As a travel writer, when you are friendly and quick to laugh during all the amazing travel experiences that come your way, your whole world opens up with new possibilities.
Talking to people, laughing with them, and genuinely enjoying the time you spend with them, is not only pleasant, but also an invaluable skill that will have the invitations pouring in.
You might find yourself on adventures doing things you’d never dreamt of—or sometimes, things you’d never even heard of. For me, these surprise opportunities are the biggest perk of living the travel writer’s life.
Let me give you an example and explain how you can do it, too.
When offered the chance to go on a pretty amazing adventure—a 12-meter America’s Cup Sailing Regatta on real America’s Cup yachts—I jumped at it. As an ex-Navy sailor, being on one of these sleek yachts—that had in years past participated in what is probably the most famous regatta in the sailing world—was something I couldn’t pass up. But even if sailing isn’t your thing, you have to admit that the chance to sail on a racing yacht and be a part of a small regatta is pretty amazing.
The history beneath your feet… the breeze on your face… and wind filling the sails as you race around crystal clear waters is all so exhilarating and a great way to spend the morning. Not to mention, when that white flag comes down and you are the winner, well, it has to be one of the best feelings in the world… and I got to do it all for free! Tourists around me had all paid for this privilege of spending a couple of hours on the water, but not me.
Of course, I was polite and thankful, and spent time talking with the company’s staff—and in doing so, I got great anecdotes and side stories to write about. In the process, not only did I have a once-in-a-lifetime experience (which made my father insanely jealous), but they followed that up by offering me another amazing opportunity.
A Sea Trek… for free. For those of you that don’t know what Sea Trek is (like me, before this opportunity), it’s where you don a huge dive helmet and step down a ladder into the ocean, disappear under the waves, and walk on the ocean floor while air hoses from the surface supply your air.
It’s surreal. Like something from Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, I had become an underwater explorer face to face with tropical fish and sunken, wrecked sea planes. Another world of wonder that in my wildest dreams I wouldn’t have thought I would get the chance to experience.
All because I listened to what my grandfather had always said: “A smile costs nothing.” Oh boy, how right he was. Of course, being a travel writer is what gets me these experiences… but, I’ve seen even more opportunities come my way due to having the right attitude.
See, as a travel writer, when you are friendly and spend that little bit of extra time with people, not only do you make new friends, but you also get a more in-depth story to include in your articles. Sometimes, just because a person likes talking to you, they’ll share even more with you, and this leads to other outstanding opportunities that tourists pay a lot of money for.
It’s as easy as that. Smile. Be polite and laugh. Yes, laugh. Approachable and friendly is the feeling you want to impart. It makes people want to show you things, take you places, and share amazing experiences with you.
Just by doing this, in the last few months, I have had over $1,100 in free trips, tours, and fine-dining experiences. Cocktails watching Caribbean sunsets, feeding and learning how to handle giant stingrays that feel like silk on your fingertips, and being towed gently behind a boat exploring the only Pearl Farm in the Caribbean. These were all perks and complimentary experiences I’ve gained by living the travel writer’s life.
All with a smile and laugh.