What’s a Travel Blogger Got to Do to Get a Press Trip Around Here?

Oh press trips – the holy grail for many a travel blogger.

I remember my first one. Well it was kind of a press trip – I’d managed to persuade my employer to send me to the TBU conference in Porto. It was all very last minute and really exciting. An all expenses trip to Porto, yes please! That weekend ended up being a brilliant insight into the world of travel bloggers –  I met so many people who I’d admired online, learnt loads and totally fell in love with Porto.

I got a new job a few weeks later and ended up going to Toronto and New York in my first week so the excitement was trumped very quickly, but I’ll never forget how happy I was that I was getting paid to travel for the first time, for free.

The first press trip for my blog came in the form of Cape Town, South Africa. Pretty sweet hey?

When will you get a press trip?

Press trips for travel bloggers

That first travel blogger press trip was a good 18 months after I first registered my domain name though. As I’ve said before, when you’re building up your blog you can’t rush things. It takes a while to gain traction and interest among PRs and recommendations from other travel blogger influencers. Remember how I said making friends with other travel bloggers is fun and productive – well the press trips I’ve been on have all come from word of mouth recommendations from other travel bloggers.

But no matter how many friends you manage to make in this world, there are a few more credentials to cover before you’re even considered for that elusive spot on a press trip.

You need a substantial blog

By that, I mean to have some substance. However great your five posts are, that’s not going to get you on the PRs hit list. You need to keep going. As Woody Allen said “80% of success is showing up” and when you’re a travel blogger that means to keep writing, podcasting, blogging, whatever medium it is you use to get your message across. They need some meat to sink their teeth into.

You need some stats

Not all companies want mega high stats across social media and your blog but you need at least some impact. There’ll be companies out there who prefer to see engagement in the comments section, others want a good Instagram following and others will just enjoy your writing style. You can’t second guess it which is why it goes back to the most important thing in travel blogging – to just be yourself.

You need to be what they’re looking for

Press trips for travel bloggers

Someone looking to promote their golf tours to oldies is not going to want me. You can’t try and be what they want – you’re either it, or you’re not. If you’re in a meeting with a PR don’t try and bend what you do to support what you’re guessing their goals are, they’ll see right through it. A strong sense of identity will be much more interesting to a PR than a flake who tries to cover all bases.

You need to be available

When I had a full time job there was a limit to what I could say yes to. Since then I booked myself up with personal travel for pretty much a year so again I’ve had to say no for most of 2015 too. I reckon I’ve been invited on about 50 press trips over the years but I’ve only managed Gambia, Thailand (posts hosted externally), Cape Town and Saint Lucia. Either the offers didn’t suit me, or I didn’t have time for them. Saying no to Israel, Helsinki and Oman were definitely the toughest but if you will book yourself up like I do, then that’s what happens. The travel bloggers that go on the most press trips are flexible and free.

You need to be on the PRs radar

Do companies that offer press trips even know about you? You need to meet people and get on their radar and that’s where travel conferences and events come in. If you can’t make it to them just drop your destinations of interest PRs a note and introduce yourself to see if they work with bloggers.

You could write for other outlets

I’ve had two articles in Wanderlust magazine and mentioned it to one PR and was immediately offered a trip to the Cayman Islands. After I explained I was featured and not a regular contributor the emails went quiet. But my point is that the more coverage you can offer a PR or travel company the better asset you are. My friend Ari from beyondblighty.com used to write for gapyear.com regularly and could use this to help get some sponsored travel in New Zealand.

During press trip negotiations

Press trips for travel bloggers

Have the right attitude

Depending on where you are in your travel blogging career you might need to take a rain check on your attitude. As a newb you can’t go demanding money for this and money for that, saying you can’t possibly take that many photos in your week long trip or that it’ll take you a month to write it up. When you’re starting out you need to suck it up and be grateful you’re being considered – but you knew that right?

Know your worth

At the same time, you need to understand your value and worth to them. You’ll be working, taking time out of your schedule and making sacrifices to go on the trip. Make sure it’s worth it to you, however it is you want to calculate that worth.

Press trips aren’t just a holiday

Press trips can be hard work. I went to Thailand for 6 days and was expected to write 12 posts on an external blog created just for the trip in return. Every second of the trip was scheduled so there was no time to do anything while I was there. It was tough with all my other work commitments at the time and I’d definitely got caught up with the excitement of going to Thailand rather than thinking about whether I’d be the best fit and if it suited my travel blog goals. Of course it was an incredible week and I got to go in a private plane and even meet the Mayor of Phuket, but I should’ve asked more questions beforehand so I was prepared.

