Notes from a Travel Writing Course 2: How to Get Free Hospitality, Making Travel Pay

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.

Final thought

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:

Part 3 will get into tips around writing the actual article itself.

All images in this post are taken from free clipart.

8 thoughts on “Notes from a Travel Writing Course 2: How to Get Free Hospitality, Making Travel Pay

  1. maristravels

    You make it sound too easy! As a professional travel writer I know that getting a commission is not at all easy, especially if you are a newcomer. Editors like writers with a good track record of producing what they promise, producing on time, and sticking to the brief. I’ve never known anyone get a commission from the WTM either, lots of information from Tourist Boards but they don’t provide the commission. And re payment: Conde Nast pay top dollar but they don’t commission if you’re on a freebie.

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