Want to be a travel writer? Don’t be seduced by the hogwash

Travelwriterad The thing I really like about a blog is I can say what I like. It's mine, I publish it. So I can say negative things about the ads on here if I want to! I use Google-ads to serve ads to my blog and most of the time I'm happy enough with what gets put up there. But recently I saw an ad on here that made my blood boil.

Become a travel writer. Travel the world for FREE! it read. I clicked it. It took me to this website. A complete load of waffle about how you can Get 5 Star treatment, get PAID to write and visit most exotic destinations absolutely FREE!

It continues: They also get paid BIG MONEY to write about experiences. Even though
some “armchair travel writers” don’t even travel to the places they’re
writing about!

OK. Let's get a few things straight:

1) Travel writing pays really badly. BIG MONEY? I don't think so.

2) Yes, you get to go places without paying, but if you're travelling on business for a client in most professions you charge the client for your transport and lodging. It's a bit like saying "Work for IBM and get to travel the world for free!" So what!? You work your butt off whilst away to research the piece you need to write... it's certainly not a holiday.

3) There's little time for drinking cocktails. You are constantly travelling and writing just to make ends meet as a travel writer. You do have occasionally fantastic moments, but in between it's a job, much like any other. When I was freelancing I was writing up stuff at the airport from a
previous trip and getting up early to pack in as much as I could each day when I was away. I wrote a piece for the Daily Mail about Mexico earlier this year. A
holidaymaker would do the self drive itinerary in two weeks - I did it
in 9 days.

4) To suggest that you can simply pick up free trips is outrageous. It's tough getting commissions - you have to be very good at generating great ideas for the editors you write for and be able to write brilliant copy very quickly. These are skills that take years to really develop.You need great contacts with tour operators and PR agencies to be hosted on press trips - particularly if like me you prefer to go solo so you get an exclusive story. And it's exclusives that pay the better cash.

5) Armchair travellers? Err. Would a travel editor commission a piece about a place from someone who hadn't even been there? I wrote pieces from home without going on trips. It is common practice - but only because I'd visited the destinations I was writing about a lot in the past and knew them well and had good contacts to update facts. I am an expert on Seville, because I lived there and I wrote a guidebook. So sure, if anyone wants a piece on Seville I can write it without getting back on the plane.

There are lots of endorsements on the site and all seem to lead to people who run courses... despite the fact that they claim to be published travel writers. Entrepreneurs, self-help gurus... guys who are masters at extracting cash from people by appealing to their hopes and dreams. It's the art of suggestion... nothing more.

Oh... and guess what. There's another virtually identical site aimed at people who dream of being copywriters too. According to this site... Good copywriters earn more writing a simple letter... than most doctors do in a month. Yeah right.

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