Pyramids via camel. Check.
Gorilla trek in Bwindi Impenetrable Park. Check.
Sunrise hot air balloon over The Valley of the Kings. Check.
Blue footed boobies eating my fries. Check.
Getting published in National Geographic….(insert pause here)
Now what? Doing the “do” is easy. Writing about it all is even easier. Beyond the blog posts where we hold our friends and family members captive, and a few coincidental visitors from Google search term matches, there’s a larger audience out there. But those drinking Cristal with feet dangling off a private Bora Bora cabana aren’t necessarily interested in bed bug horror stories and features on how to survive on gallo pinto (rice and black beans) for a month in Costa Rica. And travelers with lean bank accounts and Hostel International cards aren’t so keen on five diamond Trump International Hotel reviews about suites being painted shades of champagne and caviar.
Just like the editors of such magazines. So, get the vibe. Prowl the sites and pages of where you think you want to be published. When you begin writing about what you know best, that authentic voice finds an audience.
Here are 10 blogs and mags that jive with my style of travel and voice.
1. Tripadvisor.ca “The World’s Most Trusted Travel Advice”
$$$$: Although Tripadvisor doesn’t pay for reviews, I feel like it’s a way of giving back, for all the insider info I’ve grabbed from their site in the past.
Vibe: Dishes out the guts and glory of hotels, holiday rentals, attractions and restaurants. The site allows researching travelers to interact with review writers.
Bonus: Tripadvisor rewards reviewers who earn “Helpful Votes” (from readers)and post frequent reviews with special promotions like free Shutterfly photo books.
Deal: No quoted material is allowed and trips must have occurred within a year of submission (within 2 years for vacation rentals).
Here’s a review I did of the Gately Inn in Jinja, Uganda: http://www.tripadvisor.ca/ShowUserReviews-g480250-d618965-r34932918-Gately_on_the_Nile-Jinja.html#UR34932918
2. In Transit Blog, The New York Times “A Guide to Intelligent Travel”
Who? Monica Drake, Deputy Travel Editor (email@example.com)
$$$$: $50/300 words
Vibe: breaking travel industry news and trends, focus on events, festivals, shows and exhibitions happening in major cities
Deal: Proposing three clear ideas instead of one in query letter, include resume and a timeline of how quickly you can produce your proposed story. Writers are encouraged to follow up once or twice.
3.The Huffington Post, Travel Vertical
$$$$: None. Just pride and bragging rights.
Who?: Kate Auletta, Travel Editor
Vibe: Huffpost-ish. Smart writing with Caribbean Sea clarity.
Deal: “Have people shoot me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with what they write about and where they have traveled, their writing experience, etc. and we can go from there.” (Source: blogger Chris Around the World’s Q&A with Kate: http://caroundtheworld.com/2010/07/20/q-and-a-with-huffington-posts-new-travel-editor-kate-auletta/)
4. Toronto Star Travel Section
Who?: Jim Byers, Editor Phone: 416-869-4877 Fax: 416-865-3635 Email: email@example.com
Vibe: Weekend coffee-shop drinking material for vicarious armchair-wishers and attainable travel for families and couples seeking thrills with reliable comforts. Cruising, skiing, weekend getaways, spa
$$$$: Ask Jim!
Deal: Pitch all over the map as the travel section hits all types of travelers from cruising the Danube, all-inclusive stays, “Getting the Country Groove On in Nashville” to a southern Ontario getaway in Stratford.
5. FIDO Friendly
Who?: Susan Sims, Publisher
$$$$: Pays $0.10/word
Vibe: Have dog, will travel? “FIDO Friendly is a niche publication and the only magazine dedicated to the Travel & Lifestyle of man’s best friend. Each bimonthly issue includes hotel and destination reviews along with health & wellness topics, pet training advice and the latest fashion trends for Fido.”
