How Travel Bloggers Get on Press Trips

So you’ve got this bright idea to start a travel blog so you can write and be free, travel the world on someone else’s dime, and make a shit ton of money. God that sounds amazing, why didn’t I think of that. Newsflash. You have a long road of free-labor ahead of you, free-labor and failure. But nothing that amazing comes easy now does it?

Travel blogging is in fact a skill, and a very technical one at that. If you don’t already know it involves web development, social media management, cutting-edge and resource based marketing strategies, professionalism, creativity, writing skills, photography skills, an understanding of how the back-end of the travel and tourism industry works, an understanding of SEO, brand development, networking, networking and more networking, and of course, traveling. But that’s the fun part right?

Getting from point A to point B is not by any means a simple task. There are a host of great sites out there that can offer you the right answers, consulting services, even all out schools for blogging. There’s so many it’s overwhelming. Perhaps you’ve done that, or maybe you’re too conservative to make the investment. Either way, for whatever reason, you are probably here because you’re already a blogger who’s looking for something more. Like how travel bloggers get on press trips.

I’m going to be dead on with you, you don’t just get them. You have to work for them. ROI (return on investment) is a very real thing, and a very real thing that very real DMO’s (Destination Marketing Organizations) care about, a very real thing that hoteliers and tour operators care about. So you have to ask yourself this question before you can ask about free press trips, “How can I provide a reasonable ROI?”. Before we can answer the question how travel bloggers get on press trips, let’s ask this:

What’s Your Blog Worth?

Let’s start at the very basic of basic, your travel blog, with a minimum of 50 posts, a nice user-friendly design, and a logo. At this very bottom, your value is about $150 / post. Now this doesn’t mean you can charge someone $150 for freelancing, this is just a gauge for you. Do you think you can reach out to a tourism PR rep and ask for flights, hotels, rental car, food, and tours? No, because that costs way more than what your worth. This doesn’t mean it’s a flop. Start small.

how-bloggers-go-on-press-trips

How can you increase your value?

You increase your value with traffic, domain authority, page rank, global rank and the rank you hold in your main audience country, social media following, and networking. Overwhelming? Tell me about it. There is no short cut to this, but here are some sure-fire ways to get there:

  • Quality content
  • Good SEO (I recommend Yoast plugin)
  • Sharing threads in facebook groups (pick 3 and stick to those groups or you will spontaneously explode).
  • Link ups. This gives great comment love, link juice and traction with social media and traffic which builds page rank, domain authority and global / local rank.
  • Be active in your facebook communities so people know you.
  • Great pictures in all your tweets, facebook posts, google+ and pins. Use questions to engage.

These are My Favorite Go to Sites for Everything Blogging, Growing and Digital Influence

I’ve been reading content from these guys for years. Some of it I flip through, some of it applies to me, but it is all accurate. You can thank me later. You now don’t have to ask yourself where to find the answers to everything. All three of these sites are great for  making that leap to monetizing your blog.

How Travel Bloggers Get on Press Trips

While you are growing these things like a perfect garden, you can be traveling in your local areas, and places you’re willing to pay the transport to, and reaching out to hotels. Remember, keep yourself in that value range. You can get by in your first year working with destinations if you are willing to pay the airfare or gas to get there. Seasoned travel bloggers get on press trips through press trip announcements on industry sites, by invitation (through referral and reputation), or by pitching to areas they want to visit for the next year. You don’t want to race the car without the engine. Slow down.

CVBs (Convention and Visitor’s Bureaus) will work with you if you are already going to be there. Nine times out of ten they will give you a media pass and a few hotel names to reach out to on your own. Nine times out of ten if you’re not calling the Plaza in NYC, you’ll get in. Reach out to historic B&B’s, and boutique hotels. Research their brand and tell them why you’d like to share them, not just because you need a hot shower and a fluffy pillow. This is going to be the first year of your blogging life so you need to get used to that. Most importantly, deliver, deliver, and deliver on time! These brands will take care of you in the future as you grow if you do right by them.

