This is a guest post from friend and freelance writing rockstar, Amber Adrian. Enjoy!
You don’t have to be Paris Hilton to go on madcap adventures through the deserts of the Middle East or eat your way through Paris and call it work. Because you know who else is interested in travel and fluffy pastries? Everyone. Which means publications want the knowledge you already have. Maybe you know all the best spots for bourbon in the Latin Quarter. Or the best way to see Vietnam for the cost of a new set of tires. Whatever it is, you can write about it.
Sure, it takes some hustle and some knowledge and some persistence. But as you start proving yourself and putting yourself out there, you’ll find opportunities fly toward you.
Use what you’ve already got. You’re good at finding off-the-beaten-path adventures, scouting the best dim sum, and wrapping it up in a good story. You probably have enough knowledge gleaned from past exploits to write ten pitches today. Do some research to find a timely slant to your last few adventures and send it to your favorite travel website. A little sleuthing at the bottom of the page should yield contact information.
Start in your hometown. No matter how small, your hometown has something other people want, something people wouldn’t find without you to guide them. Become known as an expert on wherever you currently live for travel and lifestyle publications and you may start getting assignments for other travel destinations.
Build your expertise as a blogger. What’s your favorite thing? What do you know about that other people would find useful? Start writing about it in your own space. Having a travel or a food blog can help you build a reputation – some bloggers don’t even need to pitch, because their blog draws publications and clients to them. If you already have a blog, mine your past posts for content you can refurbish and pitch.
Bring a notebook on your next trip. Find a clever angle, a timely event, and pitch a few stories about wherever you going before you leave. Even if you don’t get any bites, most travel writers aren’t funded these days, so taking a day or two to research and jot down observations could land you several stories when you get home. Once you have a few clips from travel websites, you can start casting out lures for bigger travel magazines.
You may not get funded vacations or travel expenses – at first. But you can certainly make some money on your past adventures – and pave the way for more opportunities in the future.