A Travel Bloggers Guide to Press Trips

Written By: The Planet D

This guide to Press Trips for Travel Bloggers will help you do the best work for your client. 

We have been fortunate  to have been invited on several press trips as Travel Bloggers. From tourism boards to cruise lines, hotel chains and tour companies, we have definitely had some exciting sponsored travel. We’ve learned a lot and made a lot of mistakes.

A Travel Bloggers Guide to Press Trips

We have learned a lot during our press trips. We’ve experienced a different way of travel, been spoiled and pampered, and enjoyed some of the most amazing adventures of our lives.

At the same time, we made a lot of mistakes and discovered that there are many factors that a travel blogger needs to take into account before accepting just any free trip.

We were lucky to kick off our travel blogging careers with the Princess Cruises Twitter Trip. It set the standard as to what we knew to expect from each press trip afterward. When you start high, you know what should be included in other press trips.

Press Trip Tips for Travel Bloggers

We take our work very seriously and a Press Trip is very hard work.

There is a lot expected of you and you are not there to simply party and enjoy the beach. While other guests are enjoying their vacation, you are back in your room working until all hours of the night getting posts out and sending out photos and regular publicity.

Here are some tips that we have learned since last June and nine press trips later.

1. Ask the Right Questions

guide to press trips

When you receive your first email inviting you on a press trip you will be very excited and will end up saying yes to anything.

But you want to make sure that you will have access to everything that you need to be able to do your job properly.

  • Are flights covered?
  • Are tips and gratuities taken care of for you
  • Is the trip within your niche?

If you don’t have any of the above, how can you properly do your job? You aren’t getting paid for this trip, they are offering you a tour in exchange for you writing about your experience. No money should be coming out of your pockets to help them promote their product.

2. Internet – Reliable connections

press trips for travel bloggers

You are a travel blogger not a travel writer for a newspaper. Your job is to be online. You need to tweet, Instagram, and Facebook about your trip and you can best create interest by sending out social media updates during your time on your press tour.

If you don’t have access to an internet connection you cannot do your job properly. Every trip should offer free internet service during the time that you are there.

Internet should be covered at hotels and if you don’t have a good world data plan, they should provide a portable WiFi or local SIM Card. We’ve even had companies provide a cell phone to use

3. Be Clear on What They Expect From You

In Pyrenees Brava Storify
The In Pyrenees Storify board
  1. Will you tweet, share Instagram stories and Facebook regularly before, after and during your trip? How many posts will you write and where will they be shown.
  2. Will you have to provide them with posts for their own blog above and beyond writing on your own site?
  3. Will you have to be available for interviews?
  4. Will they want your photographs to be used in promotion and what rights will they have to your photographs and articles?
  5. How Many articles or videos do they expect you to deliver.

Everything should be laid out before the trip begins.

Like we said, our trips have been so well tailored that we can provide a lot of coverage for them and in return, we have gotten excellent content for our blog.

Our trip to China with Intrepid Travel was a turning point in our blog. We gained new followers, we found that we ended up inspiring people to go to China and developed an excellent relationship with Intrepid Travel.

By providing them with the details of our travels, they can gain more information on the power of a Bloggers coverage and we can hopefully develop a long and happy working friendship.

4. Don’t be Taken Advantage of

dave and passion
dave working at the computer

Some companies may think that just because you got something for free, you should be grateful and give them whatever they want. This is not true.

Your time is valuable and while you are on a media trip each and every minute is scheduled. You will not have time to network, answer advertisers or promote your blog.

They need to know that this is your job and there should be mutual respect. It is upsetting when a company actually makes you feel that you should be happy to be there and if anything goes wrong, well that’s just too bad, you got a free trip.

Tourism Fiji did an excellent job in making sure that we were comfortable in Fiji. They phoned us and emailed to see if there was anything more they could do, they asked.

They even asked us for feedback upon our return home on how they could improve for the next trip. They understood that the power of social media and made sure that they invited different styles of writers to cover different aspects of Fiji.

5. What Excursions are Included?

ocean guide to press trips for travel bloggers
Dave Skydiving Earlier in the Week

Will they send you on excursions that fit your niche? It isn’t going to do you or your readers any good if you are an adventure blog and you are stuck sitting on a bus for a month.

Make sure that they will send you out on trips and excursions, that they are included in the trip and that you don’t have to pay for them and most of all that they are something your readers will want to read about.

The Flying Kiwi did an excellent job of lining up adventures for us in New Zealand.