Remember

Travel blogging takes a lot of patience. The Travel Bloggers Network on facebook is an amazing community of bloggers on all levels that are at your fingertips. Pay attention to the focus points by day, ask questions, and don’t ever assume that everything you hear is truth. ALWAYS be diligent in researching the info afterwards. You don’t just get press trips, you have to be involved in circles of bloggers and PR reps who offer them by networking and applying to places like Media Kitty. At the end of the day, if you don’t have the value to back up the pitch, you’re beat. Stick to the smaller adventures while you grow your reputation, and you can only go up from there.


About Christa Thompson

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Christa Thompson is the Founder and Senior Editor of The Fairytale Traveler. Christa has been traveling the world since 2003 when she attended a summer abroad study at the University of Cambridge in England. Since then, her wanderlust has been fierce. Her three passions in life are her son, traveling, and being creative. The Fairytale Traveler brand gives Christa the opportunity to do all of these things and to live intentionally every day.

“It’s never too late to believe in what you love and to pursue your dreams.” -Christa Thompson

39 Comments on this post

  1. I would also suggest attending travel shows in your local area. It’s always good to connect at events. Most of those PR or marketing people are there for the general public but it’s good to introduce yourself. It’s good to get cards or give out cards. While I may not have the greatest luck at the shows targeted to the general public, I have been lucky to get at least one press trip or work with a DMO/business from going. Never hurts to try.

    Arnette RTW / Reply
    • Totally true. You should plan ahead for these, make it an expense but one that moves you forward. Check out the Do’s and Don’ts of Standing Out at TBEX for tips on rocking the casbah at events.

      • Travel and Adventure show is free for press. I work with a media company but I am sure that bloggers are considered press.

        Realize the value of networking and attending events like Travel Massive and conferences like TBEX.

        If you’re attending TBEX, market yourself well and make that profile super noticeable. I was a really new blogger at the Toronto TBEX and my traffic was pretty pathetic but filled up my schedule for speed dates and even had out of conference meetings with people. Within 2 months I had my first official press trip.

        Also remember sometimes you have to nurture those relationships for a while. I started emailing with a woman and it took about a year before she called me and invited me to a press trip with other journalists but it was worth the wait.

  2. Christa, thanks for sharing the press trip information in an honest, yet encouraging way. It means a lot to those of us who are growing our blogs.

  3. This is super useful, thank you so much for posting! I’ve been trying to make the leap into more press trip type stuff, but figuring out my blog’s “worth” is tough for me. It’s nice to know a little more information about them. Thanks again!

    Jessica (@HolaYessica) / Reply
  4. What a fabulous post! Very useful! I actually got my first press trip after only a few months of blogging – a free trip to go sailing with a great company in Croatia. How did I get it? By asking! New bloggers often underestimate their value – asking is free and the worst thing that can happen is them telling you no. And is that really so awful?

    Sabina @GirlvsGlobe / Reply
    • I couldn’t agree with you more. I teach all of my students to start now. Understanding your value and understanding their needs is the first place to start. Then you want to develop an angle that will provide lasting media value for them, and pitch them so that in the end they have nothing to think about. Seal the deal.

  5. Great article Christa and a reality check for some I’m sure. Slowly but surely you can build your blog brand and you’ve demonstrated how it is done.

    I endorse the FB community, I just wish I had more time to be active on it! This topic amongst others have been discussed there and it is a valued pool to converse with.

    I’ve not ventured into press trips, yet I know as you highlight it is a commitment and far from a free ride as some may perceive.

    The Guy / Reply
  6. I would say that as an extension on value is that you need to have a niche and that niche can increase the value of your site disproportionately to the UMV / followers metrics. For instance …

    If I am a spa PR person and I have two equally capable writers but one is about Spas and Luxury Travel and one is about Moms I am going to pick the Spa one – even if that has a fraction of the traffic since it is likely that is more in my target market vs something from a niche that is extremely wide. This is even more important as subjects like SEO start coming into play.

    This has worked well for me on ManTripping since I cover “men’s travel” and there isn’t a lot of coverage in this area though it is something where there is a lot of interest. My site happens to have a good following, is well laid out, and I have been told that I am a fun guest to have on trips … so that helps too but from a pure numbers basis there will always be someone with better “stats”.

    James Hills / Reply
    • I totally agree. I firmly believe it is the reason I catapulted into this industry the way I did. No one is writing about this, yet there are so many places that touch on the fairy tales and the elements of fairy tales.

