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Freelancer Scott Kendall shares his tips on how to become a travel writer who's paid to take great tripsGot a family? Like to travel? Have a limited budget? Want more out of your vacation days than the typical tourist experience?

Become a travel writer.

That’s what I did. 

In the last year, my family has traveled to more places, had more fantastic experiences, and met more fascinating people than ever before. And it’s all thanks to travel writing.

Since my first published article on Nov. 1, 2016, we’ve enjoyed so many extras on our travels. Because of my travel writing, we can now:

  • Travel to more places 
  • Travel for longer than before
  • Afford to do things we could not afford to do before
  • Experience new and exciting activities
  • Meet fascinating people
  • Make our vacations more special and memorable

With a family of four (or more), lodging, restaurants, tours, transportation, and tickets to attractions can all put a serious dent in a family’s budget. When my wife and I traveled with our two boys, we always had fun. However, there were always things we wished we could do—hotels we wanted to stay at, and restaurants we would have loved to have eaten at—but we always held back because of limited funds or time.

But after becoming a travel writer and learning the ins and outs of earning perks in return for writing a quality story, our vacations got bigger and better. 

On a recent 18-day trip to Europe, for example, we enjoyed numerous “extras”—things we couldn’t possibly have experienced in the years before I was a travel writer. 

In Venice, we were given a complimentary suite at Ca’Pisani, a beautiful hotel just behind the Accademia near the Grand Canal. 

In Tuscany, my wife and I slept in cozy comfort in our suite while the boys had privacy in their own room at the wonderful agriturismo Sovestro in Poggio. 

We had three free nights at a great hotel in Rome, near the Spanish Steps. And stays at the fabulous Hotel Opera in Munich and the lovely Hotel Merkur in Baden-Baden were also complimentary on this trip. 

I was also able to arrange complimentary meals at fine restaurants and a cooking class at upscale Le Logge del Vignola–all because I’m a travel writer.

Free lodging, meals, tours, and attractions made this European vacation so much more enjoyable, memorable, and affordable. 

Before my travel-writing days, this 18-day family vacation filled with world-class hotels, fine dining, and wondrous excursions would have been a one-week, bare-bones vacation, with only a smattering of the same experiences. 

Now, as a family, we’re enjoying the experiences of a lifetime—and the stories from our adventures are getting published in magazines and online.  

Anyone who wants this life can have it. The trick is simply to:

Get started: With the end result in mind, start today by finding a plan and incorporating it into your schedule.  I started with the Great Escape model.   Whichever plan you choose, do something every day to make it work.

Get published: No one wants to put you up or host your family of four if you can’t prove that you can sell stories.  And it feels awful when you ask for something for free and then you can’t deliver your end of the bargain.  So put in some hard work first.  Write locally until you get three things published AND THEN try for something bigger.

Be professional: Don’t ask for free stuff right out of the gate.  It’s tacky.  Tell each establishment that you’re coming, show them where you’ve been published, and then ask if they have press rates or discounts for writers.  

Travel writing has been a godsend. It has stretched our travel dollar and made our family travels so much bigger and better.

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