces to contribute to Thought Catalog (since I needed to build up a body of work).
After having my pieces successfully published on TC, I started a Fiverr account. I had been living in Vietnam and recently quit an ESL job. Hoping to make some money, I thought Fiverr would be a great start. I used my published travel pieces from Thought Catalog as examples of my work and started getting paid assignments.
My clients weren’t paying me much, but I started to get great reviews, and the orders were pouring in. Sometimes, I couldn’t even keep up with them. Getting tired of the long work hours and low pay, I moved on to other sites like UpWork to find better paying clients.
Top Tip: My top tip for getting writing gigs in the travel space is to start your own website/blog and use it to network and get your work out into the world. You can use it as your portfolio and it helps you network with other travel bloggers and writers. Plus, you can eventually make money from your own travel site!
I currently make my living as a freelance travel writer, but I used to be a funeral director!
My Story: I got my first paid travel writing gig about six months after launching my travel blog. An editor noticed me on Twitter and sent me a DM asking if she could interview me because she thought my story was interesting. She enjoyed my interview responses so much, she asked if I would be interested in writing a story for her media outlet. A few months later she published the first of several articles I’ve now written for her.
By reaching out to me first, she really gave my confidence a huge boost and gave me the self-assurance I needed to start pitching my story ideas to other magazines and websites. A year after leaving my funeral directing career behind, I’m now constantly dreaming up new story ideas and fearlessly pitching them to editors while traveling full-time and living my dream life.
Top Tip: My top tip for aspiring travel writers is to not be afraid to start pitching! My great relationship with my first editor taught me that they’re really just people, too, and most of them are really helpful and encouraging to new writers. If she hadn’t reached out to me first, I don’t know how long it would have taken me to gather up the courage, and that would have been a big mistake.
Price of Travel launched in 2010 and has been tracking travel prices in over 200 cities around the world, as well as providing advice on which destinations are best during different times of the year. The site is best known for our Backpacker Indexes, which rank cities around the world from cheapest to most expensive.
My Story: I wanted to write my own Amsterdam guidebook back in 2003 and I submitted a proposal to many publishers, but all I got in return were polite rejections. Not long after that I went on my first round-the-world trip and I became active on the forums on the main website where I had done most of my research, BootsnAll.com. After my trip I became online friends with a few people there and started submitting ideas that I thought could help the site. As I was looking for a new place to live after being burned out on NYC, I visited their base in Portland, Oregon and met many staffers in person.
Even before I officially moved to Portland I kept submitting ideas and suggestions to them, never asking for anything in return. Once I got to Portland they started giving me small paid projects, and after proving my worth with those over about two months I was offered a full-time staff position. I worked there for almost three years before going out on my own to launch my own websites, which I’ve now been doing for over eight years.
Top Tip: Don’t focus so much on being an amazing travel writer and instead focus on trying to solve problems or answer questions for fellow travelers and readers. It’s much, much easier to make money in online travel by writing about the reader’s potential trip than writing about your own previous trip. Travel websites can make money when they help readers decide where to go and why to go there because there are financial transactions tied to that. It’s much harder to make money writing about your own crazy story about what you did on a memorable trip.
Some people disagree with this, but my own experiences from offering to help and work for free are exactly what led me to an offer of a full-time job and eventually a lucrative career with my own websites. Offering to do or help with projects for websites you like can be a good foot in the door, instead of just submitting an unsolicited article.
My Story: I started blogging about tours I went on in NYC, then eventually pitched other NYC companies on letting me on their tours or experiences free of charge in exchange for a blog post on my site about it. Then when I decided to quit my job to travel the world, I reached out to the large tour companies that had previously given me comped tours in exchange for blog posts and pitched them on the idea of paying me to create content on their site about my travels.
Top Tip: To increase your chances of being paid, get a lot of practice writing about the companies you want to work for on your own site, for free or in exchange for comped tours or experiences. For example, if I want ABC Tours to pay me to write content for them, I would go on one of their tours and write about it on my site then send it to them. Then once you establish trust with that company use the relationships that you’ve built to your favor, and pitch them on being paid to write for their site.
