Press Trips for Travel Writers

Here’s a question I receive frequently from beginning travel writers:
“How do I get invitations to press trips?  You get a lot of invitations.  How do you do it?”

I often hear this same question from experienced writers when I tell them that I receive several press trip invitations each month and turn most of them down. 

So this article is about how to get great press trips.  I’ve listed out the five things that are key to making that happen:

Five Steps to Getting Press Trips

1.  Establish yourself as a travel writer.

I don’t know any fast track to success in travel writing without doing some writing and selling some articles.  You’re in this game because you love to write, so this is the first thing you need to do. 

Why is this important?

You need to establish your credentials as a writer before the press trip invitations start flowing in, because on a press trip, someone else pays for your trip.  The tourist agencies or PR firms that are footing the bill want to know, in advance, that you know how to get an article into print and online magazines.

The only way to show that you know how to get published is to do it.  Showing that you’ve been published, at least a few times, proves to them that you know how to sell an article idea and get it placed into the media.

Establishing yourself as a travel writer can feel daunting to a beginner, but it doesn’t have to be.  Which leads to the next step . . .

2.  Have a Strategy and Move Quickly

To establish credibility, you want to do it quickly.  No one wants to feel like a beginner for long.  So you need a strategy.

In my free eBook, “Get Published Now”, I talk about several ways to get started quickly with freelance writing.  If you haven’t downloaded the eBook, you can do it now by completing the information in the box below: 


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One of the easiest ways to get published quickly is to write a few articles for online travel magazines. 

Writing for online magazines is a good way to establish credibility for two reasons: 

  • it’s fairly easy to get published and get legitimate bylines, and
  • most editors and PR agencies do an online search for your name and bylines when they hear from you for the first time.  It gives them a way to get to know your work when they don’t know you.

    So, it kills two birds with one stone, as the saying goes.

    Now, the downside to writing for online magazines is that they don’t pay well.  Many of them don’t pay anything at all.  (See my related post on this topic.)   So this is only a short-term strategy to build credibility.  It’s not a long-term strategy if you want to earn income with your writing.

    Part of your strategy should also include thinking about how many bylines you want to collect and by what date.  Set a few goals.  Are ten bylines enough?  Or should you shoot for a couple dozen?  Do you want to do this in a month, or six months?

    Once you have a goal in mind, get started making lists of story ideas and potential outlets for those ideas.

    You also want to identify whether there are specific genres that interest you.  Target magazines in those genres.  Remember, it’s easier to write about something you love than something that you find boring. 

    The more genres you write for, the more likely you’ll come up with an outlet for assignments when you’re working on getting invited on a press trip.  Every destination offers many story possibilities – it’s good to have a few to choose from.

PR firms frequently contact me when they have a press trip in an area that has some kind of military history or military museum.  They know I have a variety of outlets for these kinds of articles.  And I love this!  There’s nothing more fun to me than finding a new military venue to write about.

A good friend of mine loves everything outdoors.  He climbs mountains and is working toward climbing every peak in the world.  He writes articles about his climbing experiences and adventures.  This has earned him invitations to press trips. 

So, focus on your interests.  It will help you and it will help the PR people when they’re looking for writers to invite on press trips.

3.  Attend Travel Writers Workshops and Conferences

I’ve mentioned this in some of my other articles.  Attending conferences provides a learning experience, and also gives you an opportunity to meet editors and representatives from tourist agencies and PR firms.  Check the conference details before you sign up to find out who will be attending.

Travel Writer’s conferences and workshops are held in most major cities in the U.S.  Find the ones in your region and plan to attend a couple events each year.

4.  Get Testimonials

Ask for testimonials from editors after you’ve written a few articles.  You’re looking for feedback about whether you were easy to work with, wrote a quality article, and met your deadlines. 

Publish those testimonials on your website with the editor’s name, title, and publication. 

5.  Have a Professional Website

These days, everyone needs a website.  It’s important for you to have an internet presence so that an editor, tourist agency or PR firm can find out more about you and your background.  It makes you look real in a virtual world.

Post a few of your print articles on your website so editors can see the types of things you write about, and get an idea of your writing abilities. 

You can also provide links to your online articles.  Just remember to keep those links up to date.  Webmasters won’t tell you when they change a link.

A Few Final Words:

This advice is the only way I know of to get a steady flow of press trip invitations.  I don’t know of any fast track to success without putting in some time and effort in getting those bylines. 

Getting assignment letters in advance of your trip is also important.

And once you’ve established your credibility as a writer and developed some relationships with PR and tourist agencies, you will begin to get those coveted press trip invitations. 

If you want to learn about how to write query letters that work successfully, check out my eBook:

"The Complete Guide to Query Letters for Travel Writers".

You will also be interested in these related articles:

Write for Free?  My Take on a Controversial Issue

How to Build Your Professional Website

How to Organize a Self-Guided Press Trip

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