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)…
The 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.
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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.
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…