Following on from all that talk about pitching to editors in Notes from a Travel Writing Course part 1, the course tutor went into more detail about getting the most out of a travel writing commission without having to pay for things – or at least getting a heavy discount. Some might say freebies!
Here’s some of the notes:
Relating to members of the industry to get hospitality: Never Stop Networking!
- You need to build a relationship with the industry, targeting tourist boards, shop owners etc everyone who provides something that travellers need
- The annual World Travel Market event is often held at the Excel in London and is only open to press and industry professionals – you’ll get lots of commision offers here. Get yourself in by producing a business card that presents you as a travel writer/blogger – register as press, and behave like one to get published
How to ask
- You can use a place you’ve travelled to before or planning to – you don’t need the actual story, just an idea around an angle and topic
- Once you have a commission, contact the tourist board beforehand, let them know what you’re planning to do and have a copy of a tourist board letter or email to show when you approach business’ like restaurants…
- Be specific. E.g “I’m planning to travel to XXX I have a commission for XXX magazine. Can you help with my research/ take me there? Ask the airline/tourist board/tour operator or whatever….
Tell them what they will get out of it – an editorial/a mention at the end of the article but not necessarily a mention in the main piece.
Helping you out, or paying for your hotel/travel/hospitality is cheaper than an advertisement which is usually around £20,000.
- Tour operators – it costs them virtually nothing since the tour/excursion is already running, you’re just tagging along
- You could also send a synopsis to a magazine whilst simultaneously pitching the idea directly to a tour operator – agree a commission and then contact the tourist board with this and go back to the magazine with the agreed commision.
Rates of pay 🧐
The Guardian – approx £310 per 1000 words
Conde Naste – £1 per word
Daily Mail – might pay around £600
Women’s Magazines – £200 – £300
University alumni magazines – very well paid
Note: This was in 2019
Other Things to bear in mind
Tourist boards tend to offer you the most, ie a car and driver – things that enable you to do your job. 🚗
Select which restaurants you want to write about and why. ✍️
If your time on the trip was spent wholly and exclusively on research for work, you can declare related costs in your tax return – like taxis. But if you’re having a holiday as well – be careful what you declare. 📈
Overtourism – speak to tourist boards and ask them to introduce an algorithm to veer people to alternatives.
Travel writing isn’t just about a travel experience. You have a responsibility to inform the reader within the context of the bigger picture.
More sites/ways to help you find your stories:
- Gov.UK travel
- Travel Weekly
- Travel Trade Gazette
- Responsible Travel
- Set up Google alerts for things like ‘New airlines’ ‘New flight routes’ ‘New hotel” etc
Part 3 will get into tips around writing the actual article itself.
All images in this post are taken from free clipart.