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10 Tips on How to Get Vacation Discounts for Bloggers

I don’t often write or blog about traveling, but when I booked my third overseas vacation in a year, I decided to learn a few secrets of the travel writer trade! Here are ten ways to get vacation discounts for bloggers and writers (or what I learned as a travel blogger)…

how to get discounts for bloggersThe Travel Writer’s Handbook: How to Write – and Sell – Your Own Travel Experiences by Jacqueline Harmon Butler and Louise Purwin Zobel is the definitive guide to learning how to be a travel blogger or writer. If you want to get vacation discounts, you need to prove yourself as a writer! And that means reading as much as you can about writing travel articles.

Before the tips on getting vacation discounts for bloggers, here’s a lovely Hawaiian quip: “The five principles of aloha, when practiced together, awaken our awareness of our human potential and the sacredness of our life.” ~ Paul Pearsall.

Can you guess where I’m on vacation right now? If you thought “Hawaii”, then you’re right…I’m in Maui, in Lahaina. The word “aloha” is like “shalom” or “namaste.” It means love, peace, wholeness, and connection – and it’s a great way to greet both the world and yourself. If you’re a blogger who hasn’t traveled much, I encourage you to think about how your blog can help you get discounted vacation packages.

10 Tips for Travel Deals for Writers and Bloggers

Travel writers can earn money by selling articles to magazines, before or after their trip. I suspect it’s slim pickings in the magazine travel writing market right now – but I know bloggers can get discounts on travel! Here’s what I’ve learned so far about blogging your way to a beach or other vacation destination…

1. Ask the hotel if they have a “media rate” for bloggers or travel writers. I’m staying at the Aston Kaanapali Villas in Maui (my travel buddies had already booked their vacation packages here, so my destination was set). Before I booked my flight, I asked the hotel for a discounted room in exchange for exposure on my Quips and Tips blogs. It took a couple of days, but they eventually came through with the “media rate.”

2. Ask for an upgrade. The Aston Kaanapali Villas gave me a complimentary upgrade with the media rate, from a hotel room to a 700 foot studio apartment with a full kitchen. Don’t be shy about asking for free upgrades, especially if you’re blogging about the hotel!

3. Research vacation packages versus hotels and flights. The cheapest vacation packages I found for Maui were only 12 days long, which was too short for me. I want to stay for at least two weeks if I’m going on vacation. So I started playing with the airfares and hotel prices, and found it was slightly more expensive to book a flight and hotel separately. But, the upgrade to a studio instead of a room was well worth it, and I don’t know if the hotel could have discounted a vacation package. Plus, I’m saving money by not eating out (the upgraded room has a full kitchen).

4. Email and call the booking office at the hotel directly. I emailed the media relations office first, then called the hotel. Don’t expect the operator at a central hotel-booking call center to get you a deal; they just book rooms for several different hotels. Instead, get the number to the hotel’s booking office, and then speak to either the manager or the media relations office.

5. Make your pitch. Bloggers and travel writers can’t expect to stay for a discounted price without giving something in return – even if they’re with a magazine such as National Geographic! What are you offering the hotel in exchange for your travel discount? I offered to write 10 articles that feature the Aston Kaanapali Villas, and the media relations person immediately accepted.

6. Polish your blog and clips. Before I emailed the Aston booking office and media relations person (I contacted both), I made sure Quips and Tips for Achieving Your Goals was ready. That is, I featured my previous travel articles and wrote an article about vacations that same day. I didn’t prepare clips, but did include my link to my clips on The Adventurous Writer. If you’re a blogger who wants to score travel discounts, you need to be as professional as possible. Prove that you’re worth the media rate!

7. Get the hotel discount and your responsibility in writing. A phone call isn’t good enough. Make sure you correspond via email or fax with the hotel, and that your hotel rate and blogging responsibilities are clearly documented.

blogger travel writing tips

“How to Get Vacation Discounts for Bloggers” image by PublicDomainPictures via Pixabay

8. Make sure your hotel has wireless internet in the room, and take your laptop. If you’re blogging about your travel experience – and if you’re getting a travel discount because you’re calling yourself a “travel writer” – then you need to spend time writing and blogging! You’re not on a free ride, fellow scribes.