Know what you’re signing up for

Press trips for travel bloggers

Press trips aren’t just a chance for a free holiday – you need to provide some real value back to the company that sponsored you to be there. Before you agree find out what they expect from you, and if you want to get a good name in the industry, always exceed those expectations. In these preliminary questions make sure you know the timeframes for when exactly they’re expecting the content online. Also find out if they’re expecting you to live blog, or update your social media feeds while you’re there. All these things need to be ironed out before you leave so the travel blogger press trip goes as smoothly as possible.

Say now if you don’t like the itinerary

If it’s a solo press trip make sure you’re really involved in preparing the itinerary. Send them suggestions of things you’d really like to do and if you can, arrange a meeting to discuss what would suit your blog best. If the itinerary is sorted for you, whether you’re on a group trip, or a solo trip, and there’s something you’re not comfortable with, make sure you tell them. Give a reason and a suggestion for something different. You don’t have to do what’s set out in itinerary draft one, they obviously want you to be happy too and will want to give you want you want to increase the possibility of you enjoying their destination!

Once you have the press trip sorted

Press trips for travel bloggers

Underpromise and over deliver

Whatever your agreed press trip coverage with your sponsor, it’s a good idea to give them that little bit extra. Even if it’s just one more Instagram photo, another Facebook update or some great photos they can use in their promotional material. You’re more likely to be asked back, and you could be recommended to other PRs too. Just like the way travel bloggers talk about PRs and companies so they talk about you, and us. I’d love to see their Facebook groups!

Be up, ready, alert and all charged up

No doubt you’ll be given a schedule at the beginning on the week and you need to be polite and courteous at all times to everyone involved. You’re not some big shot because you’re on a press trip. I’ve seen and heard of some people press trip diva fits about air conditioning and other such ‘essentials’ at their PR – that’s not going to get you anywhere. Make sure you take some sort of back up kit for your camera and phone. There’s nothing worse that being sent in to interview someone and seeing that little red light flash up warning you to get a move on.

Don’t take the piss

Whether it’s the mini bar, the staff, your driver or the dinner bill, just approach them all within reason. On the press trips I’ve been on I get totally paranoid they’ll think I’ve gone too far but so long as you don’t go all Henry VIIIth at dinner time on them you’ll be fine.

Angie from angieaway.com has some really good tips for staying off the PR Social Media BlackList here 10 Tips to End Up on the Infamous Press Trip Blacklist

Just be awesome

If blog trips had an end of project report you’re aiming for an A+. If an agency is sending you to review a country they’ll want to send someone they can trust. Everyone has someone to answer to and as long as you’re cool and can manage to turn up on time, reply to emails when they come through and conduct yourself in a polite but familial way, or however you do on your blog, you’ll be invited back and recommended within the industry. And if a country invites you of course they’ll want you to be respectful of their traditions and life.

How to get a press trip

Press trips for travel bloggers

If you’ve got all the bases covered at the start of this post then it’s time to track down some interesting PR people who are about to become your new BFFs.

Keep writing, grow your social media feeds, encourage interaction on your blog and get yourself known among tourist boards and PR companies.

Go to events

Go to conferences and events and chat to other bloggers and the companies who’ve paid to be there. They’re the ones who are really interested in working with bloggers and so the people who you’ll have the best chances with.


top UK travel bloggers


 

What can you do for them?

This isn’t all about you you know. A PR will want to know exactly what you can do for them when it comes to press trips, so know your reach, your readership and your skills. Don’t be afraid to show them off either. You need to demonstrate why they should choose you over every other blogger in the world. If you’re meeting a potential press trip organiser at an event you need to be sure of what you can provide them. What can you offer and why should they work with you? Have that right in your head and rolling off the tongue and you’re sure to be in with a better chance.

Helps to be multitalented

If you can take great photos, film and edit, and write, you’re quite the asset to a press trip. If you’re this multitalented make sure the PRs know it. If you’re not, no worries, having an expertise can make you stand out too. You just need to play to and market your strengths.

Final note

Press trips for travel bloggers

If you’re planning on starting a travel blog to get free press trips, trust me, you’d be better off getting yourself a minimum wage paid job and paying for the whole thing yourself. But if you just want a happy sideline in a few press trips a year to supplement your travels, then good luck to you!

