Tips on Getting Your Travel Story Published for First Time Writers



“[Ironically] we don’t have a Filipino contributor yet in Lonely Planet Philippines book. We’d love to have one.” says Greg Bloom, author and country guide of the book I just mentioned. The Lonely Planet book is the world’s leading resource, guide and authority in the travel industry for 40 years now. A lot of local and foreign travelers I meet in so many occasions have a Lonely Planet book kept inside their backpack bags and suitcases. Most of the time I see the cover and edge of the pages are crimpled, a proof that this book is used to the fullest of its purpose. Pretty much it reflects how the founders of Lonely Planet, couple Tony and Maureen Wheeler how they started according to their website “a beat-up old car, a few dollars in the pocket, and a sense of adventure.”

I was lucky enough to learn travel writing with Greg and the ladies behind the Writers Block of the Philippines in collaboration with Fully Booked bookstore from bringing your own electric adaptor when going abroad as the outlets are not the same as the one we have here, bringing some extra toiletries, medicines, even bringing a nail cutter and a shawl et cetera. Always SHOW not TELL is probably the best that I can remember when travel writing. Allow me to elaborate this topic more below:


Travel Writing Tips from Lonely Planet Philippines

1. Study the market – Know where to tap the kind of travel market you want to belong. You can search it in newspapers and magazines (in-flight, lifestyle or print etc.) 
2. Write a marketable pitch – Your story should be something unique that when you present it to the editors of a publishing entity they will surely approve it. Always know the taste of the publication of what stuff they prefer. Always be particular about the detailed research key such as style and length for regular columns. Check always the editorial calendar section for opportunities.

In the local scene If you are sending a pitch (a proposal say in this case a travel story) to a publication be mindful of these things:

a) Email subject should be direct to the point: Don’t says “A proposal asking about approval of my travel to Amsterdam” instead say “How I Tasted Seoul’s 20 Signature Dishes in 24 Hours”
b) Describe your travel story in a summarized version of up to a few paragraphs long. Don’t send a file attachment of your story because the chance of the editors opening it is very small. Or if you can provide a link of it is better, all they need is just click it.
c) If you are going to send a photo, make it low – resolution for quick downloading. Their 10 seconds waiting worth as much as 10 hours for them.
    
  In the US they prefer sending the pitch or article via snail mail because the chance of getting opened by the editors is bigger than those hundred tons of sent via email.
3. Become an expert on something and get your facts right. Avoid grammatical errors and write clearly. You can find a peg either of these two: date peg (featuring a travel event that happens in a fixed calendar schedule ) or news peg (disaster tourism of Mt Mayon). You can make the topic out of ordinary topics or controversial.

4. Get out of the bubble
Write something that you know others will find it hard to write about.  Instead of going to tour packages with fixed itineraries, go backpacking and try those that are not usually visited by the public. People don’t want to know the sights you see but the experience you had. Remember travelers are after the experience, tourists are after the trips.

5. Start by creating a blog 
Yup start one the soonest you can so you can practice writing.

6. Good travel story angles
It can be a destination piece, hotel review, travelogue, travel tips, personal experience etc.

Realities, ethics and conflicts of interest in terms of travel publishing
You NEED CONNECTIONS to be easily published in print and online publications. Yes honey. You have to fund your travel first for you to do a travel story. As much as possible write your peace with all integrity. This means not accepting freebies or compensation to companies or brands that can cause conflicts of interest of what should be written versus how they want to be written.  Don’t get tired on submitting your travel stories even though it is unpaid because your visibility to different media and getting a base of followers will somehow someday or soon can give you a better chance of getting paid or getting paid more.

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