Travel Writing? Let the Traveler Beware


So you want to take a stab at freelance travel writing? If you’re new to the business, here are a few things you should know before you get started. This advice isn’t about creating the finished product, this is more about protecting yourself when you’re on your way to and from the story:

  • Be very careful when booking your tickets online. These tickets are often non-refundable. If the name on your tickets doesn’t match your ID, you won’t fly that day OR you’ll fly after purchasing a second full-rate airline ticket.
  • Excess baggage fees are now $50 and higher. Pack lightly and take as much in your carry-on as possible.
  • You can write off your tickets as a travel expense, but what does your tax pro say about excess baggage fees, parking tickets and other hidden charges? Know before you go.
  • You don’t need the insurance on that rental car unless your auto insurance policy does not cover rental cars. Ask your insurance agent and save your money.
  • Read your car rental agreements CAREFULLY. Did you know rental agencies in some states have the right to charge huge fees for smoking on a non-smoking vehicle, taking the car across the border, or racking up too much mileage?
  • Hotel checkout times are firm. Don’t get charged extra for failing to check out on time. That’s a “no duh” bit of advice, but what’s not so obvious is that many hotels will be more lenient with you on checkout time IF you make arrangements in advance. If you need an extra hour or two, let the front desk know the night before and see what they say–you might get a break.
  • If you are traveling internationally with a Mac laptop, you may be surprised to discover that your Mac is compatible with the local power supply. In Germany, for example, you need a converter plug (an easy purchase at any Apple Store or online) but your Mac will run fine. That’s because of the nature of your Mac power cord. Beware though–if your plug has any defect at all the current could fry your laptop. You run a risk anytime you plug in to a non-USA power source without a voltage transformer, but that said, many people have used their Macs overseas without anything more than the converter plug.
  • If you need to send large images back to an editor, consider sending via YouSendIt or some other transfer service designed to handle large files with speed. Sending large images via e-mail, especially from overseas on borrowed bandwidth, is a right pain.

2 thoughts on “Travel Writing? Let the Traveler Beware”

  1. Very good precautions for all travelers.

    I did a bit of travel writing in the 1990s. I enjoyed the travel and the writing; I didn’t like the hassle of getting assignments from editors.

  2. Great advice. I suggest starting a blog. This is a great way to document your travels and showcase your writing. If you’re new to travel writing, you may want to sign up with websites such as Viscape so you can connect with other travel writers. Joining forums and writing groups is another way to connect with other travel writers.

Comments are closed.