If we didn’t have excursions each and every day, they would not have gotten their money’s worth from us because we wouldn’t have had anything to write about.

By sending us out there to skydive, swim with dolphins and bungy jump, we could showcase the best of New Zealand and let our readers know that the Flying Kiwi is an excellent way to move around the country while having the adventure of a lifetime.

6. You Can Change Your Itinerary

skydive taupo sad

You have a right to change things if you like. We have made the mistake on a trip by assuming that the company will give us an adventure simply because they said they would.

We have had to take matters into our own hands once we arrived rather than have it all laid out in an email beforehand.

It turns out that companies want you to have the best time possible and if there are things on the tour that don’t fit with your travel style, they are willing to change it.

But if you don’t speak up, you will come away without a story and that isn’t good for either party.

We discussed our itinerary before the tour began over skype and they tailored an amazing two weeks that fit in well with our type of Blogging style.  We had never had any company pay such close attention to making sure that both parties were getting the most out of this media trip.

7. Be Prepared

Press Trips take up a lot of your time. Nearly every minute is scheduled and you won’t have time to do your usual work.

Before we leave on a press tour, we schedule tweets and posts so that we aren’t worrying about getting to an Internet. We even go as far as to say what is on our schedule for the day.

If we know that we are going to Petra by Night, we will schedule a tweet for that day stating that we are excited about seeing Petra tonight. It is important to alleviate as much work as possible.

We don’t put up posts about our trip while we are there, we take our time when we get home to do that.

Instead, harness the power of social media to create interest in your upcoming posts and take notes while you are there instead. We also use the press releases and brochures that they give us. We pick up every flyer and pamphlet that we can on the destination that we are visiting.

8. If the Dates Don’t Work, They Can be Changed

calendar-editorial
Make a Plan and Stick to It

Sometimes trips are scheduled for a certain time to harness the power of multiple Bloggers all at once.

But sometimes you are on your own and you can turn down the first offer when it comes to dates. If you are too busy or on another trip, let them know that another time would be good for you. They will most likely be flexible.

Or they will invite you back for the next one.

Once you are on someone’s radar, they will keep an eye out for you in the future.  We have turned down three trips since returning home because we have a lot of preparations for the Mongol Rally that begins in 53 days.

The PR and Tourism boards were gracious and told us that they would have us come and visit in the fall upon the completion of our trip.

9. You Can Say No

book

Sometimes a trip just isn’t a very good offer. We have had people want us to buy our own flights for a 4-day travel and we have had people invite us on a trip that doesn’t even work for our readers.

We cannot accept this type of work. We have said no and then watched other Bloggers accept the same trip and wonder why they said yes to such poor terms?

You need to have integrity. Another trip will come along.

As your blog grows people will want you to come to them to help promote their destination because they enjoy the way you write. I know it can be tempting.

Travel is expensive and to keep going non-stop for years on end it helps to have some free trips come your way, but you should never give up your vision and end up spending a lot of money for a few free days.

10. Tell the Truth

deb snowshoeing in the Thirty Bench vineyard

Let the company know up front that you will be telling the truth about the experience.

Nobody wants to hear a fluffy press piece selling a property just because you got it for free.

We let companies know that it states clearly on our “About Page” that we tell the truth about travel. If we don’t share the good and the bad with our readers, they will never take anything we say seriously. You also need to let your readers know that this was a sponsored trip.

They will appreciate your honesty and if you tell a truthful account of your experience, they won’t even care that it was.

People believe us when we say that we like a place or destination because if we didn’t we would say so.

Just because someone gives you a free trip, don’t feel obligated to write an amazing review. We always think of movie reviewers, it is their job to help you decide if you want to see the movie.

Like them, we feel that it is our job to provide you with all the information you need to decide whether you want to see a country for yourself or stay at a hotel that you stayed it.

We won’t change our blogging style just because someone gave us a trip for free. But we can guarantee that a company will receive unprecedented coverage in the online and social media industry.

Read More:

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Need more help planning your trip? Make sure to check out our Resources Page where we highlight all the great companies that we trust when we are traveling.

About The Planet D

Dave Bouskill and Debra Corbeil are the owners and founders of The Planet D. After traveling to 115 countries, on all 7 continents over the past 13 years they have become one of the foremost experts in travel. Being recognized as top travel bloggers and influencers by the likes of Forbes Magazine, the Society of American Travel Writers and USA Today has allowed them to become leaders in their field.

