Avoid Scams When Becoming a Travel Writer

Updated: Mar 28th, 2010

We’ve all been there. Becoming a travel writer is all we think about day and night. It consumes our every being. Before you know it, you are glued to your television set watching The Travel Channel 24/7. You flip to PBS and watch the old episodes of Globetrekker. You sit at your computer day and night answering every single travel writing ad on Craigslist, TravelWriters.com, Freelance Gigs, Mediabistro, or other online freelance websites. Before you know it, you’ve become entangled in a web of deceit and lies. Now, you are struggling for a way out and it seems hopeless. You think about that old saying about a person with “egg on their face.” What is the travel writer to do? The first thing you do is “gnaw” your way out of the web and continue to read the rest of this blog!

Avoiding Travel Writing Scams 101

Now, if you are an avid reader of this blog, you will know that volunteering your writing services is mentioned as a way to get started in travel writing. However, if an editor, CEO of a magazine, or whomever it is MAKES BIG PROMISES to you that you will become a PAID travel writer, get everything in writing! If it’s a legitimate position then the person you are dealing with will not hesitate in presenting you with an agreement.

Here’s how to handle the “volunteer travel writing” position. Ask if there will be any chance of the position to become a paid one in the future. If not, suggest you write for the publication for three months. After those 3 months are up, you part ways and move onto your next project. Three months is more than ample time for a publication to decide whether or not your writing style is a match. If it’s not, the editor will let you know.

Many travel websites are starting up and offer the good ol’ SIGN UP WITH US, WE ARE LOOKING FOR TRAVEL WRITERS TO HELP BUILD OUR WEBSITE. On the other hand, they could present an opportunity to you this way: “We are looking for travel writers for our new and exciting travel website. We are a community of travel writers and would like to fill a few positions. All you do is SIGN UP, CLICK HERE, and we will evaluate your work and let you know if you match our criteria.” Yeah, right. Nine times out of ten these companies are looking for cheap labor. You may need to get started in travel writing, but you could start your own blog or as mentioned volunteer for a few months. Remember, your TIME is just as valuable as profiting from your travel writing!

Ask questions such as:

  1. How long has the company been in business?
  2. Will this turn into a paying position?
  3. Is there a rate you have in mind or am I to submit my rates?
  4. How many articles are to be submitted
  5. What is the turn-around time on payments?

In conclusion, travel writer David will henceforth begin to protect himself and avoid being scammed. Confidence has a lot to do with it. If you know you are not only a great writer but a GREAT TRAVEL WRITER, do not be taken advantage of by anyone. If you are in a situation where you feel BIG PROMISES were made and your “gut” says it’s time to bow out gracefully then do it.

The lesson is to get everything in writing, be cautious of those who make BIG PROMISES, trust your gut instinct, get out while you can, and continue to write. Yes, in business it can take time to get a publication into print. If this is the case, there is NO REASON to make promises that may not be kept. Deal with people who are going to be straight-up, open, and honest with you. It’s better to have the facts than to fill your head with fantasy.


About Amandah Blackwell 198 Articles

Amandah Blackwell is a creative, freelance and ghost writer for industries that include but are not limited to the arts & entertainment, travel, publishing, real estate, pets, personal and professional development, and much more.

Amandah's personal writing projects include screenplays, teleplays, YA, non-fiction, short stories, and poetry. 

You can find more of her writing at www.MisticCafe.com, savvywritingcareers.wordpress.com, and www.savvy-writer.com.

You can follow Amandah on Twitter at:  http://twitter.com/savvy_writer

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