Sun, surf and white sand beaches. . . glamorous evenings. . . gourmet meals. . . what image does life as a travel writer conjure for you?
Travel writing is indeed a glamorous career, and it might be just the ticket for you to pay for your overseas life.
Earlier this evening I joined a teleconference with Jennifer Stevens. Jen has spent two years as a Peace Corps volunteer and has traveled through 23 countries writing about the best locales for travel, investment and retirement. She was an editor for International Living. She’s also the creator of a program that teaches people how to become travel writers — the subject of this teleconference.
According to a poll I conducted last fall, 80% of readers here will need to generate income overseas. As one of that number, I enjoy researching location-independent opportunities for earning money for myself and for you.
Here are some of the highlights of Jen’s teleconference.
Get Paid to Travel — Then Get Paid Again to Write About It!
As a travel writer, someone else pays for your travel, and then you get to earn money by writing about it. You experience a place differently when you’re writing about it, because your status as a writer gives you an excuse to ask questions and go places you might not go as a tourist.
Usually you’re not hired to write lengthy, literary articles. Instead, editors want short pieces and guidebook-style narratives.
You don’t just write for travel magazines. Lots of magazines, newspapers and online publications will publish travel articles — a knitting magazine might publish a story about an interesting knitting shop in London, for example. You can use your knowledge of hobbies or other interests to create travel articles.
You Can Make a Full-Time Living as a Travel Writer
By full-time living, Jen specified an income of $50-60,000 annually. For that you have to write quickly, be good at it and have some regular clients.
However, if you’re living in a country where it doesn’t cost as much to live — Mexico, Malaysia or Panama, for example — a full-time living might be half that amount, allowing you to live comfortably and enjoy a fair amount of leisure time. Or you could work hard, earn your 50K and sock away some savings.
Travel magazines pay anywhere from $75 for a short piece to $2,000 for the cover story in an airline magazine.
If you can take some photos to go with your article, you can double your earnings.
You Can Sell Travel Articles Without Leaving Home
Think about it. Wherever you live, it’s likely a travel destination for somebody. I’m currently in Central Florida, so I could write articles about Walt Disney World, Sea World, Universal Studios, Kennedy Space Center, beaches, and a lot of other attractions and offer them to newspapers in the northeast or other parts of the country. Or sell them to foreign English-language publications.
The Perks are Fantastic!
Hotels, airlines, tour operators, state and country travel and tourism agencies are great sources of freebies. It’s worth their while to give an empty hotel room or airplane seat to a writer in hopes of getting some free coverage, which carries more credibility than an advertisement.
Once you’ve had a few assignments published, lots of perks like this are available.
How’s the Demand?
According to Jennifer Stevens, there’s a great demand for travel writers who understand what editors are looking for. There are print magazines and newspapers with their corresponding websites. Newsletters and e-letters offered by tour operators are another source of assignments.
How Do I Learn How?
As mentioned above, Jen has developed a program that teaches people how to become travel writers. It’s called The Ultimate Travel Writer’s Program and it’s available through AWAI. (In the interests of full disclosure, I have purchased several of AWAI’s programs, including this one, and I also do some freelance writing for them. Both these links are affiliate links.)
If you’re not sure you want to plunge in right away and invest in the program, you can sign up on the AWAI website for free e-letters that give you loads of information about travel writing as well.
Is there a career or profession you can take with you anywhere? Click the Comment link below to let us know about it!