Leave a Comment

63 thoughts on “A Travel Bloggers Guide to Press Trips”

  1. I couldn’t have come across this article at a better time. We are going on our very first press trip this coming weekend! We are looking forward to it but I am trying to figure out the ropes of what is expected of me! Thank you for all your tips! They were extremely helpful!

    Reply
  2. This article was super helpful. I would like to know from your perspective, how soon do you think is too soon for a new blogger to begin to ask for free trips in exchange for writing about a place? Your response is greatly appreciated.

    Reply
    • Hi Jaimee, a lot of that depends on your experience. I don’t think it is wise to approach people if you don’t have the audience to back it up. Everything needs to give a company value. Numbers are important as well as engagement, niche and demographics. Would a company get value out of giving you a trip? I know that we talked to many companies who attended TBEX Toronto and they told us that many bloggers didn’t offer them value. They sat down and asked for a free trip and couldn’t give them a reason why they should say yes. You need to have a strong media package together. Dave and I took well over a year before we asked for our first trip. We were already in the country that we approached, so they didn’t have to cover flights which was a big bonus and we had a clear plan designed for them regarding what they would get in return. By then, we probably had about 30,000 readers a month at that time, so we felt confident that they would get some value from us with little investment.
      Once your profile is raised more, you will find that companies will start approaching you. Start engaging early with the people that you want to work with in the future so that they know who you are and know that you exist. If they can’t find you, they can’t hire you. Best of luck!

      Reply
  3. Ooh these are some really great tips for my first press trip coming up!!!! I’m starting to plan as much as possible before I go. I’m brainstorming story ideas and even drafting titles and intros to get a head start. I need to think of scheduling my social media posts though. Thnx D&D!!

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  4. Great information. I am new to this, but I am in a good position to capitalize. It seems acceptable to travel as a two-person team, especially if you both work for the media outlet. Is that correct? Also, are you aware of any opportunities for press travel as a (3-person) family? Thank you for sharing your knowledge. Happy travels!

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    • hi Brian, no we don’t work for a media outlet, we work for ourselves at this blog. Everything we do is for ThePlanetD. I do know of many families that are traveling now too. You are in a great niche.

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  5. I don’t know how I didn’t see this post earlier. I guess I just wasn’t supposed to see it until now. I was wondering how people had “sponsored trips” and this helps explain it. We are new to the living abroad and blogging scene and will use your advice, when something comes our way. (Positive thinking here). Thanks so much for sharing!

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    • Glad you found it Heidi. I think life works out that way a lot, you see things when you are supposed to, when you are ready. Hopefully a sponsored trip comes your way soon.

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  6. Thanks for sharing your tips D and D:)

    I had my first press trip to Japan two months ago and since then I’ve refused another two but have accepted one to Canada:) So looking forward to visiting your beautiful country and great to connect with you.

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    • Yay! Canada will be happy to have you. When are you coming? Congratulations on your success, it sounds like you are doing well.

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  7. Truth be told, I’m hoping like hell for one of these trips!

    That said, the reality is good to know. This article is a great resource. Thank you.

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    • Thanks Jim. I hope that you get one soon. We find them to be invaluable to meet our fellow travel bloggers, we get some great content and we get to share a new destination with our readers

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  8. Great article! I don’t think these kinds of sponsored trips fit within my niche, but I’m glad I read this in case I ever find an interesting offer in my inbox!

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  9. Thank you for this guide! I think all of us in the industry have wondered about press trips.. next up, can you tell us how to pitch to a tourism board? Or do they always just contact you?

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    • That is something we were actually just talking about. We are going to write a post about that soon. We have had a mix of both. They have contacted us, but we have also contacted them ourselves.

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  10. Hey guys-
    Great tips and very thorough post. I have been on several media trips for TV that were specifically tailored to a show I was producing and now I have been on some as a blogger. Either way – it should be the same. No matter what, you are providing publicity for them and sometimes that is worth thousands of dollars/Euros/Baht. We produced half hour shows on Aspen, Montreal, Cabo, etc…this was virtually a free 30 min commercial for them. But in no way should they have any editorial control. Or be able to see the show or your post beforehand. Same goes for blogs. Most trips are more good than bad and, in the end, any publicity is good publicity.

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    • What great points Lisa. You are so right about having editorial control. That is something I should have pointed out and I appreciate the heads up. I think it is important to start thinking about value and what people are getting in return. We see over 100,000 visitors a month that are coming to our site specifically for travel. That’s pretty good publicity. Unlike ads during a tv show, people here are specifically visiting our site because they are interested in travel and the destination we are talking about. It is important that PR agencies and destinations know this. Cheers.