Deal: 90% freelance. Welcomes new writers. Circulation 45K. Bimonthly. Pays on publication. Period between acceptance and publication varies. Buys first rights. Accepts reprints. Responds 1-2 weeks.
6. The Expeditioner
Who?: Matt Stabile firstname.lastname@example.org
$$$$: Compensation is commensurate upon experience
Vibe: “It’s important to make sure the pitch/submission fits the site. There are a number of topics that we either make fun of or absolutely will never write about on the site, and we’re not going to publish a story on them no matter how good the pitch/submission is. These include, in no particular order: Cruises, Samantha Brown, Luxury Hotels, Cancun, Travel Insurance, Money Belts, Indianapolis, Family Destinations, and anything that includes the word “Disney.””
Deal: 1,000-1,300 word first-person narratives. Be interesting, informative and inspiring. Send manuscripts on spec.
7. Travelers’ Tales
$$$$: $100 honorarium for non-exclusive world rights (you can sell it again wherever and whenever you want)
Vibe: Anthology. “We’re looking for personal, nonfiction stories and anecdotes-funny, illuminating, adventurous, frightening, or grim. Stories should reflect that unique alchemy that occurs when you enter unfamiliar territory and begin to see the world differently as a result. Please include a few sentences about yourself, something quirky and fun in addition to the usual list of accomplishments. Length: Whatever it takes without being self-indulgent-anything from a paragraph to fifteen pages. Shorter stories have a better chance of being accepted. Be sure to paginate your stories.
*We no longer accept submissions via email or regular mail. All submissions must be made through our submissions intake site: travelerstalesstories.com
Deal: In the spirit of our women’s humor books we’re calling for submissions for Leave the Iguana, Take the Mascara: Funny travel stories and strange packing tips to be published in 2012. Send us your best wacky stories and join in the fun. Deadline for submission: OPEN Est. Release Date: 2012
What Color Is Your Jockstrap? got lots of laughs, so we’re seeking funny stories for another volume. The book will include stories from both women and men. No length restrictions but for humor, shorter is usually better. Deadline for submission: OPEN Est. Release Date: TBA
8. Best Travel Writing Solas Awards
Who?: Sponsored by Travelers’ Tales
$$$$: $1,000 first prize, $750 second, $500 third
Deal: Got the best travel story of the year? Entry fee of $20 for the first two optional categories, $5 for each additional category for the same story. All stories are automatically submitted for the Grand Prize at no additional charge (thus, when you choose your two “optional categories” you will be entered in three, your two choices and the Grand Prize category). If we choose to publish a story in one of our Travelers’ Tales books, we will pay our usual honorarium of $100 for non-exclusive world rights.
*The current competition runs from September 22, 2011 to September 21, 2012
$$$$: Pride and gushing. Smiling mom.
Vibe: Do you live, swirl, sip, snack and tread Toronto sidewalks? This is the “hyper-local”resource for locals and non, wanting to find out where the best of all that is ours is at. Events, museums, muzak, festivals, hot dogs, sneak previews. Whatever makes Toronto hum is hinted at here.
Deal: “Write a review. Have a great or terrible dining or shopping experience lately? Let us know about it by sending us a review. Aim for between 250-500 words and include good quality original photos (sized to 590 pixels wide). No photos? Unfortunately we won’t be able to post it as a review, but that shouldn’t stop you from adding it as a comment on the site.”
10. XTRA! Toronto, Canada’s Gay & Lesbian News
$$$$: not posted
Who: Brandon Matheson, Publisher & Editor-in-chief
Vibe: It’s gay, baby! Travel tips for gay travelers, coupled and singles, bears to nudists. Gay-positive destinations, circuit parties,gay family cruises, Pride festivals, world gay film fests and the like.
Deal: Accepts book excerpts, essays, interview/profile, opinion, personal experience, travel
Whew. See, writing is the easiest part. It’s the market research that should earn us honorary degrees! Let me know if this cheat sheet helped. Networking is a writer’s skeleton.