So, you’ve landed a coveted FAM trip. How exciting! You’re packed and ready to go. Hopefully, you’ve taken the time to review the itinerary your Tourism Representative has put together, both for you and other journalists traveling to said destination.
You’re undoubtedly going to have a blast meeting new people, seeing new places, and staying at fabulous hotels or B&Bs. At the same time, it’s important to realize your “vacation” days are usually arranged in a tight, hectic schedule.
Before being introduced to FAM trips, I liked to travel at a leisurely pace. I tended to visit places and do things that interested me. FAM trips cover everything, and sometimes that means places you’d never visit on your own. Be open to the experience—you might be surprised!
Below are a few hints to help you have a successful FAM trip.
Do your research up-front.
Once you receive your acceptance letter, take the time to read over everything that’s been planned for the few days you’re traveling, then do some homework. The more you learn about the area and attractions before you begin the trip, the better.
Have some stories lined up.
Have some ideas lined up for magazines you’re interested in pitching stories to. You’ll be doing yourself a huge favor if you already know an angle you want to take in writing your article. Arriving at your location with a list of publications and queries in-hand before you even start, you’ll be ahead of the game, and perhaps everyone else attending the FAM trip.
Take great notes and images.
There’s nothing worse than coming home after a trip and struggling to remember details about a place you visited or a restaurant menu you ordered from.
I take tons of pictures—especially if there are signs that describe the place we’re visiting. I always have a notebook, and sometimes use a small recorder. The more notes I take, the better. Images help give me a visual memory, and if I’m planning to conduct a phone interview with a person I found interesting, the tape recorder helps me prepare any questions I might want to ask.
Network, network, network!
Be shameless about it! Hand out your card, gather business cards from other journalists. Be personable and talk to people. Tell them you’re a travel writer and photographer. Ask about their life and what they are up to. Networking is an extremely important aspect in being a writer. You never know who you will meet or where it might take you.
When you get home again, life is busy and we tend to move right into the next wonderful adventure. It’s paramount that you take the time to thank the tourism professionals who hosted you. You can also post an image as a thank-you on the Facebook pages of each place you were lucky enough to visit. It’s like a mini-review and is always well-received.
Write your articles!
Be sure to share the links with your PR people, any venue that offered a unique experience. and on social media. Accomplishing these things will help ensure future invitations, which is exactly the result you want.