After recently attending a NYC press event, I noticed three bloggers wrote about the news that had been announced, the very next day.
It was then tweeted, retweeted, posted and shared around on Facebook. I’m assuming at least a portion of the paper magazines that were represented at the lunch will also run the news.
A home run for the PR firm that hosted it!
I chose not to write about the news because, while it was highly tweet-able, it was not specifically something my readers would need to know about.
Also, I was in the middle of wrapping up another story for FarewellTravels.com  about a place that doesn’t even have a PR firm in the states: Les Saintes, a very small French archipelago in the Caribbean.
Most of my stories do not come from press events. Sure, I appreciate these functions because I learn about the different properties (or other travel “products”) and many of them do find their way into my pieces down the road. I also love seeing people I know and getting new contacts in the industry.
But when it comes to the stories I really feel really passionate about, I choose finding my own over getting the information from a slideshow in a hip Manhattan restaurant.
This is not always easy. Often the places that have not been “discovered” by other travel writers don’t have PR firms.
So how do I go about getting these ideas for stories? A variety of ways. I ask around. I pick up hints. I overhear conversations. I get into discussions with my hair stylist, with my doctor, my dentist, another mom waiting to pick up her child from practice.
From there, I begin investigating on my own. If a place sounds intriguing and likely to be a destination my readers would be interested in, then I go see for myself.
Being a travel writer is all about scouting out locations. You find some that work and others you have to dismiss. It can be costly, it can be time consuming and outrageously frustrating and exhausting. But every now and then, you happen upon a gem, like Les Saintes.
And then you’ve got your story.
On top of that, you can provide a service to your readers, feeling quite smug that they’ll not read about it elsewhere.
How do you get ideas for travel stories? Share your advice!