Portugalist is a travel blog about Portugal and all things Portuguese. The blog is run by James Cave, someone who has spent many years traveling around the world but always keeps returning to Portugal.
My Story: My first paid writing job was writing articles for an SEO company. This was a few years ago when “article directories” were used by SEO companies to boost their clients’ website rankings in Google. The articles were essentially written for Google rather than people, which was a little demoralizing, but I was just glad to be getting paid to write!
I wrote about every topic under the sun including travel, finance, DIY, gardening, parenting, and shopping. The travel articles were the most interesting to write, and this lead to me searching for more opportunities in the travel sphere.
Top Tip: My top tip for landing paid travel writing gigs is to start a travel blog. While it’s possible to pick up freelancing writing assignments without one, I’ve found that having a blog makes everything a whole lot easier. First of all, you have a giant portfolio to show a potential client. Secondly, clients often come directly to you rather than the other way around. This is a huge time saver and often means you’ll find clients that aren’t publicly looking for writers.
My Story: As a freelance travel writer, I got my feet wet in the publishing world by interning at a local magazine, Palm Beach Illustrated. This helped me learn the ropes of how stories are placed and what editors’ daily lives look like. From there, I’ve self-educated by researching story angles, proper pitching methods, and how to place stories in publications around the world. After finishing my internship at Palm Beach Illustrated, I stayed in touch with them and continued to be assigned freelance projects. I eventually expanded my portfolio to include other regional publications and even large sites like Skyscanner.
Top Tip: Getting in touch with editors and understanding their needs for articles is essential. Offering the right story at the right time is the best tip I can offer. Travel writing doesn’t necessarily work on a “gig” system. Travel blogging is one thing; you can network with other bloggers, write guest posts, and reach out to travel sources who may need your intel. Travel writing, or publishing in existing publications, is a bit different because you will need good relationships with editors who trust your writing prowess. My top tip would be to figure out which of those directions you want to focus on, then learn all you can about the industry. Keep your eyes and ears open so that you can offer a fresh perspective that editors want to share with their audience.
Associate Editor of Travel Where to Next
My Story: I started working full-time in the travel writing space in September of 2016. I received my first paid writing gig in early 2017 after a lot of hard work and writing a ton of pieces for free. After that, it got easier and I became a paid contributor for PopSugar as well as a paid bi-weekly contributor to Mint.
I was approached by Mint in early 2017 to begin writing a travel series for them that focuses on financial aspects. This was an excellent opportunity but they also wanted me to write, direct, record, and produce the series in a video format along with the written articles. Thankfully, I had been learning Adobe Premiere Pro (editing software) on the side. I didn’t know that making videos for fun and learning techniques to make them interesting would pay off in a writing job, but I did know that video was becoming a huge information platform. When they approached me with this idea I immediately became a prime candidate because I had videos already done and ready to show them. That helped me land the job!
Top Tip: My best advice is to write as much as you can. Pitch smaller blogs, magazines, and even Instagram accounts in your voice. These small gigs add up and give you clout. Also, always be working on expanding your skill set.
My Story: I began as a food and travel blogger which led me to freelance travel writing for other sites. I initially was writing for free or very little pay. I did this in an effort to reach the audiences of these larger sites and to strengthen my own site with backlinks they would provide in my author biography.
As I built bylines, I began approaching larger sites that I knew paid better and had larger audiences. I’ve now developed relationships with editors at several publications who are good at keeping me busy or referring me to other editors when they don’t have work for me themselves.
Top Tip: My best tip to get paid writing jobs: networking. Join as many Facebook groups as possible, attend conferences, find out if there are meetups in your community. Other more experienced writers should have plenty of contacts at previous publications they’ve worked with that they can share with you.
My Story: My first travel writing job came after having kept an online diary of my six-year travel adventure for my family and friends to follow. I wanted to be a travel writer at that time so I thought it would be a great way to practice as well. When I moved back to Canada I met the publisher of Canadian Traveller magazine, for whom I continue to write, and started covering local events for their online consumer and travel agent editions. After a few months she asked me to travel to Orlando and eventually Houston, Curacao, and a Caribbean cruise to create content for their online and print consumer and travel agent editions.