9. Don’t just blog about your experience; share travel tips with your readers. Right after I booked this trip, I wrote 10 Tips for Booking Vacation Packages to Maui for Quips and Tips for Achieving Your Goals. And of course now I’m helping bloggers get their own travel deals. Instead of just reviewing a hotel or vacation destination, write practical articles that help other travelers. Stuck for things to blog about? Read Ideas for Writers Who Travel, But Who Don’t Write About Traveling.

10. Get an assignment from a magazine. Can you secure an article assignment from a travel or lifestyle magazine before you book your flight and hotel? That’ll not only help you get a better rate for a room, it’ll probably get you a few free tickets to various shows, events, etc at your destination. Some magazines pay the expenses of travel writers — but you need to clear that with your editor first.

Has your blog or helped you score travel discounts, and how did it work out? I’d love to hear from you below…

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13 thoughts on “10 Tips on How to Get Vacation Discounts for Bloggers”

  1. Yes! That’s my thinking too! I’ve only been blogging for one week but did my research and still doing it. I already have a hosted hotel stay for next weekend in a 4 star hotel! I’m true ly excited and can’t wait to write on the experience!

  2. Thanks for your thoughts, Sarah. You’re right….in hindsight, this seems like a lot of blog posts to write! I hadn’t thought of how it affects other bloggers, as well. Interesting perspective – I appreciate your comments.

  3. Whoa! You wrote 10 articles for one hotel stay?? I strongly believe that hotels should 100% comp the trip, if not completely pay for all expenses including flights. And that’s for ONE article. Accepting lowball offers, like media rates rather than comp, lowers the value of all bloggers articles and hurts the industry. It also guarantees that the PR agent you worked with will never comp or pay you, since they know you’ll *pay them* to work for them (ie. paying a media rate)!

    Please please don’t write about a hotel unless they’re A) paying you, B) comping the whole stay 100%, and C) paying your airfare!

  4. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    I’m glad these tips were helpful — and I hope they help you get vacation discounts, whether you’re a writer or a blogger!

  5. that is really cool.. I never thought you could use that media opportunity for discounts.. I should tell my friend to try that.. she is a good blogger too.. thanks for sharing..

  6. That’s a great idea about asking for a reduced rates for the exchange of some exposure on your blog. I actually never thought of that but it makes sense. I think I’m gonna try it. Perhaps I’ll make some business cards to make it more official. Great Tips!

  7. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Thanks for your comments!

    Lori ~ I have to say how much I admire you as a travel writer. I can’t believe how much you’re on the road; I know I couldn’t do it! So kudos to you, and thanks for your feedback on writing reviews for products, places, and services.

    Macblondie ~ I’m so jealous! I LOVED Maui, and hope you have a great time there. And, I hope you get a few vacation discounts in exchange for your writing and blogging 🙂

  8. Hi Laurie, thanks for posting about travel writing! I really appreciate your caution, “if you’re getting a travel discount because you’re calling yourself a “travel writer” – then you need to spend time writing and blogging! You’re not on a free ride, fellow scribes.”

    As a full time travel writer, it’s a real sore spot for me when people post that travel writing is a “free vacation.” I don’t know where they get that from, but they certainly haven’t worked in the industry…

    Yes, we travel (a lot), but it’s still a job and more than getting “freebies.” I also appreciate your wording: “I asked the hotel for a discounted room in exchange for exposure on my Quips and Tips blogs.” Thank for you not putting “positive exposure” or a “positive review,” as it’s a really thin line between giving the hotel exposure and making sure you’re completely honest about the property, warts and all. Sometimes when people get things for free, they feel obliged to cover it positively. If you plan to be a “travel writer” for a day, a big part of that is being a writer who your readers trust. Say it like it is and you’ve done your job.

    Thanks for post, Laurie!

  9. Thanks for sharing all this with us. It’s great information and I will try it on my next trip. In fact I am planning a trip to Maui as we speak. So, I will be using some of your tips in the next week or so. Once again, thanks. Great info.

  10. Laurie,

    Woot! I don’t get to travel enough but I will absolutely refer to this before I go on my next one. Such great ideas!

    Travel writing seems awesome. I’d love to try my hand at it.

    .-= George Angus´s last blog post ..Smashwords Means Ebooks Galore! =-.