People ask me all the time, “What was your favorite trip as a travel writer?” Since completing the Ultimate Travel Writer’s Workshop two years ago, I’ve had the opportunity to travel to a lot of amazing places, including Mexico, Tahiti, Bora Bora, Hawaii, and Japan.
You know what they say…. you never forget your first! So I will have to say my most memorable trip was my first FAM trip (also known as a press trip) to La Paz, Mexico. All expenses were paid, and I was treated like royalty.
I was put up at a 5-star resort and spa on the azure Sea of Cortez. On the property was a beach club, marina, spa, Gary Player golf course, beach, infinity pool, and a selection of restaurants. You might be tempted to never leave the premises – but of course I did.
The most memorable day of the trip was a day filled with adventure. After a huge buffet breakfast, I was fitted for a wetsuit then set off for a short boat ride to protected waters of Isla Epiritu Santo in the Sea of Cortez, deemed “the world’s aquarium” by Jacques Cousteau because of the abundance and variety of sea life cushioned within its depths.
Our destination was a rocky outcrop where I was able to snorkel with a colony of wild sea-lions. One curious pup swam right up to me and playfully bumped my side. Amazing!
A lunch of fresh grilled fish on a nearby deserted island, back to the hotel for a spa treatment, then downtown to watch the sun set over the ocean while walking on the malécon – the boardwalk by the beach. Dinner was nearby where I was served a margarita and an appetizer of fresh guacamole and crickets – which I dutifully consumed (this is the part of travel writing that is sometimes not so easy!). Fortunately, the crickets were quickly followed by a mouthwatering assortment of tapas.
After the meal, the live mariachi band invited me to come up to sing with them. I’m not a very good singer, but at that point, who cares? I was having a blast and it was all free!
Upon returning, I got paid for four stories about La Paz.
I was able to go on the La Paz press trip even though I was a relatively new travel writer. How? By utilizing some of the tips that I had learned at the workshop:
1. I thoroughly researched what had been written about La Paz to come up with more than one story angle to sell to the PR agency that was taking applications for the press trip.
2. My enthusiasm was apparent. I made it very clear how much I wanted to go and how choosing me would benefit THEM.
3. I already had some bylines, and I suggest that you apply for press trips only after you have at least three stories published. It’s not that hard!
4. I was relevant and current. I made it clear that Baja tourism had unfairly suffered from the violence in Mexico’s troubled border towns, and that I wanted to help change that.
(You can read more about how you can land press trips here.)
Even though I was a newbie, I was one of five journalist chosen out of a pool of 400 applicants. By using the insiders’ tricks from Ultimate Traveler Writer’s Workshop, I was able to score that all-expense-paid trip and then got paid for the articles I wrote. And you can do the same.