What type of traveler are you?
Organized or fly by the seat of your pants? Foodie or adventurer Techie or partier? Luxury or budget? Group or solo?
Maybe you’re a combination. For example, most people know me as a thrill-seeking adventure writer. What they may not realize is that I’m also somewhat of a history buff and enjoy exploring ancient cultures, UNESCO sites, and other locations of historical significance.
Historical sites that I’ve explored include some of the most well-known and amazing in the world, such as the Giza pyramids in Egypt, ruins of the Acropolis in Greece, Stonehenge in England, Ayutthaya in Thailand, Chichen Itza in Mexico, Tikal in Guatemala, and Nijo Castle in Japan.
I’ve been to more charismatic and picturesque UNESCO heritage cities than I can count.
So far this year, I’ve had the opportunity to visit some of the exquisite ancient temples in Bali, ride a bicycle through several medieval towns in Spain, discover Diocletian’s Palace in Croatia, and meander through the circa 1000 A.D. fairytale city of Oslo, Norway.
Undoubtedly, the most dramatic and touching historical site I traveled to this year was Stari Most (“Old Bridge”) in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina. The 16th-century Ottoman bridge is one of the Balkans most well-known landmarks, crossing the Neretva River connecting the two parts of the city. The original bridge was bombed and destroyed in 1993 during the bloody and horrific Yugoslav War with most of it falling into the river.
After the war, the people of Mostar were determined not only to reconstruct it, but Hungarian divers reclaimed chunks of the original local stone known as tenelija from the river. The current reconstructed bridge, which claims to be made with 70% of the original materials, opened on July 23, 2004. I was able to witness the local tradition of young local men diving from the bridge into the river.
My visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina was part of my press trip to Croatia. Here’s how I was able to snag that particular press trip (follow these steps to land a press trip of your choice):
- I attended a small, local travel show. It was marketed to travel agents, not travel writers, but I requested permission and it was granted. I would encourage you to be creative and courageous. You never know when even a distantly-related travel conference might work out, and you’ll never find out if they’ll let you attend if you don’t ask.
- At the travel show, I was the ONLY travel writer. While this could have been perceived as a disadvantage (I wasn’t directly sending clients to them), I increased my chances for success by doing my homework. I found out who the exhibitors were and came up with exciting pitches for stories to persuade them to put me on their list for FAM trips.
- I spent a lot of extra time (and charm!) with the Croatia tourism representative. And it paid off. I was invited on an amazing press trip which included the above visit to Bosnia, as well as time in Dubrovnik and Split on the Croatian mainland, and an unforgettable small ship cruise around the Dalmatian Islands in the Adriatic.
What kind(s) of traveler are you? There are many different press trips to fit every kind of travel. Thinking out of the box to find a way to attract tourism boards may very well give you an advantage.