This time of year there are several big consumer travel shows taking place in the UK. Destinations is one of the biggest. If you're a bog standard punter you have to pay to get in which always strikes me as remarkable. You pay for the privilege to buy a holiday? Go figure.
Anyway... as a member of the media I get in FREE. I get a shiny badge with PRESS written on it and access to a special room with stale-looking sandwiches. (And NO goddamn coffee!) Of course I have to prove I really AM a travel writer. I pre-register - I'm on the right email lists.
But lots of people think they can blag it... and the best thing about the whole day is sitting there watching the old blaggers trying to get a press pass. It goes like this:
Old (yes, I'm sorry, but they always are well over 60) person comes
in with wheely bag full of brochures and junk trying to look important.
"I'm a travel journalist. I need a press pass." Bored girl behind desk
looks at them with glazed eyes.
"Do you have a press card?"
"Goodness me no. I don't bother with things like that. But I ALWAYS get a press pass here."
"Well I need proof you are a journalist. Do you have a business card? Or some examples of your work?"
"Ahh. Well I just gave my last card to someone else."
"Well I can't let you in then."
sorry. You obviously don't know who I am. I am travel editor for the
Chigley Village News (insert any never heard of publication here)."
"I'm sorry I can't let you in. You need to go back to the entrance and pay like everyone else."
"This is an absolute outrage. In that case I am not going to write about your pathetic travel show."
then turns and walks out. They often come back for repeat performances.
"I know XXX you know. (insert name of pseudo celeb travel journo here)"
Travel writing - everyone thinks it's so damn SEXY. A passport to
free water and stale sandwiches... that's about as far as it goes
folks. But blimey I know I'll have REALLY made it when the name that
gets mentioned to try and get them in is... mine.