Top Tip: Be fearless. Reach out. Don’t be afraid or insecure of putting yourself or your ideas out there. Other people will believe your confidence, even if you do not. The worst thing that can happen if an editor rejects your idea is that your idea is rejected. People in this industry are generally very nice and are open to helping people who are just starting out so pitch ideas as much as you can and don’t give up. Be open to criticism, ask a lot of questions and keep trying!
My Story: My first real writing gig came from iParenting.com, a website that no longer exists as it was eventually bought by Disney. This was a website I read regularly at the time, and I decided to email them to see if they had any writing opportunities. They asked if I would be interested in editing their “birth stories” section for free to get a feel for the site, get to know the staff and work my way up to paying opportunities. At the time, I loved reading these stories, so I agreed. Over time, this led to me writing many stories for them for pay and even becoming a top editor. The company eventually started multiple national magazines and I was an editor and writer for those, as well. All because I was willing to work for free at the beginning.
Top Tip: That would be my absolute top tip: be willing to work for free. Especially in today’s competitive world with so many people going for the same jobs, sometimes being the one who’s willing to do some free work is your path in. Working for free allows you to demonstrate your skill – and the fact that you are easy to work with, get things done on time and are reliable. These are the people who ultimately get the assignments. No one says you have to do a full-time job free, but doing a little work on the side should be doable. It also gives you some bylines, which are hugely helpful in adding credibility, not to mention writing samples, when searching for future work.
Lastly, I’d suggest picking up the phone and calling an editor if you’re not getting a response. This has landed me at least three great gigs that I would otherwise not have gotten. Use a site like connect.data.com or LinkedIn to sleuth out their phone number. Talking on the phone cuts through the clutter of emails they are receiving and gives you a humanity that makes it harder to say no to.
My Story: I traveled for years working on cruise ships and was paid to see many new places. When I started writing, I also started running events and meeting people and speaking. It was always a surprise how one thing like asking someone for help to publicize a travel talk would lead to a new article or column.
Top Tip: The best tip for getting paid in travel writing or any other business is to network and make friends. Everything that has ever worked out for me from getting a teaching job after traveling, to getting an assignment for Smithsonian or Saturday Evening Post has been from someone’s help. I used to tell my students, “If you have to choose between being kind or smart, choose kind. It would be better to be both but kind is much more important.”
My best advice is to love what you do and build your relationship network every day. Like Oprah says, “Be grateful and say YES!” Be open to new challenges and new friends and try to help those around you. I have been amazed at what happens when you share what you want to do and are willing to help others meet their goals.
My Story: I worked for a travel PR firm in New York City a few years ago which really opened my eyes to how the backend of this industry worked. I was in charge of handling all of our client’s inquiries that came from journalists and travel writers who were pitching some amazing stories for travel websites. As I sat behind a desk and a screen each day for 9+ hours, I kept thinking to myself, “I am on the wrong side of things…I should be doing what these people are doing!” I was an avid traveler and had my degree in Communications and Journalism. I found myself suffering through the 9-5 corporate life and yearned for a job that gave me freedom and flexibility. My brother encouraged me to start making a list of non-negotiables that I wanted in a career. I was so miserable at this point that I was ready to jump blindly and quit my job to pursue travel writing and start my own travel designing company full-time. But I had listened to a podcast that very week from author Elizabeth Gilbert who was actually encouraging people to NOT quit their day job. Instead, Gilbert gave the advice to FIRST pursue your side hustle, water it, let it grow, and quit when that side hustle/passion starts to become lucrative. What she found was that when people quit their day jobs in order to pursue these passions full-time, it put a financial stress on these individuals which ended up resulting in people growing resentful towards these passions they were trying to make their careers. She then rallied people to pursue a side hustle first.
That podcast changed my entire direction and perspective as I began to chase after my side hustle of travel writing while still working at this PR firm. The following week, I was taking a trip to Cuba and decided to do what these other travel writers were doing – reaching out. I started picking out a few of my favorite travel websites and ended up pitching a story to Viva Lifestyle and Travel on “What it’s Really Like to Visit Cuba as a U.S. Citizen” and they picked it up! After that first article went live, I realized I was capable of doing this. I began traveling more with the purpose to publish more content and ideas to pitch to travel sites and magazines. I began receiving responses from sites such as JustLuxe and We Are Travel Girls, who were wanting to pick up my stories and ideas. It was a super exciting time to see things grow into fruition. As my writing and my travel consulting business began to take off financially, I was able to quit my 9-5 job and pursue this full-time.
