Curious about how to land press trips for travel bloggers — and get paid?
Then you’re in the right place.
As a full-time travel blogger and a blog coach, I get asked this (digital) age-old question all the time:
How do you make money travel blogging?
The short answer is I diversify my revenue streams:
- I make money selling my own products, including travel blogging courses and NYC photo tours
- I showcase brands I love through affiliate marketing
- I run display ads through Mediavine
- I work with brands on influencer campaigns
And, of course, the topic of this article, I work with tourism boards, hotels, and tour operators on paid press trips for bloggers.
Psst, don’t forget to pin this post for later!
Press Trips For Travel Bloggers: My First Invitation
I took my first press trip in 2011.
It was to an island nation in the Caribbean and was an unforgettable four days spent snorkeling, hiking and savoring delicious locally-cooked meals.
While I was grateful for the opportunity, I also knew I couldn’t live off of free travel.
At the time, though, it was unheard of to be compensated for press trips.
Honestly, if you would’ve told me then that one day I could earn money for sponsored travel, I never would’ve believed it.
But today, you truly can get paid to travel the world.
In this post — with video — I’ll share a simple four-step framework to help you land paid press trips as a blogger, even if you don’t have 100,000 Instagram followers.
I’m going to show you how to get paid to travel ethically and authentically.
What Not To Do If You Want To Make Money Traveling
One thing that many travel bloggers get wrong is thinking that a press trip is a free vacation.
When you go on a press trip, you truly owe it to yourself, to your community and to the trip host to not only create content that is high-quality, but that is genuine.
The main problem — and the reason I’m infusing ethics into this article — is that nowadays sponsored travel content often comes off as inauthentic, especially on Instagram.
As bloggers, we’ve totally forgotten about using our storytelling skills; about going places to find the stories that matter to our audience.
I see so many travel bloggers and Instagrammers sharing photos that simply sell themselves and their brand partners while completely forgetting the people and the place that they’re in.
In my opinion, there is a better way to go about sponsored trips and campaigns.You don't need to be overly-promotional when #WorkingWithBrands. Here is a better tactic. #travelblogger
Whether you’re trying to learn how to travel the world and get paid or you have no interest in press trips and brand partnerships, you always want to be your authentic self.
In the long-run, this is what will help you grow a profitable blogging business no matter what revenue stream you pursue.
Best Influencer Networks For Travel Bloggers
Now, before we go any further, I want to share a special freebie that will help you land brand partnerships and press trips for travel bloggers even easier:
Grab that now, because I’ll be discussing how to utilize these at the end of this post.
Spoiler: Three of my favorite influencer networks on the list include:
How To Get Paid For Blogging Through Press Trips [Video]
Prefer to learn through video?
I’ve got you covered!
Check out the short but actionable video above.
Just make sure you click here to pin it for later, too, so you can come back if you forget a step.
Landing Brand Trips & Connecting With Tourism Boards That Work With Bloggers [Podcast]
And for those of you who prefer to learn through podcasts:
Listen to the audio above!
Not yet subscribed to The Profitable Travel Blogger Podcast on Apple/iTunes?
You’ll snag bite-sized strategies that can seriously help you grow your blog’s traffic, community, and income.
Having Confidence In Pitching Press Trips For Travel Bloggers
When working with brands and tourism boards, you really want to make sure you’re always in a place where you’re comfortable saying “no” to partnerships that aren’t a fit.
Remember, you can also re-pitch them.
Here is an example:
Recently, I was pitched by a tourism board to go on a press trip that involved me traveling to attend a classical music concert.
The event sounded great, but I knew it wouldn’t be the best fit for my active adventure audience.
So, I did some homework.
I looked at their blog, checked their social media channels, and got a sense of what types of stories they were trying to push.
Then, I replied back:
“The timeframe of the trip works, but the story angle isn’t a great fit for my audience; but, I see that you’re also pushing hiking, which would be perfect. Feature stories on challenging hikes do really well on my blog.”
Feel free to use and tweak that for yourself.Here is how you can respond to #brands and tourism boards to #pitch the perfect #blogger campaigns
Likely, the public relations representative or tourism board you’re emailing will appreciate your honesty, as well as your dedication to sharing stories that truly resonate with your audience.
Step #1: Grow A Community
Now before you click away thinking this is a fluff tip, hear me out.
A community is different than traffic.
There is a great Nelson Mandela quote that I absolutely love:
“Action without vision is only passing time, vision without action is merely day dreaming, but vision with action can change the world.”Action without vision is only passing time, vision without action is merely day dreaming, but vision with action can change the world. - #NelsonMandela #changetheworld
When you get crystal clear on your blog’s greater purpose, incredible things can happen.
The easiest way to start doing this is to pinpoint a mission.
There is a really simple template I always love sharing and it goes, “I help ___(your audience) do ___ (how you help).
Some examples might be:
- “I help female travelers take their first solo trips with confidence”
- “I help conscious luxury travelers find the world’s best sustainable 5-star hotels”
- “I help newlywed Millennials plan experiential honeymoons”
Once you have this mission, there becomes a real reason for people to jump on board and be a part of what you’re doing.
Because you’ve created a place on the web that speaks to them and helps them solve their unique problems and pain points.
If the idea of growing a community around your blog feels daunting, I’ve got you covered with a FREE 5-day profitable travel blogging course (via email) that takes you from crafting your mission statement to monetization — and beyond!
Step #2: Pinpoint Your Culture Add
The next step in this blogging strategy meant to help you travel the world and get paid through press trips — ethically and authentically — is to pinpoint your culture add.
What’s a culture add?
It’s that thing that makes you uniquely you.
With this, you’re continuing to add value to your unique blog brand identity. Then those hard statistics like monthly page views and Instagram followers, while important, don’t matter as much.