As always, let me know how you get on…

VickyFlipFlopTravels

Essential Equipment for Travel Bloggers
Lessons I've Learned from the Top Travel Vloggers

36 Comments

  1. by Ed Rex on March 10, 2015  8:19 am Reply

    Great post Vicky,

    I should also say that having an interactive Media Kit on your blog will really help you to get the Press Trips that you want,. The Media Kit will help educate and advise prospective press trip PRs in making sure that they are the right fit for you and vice versa.

    However, it doesn't mean that you should create one and wait for the PRs to come to you. Travel bloggers also have to do the work. It's a great resource to include in your emails to your PRs or Tourism boards as they will like to see your previous work and stats.

    The majority of my press trips came through this way as they often remark about a piece of information or previous work and then after some discussion they will get a feel of what your blog is all about and also the person behind the blog.

    My text tip also is yours. Be professional and courteous at all times! Actually scratch that, use the good old British stiff upper lip charm!

    Ed x

    • by Vicky on March 11, 2015  8:28 pm Reply

      Yes Ed! Huge point I missed out. In fact I will add the media kit in asap! Really good tips there. Thanks x

    • by Anne Slater-Brooks on January 17, 2016  7:59 pm Reply

      Ed perhaps I am naive but what is an 'interactive' media kit?

    • by Laura on June 14, 2016  10:55 pm Reply

      http://www.crjag.com/

  2. by Catherine on March 10, 2015  10:30 am Reply

    Such a great post! I went on my first press trip last September and it was such a nice 'introduction' to them. I went to the islands where my family are originally from (Isles of Scilly) so I knew them very well. I didn't have too much of an itinerary other than to go to the food festival, so I was free to do whatever I wanted the other days. It was really nice and I was actually really happy that I went alone as it gave me some time to really explore where my family lived on my own terms.

    My recent press trip to Slovakia was the complete opposite, there was a really full itinerary, but as I'd never visited the country before it was brilliant! I just gave the PR two places I really wanted to visit (Lomnicky Peak and skiing at Strbske Pleso) and the rest they organized. It was the perfect itinerary and so much fun, but I do worry sometimes that press trips can be disappointing if you *really* want to go somewhere and then you don't have the freedom to see things you really want to see. For example if I was ever offered a trip to Croatia, I think I'd probably decline purely because I have such a set itinerary of exactly where I want to go and what I want to do.

    Like you I try not to take advantage, same when reviewing a restaurant in London, I never order all the expensive stuff and just order what I usually would if I were paying myself. I think it's also important to understand that not everything on a press trip is free and no one should expect to have absolutely everything for free. In Slovakia we just had to pay for our lunches and any extra drinks we wanted, which we were more than happy with. It's about reaching the right balance with the PR, and like you said, knowing your worth and not thinking you're worth more than you actually are.

    C x | Lux Life

    • by Vicky on March 11, 2015  8:27 pm Reply

      Oo I've never been there, that must've been nice to revisit. It's nice to have a really relaxed press trip – I was like that in Saint Lucia – it meant I could discover the island in my own time, which was really fun. Yeah you need to make sure the press trip suits both parties goals. It can be tempting to just say yes to anything, but you really need to think about whether it's right for you. As you say, it's all about the balance!

  3. by NaNa on March 10, 2015  10:41 am Reply

    Another article loaded with useful information. I never been to a press trip before (it's on the bucket list) and will use this timeless piece as a reminder in the future. Thanks Vicky!

    • by Vicky on March 11, 2015  8:25 pm Reply

      No worries. Happy to help!

  4. by mandy on March 10, 2015  10:56 am Reply

    Do you think having a .com benefits too? You mentioned that you got your first press trip a year after getting a domain.

    Thanks :)

    • by Vicky on March 11, 2015  8:22 pm Reply

      Ah I may not have phrased that very well Mandy, sorry. I just meant since I registered my blog. Although, yes, I do think a .com helps. It looks more serious and in turn other people will take you more seriously too. Have you read my article on choosing a domain name? It may help.

      vickyflipfloptravels.com/choose-domain-name-travel-blog/

  5. by Angie Orth on March 10, 2015  1:37 pm Reply

    Thanks for including me in your post! Definitely great tips here and I can't agree more with your last statement: "If you’re planning on starting a travel blog to get free press trips, trust me, you’d be better off getting yourself a minimum wage paid job and paying for the whole thing yourself."

    Press trips aren't all they're cracked up to be, and it's so important for those of us who've been around for a while to make sure newbies realize that travel blogging isn't all free trips and free food and free activities! It's a ton of work - fun work, and certainly better than cubicle life - but work, nonetheless. I'm bookmarking your post to share with anyone seeking advice on getting "free" trips!