Top Tip: People ask me ALL the time how to get into travel writing and I always say the same thing, “Just put yourself out there.” Also do your research. Find your favorite travel websites, blogs, magazines, influencers, etc. and reach out! Give them a brief bio of who you are, sample pieces of your writings (even if they have never been published, a good portfolio goes a long way) and a unique pitch/angle for a story. You’ll be surprised by how many people do respond!
City Editor, DiningOut Miami, LinkedIn
My Story: I graduated with a Communications degree from Furman University in 2009 with plans to go into journalism. That was two years after the economic crash, and magazines and newspapers were having major hiring freezes (and cuts!) as a result. I’ve always had a passion for writing, so to get a job that let me employ my passion, I took a slight turn and worked full-time in public relations for five years.
Fast forward to 2010, and I saw a segment on The TODAY Show about “E-lance,” an online freelance platform where writers could get paid writing jobs on the side. I went on, made a profile, and started getting copywriting jobs for companies in industries like travel, business, education and more. About a year into it, a new, high-end magazine – the first magazine I ever started writing for, Private Air Luxury Homes magazine – found me on there because they needed someone to cover Art Basel in Miami. That was very my first magazine assignment, and it was a good one! After that went well, I kept writing for them, and my Editor there sent me an email asking if I wanted to join a “journalist trip” to Santa Barbara, with all expenses completely paid for. It seemed way too good to be true, and my first thought was, “What’s the catch?” She assured me that there was none, so hesitantly, I agreed.
As if a free trip to California wasn’t exciting enough (especially for an East Coast girl living in Miami!), when I got there, I was blown away. We spent three days eating delicious food, drinking good California wines, laying by an infinity pool looking over the hills of Santa Barbara, taking tours and getting massages at the hotel’s luxury spa. And this was work! I didn’t know it at the time, but I was also with the top dogs in the industry: like an editor of Destination Weddings and Honeymoons, the VP of Travel and even a co-author of some of Fodors’ ever-popular travel books. While their jobs already impressed me, their experiences impressed me even more. They had traveled everywhere! One had just come from a press trip with her husband in Mexico, another had just spent a week in Aspen, and one woman had just traveled to her 80th country on press trips alone…and it was an eight-day spa tour in Vietnam. “Wait,” I said to them. “You mean, you can make a living out of this?!” They all nodded in agreement. At that moment, all my career goals changed.
I went home and immediately started pitching my Editor more travel stories. Since they were a new magazine, they didn’t really have a travel section; so I helped fill it with content until they had one. I found countless properties I liked, reached out to their PR firms, and if my Editor approved it, I visited. The more PR lists I got on, the more group trips I got invited to – and every group trip became a weekend of networking with other freelancers, Editors in need of more writers, and PR people with more properties to send you to. The more people I met, the more opportunities I got. Fast forward to today, eight years later, and I’m a full-time (freelance) luxury travel writer, the local editor of a restaurant magazine, and as of now, a contributor to 15+ publications. For nine of those publications, I write primarily about travel.
Top Tip: Everyone wants to be a travel writer, so to beat the competition – start with what you know. While you’re dying to travel to places like Paris, Bali, Thailand, South Africa and Iceland – and you will – consider breaking into the industry by pitching stories about your hometown, first. To you, that might seem boring, but remember: Every location is someone else’s travel destination. Being a subject matter expert on your hometown is a much easier way to convince an editor you’re worthy of publishing than pitching somewhere you only dream of going to. Use that as your foot in the door, and once an editor likes your work, you can (slowly) take more risks with your pitching.
The Washington Post & Matador Network
Funnily enough, my path to travel writing required a lot of unpaid, unrelated articles. Most creatives get offended at the thought of being compensated with “exposure” since it doesn’t pay the bills, but it can be a worthwhile trade-off when you’re just starting out. In my case, I had a few posts go viral on sites like Elite Daily and Thought Catalog, which in turn drew in offers and emails from other media outlets.
