The No B.S. blog about Travel, Writing and Life

How to Get a Press Trip

If there was a single question asked by everyone who knows I write travel this is it, “How can I get on a press trip?” They also have said, “Can I hide in your luggage?” or “Can I be your photographer?” or “Can I marry you?”

Without question, for many this is the golden ticket or dangling carrot of travel writing reward, when money is not always an option, and the question comes up all the time from both experienced and novice travel writers that I hear from.

Here is the truth, press trips happen all the time. I have three invitations in my inbox right now. I also send writers on trips when the opportunity works out. Of course, I have a number of reliable writers that are willing to hop on the plane for the cause of promoting travel, but how can a new writer find a golden ticket of their own?

Here is the short list of things to do other than buying up all the Wonka bars. I am not sure why I am incorporating a Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory theme here.

1. Make friends with an editor.


This does not mean become their pal. It means be reliable, hit word counts, meet deadlines, be dependable, and write well. Also understand that while I have sent writers out on trips after having only written a story or two, it does not happen often, especially with other editors. Usually, when a writer asks about free trips without having developed a relationship with me first, the request never sounds good.

2. Make friends with pr firms and tourism board folks.


Again, this does not mean be their pal. It means keep them posted to where your writing is appearing, especially if it is a staff position. Find out what events, anniversaries, or promotions are upcoming up and see if you can place a story about one of them for them. For the record, I have been invited on dozens of trips, but I have never requested invitation. I have seen other writers do it and it makes me go yuck. I might have missed out on a couple that I wished I had gone on, but I would rather maintain a professional approach than be known as an opportunist.

3. Go to conventions and media events.


Then follow steps 1. and 2.

A final thought


While a press trip is free and usually filled with opportunities a regular tourist will not have access to, it is still work because you are on someone else’s dime and someone else’s schedule. Expect long days, delicious food and hectic deadlines to get your stories in on time.

12 Comments

  1. I was once an editor on a college engineering magazine. Sometimes we had plum assignments to hand out; other times we had to make choices on whom would be included on a trip. The decisions were mostly done by whomever had availability. In the case of a few contentions, the tie went to the reliable person.

    Of course, that was amateur. Your list reflects the professional set and that is very interesting. How would you suggest meeting said editors in the first place? What kinds of editors (of which publications) would you suggest?
    .-= Ted Hessing´s last blog ..Take Your Child to Where You Used to Work Day =-.

  2. Hi Ted,

    Great questions. The answer is long enough to justify a post. I have already started on it. However, to get the ball rolling, any masthead of any magazine will have the names and contact info for most editors. I think the bigger issue is not finding editors, but developing a conversation. Most editors are crazy busy and communications should be short and straight to the point. I have a few other thoughts that have worked for me coming soon.
    devin
    .-= Devin Galaudet´s last blog ..Free Stuff: Cruising and Cruise Ships 2010 & Insight Guides Caribbean =-.

  3. This is so tempting. I have been wanting to be a travel writer my whole life. Maybe I could write a story for In The Know Traveler?

  4. Hi Amy,

    Thanks for the consideration.

    I would be happy to see some of your travel writing, but I can’t promise anything. I would suggest reading the In The Know Traveler submission guidelines first.
    .-= Devin Galaudet´s last blog ..My Inspirational 50 — Books to Live By =-.

  5. Good tips. You can also join TravelWriters.com and Media Kitty to hear about upcoming press trips.

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  6. As someone who also receives more invitations than I can possibly accept, I’d second the notion that I only assign them (or pass the info along) to someone who I know to be professional and reliable. It’s a bit of my reputation on the line in making a referral, and I take it pretty seriously.

    Since I’ve been at it for awhile now, I find the invitations come easily and often. I think when you’re starting out, the first invitation or two are difficult to secure. Once you’ve established a reputation in a favorable manner, it becomes much easier.
    .-= Mary Jo Manzanares´s last blog ..Sex and the City’s Magnolia Bakery =-.

  7. Very interesting and inforamtive. Thanks

  8. Hey Heather,

    I think travelwriters.com has lost a lot of its luster. Too many tumbleweeds and not enough active community.

    @Heather
    .-= Devin Galaudet´s last blog ..Visiting an Islamic Country =-.

  9. @ Mary Jo,
    I think establishing the reputation is the tricky part. It is mostly a lot of hard work.

    @ Edwin,
    Thanks for reading.
    .-= Devin Galaudet´s last blog ..The Blind Submission in Travel Writing =-.

  10. Hi Devin,
    I am new to this game and will be commencing a trip from the bottom to top of Australia in June. I have already landed a couple of freebies along the way and as yet have not had anything published. I hope that this promising start continues with my new found vocation.
    Regards
    Geoff

  11. Hi Geoff,

    Sounds like a great adventure — both writing and traveling. Please do keep me posted.
    .-= Devin Galaudet´s last blog ..Writing about Personal Subjects and Painting the Shit out of the Door =-.

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