More on the myth of getting paid to travel

February 14, 2011

My post last week about the myth of getting paid to travel struck a few nerves, particularly my comments about press trips.

But here’s what surprised me: I thought more folks would disagree with me about how (un)realistic it is to make money as a travel writer. I expected to see more negative comments on that post, so much that I thought twice about publishing it.

But once again life proves that it’s worth it to stick your neck out a little. Because in the days after that post went live, I received e-mails, tweets and response blog posts from writers who were so glad that someone had finally said it.

If you’re a writer who has dreamed of getting paid to see the world, you might be interested in these follow-up conversations:

  • First off, check out the comments on my post. Some smart writers chime in with excellent insight and tips, not just agreeing with how difficult it can be to make a living through travel writing, but suggesting ways to make the writer’s life work for you.
  • The Road Forks team explains how they do and don’t fund their travels. Great conversation in that comment thread, too.
  • Writer Abroad chimes in, touching on how she makes a living abroad as a writer. The secret, she says, is that there’s no secret. You figure out how to make it work.
  • Know who I’d love to read a post from on this topic? Kristin at Camels & Chocolate. (Nudge, nudge.)

What did I miss?

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    5 Replies to “More on the myth of getting paid to travel”

    • John Soares says:

      Alexis, I missed last week’s post, so I’ll chime in here. In the 1990s I put it in a lot of effort to make a full-time living as a travel writer. I had three travel/outdoors books published, wrote some pieces for major magazines, plus I wrote a lot of articles for newspapers.

      I eventually decided to focus on my other freelance specialty, writing for college textbook publishers, in large part because of the flakiness of many of the magazine editors and book publishers.

      I know there are people who are successful at making a full-time living as a travel writer, so I’ll just say this:

      1. You have to be a very good writer.
      2. You have to market yourself and your skills and ideas.
      3. You have to make connections with editors, publishers, and other writers.

    • Alexis Grant says:

      Excellent advice, John! Thanks.

    • I totally would, but I don’t know if I could come up with anything you didn’t note in your original post! Still, it’s food for thought and definitely a good idea as, like I said, I think the majority of my readers think that I get paid to travel through my blog (uh, I wish) and don’t realize it’s a series of magazine and newspaper assignments that allow me to travel like I do.

    • IMHO – for the good of the blogging community, we should all start turning down offers to review hotels unless they pay 100% of our expenses (food, airfare, etc.) …or, better yet, pay a sponsorship fee. Brands are paying for posts, so why shouldn’t hotels?

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