In my Day In the Life of a Travel Writer post, I mentioned what a typical day working from home looks like, and that I wanted to share a press trip with you. I’ll start by answering the most common questions people have for me about press trips first in this post and then taking you along with me on a press trip to see what one is like! People always have many questions about what press trips are, why destinations do them, and more, so here is everything you need to know about them. If you still have any unanswered questions, please feel free to ask them below!
What is a Press Trip?
As a professional travel writer & photographer, I’m sometimes invited to visit a destination I haven’t yet written about or a place I have written about but wasn’t able to see and do as much as I could have. These visits are called a few different things like press trips, influencer trips, familiarization visits, and more. During press trips, I work with destinations to highlight the very best things to see and do in their area. Usually, they send me a list of their ideas, and I can pick from things I want to see, and I add my own items. They’ll also ask me for a list and make a schedule for me with the best ways to visit each place in their area. Sometimes, they have a pre-set list of places they want me to explore that they send everyone who visits them, but that doesn’t happen often. When it does, I only accept their invitation if the list is entirely comprised of things I really want to check out.
Why Do Destinations Host Press Trips?
These press visits are mutually beneficial for both the destination and me, plus you get to enjoy the fruits of our labor too! It benefits me because I can create new blog posts, photograph a new place, and share my experiences with you, highlighting all of the best things to do at a destination to make planning your visit easier.
These trips benefit the destination because they can use my photographs on their website, social media, on their marketing materials (think tourism magazines, billboards, etc.), and they can reach a new audience. It also helps destinations provide additional information to people who search out information about them through Google because they can find and read my real-life experiences and tips for visiting & planning a trip.
If you’re like me, you look to social media like Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest when planning a trip to help you decide what to eat, see, and do. It’s so much easier to find social media posts and people’s real-life experiences to help plan a trip than it is to simply show up to a vacation destination and hope for the best. By creating social media content & creating new photographs on press trips, I put more ideas out on the internet to inspire my fellow travelers to pack their bags and visit somewhere new.
Are You Paid to Go On Press Trips?
Press trips are part of how I make a living as an independent travel writer & content creator. I earn money from press trips either through direct payments from the destination for my time and the work I create for them, through selling my photographs for marketing purposes, or through sponsorships with other brands that I feature on my travels like clothing or travel gear partnerships. Usually, it’s a mixture of these things, but each trip is a different arrangement. Press trips are just a small piece of how I support myself, but they’re my favorite part of my job.
Do They Tell You What to Write or Post About?
Absolutely not! I never have and will never accept press trip invitations where they want me to publish pre-written materials. As I mentioned, I do this to help my readers, and those who aren’t my readers but find my posts when planning their travels have an incredible time on their trips.
I have gone on only one press trip where I had such a bad time at the destination that I told them I couldn’t in good conscience encourage anyone to visit their area, and they said they understood, and I never wrote about it. I only share my own experiences and opinions, which shows through in what I create.
Do You Have to Go Alone?
I’ve never received an invitation to a destination and have been unable to bring a guest along. Generally, I bring my husband or sister-in-law with me, but I’ll bring a friend if they’re busy. It helps to have an extra set of hands around to help me change my camera lenses or help hold my photography gear, but it also really helps to have another perspective along with me. If my husband comes with me, he does videography, takes notes, carries my gear, navigates, and takes a ton of the pressure off me to focus on making photos and taking notes about my experiences. I don’t make my friends or family do all of that work unless they really want to help out.
How Do You Get Invited to Go on a Press Trip?
Almost always, destinations reach out to me with an invitation. Occasionally, I’ll reach out to a destination I have received many questions about to share my audience’s interest in that place. Still, they almost always find me through social media. Sometimes, destinations find my images on Pinterest and reach out to me because my photography work aligns with their marketing efforts.
Which Press Trip Are You Taking Us On?
Tomorrow, I’ll be sharing how I spent the week at Walt Disney World near Orlando, Florida, for their #HappyPlace content creation event! We were given early access to the parks, we attended Sangria University, rode lots of rollercoasters, and ate tons of delicious foods to prove that Walt Disney World isn’t just for kids; it’s so much fun for adults too! The best part? You’re coming along for the ride!