For the past six years, I’ve had a little sideline job that’s allowed me to relax on Caribbean white-sand beaches, play golf on some of Ireland’s and Scotland’s best links courses, and visit more than 25 countries around the world.

Not only do I get to go on these trips free of charge, I actually get paid to write about my experiences. If you’re interested in this kind of thing, you can do the same. That’s why I’m writing today.

To me, travel writing is one of the best part-time jobs in the world. It’s a great way to make some extra money (for something you’d love to be doing anyway), and it’s a way to have a much better travel experience than the typical tourist.

Let me show you what I mean.

A few years ago, I was sent as a travel writer on an all-expenses-paid trip to Moscow for the city’s 850th anniversary. We drank the best Russian vodka, ate caviar at practically every meal, stayed in the nicest hotels, and even had a second-row seat for the Russian ballet.

Not only was it a great trip that, at the time, I could have never afforded on my own — it was also a chance to see the city as few travelers do.

Of course, as a travel writer, I didn’t pay a single cent — and I got paid for my travel articles.

Another great thing about travel writing, which must people don’t realize, is that to make some extra money and have these great experiences, you don’t even have to travel — if you don’t want to.

 

One of my colleagues, Steenie Harvey, for example, told me about an experience she had near her home in Ireland:

“The best meal I ever ate was a freebie. In county Galway, I stopped at a little thatched-roof pub (it’s called Morans of the Weir, in Clarinbridge — very well known in culinary circles).

 

“When I told the owner I was a travel writer, he bought out platefuls of fresh mollusks from his own oyster beds, a mighty plate of salmon dressed with salad, baskets of delicious home-made Irish soda bread, and cream-topped pints of Guinness. It was all free — even for my husband.”

The point is, you can get paid to write about a place that’s a few minutes from your own home.

Steenie, unlike most travel writers, is in this business full time. She spends a few months each year jetting around Europe — at the expense of several major publishers. And she makes a pretty good living.

Typically, however, I recommend that you get into travel writing — at least at the beginning — as a sideline job.

It’s a perfect way to make some extra money, deduct your travel expenses on your taxes, and experience the world as few people get to do.

John Forde is another guy I know who, like me, writes travel articles on the side. John told me recently about an experience he had several years ago, when he wanted to take his girlfriend to New York for a nice weekend getaway. He couldn’t afford much at the time, so he wrote to a local newspaper editor who sent him on assignment to the luxurious Paramount Hotel. He was checked into a king suite, complete with two bathrooms, a living room, a bottle of chilled Champagne, and a tray of chocolate-covered strawberries. His girlfriend loved it. And all John had to do was write up a half-page review of the hotel.

Travel writing can certainly make your life more fun. And it can help you earn some extra money. The problem is that most beginning writers 1) Don’t have the right contacts in the industry to land good paid assignments and 2) have no idea what travel editors are actually looking for.

That’s why, if you’re interested in pursuing this idea, you should have a look at a course put together by one of the best travel writers and editors in the business — my friend and long-time colleague Jennifer Stevens.

We asked Jen to write to you yesterday about five of her keys for good writing. When it comes to travel writing, I can think of no one more qualified to show you how to do it. Jen will not only give you the techniques you need to write good travel stories that get published — she’ll also show you how to land the best assignments.

Just think … your next trip, no matter where you go, could not only pay for itself — you could even turn a profit!

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