    • by Vicky on March 11, 2015  8:21 pm Reply

      No worries Angie. Thanks for the great advice! I've definitely noticed a trend among people, both travel bloggers and friends and family, to think that a press trip is just a holiday at a PRs expense. Not so!

  6. by Rachel on March 10, 2015  3:42 pm Reply

    Thanks for the great tips and advice! This is a super informative post. (I'm loving your travel blogging newsletter series by the way.) I'm going to a women's travel conference this month and I'm really excited to meet other bloggers and people in the travel industry. Thanks for all the insight!

    • by Vicky on March 11, 2015  8:20 pm Reply

      Thanks Rachel – that's good to hear! I hope the travel conference goes well. Did you read my post on making friends with travel bloggers? That might help?

      vickyflipfloptravels.com/make-friends-with-travel-bloggers/

  7. by Alicia Leow on March 15, 2015  4:17 am Reply

    Thank you for the tip! I was offered a chance a few weeks back but was skeptical because they expected me to do a full itinerary with less than 6 hours of sleep/night. :(

  8. by pragati on March 22, 2015  11:03 am Reply

    hello Vicky, This post is just awe-some.. there is so much information here..I agree with most points you present. I have never been on a press trip, but would love to experience it some day. Based on my profile, I am interested in travel for vegetarians and luxury travel. I am not sure if anyone does press trips for that :).
    Looking forward to reading through your blog, and your new posts. Thanks!

    • by Vicky on March 26, 2015  2:31 pm Reply

      Hi Pragati, thanks for reading :) There will definitely be a market for that! Just have a look at who PRs your favourite products and veggie based holidays and go from there. Vegetarianism is only getting bigger with people becoming more health conscious so I'd say that was definitely a good market to be in right now. Good luck and let me know how you get on :)

      • by pragati on March 28, 2015  2:18 pm Reply

        Hi Vicky,
        Thanks for your response. I have never ventured into the whole sponsored post or sponsored travel realm before, so I don't know where to start!

        'have a look at who PRs your favourite products and veggie based holidays and go from there. ' I think that would be the toughest thing for me, first finding out what kind of holiday can be sponsored, and then finding out who does the PR for them.

        I think I have taken a step by redoing my About page. I have made it a bit more detailed than before, and provided a lot of background, actually, much more than I have ever been open about. I don't know if it is too much..Maybe you could have a look sometime when you get a chance? Would love to have your opinion on it..

        thanks!! Happy FlipFlopping :)

  9. by Ashlee on April 28, 2015  7:55 pm Reply

    Hi Vicky,

    Your blog is amazing and i love this post, and your blog. Im about to start my own blog and i wanted to know if you could suggest some good networking/bloging/travel events i could go to??

    • by Vicky on April 29, 2015  7:59 am Reply

      Hello Ashlee, thank you! I'm currently at TBEX in Spain, which is a great event but you'll have to get here pretty quick as it starts tomorrow!

      Otherwise you could try Blogstock or Traverse – run by the same people at different points in the year.
      Or TBEX is also in Asia and the USA in October.
      I'm going to Blogtacular in London in a few weeks.

      Whereabouts are you based?

  10. by Amy (Two Drifters) on November 16, 2015  2:16 am Reply

    Hi Vicky!

    This is a great, informative, and thorough post. It definitely helps me understand more about press trips. As a fairly new travel blogger, I felt a bit mystified by it all. My question would be, however, how do you find these PR reps and tourism boards? Is it just through networking at blogger conferences or can you reach out to them on Twitter, etc? I'm not sure what to look for. Thanks a lot in advance! :)

    • by Vicky on November 18, 2015  10:37 am Reply

      Hi Amy, I’ve heard of people being invited on press trips because they reached out to the PR in the past on Twitter, or via email to register their interest in the destination. They’ve set the seed that they’d like to go and then when the opportunity came up they were on the list.

      I wouldn’t do this for every PR though. Make sure you’re selective in who you want to reach out to otherwise the PR will see right through it.

      Networking at conferences is a great way to make friends with PRs and to find out more about who you’d like to work with.

      Think of yourself as a PR and think how you’d like to be treated. That’s how I deal with all these unknown situations!

  11. by Tamason Gamble on November 24, 2015  4:21 pm Reply

    I hope others stumble upon this article so that they realise that blogging is extremely hard work and not something that you can do occasionally to reap big reward.