  7. I totally agree about the smaller local trips. That’s how I got started with press trips, and all those local trips were amazing experiences!

  8. You know.. before I started blogging I tried searching and searching and searching for a straight forward and easy to understand blog post like this. I am reading it now and still think it was an incredibly well written piece that is not only helpful for the ‘newbies’ but for intermediate and even advanced bloggers and travel writers out there.

    Thanks for such a wonderful share! 🙂

    – Jenna

    Jenna / Reply
    • Thanks Jenna! It’s such a complex landscape now. Nothing is TRULY cut and dry. Just when you think you know it, it’s changing. I’m even changing my own writing style! You really have to keep a sharp edge, be creative in ways you can communicate and use your social media influence. Stand out and you’ll pick up on things faster than you think.

  9. Thank you for putting the most honest and easy to understand article I have read yet (on the truth of travel blogging and what it takes). I still feel so far away. Much to learn. Thanks for helping.
    Karina

    Karina Noriega / Reply
  10. With this post, I started dreaming about getting a press trip to some place I haven’t seen yet. Thank you for this true account of press trips and its insider secrets.

    Jithin / Reply
  11. The whole blogging thing takes time, patience, careful planning and strategy. If you want engagement that is 🙂 thanks for sharing this.

    JC from Holland / Reply
  12. I just shared this! As a beginner blogger, i is difficult to know when you have reached the point where you can actually start doing these types of things. This is very descriptive and to the point! No BS. Love it!

    Bobbi / Reply
  13. Hi Christa,

    Great post with a lot of information for travel bloggers!! Thank you for sharing your insight and knowledge. I have been blogging for 1 1/2 and I just recently got an invitation to a local event with a media pass. It’s taken me a long time to build my brand. I’m not going to lie, I still have a lot of work ahead of me. I still have a lot to learn as well. Juggling a full time job, family and blogging is a lot, but I have to do it and make the necessary time if I want to succeed.

    Thank you for sharing your tips and advice!

    Sincerely,
    Ruthie

    ruthiestravelroutes / Reply
  14. Hi Christa,

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts! Although I travel for the last 30+ years, only a little over 6 months have I started blogging. I haven’t taken any press trips yet, but your suggestion to start small makes a lot of sense and is in line with what I was thinking.

    Also, the tip about Media Kitty is great! I have already subscribed.

    Since you mentioned the Travel Bloggers Network and I just saw you are one of the moderators, I need a favor! My request to join is still pending for a while now. Could you be so kind as to give me a hand there? 😉

    Thanks a lot and all the best!

    Mark Pinheiro / Reply
    • Mark I would be happy to, and please also friend me on Facebook. I’m always happy to be in touch with other bloggers and make myself available to those who truly want to be successful in this industry. Also, there’s 836 active requests so it would be much easier if you friended me first fb/com/ christaspersonalpage

  15. Hello Christa! I have been blogging for a while and am only just venturing into trying to seek travel blogging opportunities. You offer such a wealth of info, the kind that is generally under wraps.

    I like when you say ‘don’t believe everything’… that’s just the reality check! Looking forward to some success, especially in my niche which is luxury travel for vegetarians and older people.
    Thanks for this post!

    pragati / Reply
    • Hi Pragati! Thanks for the kind words. Let me know if you need any more insight. Feel free to email me. Are you in the Travel Bloggers Network on Facebook?

  16. Hi Christa! You talked about blog post values but how are you supposed to know the value? what level is good and what is bad? Thanks for the amazing and incredibly helpful post!

    Mahika

    a-million-little-moments.blogspot.in

    Mahika / Reply
  17. Great tips thanks. Just started my bog, happy to chip away over a long time to grow. Nothing comes without a bit of hard work.

    Aaron / Reply
  18. Hi! Thanks for this great article, it gave so much insight and great tips (from people commenting as well)! We have just started a travel/photography website and hope it will only get more and more “worth” as we continue to publish over the next months.

    Marita Stenersen / Reply
  19. […] If you would like more pro blogger tips, check out How Travel Bloggers Get On Press Trips. […]

  20. Awesome! thanks for witing the tips

    Kanyi / Reply

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