Making That Travel-Writing Side Hustle Pay-Off
I don't write for the money. Not necessarily by choice - if I could rake in the dough just by writing I would certainly do so, and I am working my tail off to head in that direction. But let's be honest: at the moment the amount I make from writing barely covers my coffee tab.
I submit to a variety of different sites, such as Passion Passport and The Mighty, that pay nothing but "exposure" simply because I'm a big fan of them and their work. However, as satisfying as a byline and Facebook "likes" can be, they're even sweeter when accompanied by a paycheck. To help fellow writers out, here's a short list of sites I like that actually offer payment for writing.
*Disclaimer: this is simply to help you save time Googling and cross-searching for publishing outlets. Unfortunately, nothing I can do can make your submission jump to the top of an editor's pile!
They have a big audience, and look for standard travel guides and stories as well as off-the-beaten path sites and creative submissions like videos and photo essays. If your submission matches their "currently seeking" list, you'll get bumped to the top, so be sure to check back frequently. They want specifics, they want fabulous photos, and they want insider knowledge. They accept features (1,000-2,000) words that fall in the following categories:
Queries and submissions may be sent to us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or mailed to:
Max Hartshorne, Editor
P.O. Box 4
9 Mountain Rd.
South Deerfield, MA 01373
Include a cover letter, one sentence bio, photo captions, and a link to an open, online gallery with your story's photos.
Payment: $25 for published features
Matador has a pretty user-friendly online submission system. They don't have many guidelines (max 1500 words, don't imbed photos, don't send us the same old crap) so the best way to get in with them is to spend a decent chunk of time reading what they've already published and getting familiar with their vibe.
Submit: If you're pretty sure your writing is their chunk of tea, follow the prompts here to submit. If they chose to publish your submission, you should hear back in two weeks to a month. If you don't hear back, they welcome you to submit again - but suggest you wait a month or two, presumably to spend a little more time polishing up your work.
Payment: Typically $40 per published piece.
Tip: Striking out submission after submission? Matador also offers a Travel Media University - check it out here.
I have to admit, I love the vibe of this site. Again, submission guidelines are pretty simple (see them here) and the editor seems to appreciate a good sense of humor. The Expeditioner generally looks for enthralling first-person travel features with good photos to accompany them.
Submit: Email your manuscript to Matt(@) TheExpeditioner.com along with a link to an online photo gallery with your photos.
Payment: $30 an article
BootsNAll is all about independent travel, and about being much more than a tourist. They're currently looking for travel columns, feature articles, and guest posts. They have very intensive guidelines and recommendations for submitting.
Submit: Using this form - they only accept pitches, so don't send your full manuscript!
Payment: Feature article pay $50
Transitions Abroad is a bit of a grandaddy in the travel blog world, having been started, well, before the internet was even around - 1977. Because of that, I try to ignore the fact that their website is still a tad bit dated. Transitions Abroad is especially interested in student travel, living abroad, and volunteering abroad. They want stories focused on culture and immersion - and they don't want highly-commercialized or first-person works - so if your trip was simply for the purpose of cocktails and tanning, this isn't the place for you. They do have an intense submissions guidelines, so if you're serious about submitting spend some time here.
Submit: From the website,
"Manuscripts should be sent electronically and addressed to email@example.com. Please attach only Microsoft Word or Google documents. Your contact information, including your name, address, phone number, and email address should appear on the first page of the manuscript of the attached document. Attach a headshot if you wish.
Please send a minumum of one or two high-quality photos, preferably several more in an age where photos and videos are considered a big part of an article. Please send high resolution digital photos in .jpg format via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or preferably point us to your photos stored in cloud storage sites such as Google Drive, Flickr, Dropbox, etc. with the appropriate permissions so that we may have view and download access."
Payment: $50-$150, depending on how much traffic your story generates
Tip: Each year Transitions Abroad hosts a Student Travel Writing Contest, open to high school, college, graduate, and recently-graduated students. Their current contest is still open until Sept 31, 2016! First prize winds $500. Transitions Abroad also hosts an Ex-Patriate Writing Contest and a Narrative Writing Contest - these are both closed for 2016, but keep checking back for 2017!