- Your unique skills and expertise
- If you have an alternative viewpoint to share
- Any hobbies or passions that can set you apart
By the way, I have a free workshop on growing your travel blogger income by creating a profitable blog brand if you’d like to dive deeper into this.
Here is an example:
I have a friend who is a wellness travel blogger.
There are myriad wellness travel bloggers out there; but, she sets herself apart by being a raw vegan chef and a trained shaman.
Can you imagine how tourism boards feel when they look at her versus another wellness travel blogger?
She really stands out.
Whenever you’re trying to land a brand partnership or paid press trip, think about what you can bring to the table that the brand — and hopefully most other bloggers — can’t themselves.
Step #3: Find Alignment
This is possibly the most important aspect to highlight when pitching brands and tourism boards for any partnership.
Once you do Step #1 and Step #2 of this framework, it’s going to be so much easier to find the right tourism boards to pitch for paid press trips.
Moreover, it will be much clearer to them why you are worth paying.
Let’s say I’m a destination trying to promote a new yoga retreat, and I want to work with a blogger to help.
There is “Hannah”, a certified yoga instructor who also has a blog showcasing incredible yoga retreats around the world. Note that Hannah has 2,000 pageviews per month.
Then there is “Michelle”. While her blog receives 50,000 page views per month, she doesn’t have a clear mission or narrow niche.
I would be much smarter to work with Hannah because even though my yoga retreat will get in front of fewer people, those people will all be my target audience; as in, travelers interested in yoga retreats.
This is why alignment matters so much more than just straight numbers.
And, by the way, travel blogger conferences can be powerful for landing brand partnerships, especially in terms of growing relationships and finding alignment.
This step really boils down to understanding your audience, their problems, their pain points, their demographics, and their interests, as well as the needs of the potential partner you’re pitching.Hey blogger: Want to #WorkWithBrands but have a small following? This strategy can help! 🙂 #blogging
Now, let me tell you a little story.
I have a friend, Amy*, in public relations who represents a tourism board targeting baby boomers.
This tourism board is not very active on social media, and posts to Facebook about once or twice per month.
Amy always chuckles when travel bloggers pitch her social media campaigns and Instagram takeovers — which happens often — because it shows they didn’t do their research before pitching.
Make sure to do your homework and make it clear you’ve invested time into getting to know the tourism board or brand you’re pitching.
Actually, I recommend taking things a step further and interacting with the potential trip host before sending your pitch; for instance, by re-Tweeting them or commenting on an Instagram share.
This shows genuine interest on your part, and that you’re a long-term investment and won’t disappear once a press trip campaign is over.
Step #4: Join Influencer Networks To Receive Pitches
I’ve got good news:
You don’t always have to do all the pitching.
In fact, this is where that free list of 31 must-join influencer networks comes in.
They typically work like this:
- Sign up for free and create a profile
- Connect your blog and social media accounts so the influencer network can pull stats in real-time
Then, the network does the work for you, matching you with press trip and brand partnership opportunities that make sense.
They’ll find that alignment for you, saving you time and effort.
Personally, I’ve been able to work with a number of big-name airlines and hotel brands through some of the influencer networks on the list.
The more you join, the more opportunities you’ll have.
Press Trip Etiquette
Now that I’ve shared my four-step framework for landing paid press trips for bloggers, I want to make sure you’re prepared for when you actually land one of these campaigns.
Press trip etiquette is important, so keep the following tips in mind.
A press trip isn’t a “free vacation”.
It’s work — which is why I believe bloggers should be paid for press trips, and why I wrote this post.
Don’t get drunk at dinner.
Don’t wear sweatpants to breakfast.
Don’t go home with anyone.
Instead, focus on learning about the destination, finding story angles that your audience will love and impressing your trip host.Curious how to behave on a #PressTrip as a #blogger? Check out these helpful etiquette tips.
Keep Your Word
If you agree to write a blog post and share daily on Instagram, then do it.
Throw in a Facebook Live tour of the hotel or try to get the post syndicated by a large publication for additional exposure.
Word gets around quickly which bloggers put in the work, so over-delivering is an easy way to get invited on other press trips.
Don’t Get Overwhelmed
Not every piece of food you put in your mouth will wow you and not every attraction will be your favorite.
Luckily, you don’t have to write about every single experience on the trip.
Instead, find the parts of the press trip that speak to you and that will resonate with your audience.
Basically, be true to yourself and your readers.
Don’t Be A Diva
Going off the above, if you eat something you don’t like or go to an attraction you don’t love, don’t throw a fit.
I’ve heard horror stories of bloggers throwing fits and even angrily throwing menus down at restaurants because they were unhappy with the food.
Just eat the meal — which you’re not paying for anyway — and be gracious.
It’s not just the press trip host you should be chatting up, but your fellow bloggers.
Be social, make friends and open the doors for future collaborations.
I’ve been recommended by other bloggers I’ve met on press trips for other trips, campaigns, and paid assignments, not to mention many have become my close friends.
Press Trip Opportunities
Wondering where to find press trips for travel bloggers?
Sometimes you can pitch yourself for a press trip, and other times public relations representatives and tourism boards will email you directly with an invitation.
Additionally, I send out an opportunities email to my Travel Blogger VIP List every Monday at 8am EST.
Along with press trips, other opportunities you might be sent include brand campaigns, collaborative posts, paid remote gigs, monetization opportunities for bloggers, calls for sponsored posts and more.
You’ll snag your first two weeks free and will get instant access to bonuses, including:
- 10 bonus opportunities for travel bloggers
- My PDF guide to landing & rocking press trips
On that note, I hope you found this strategy valuable. Now, I’d love to know…
What is your biggest struggle when it comes to landing press trips for travel bloggers?
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