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All week I’ve been telling you about our newest program, The Pampered Traveler: How to Take Luxurious Trips and Turn Them into Paychecks…

… and about the great trips and perks your fellow readers have received when they travel like a Pampered Traveler. 

Below, you’ll find Diane Covington’s story.

Sure, I hope it entices you to try our new program.  (After all, what could be better than getting paid to get massages and 5-star treatment at hotels?)   But what I also hope you’ll come away with after reading today’s article is that you don’t need to be a gifted wordsmith to land a sweetheart deal like this.  Diane will tell you how she accidentally stumbled into it.  Take a look…


[Editor’s Note: Learn more about opportunities to profit from your travels (and even from your own home) in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel.]

By Diane Covington in Nevada City, California

I fell into writing about spas accidentally in 1993 when I was planning a trip to France for a month with my 19-year-old daughter Heather. I had heard about French Thalasso therapy spas, which offer sea-water treatments like hot algae wraps and massages with warm sea-water showering down, and was excited to check these spas out on the trip.

I had worked for a newspaper years before and wanted to break into freelance writing. I sold one article to a small local publication about traveling to India and staying healthy and mentioned the spas I wanted to visit in France. They were also interested.

So I started calling some spas for information, and I happened to speak with a marketing person. When he heard that I was writing an article, he immediately offered for Heather and I to stay at two different luxury spas, all expenses paid. He also put us up in a suite at the Hotel de Crillon, a palace of a hotel in Paris.

We felt like we had been tapped by Cinderella’s fairy godmother. We padded from spa treatment to spa treatment in our thick terry cloth robes and rubber slippers. We soaked in a warm sea-water pool. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner were all included, and being on the coast, we had fresh, just-caught seafood each night. And we relished it all.

The magazine that wanted the article folded while I was on the trip, but I sold the story to the San Diego Union Tribune Travel Section for their mother’s day story. It ran as “Two for the Road.”

I’d gotten a taste of travel writing and the doors it opened to have an assignment. I was hooked.

I started writing and selling stories, mostly about France, but it wasn’t until 2008 that I had an assignment from Organic Spa magazine to do a feature on the French Thalassotherapy spas again. I revisited three, staying four nights in my favorite hotel, the Royal Thalasso in La Baule, along the Atlantic coast. The area, called the Cote d’Amour, is where the French film stars stay – very posh and elegant.

Again, I was treated to all my expenses – a luxurious, ocean-view suite, delicious meals, sensuous spa treatments. Plus, because I had a track record of writing about France and spas, I even got a rail pass for traveling on my own afterward.

I absolutely adore spas and French spas are my favorites. Some people are “foodies.” I’m a “spa-die,” if there is such a thing! Give me the choice between a warm seawater massage with hot essential oils and a long, fancy meal, and I’ll grab a sandwich or skip a meal altogether – and take the massage.

I then returned to France in 2008 for another story, “Sensory Provence,” that I had sold to a regional magazine. More spa treatments, scrumptious French cuisine, and delightful experiences traveling in my favorite part of France.

My advice to a new writer? Get started, learn what to do, find some small places to get published, then work your way up to larger publications. I didn’t get paid that much for the articles, but the red carpet treatment I received and the spa experiences were priceless.

[Editor’s Note: Learn more about opportunities to profit from your travels (and even from your own home) in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel.]

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