Press trips are the Holy Grail for travel writers. When I first started writing four years ago, I couldn’t wait to land those all-inclusive invitations my more experienced colleagues were raving about.
It took me a while to figure out the system, but when I did, all those wondrous perks and awe-inspiring trips starting landing in my lap. Imagine my excitement to think that future vacations no longer had to come out of my own pocket. I could travel more and experience more. And who doesn’t want to do that?
Last year alone, I was invited on 15 trips—from picturesque California coastal towns and Rocky Mountain playgrounds to the sunny vineyards of Valle de Guadalupe and Baja, Mexico. I also witnessed lava flows on Hawaii’s Big Island and enjoyed a magnificent European vacation to Italy, Croatia, and the Greek Isles.
I’ve stayed in luxury villas overlooking the Sea of Cortez and the Caribbean, hot air ballooned over vineyards in Southern California, sailed, kayaked, zip-lined, and have been treated to more gourmet meals than I can possibly count. And this is just the tip of the iceberg.
So, how can you get invited on press trips to such unbelievable destinations? I’ll tell you:
Writers invited on press trips have a proven track record of published stories. For new writers, the faster you get published, the faster you’re eligible for press trips, and the higher your chances of getting an invitation—it’s really that simple.
Write a top-notch story
When your story captures the essence of a location with descriptive words that evoke the five senses, this is very enticing to the PR reps that offer these wonderful trips in exchange for stories featuring their locale. If they like what you’ve written about other destinations, it gives you an edge over other writers.
As a travel writer, I never promise more than I can deliver. But if I have two letters of assignment before the trip, there’s a really good chance that something during my trip will pique my interest, opening doors to other story ideas. When I give tourism boards extra travel articles, they are thrilled.
It’s no secret that tourism reps talk to each another. I’ve had more press trips offered through referrals. What’s great about this is that these reps come to me with an invitation, and I don’t have to compete with other writers for an all-inclusive visit.
Establish a social media presence
When you put yourself out there on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, you’ve identified yourself as a travel writer to the world. The more followers you have, the more tourism board reps know the story you deliver will be shared—by you, and by your followers.
Network, network, network
Joining a professional travel-writing organization is one of the most beneficial things you can do for yourself. Here’s how it’s worked for me…
- Meet in person:
I joined my San Diego Travel Massive chapter. This global community of writers and travel-industry insiders holds regional monthly meetings all over the world hosted by area businesses. Within the first year of joining my local group, I was invited on two press trips. Additionally, members exchange information about publications looking for freelance writers, tourism board contacts, and much, much more. It’s always a win-win.
- Meet online:
Joining a travel industry media network like TravMedia is also really helpful. This online site encourages you to share your published stories and interact with other travel professionals—including editors.
I’ve been fortunate to have six tourism board reps contact me within the past year through TravMedia to offer me press trips. They’ve seen my stories and the publications I write for, and they know the value of inviting a travel writer to share stories about their destination.
An unknown writer said, “The distance between what you want and what you get is what you do.”
So, get started today, and work toward your dream of traveling the world and a life full of adventure—you’ll be happy you did!