Any industry has its prestige places to work or things to achieve–things that everyone in the industry aims for and when added to your resume make a real difference to future job offers.
Travel writing is no different. For travel writers, the prestige place to have your work published is airline in-flight magazines. These beautifully-produced, glossy magazines are all about travel—after all, you read them when you’re traveling. And when you’re sitting on a plane for hours, good reading is essential. So the articles they look for are all about the luxurious and interesting, the things that will make the reader book another flight… just to see those places.
Sadly, many travel writers don’t even send in a query to in-flight magazines. They convince themselves that they aren’t good enough… which isn’t always the case! Getting your article accepted by one of these magazines is all about taking the right approach. It’s a process – one that I learnt about at the Ultimate Travel Writer’s Workshop. All of the details were spelled out. And, after years of wondering, suddenly I knew exactly how to approach editors, what to say, what research to do—everything I needed to be confident about pitching an article to such prestige publications.
I put all of that new knowledge to work, and, within a few months, I was delighted to receive a positive response to my query: “We’d love to run your proposed article on seeing Northern Japan by a cruise.” My article was to run as a feature in the Jetstar Australia/New Zealand in-flight magazine! And it would be accompanied by some of my photos, if they suited the layout that the editor was looking for. In the end, they used four of my photos (I gave them more than 70 to choose from), and I was paid at 70c a word, for a 700-word article, plus $225 for the four photos, plus GST. That came to a total of $786, which goes quite a way toward repaying my travel expenses!
This all came down to following the process I’d been taught. When traveling, I took extensive daily notes, collected tourist brochures and all of those helpful leaflets that you get (to help me remember all of the details later), took thousands of photos (which I do anyway, as a long-time photographer), checked which airlines flew into the country that I was traveling in, flipped through back issues to understand the preferred style, along with what they had published articles on in recent months. And I tracked down contact details and found out what places the editors posted requests for articles.
From there, it all flowed. I spotted a request from the editor of the Jetstar Magazine, pitched a specific article with an unusual angle on the topic (in this case, seeing a wide variety of Northern Japanese locations, while travelling on a cruise ship that had been specially refitted for the Japanese market with a full traditional bath house on board, among other things), and offered a gallery of high resolution pictures for them to choose from.
To my delight, my pitch was accepted. And that “boost your resume” effect? Shortly after, as a result of having that article on my travel-writing resume, I had another article—this time on luxury travel in Vietnam—accepted by a very high-end luxury travel magazine!
If you’ve been talking yourself out of trying, I encourage you to change your perspective, learn the formula, and put it into action. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by how easy it is to achieve your dreams… once you know exactly what to do and how to do it.