At Spalding we have such a unique program. We get to travel to various places for our studies and experience new people, places, and ways of life. Because we have such a well-traveled group of alumni, it’s only fitting that we have travel stories. Whether you’re writing a city guide, an essay about your experience, or a how-to of making traveling easier, publications are looking for your work.
Maybe you’ve never thought to freelance before, especially for travel publications, but publications are always looking for new writing, and what better place to find it than from MFA grads?
Reasons to pitch your travel writing:
- Get experience
- Gain exposure
- Earn some money
- Tell your story
What to do before pitching:
- Have an idea of articles you want to write– Brainstorm your ideas, what you would like to write about, what you know you could write about (even if you’re not super passionate about it), and what you could research to write about.
- Carefully look over the guidelines for each publication- Look for specific guidelines. Some publications like to see a full draft before deciding to move forward, others want only a short pitch and will then give you an exact article to write.
- Read over their other published work. Make sure that your writing style matches theirs. Try to cater to what they like to publish and pitch articles that match their needs. It’s a waste of both of your time if you pitch a travel essay to a publication that only wants list articles.
- Know your worth- Some publications are strict on their freelance payout and pay every writer (who pitches to them) the same. While others seem to pull numbers out of thin air. If a publication low-balls your work and you feel the return (your name in their publication) isn’t beneficial to you, walk away.
- Have a way to invoice the company- Many pubs today, especially if they’re primarily online, will like to pay you via paypal or other money transfer program. Paypal makes it easy to send invoices so you don’t have to create anything yourself.
- Create a contract– It’s sad to say that there are times when publications take advantage of a writer. Either by not paying, not paying on time or just ghosting. Most bigger companies will have one in place for you to sign but if they don’t, make sure you bring it up. Even if it’s not a formal contract, a signed letter stating what is to be expected will cover both parties in the event someone backs out. The Write Life has a great article on why you need a contract, as well as other important aspects of freelance writing like Taxes and Insurance.
Here are 50 places to pitch your travel writing, now!
- BBC Travel: Pay is between $400 and $800 depending on length and other factors. BBC focuses on timely hooks and rich narratives. They look for compelling stories that are focused and full of substance
- Atlas Obscura: Pay varies. This publication focuses on quirk and off-beat. It’s not your typical travel publication and writers will need to uncover the truly unusual and surprising. Find their Submission Guidelines here.
- Budget Travel: Budget Travel focuses on backpackers and budget travelers. “It provides smart consumers with practical and timely tips and tools.”
- Travel + Leisure: Pays up to $1 per word. This magazine is about 95% written by freelancers on assignment. Check their website for exact guidelines.
- Outpost Magazine: Pay varies by submission. Outpost is a popular Canadian magazine that focuses on “down-to-earth experiences, inspiring off-the-path destinations and under-reported and unique cultures.
- Matador Network: Estimated Payment: $40. Matador is looking for “original writing, photography, and video that speaks to the adventures, cultures, and identities of people around the world.”
- BootsnAll: Estimated Payment:$50. The site looks for interviews with travelers and tips on saving money, packing, and other travel- hack related topics.
- The Expeditioner: Pay is $30 for first-person narrative articles. They only accept stories on spec. They are looking for interesting, informative, and inspiring future travelers.
- Delta Sky Magazine: Pay varies. The airline magazine seeks stories about travel, lifestyle and business. They want something beyond the typical “to-dos” in major cities.
- National Geographic Traveler: Pay is competitive. The magazine looks for fresh content and stories that share the spirit of each destination. Each issue typically includes about five features, with about half on U.S. desintiations and half covering international travel.
- Pathfinders Travel: Estimated Payment: $150. Pathfinders are looking for “lively, original, well-written stories that provide a good sense of place, with useful information and fresh ideas about travel and the travel industry.”
- Wanderlust: Most magazine features pay £220 per 1,000 published words.They usually publish interesting blogs, inspirational round-ups, guides and advice pieces.
- Go World Travel: Payment is $30 to $40 per story. Articles must be visually appealing and include several photos. They are looking for first-person writing that provides the best insight.
- Ensemble Vacations: Pay is competitive with other national magazines. Ensemble is looking for engaging and authoritative writing. The article should “inspire the reader to take the journey with you; evoke a sense of place, discovery, surprise and wanderlust.”
- Motor Home: Pays up to $900 for technical manuscripts with photos, less for shorter pieces. As you can see, the publication caters toward RV enthusiasts.
- Perceptive Travel: Pay is $100 per article. Perceptive Travel is looking unique travel pieces. They are “not interested in guidebook-type destination rundowns or stories that are very wide in scope…Tell us a good story or immerse us in a place we haven’t already read about a hundred times.”
- Road & Travel Magazine: Pays up to $100 per article. The publication specializes in automotive, travel and personal safety articles.
- Transitions Abroad: Pay is usually $50 to $150 for a 1,500-2,000 word article. The pub looks for people who live abroad. Articles should be about working, living and studying abroad, as well as cultural and culinary travel.
- Vagabundo Magazine: Pay is $200 for a cover story, $75-$100 for a long feature, and $40-$80 for a short feature. Vagabundo is looking for writers who write about epic journeys or can give great tips to fellow travelers.
- Texas Highways: pays 50 cents per word. This wide-reaching state magazine is looking for pieces featuring “scenery, history, small towns, and out-of-the-way places.”
