When it comes to travel, many writers have a dream: “send me on an all-expenses paid, all-inclusive vacation, so I can report back and write a great destination piece for your magazine—for which I’ll get paid very well.”
While that’s a lovely dream, it’s not reality. Travel writing does exist, and yes, you can make good money doing it, but the image of the writer who gets paid to travel the world and write about it is about as real as a unicorn, at least nowadays.
If you’re a freelance writer especially, this is not going to happen. But if you think outside the box about travel writing and open yourself up to opportunities, you’ll be able to write about your passion while earning money to live it. Here are some outlets that specifically look for travel writing. But be sure to not restrict yourself just to these places—remember there’s many ways to write about travel for seemingly unrelated industries.
Places that pay for travel writing
Note: Rates of Pay are in US dollars unless otherwise specified. Rates are accurate as of this writing.
Roads & Kingdoms
* October 2020 Update: The writer’s guidelines page for Roads & Kingdoms is currently 404’ing. I was unable to find an alternative page, and the last report on Who Pays Writers is from 2019. At this point it seems unclear whether this publication still accepts pitches from freelancers. If you still wish to pitch them, my suggestion is to read their about page (linked below) and search for an editor’s email address using a service such as Clearbit for Gmail. Be sure to firm up payment details before you start writing.
Roads & Kingdoms is a digital magazine about travel, food, and politics. Their voice leans towards a literary magazine, and they seek travel stories “with a twist.” Roads & Kingdoms pays from $250 to $1,000 depending on the length of the piece and the amount of reporting involved. Send only pitches, not completed manuscripts.
Be sure to read their writer’s guidelines in full prior to pitching (as you always should).
Travel + Leisure
Travel + Leisure publishes listicles as well as destination pieces, all in a casual voice. While the website does not list pay rates, reports indicate they paid an average of $.73 per word in 2018. There are no writer’s guidelines on the website, but this website provides guidelines that were available in 2012. If you wish to pitch them, it might be worth reading these and abiding by them.
World Nomads offers travel insurance and safety advice to global travellers. They have an excellent blog and seek stories about how travel has changed your perspective. Reports indicate they pay $.60 per word for short narratives and up to $600 for photo essays. Be sure to read the writer’s guidelines closely and pitch accordingly—remember to identify what vertical your story would best fit under.
Pathfinders Travel, The Magazine for People of Color
Pathfinders Travel seeks stories that tell its readers where to go, what to do, where to eat, and how to get to all these things from a cultural perspective. The main audience is African-American travellers, though they do occasionally look for articles relating to other persons of colour, such as Native Americans, Asians, and Hispanics (maybe a Brazilian mutt might have a chance, too? I’ll let you know if I pitch). They pay $150 flat rate. Be sure to read the writer’s guidelines before pitching.
Interested in writing a book about travel or contributing to a travel anthology? Enter Traveler’s Tales, a media company that publishes several books and anthologies in the travel niche. They seek to tell stories that help travellers prepare for a destination experience. Payment varies per publication, so be sure to head over to the Traveler’s Tales submission guidelines for more details.
Rova, The Magazine for Epic Road Trips
Love to hit the road in your car and have stories to share about epic road trips through North America? Submit a piece to Rova. They pay a $200 flat rate for travel stories. Word count is not specified. Submission guidelines are not listed, so be sure to read a few articles on the website or print version (as you always should) prior to pitching.
The Feminist Globe Trotter
* October 2020 Update: The links for this website are currently 404’ing. There is a possibility this publication no longer exists.
Have stories that address the intersection between travel and feminism? Pitch The Feminist Globe Trotter. They want how-to articles and first-person narratives, as well as generic articles addressing feminism as seen through a travel lens (or vice-versa). Reports indicate they pay $50 per post. Be sure to read the writer’s guidelines before pitching.
HelpStay is a publication for people who like to travel with a purpose, whether it’s to volunteer, learn, or grow. HelpStay helps people find safe places to stay during their purpose-driven travel. They pay $150 for 1,000+ words. Check out the guidelines here and pitch accordingly.
Want to aim high with your pitches? BBC Travel seeks high-quality destination pieces that will “amaze, immerse, inspire and connect” their readers to places around the world. Reports indicate they pay $.56 per word for features of 800-2,000 words, and that they pay extra for photos. Be sure to read the writer’s guidelines closely to increase your chances of acceptance.