Paste Magazine approached me at the end of 2014 after my article titled “12 Reasons Why Your Brother is the Most Important Man In Your Life” passed 2 million views (a reach I would have never gotten if I’d posted the same content on my own site). They asked if I’d be interested in contributing to their travel section. I was confused because I’d just graduated law school and the only place I’d been recently was the inside of a classroom, but they mentioned it was paid so I accepted and resolved to figure the details out later. My first piece was on how to take a staycation, because I hadn’t been anywhere yet.
Over the years, I began to travel more and found my voice as a travel writer. This past year, I completed 20 trips in 12 months while employed full-time as an attorney, with articles published in The Washington Post and Matador Network.
Top Tip: Find your “in,” whether it’s fluff pieces for a lifestyle website or a personal contact at a publication. If you want success you need to stand out from the masses of unsolicited submissions and, if possible, make editors come to you.
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Founder/Organizer of Dine Out Long Beach Restaurant Week 2.0
I’ve written nine travel guides, served as a contributing editor for Honeymoon Magazine and San Joaquin Valley Magazine, and my work has appeared in numerous publications, including the LA Times, National Geographic Travelers, etc.
My Story: I got started thanks to my day job – a publicist. As a hospitality publicist I work with lots of travel writers. I had an idea, asked how I would go about getting the attention of a book publisher, put together a query letter, sent it to about 150 publishing houses (this was 1996 – pre-email), and received 60+ rejection letters before I received three “we’re interested, tell us more” responses in one day.
Top Tip: Perseverance is key, and good writing and great editing is paramount. Travel writing sounds glamorous and fun (and it is), but if you can’t write well then it’s not for you.
My Story: I got my first writing gig as a restaurant reviewer for a start-up print magazine while I was still in college. Who would pass on an opportunity to try new restaurants and get free food? I also started my own blog, Go Eat Give, which gave me a strong foundation to showcase my work in my own voice. It helped me develop my own platform of followers, which is something editors look for even for first-time writers (is anyone interested in what you have to say?).
Then I started pitching to other small publications looking for travel stories and over the years, I have written for CNN, Huff Post, Travel+Escape, as well as a dozen newspapers and blogs.
Top Tip: My advice is to befriend editors of the publications you want to write for. Interact with them on social media, read their stories to understand their interests and establish a relationship before sending pitches.
My Story: I started out with KARRYON when it first launched, around 2012. I was working a full-time travel insurance marketing role at the time and was sourcing content for a social media page I was launching. I contacted KARRYON to ask if they wanted me, in my capacity for the travel insurance company, to write travel stories for them in exchange for a link back. They said yes and I continued to write ad hoc pieces, even when I left that role. That dwindled a little until I moved to L.A. and the owner contacted me to ask if I was interested in writing more regularly. Of course I said yes!
Thanks to that initial contact and having a list of credible articles published, I have since been able to quit the 9-5 and take to the road to work as a freelance travel writer and digital nomad.
Top Tip: Start small, get in touch with established platforms to offer one or two blog posts for free to build up your resume and experience. Ask for style guidelines so you deliver exactly what they need. Use sites like Sourcebottle and HARO to seize opportunities but before committing, check the Alexa rank of the website. If there is no data or a very high site rank (over 1 million), then consider if it’s worth pursuing as they are not very established or active sites. If you volunteer your time to get yourself started, make sure it is worth your while! Once you have established yourself with a travel company or publication (and delivered to their style guidelines), don’t be afraid to then open up the dialogue to getting paid work.
My Story: While I have always loved traveling, I never considered travel writing as a career prior to founding a cultural exploration, ecotourism and culinary travel website, Dotted Globe. Since the launch of my website, I have been writing articles based on my travel experiences on a daily basis. In early 2017, I applied for a travel writing scholarship hosted by a leading travel website. While I wasn’t among the winners, my entry captured the local tourism board’s interest and was widely shared on social media. I was approached by a tour operator to write a destination feature for their website and unintentionally fell into the world of travel writing. Since then, my articles have been published in many travel blogs and websites including Matador Network. At the moment, I am working on an article for Roads & Kingdoms and hope to add more distinguished bylines to my portfolio.
