Freelance Travel Writing Jobs: Where to Submit Articles and How Much They Pay
Can You Earn a Living as a Travel Writer?
Do you love travelling? Wouldn't it be wonderful to get paid to travel? I think this is the dream for many, who want to unshackle themselves from a 9-5 job and go and see the world. You can almost picture yourself sitting on a white sandy beach, cocktail in hand with the sun glinting on the turquoise water. If it just sounds like a far-fetched daydream, it doesn't have to be. I would like to share with you 25 companies which pay people to write about their travels. Some of these are travel companies, and others are magazines or online publications which have a travel section and purchase from freelance writers.
So can you make a fortune as a travel writer? Probably not. Can you make enough to live on? Well, it depends on where you live and how lavishly. The internet has boosted the desire for people to learn about new places and they are hungry for more information about destinations they dream of visiting.
Be aware, the ease of travel and the use of the internet has led to an explosion of wannabe travel writers. There are fewer magazines and publications who have full-time travel reporters as they buy from freelancers. Great news if you are a freelancer but this same glut of writers means you've got a lot of competition out there.
Travel Magazines That Pay for Articles
1. Matador Travel Network
The Matador Network accepts submissions and pays $25 per article. You must sign up on their site, fill in your profile and then click the red U in the upper left-hand section of your dashboard. Then submit your article. If you haven't heard within two weeks, you should assume it wasn't what they were looking for. You are free to pitch another idea.
Viator is an online resource for travelers and offers advice about where to go and what to see. They also sell tours and vacation packages.
To write a post on their blog they require an article between 1,000 and 2,000 words. For this, they pay between $100-$150.
Also on their site, they accept 'things to do lists' at various locations. These posts are short at 300-500 words and one can expect a payment of $45 per post. Currently, they are looking for people in specific places in UK, Indonesia, Tunisia, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, and Israel.
Be aware at times they will not be recruiting writers, so keep checking back.
3. Outpost Magazine
Outpost Magazine has both online and print versions. The articles they require are longer than some other magazines. For their online site, 800-1,500 words and the print version requires 2,000-4000 words. Although based in Canada they accept submissions from people worldwide. They require a high standard but even if English isn't your first language, your article may still get accepted as they value the views of local knowledge. Payment is decided on a case by case basis and is paid via Paypal unless you are based in Canada and then it is an electronic transfer.
The travel articles on GoNomad are as varied as the wide range of writers who have penned them. GoNomad gives writers a promotional platform with some of their most frequent writers pictured and links to the articles they have written on GoNomad. It is worth having a read of several of these to get a feel for what they are looking for. They encourage your article to be interspersed with photos and as they are a US based magazine they ask you to make sure you're using the US spelling. They pay $25 per article and can pay you by check or Paypal.
5. Afar Travel Magazine
Afar Magazine suggests before you pitch your idea to them to read through their past articles to see if the topic has already been covered. They only accept ideas which are in certain categories. These include the following.
Without this book, I floundered in my attempts to sell my travel articles. I was not targeting and writing what the editors wanted. Leffel is a travel writer and he doesn't just use his own experiences he melds them together with other writers. Giving advice about what works and what doesn't. If you are serious about making a living as a travel writer, then get this book, if not there are plenty of books which will mollycoddle you.
Even now, after many successful sales, I still refer back to this book, just to keep sharp and look for other profitable avenues to pursue with my travel knowledge.
Magazines That Pay for Travel Articles
Although some of the magazines listed below are not specifically about travel, they do have a travel section and as such need articles. Some of these buy only a small portion from freelancers and others source virtually all their material from freelancer writers.
Go to the website of each of these magazines, sign up and request writer's guidelines. Some will want a query sent in and others will want the completed article.
6. instinct Magazine
This is a monthly magazine for gay men and is based in Southern California.
They have articles on various topics including a travel section. They purchase 40% of their articles from freelance writers. Their style is sharp and witty. You must register on their site first and then submit queries via email or snail mail. The article length should be 850-2,000 words for which they pay $50-$300.
7. Aventura Magazine
You will need to contact them by email and they will send you the writing guidelines. Aventura Magazine is targeted at affluent clients. They want travel articles but not opinions. They will pay $250 for an article. You will need to send a query first.
8. Men's Health
Although covering many aspects of living a healthy lifestyle, Men's Health buys travel articles. Half of their articles are written by freelancers. For feature articles, they pay $1,000-$5,000. These articles are between 1,200-4,000 words. They also accept shorter pieces of 100-300 words. For these, they pay $100-$500.
9. Yoga Journal
As before browse through their online magazine to get a feel for what they are looking for. Their travel section should be about Yoga destinations, training centers etc. They purchase 75% of their material from freelancers. They pay $800-$2,000 for a 3,000-5,000 word article. They accept queries by email.
Contact the editor-in-chief Carin Gorrell at firstname.lastname@example.org.
10. Lighthouse Digest
You may have never thought about a travel article related to lighthouses but here you go.
They want stories about lighthouses or restoration of them. They pay $75 for each story they use and they should be a maximum of 2,500 words.
11. Soldier of Fortune
Soldier Of Fortune no longer run their print magazine but they are still online. If you have personal experience of combat or other related skills, then consider writing for them. Travel articles are popular on their site. They expect the length to be 2,000-3,000 words long and will pay $150-$250 a page. If you have a travel related article which you think is a good fit, send a query to their managing editor. Artwork is essential.