    We have been working hard on our blog for the past two years now and have finally started to be rewarded for our hard work. I would hate to be seen as some clearly are from you '10 ways to appear on a PR Blacklist' linked in the post above and hope that on press trip we are about to embark on we can be seen as the professionals we hope we come across as.

  12. by Vicky on January 17, 2016  4:52 pm Reply

    I hope you had a great time on your press trip Tamason, I'm sure you'll never appear on one of those lists!

  13. by Beatrice - Mademoiselle Nomad on January 26, 2016  5:19 pm Reply

    Hi Vicky, what a lovely post filled with tips that are so awesome I don't actually have to keep googling. (I have been on over 20 websites in my research on press trips before I came to your blog). I'm very pleased that your first press trip was to Cape Town, fancy that?! It's where I've called home for the past couple of years so, great choice you made :). Thanks for sharing all these tips and for being genuine and honest, not sugar-coating the fact that it's not all glam and get, that it takes determination and hard work to get there too. I am buys with my Media Kit and hopefully get to implement your advice by approaching PR companies, making travel blogger friends and so on. Great post!

  14. by Vicky on June 22, 2016  8:48 pm Reply

    I hope it all works out for you Beatrice – I've seen some truly incredible things while on press trips and done things I never, ever thought I would.

    And I loved Cape Town – can't believe I haven't been back actually!

  15. by anna on September 23, 2016  7:46 pm Reply

    Such a nice post. I have been blogging for over a year now and slowly learning whta it is really about. I learn so much about myself and enjoy writing more and more. So many people say that press trips are such great experience. Maybe one day I will be able to see it from the inside. Thank you.

    • by Vicky on September 26, 2016  8:25 am Reply

      Ah thank you Anna, I'm glad you enjoyed it. Press trips are awesome – you just need to make sure you go on the right one for you and your blog!

  16. by capucine on April 18, 2017  11:48 am Reply

    So Cant wait to see you in Vietnam ;-)

  17. by Gary on May 4, 2017  10:24 pm Reply

    I would just like to ask an administrative question regarding press trips. Since no money changes hands (I assume) is there any invoice or contract exchanged between parties?
    Just wondering how this is tracked for income tax purposes. Do the PR companies need to be dealing with a registered company?

    - great information here for prospective travel bloggers!

    • by Vicky on May 6, 2017  10:21 pm Reply

      Hi Gary, it totally depends on each project. Some times there'll be a sort of contract in emails, other times there'll be something proper to sign and then others it's just left to you to write about your experiences. I wouldn't be able to advise on that I'm afraid. I'd suggest you talk to a registered accountant. Sorry I can't be more help and I'm glad you enjoyed my article.

  18. by Abigael on August 17, 2017  4:50 pm Reply

    Super valuable info Vicky! It'll be a great resource to look back on in the future because it's easy to forget how things should be done sometimes.

    I remember my first press trip, it was really exciting but soon learned how much work it could be too. I didn't mind because I was already doing it daily anyway. The second was better because my expectations were more realistic and I found the right balance between work and play which was nice. The next one... who knows! But I finally made a media kit so hopefully that'll boost my chances.

  19. by Vicky on August 29, 2017  9:31 pm Reply

    Thanks for your comment Abigael, I'm glad you found my advice valuable. Gawd, I was SO excited on my first press trip but yes, as you say they're always work too. I think you just need to accept the ones that suit how much work you're prepared to do to make sure that you don't resent the trip in any way and still manage to enjoy yourself.

  20. by Nicola on January 15, 2018  3:56 pm Reply

    Really helpful and informative post..thank you.

    After reading it's made me think about what's right for me. With a new career as a flight attendant on the cards and more time in between to think on my blog this post was great for ideas

    X

    • by VickyFlipFlop on January 16, 2018  5:50 pm Reply

      Oh congratulations – that's an exciting job! And great that you'll get to travel so much. Glad that I've given you some ideas for your blog. There's a whole series called Travel Blogger High on here if you want any more tips and advice.

      https://vickyflipfloptravels.com/travel-blogger-high/

      x

  21. by Antonio on April 5, 2018  10:44 pm Reply

    Thanks for your suggestion. We didn't make jet any press trip, a bit for chose a bit for lack of good opportunity. In our first year of travel and blogging, we have focused just on it without thinking about monetizing it or gain free stuff.
    We were at a lot of conferences and where invited we didn't say not. We think it the good kick off for everyone.

    Good luck

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