Top Tip: Keep writing. Every word that you write is an opportunity to reach potential clients. Create an online portfolio of writing clips and advertise your portfolio at every opportunity. My travel website is my portfolio and I ensure that my best articles are prominently featured on my home page.
My Story: I broke into travel writing by proposing a story that was not only unusual and compelling, but only I could write. I was part of an expedition to Greenland searching for a U.S. Coast Guard plane that had crashed in WW2 and was buried beneath the ice. The story had the combination of human interest, mystery, and adventure that was a perfect fit for the magazine I approached. Being part of the trip gave me insight and perspective that no reporter could ever have. I learned from this experience that the best travel writing strategy is to focus on areas that interest me and trips I want to take. My personal passion for these topics comes through in the writing.
Top Tip: Get to know the publications you want to write for, their audiences, and what they want. If you can anticipate the interests of the reader and show how your idea fits the magazine you’re pitching, your chances of success grow.
I recommend aspiring travel writers attend conferences and workshops to learn the trade and improve their craft. Plus, they are effective networking opportunities. I successfully pitched my forthcoming article on South Africa after meeting the magazine’s editor at a conference.
Another key to getting paid travel writing gigs is to learn what a publication wants to cover in advance. For example, if Acme World Travel is going to feature eastern European destinations in its November issue, knowing this will help you shape a proposal for an article about walking routes through Croatia.
My Story: I got my first job as a travel writer by working for publications as contributor, writing stories assigned to me on a variety of topics. After earning their trust I began pitching travel stories about places I know well, like my hometown and summer beach destinations. Then I started pitching stories to new outlets about trips I was taking – like the trip to Iceland featured in Athleta’s Chi Blog.
Top Tip: As a new travel writer, take time to build your writing portfolio. Not just with travel pieces, but anything that shows you are a good writer who does their research and can craft a compelling story, quoting good sources. Then don’t be afraid to pitch your travel story ideas!
My Story: I got my first paid writing gig after blogging on my own (for fun) for about a year and a half. A friend of mine was a writer for Frugal Travel Guy and knew that they were looking to bring on more writers, so he introduced me to the editor. Following this writing gig, most of my new gigs have come from people seeing my work elsewhere and reaching out to me to see if I had more capacity to write.
Top Tip: My top tip for getting paid writing gigs is to get the word out there about yourself – whether that be through a person, blog or website, friends who work in similar fields, or groups with like-minded individuals. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. The worst thing that can happen is that someone will say that they’re not interested in whatever you want to write. Just keep trying until you find someone who is!
My Story: After spending more than 25 years as an advertising executive working in corporate America, I made the decision to leave my job and start a consultancy business. Unexpectedly, I quickly landed a training gig with my former company traveling the world. I parlayed that opportunity to begin writing about food and travel on several websites. I’ve been writing about food and travel for more than six years and create content daily for most social media platforms.
My first paid writing job was an article on Gettysburg as a food travel destination. I was giddy to deposit that check in my account for that work.
Top Tip: My top tip for getting paid writing gigs is not to give up. It’s a competitive field and more people are entering every single day. Keep at it, keep positive and when you do get jobs, meet or beat your deadlines. Be easy to work with, don’t complain and always be nice. People will remember you for your kindness and work ethic.
Top Tips For Breaking Into the Field:
- Be yourself, work hard and be prepared to work for nothing when you are starting out.
- Listen. Really listen. Listen to your prospective clients, people you are interviewing, people who read your work. Don’t make assumptions or judgments until you hear and find the whole story.
- Check your ego at the door. Going on fancy trips and getting VIP treatment on press trips does not mean that you are special. Don’t act like you are.
- Treat everyone you meet with respect and kindness.
- Read and write constantly.
- Do your research. Don’t arrive clueless about where you are or what’s going on.
- Use every opportunity to network with colleagues as well as prospects. You never know who will provide your next referral.
As you can see, there are dozens of ways to break into the travel writing game. Everybody’s path is different.
I really hope you’ve enjoyed the tips and tricks these professional travel writers have shared here. Thanks so much to everybody who participated, and thank you for reading!
If you’d like to learn more about finding paid travel writing gigs, don’t forget to check out my course Earn More Travel Writing!