12. Bluegrass Unlimited Magazine
If you love bluegrass music this is definitely one site you should consider when submitting articles. They pay 10-13¢ a word. They prefer to work with established writers and don't want fan type articles. Send in a query letter.
13. The Atlantic Salmon Journal
Travel related articles from previously published writers are bought by this publication. They will pay $400-$800 for articles of 2000 words which are accompanied by photos. These should be travel related to conservation of salmon or somehow related to salmon.
The British magazine Wanderlust pays £220 per 1000 words and their fact pages offer a remuneration of £90 per 750 words. Send them a brief paragraph about the article. Also, include the opening paragraph. Make sure to put a specific title in the email subject line. Things such 'springtime skiing in Lake Tahoe' or 'backpacking across Brazil'.
15. Desert USA
Desert USA will pay $50 for 1200-1500 word articles. They want articles about your travels to desert locations in the USA. Articles about flora and fauna in this area, things to see and do etc.
16. Pathfinders Travel Magazine
Travel Articles for In-Flight Magazines
Anyone who has flown has seen in-flight magazines. Usually, the standard is very high and though most of the in-flight magazines buy from freelancers, they prefer to work with writers who are already published.
Tips to remember:
- If you are writing a specific travel piece be certain that the airline you are pitching your idea to travels to that location.
- Review past magazines for examples of the style they prefer.
- If you can't find information about where to submit, use the contact us requesting information.
17. Delta Sky Magazine
The in-flight magazine of Delta Airlines are looking for interesting stories or new angles on traditional travel destinations. They buy 600-2000 word submissions and also smaller pieces of 100-500 words for departments and columns. Payment varies
18. Qantas Spirit of Australia Magazine
The new look Quantas on board or in-flight magazine is targeted at affluent Australians. Topics for submissions don't just include travel but information about trends, news, and city guides. Send your story idea to the editor, in a brief summary no more than 100 words.
19. Lufthansa Magazine
The editors of the Lufthansa Magazine accept submission in both German and English. They don't print their payment or their requirements online but suggest contacting the editor by email.
20. Air Canada
Air Canada's EnRoute magazine requires both short and long pieces for different sections of their magazine. The range is from 200- 1700 words. Although payment isn't specified on their site, they pay up to $1CDN per word.
RV Magazines that Buy Travel Articles
What better way to fund your travels in your RV or motorhome than by writing about the places you visit? It's a win-win situation. Here are magazines or websites which buy travel articles with a slant towards RV owners. The articles can be about areas of interest accessible for RVers, road conditions, campgrounds and availability of services.
21. Motorhome Magazine
Their target audience has Class A, Class C motorhomes or campervans. They require feature articles no longer than 1,800 words. Photos must accompany your article. They pay up to $700 for feature articles and up to $900 for technical articles.
22. Trailer Life
Trailer Life magazine has been going for 75 years now and is in print and online. They require articles which appeal to those with RVs, campers, fifth wheels, and travel trailers. The demographics of their readers are both occasional and permanent users of their RVs with an age between 50-60. Topics include interesting places to visit, purchasing a motorhome, DIY maintenance, and hobbies. Their pay is competitive and ranges from $100-$700.
Boating and Sailing Magazines that Buy From Freelancers
If the cost of marinas is eating into your cruising budget, you can offset this by selling travel articles to boating and sailing magazines. All of the magazines also want photos for their magazines as well as articles. These can be exotic locations, a river near your home or your favorite anchorage.
23. Cruising World:
The pay for an article to Cruising World can range from $25 for a short news story to $1,000 for a technical article. Feature articles are less than 2,000 words and others 1,200 words.
24. Good Old Boat
For both book reviews and boat reviews, this magazine has writers already in place. However, they require sailing and boating articles about cruising memories, learning experiences, and technical articles. They pay from $50 - $700. If they like your writing you may be asked to become one of their reviewers as well. Photos are also encouraged.
25. Sailing Magazine
The demographics of this magazine are experienced sailors and any articles should be targeted to this group. They don't want log style or first-time experience style, articles can be up to 3,000 words. They will pay $50-$500 for articles. They use AP formatting and also are looking for high-quality sailing photos for which they pay up to $500.
Do you want to write and sell travel articles?
Think Local Area Travel Articles
Don't fall into thinking that it is only the exotic locations which people travel to. If you live in a city, you might be surprised to know just how many people travel there for business or pleasure. Just because you know about it, doesn't mean others do. Write about what there is to see and do in your own town.
Remember people who travel could be families on vacation, business travellers or even people who may be thinking of relocating to your area. Craft your article to one of these groups. What might appeal to a business traveller, probably isn't the same as activities which families would enjoy. See your city not as a resident but as a tourist, what makes it great?
Explore More Travel Writing Options
Don't just stop with the sites I have listed. Newspapers often have travel sections and require articles. Writing a travel article for your local newspaper would be a good start if you haven't had any travel articles published. Begin building up a portfolio of published articles in both newspapers and magazines before approaching companies such as the airlines.
Not only will you be making money from it, you'll be learning your craft.
Good luck with your travel writing and bon voyage!
All photos are CC0 and sourced from Pixabay.
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© 2017 Meredith Davies