- Smoky Mountain Living: Feature stories pay between $250 and $450. The publication is looking for first person essays about the Eastern Appalachians.
- 1859: Payment between 30 and 50 cents per word. This quarterly, print publication focuses on stories of Central Oregon’s people, places, and events.
- Midwest Living: Payment varies, generally first time writers can expect $150. This publication calls itself, “the definitive voice of the Midwest.” Their content focuses on travel, food, home, and garden.
- Canadian Geographic: Pay varies. Write about Canda’s people, places, and issues. The magazine comes out six times per year. The magazine is very competitive.
- Desert USA: Pays $50 per article. Focus on natural and cultural history for this publication which features north American deserts and surrounding region.
- Sunset Magazine: Pay varies. The magazine focuses on 13 Western states and looks for a variety of experiences and “take action” travel.
- New Mexico Magazine: Usually pays 35-40 cents per word. The magazine wants to showcase new Mexico’s rich environment and culture. The magazine looks for a lively editorial mix with articles that show readers thing they can do in New Mexico.
- Nevada Magazine: Pay is a flat rate of $250 or less for print and $100- $200 for web stories. The magazine focuses on interesting Nevada stories.
- Oklahoma Today: Pay is 25 cents per word, paid upon publication. Oklahoma Today seeks freelance writers to help tell the story of Oklahoma. They’re looking to highlight everything from the history to current events and lesser-known corners of the state.
- LA Times Travel: Print stories vary between $200 and $750. Online stories are generally $500. Blog posts are $75. The LA Times looks for pieces with a strong visual component. Trips must be taken in the past two years and writers must follow their specific ethical guidelines.
- Lake Superior: Payment for features is between $200 and $400. Payment for Departments or Columns is between $75 and $200. This magazine focuses on the history, current events, and lifestyles of the Lake Superior region.
- Kansas! Magazine: Payment varies. Most readers are over the age of 50, so marketing toward those adults who celebrate the wonders of Kansas.
Literary and Personal Essays
- Vela: Pay varies. This publication is for women by women. The goal is to bridge the “byline gap” with strong storytelling and investigative journalist that isn’t traditional “travel writing” but rather embodies a sense of place.
- Narratively: This is a- you guessed it- narrative driven publication. They’re flexible on format and length but want a unique and compelling story involved.
- The Big Roundtable: Pay is at least $100. If you’ve got a lengthy travel narrative you’re dying to share, this is the place. They’re aiming to support long-form journalist through community and ambitious writing.
- Creative Nonfiction: Pay is usually $50 for essays plus $10/printed page. The publication is looking for all kinds of creative non-fiction, poetry, personal essays and reported journalism.
- Brevity Mag: Pay is $45 per essay, usually under 750 words. The only specification they give is they want to publish featured essays and craft essays.
- Paste MagazinePaste Magazine: Paste is looking to publish pop culture news, and arts related stories from music and movies to travel.
- Saveur: This is a food and drink-focused publication that has a travel section.
- Escapees Magazine: Pay is up to $150 per article. This magazine is for RV travelers with stories and wisdom to share with other people in the RV lifestyle. The publication only accepts fully written articles on spec.
- Draft Magazine: Draft is looking for topics on beer and travel and other areas of life enjoyed by their readers.
- Healthy Living Magazine: Pay Varies, usually between $45 and $160. This publication covers a variety of topics, from beauty to cooking and travel, all emphasizing health.
- Wanderful: Estimated Payment: $50. Wanderful caters to female travelers. They ask for “your personal essay or feature piece on topics related to women and travel. Though some of our pieces aren’t women-specific, every article is written with our audience in mind.”
- Overnight Buses: They are looking for travel essays, literature, travel journalism, and personal narratives. They want the story of your journeys to far off places that changed you in ways you didn’t expect.
Adventure Travel and Sports
- Backpacker: Payment varies between 40 cents to more than $1 per word. Backpacker is all about getting outside, targeting those who search for their own slice of wilderness. They look for knowledge and experienced backpackers, so you should be one yourself.
- Outside Magazine: Outside focuses on active lifestyles. They’re looking for stories on fitness, adventure, sports, exploration, and the environment.
- Wavelength Magazine: This free magazine helps to promote safe and ecologically sensitive paddling.
- Aplinist: Pay is 25 cents per word. Adventurous climbers can celebrate world alpinism with this publication. Focus on first-person accounts on climbing routes around the world.
- Wired for Travel: They are looking for a “first person account of your experiences including everything from how you felt as you traversed a scarily narrow knife-edge ridge to your peculiar encounters with other travelers or locals.”
- Sidetracked: Submissions to Sidetracked should be exciting and engaging with a “sense of adventure at the heart of every Sidetracked feature.” You should have an inspiring story with “dramatic events, compelling characters and the texture we feel in the smallest details.”
If you’re looking for more help on freelance writing The Write Life is a great resource to get you started, help you find work, and hone those entrepreneurial skills. Also, Who Pays Writers? is a helpful site to see who pays writers, how much, publications are looking for, and tips to get in the door.
Mackenzie Jervis is a Summer 2016 Graduate. She lives in Texas with her husband, two cats, puppy, and son. She’s traveled to 65 countries solo, now taking the baby along. She blogs about family travel at A Wandering Scribbler while writing novels and binge-watching British TV.
To write for Soaring, Contact Me at firstname.lastname@example.org.