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    • This is a good point. They are getting WAY more out of this than they put in – which is totally fine. But the very nature of the agreement, it seems to me, is that the blogger/producer/etc be totally honest about the experience.

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      • I agree, you have to be honest about your experience or else you will lose your credibility. Luckily for us we have had amazing experiences with our travels and press trips. But when we dont’ think that something is worth it for our readers or not the best, we say it to. IT’s important to be honest. I think that both the blogger and the destination get equal value. We get an experience at a destination that we may not have had before, content for our readers and a chance to meet our fellow bloggers and network with tourism boards and pr agencies. You can get a lot out of a press trip as a travel blogger if you are professional and think of it as a business.

  11. Great write guys! I like how you summarize it all up and love this one ‘You Can Say No’ while this is so true – “Travel is expensive and to keep going non stop for years on end it helps to have some free trips come your way, but you should never give up your vision and end up spending a lot of money for a few free days.”

    End of the day, not everyone is going to get invited for press trips. Correct me if I am wrong but if your influence is good on your blog or twitter, the chances are much higher. So this leaves the casual travel bloggers with slim chances. I mean, put yourself in the tourism reps shoes, would you take a blogger with not much traffic and activity on social media? I wouldn’t. So it all goes back to how active you are. Also, there is the target market perspective like what Jordan did. They were hitting out on all the well known travel bloggers who had a big influence in the USA and Europe which was a strategic move which worked awesome! Look at your articles, made me want to go to Jordan too.

    Anyway, just an honest opinion from the other side of the world. Keep up the great work guys!

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    • Thanks David. I think you are right. I never know what tourism boards and PR agencies are looking for, but of course it definitely helps to have a high profile on the Internet. Just like so much of advertising and sales. A well known actor that sells tickets to blockbuster movies will sell a product better than a small art house film actor even though they are respected among their audience and peers. The advertiser will go with the George Clooney’s over the Stanley Tucci’s. (although Stanley Tucci might be a bad example since he’s won an academy award recently). But I hope you get my drift:)
      I am glad that you felt that you wanted to go to Jordan after reading the articles. It was somewhere that we truly felt a special feeling towards press trip or no press trip. Actually, I think it would have been even better without the press trip because we were scheduled so tightly and we were never left alone very much. We like to have more freedom than what we were given, but the country still shone through, so that says something. As you probably can tell, I can’t hide my feelings very well when writing, so if I don’t like a place, I couldn’t fake it in a post even if I wanted to:-)

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    • Thanks Karen, I remember that post you wrote it was great. It also generated a lot of comments and discussion which is an excellent thing for the travel blogging community.

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  12. Great tips- I can defintely relate to needing to stay firm with our wants and needs- we’ve just gotten our first email regarding a press trip and it was hard sticking to our guns.

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    • Congratulations Jade. I hope it all worked out. We were talking with a fellow blogger that we admire the other day and she put it perfectly. It doesn’t hurt to give things away at first to build your brand and profile as long as you are comfortable with it. After a while you have to start laying ground rules, but like anything, building takes time.

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  13. Outstanding piece on press trips. More information than I could have ever imagined about doing this. Thanks so much for the perspective and details on this!

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    • Jeremy, I’m so glad you got something out of it and I am glad that other people are leaving their thoughts as well. Everyone has a different perspective and take on things and when people share, others can take away ideas from all sides.

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  14. This is a great post, and I know a lot of travel bloggers are looking for this information, so it’s good that you’ve published it.

    I do have a couple comments though, but I’m primarily coming from a travel writer’s perspective, so maybe I’m a little off here, but I have been on blogging press trips as well, and I found that the same things applied. Regarding the fact that tips and gratuities should be paid for, they often aren’t, and I think most people going on press trips don’t realize this. By all means, you should ask if these are included in the trip, but don’t be surprised if they aren’t. Leaving a tip for housekeeping, at meals for tour operators, etc., is a way to show appreciation, and even if there is a tip built into a trip, it’s often okay to go above and beyond that acknowledge the service. I have often tipped at a meal when other travelers haven’t, and the PR host has thanked me for doing so. I honestly don’t think it’s asking too much to leave a tip, and I would definitely recommend that bloggers look into this before assuming gratuities are covered.

    Regarding changing the itinerary, I think it’s fair to work with the host before leaving for your trip on creating the right itinerary. In fact, people should be looking long and hard at the itinerary anyway to ensure it meets their specific needs and won’t be a bum trip for their purposes, but don’t wait to do this. Though itineraries can be changed on the go, this is often difficult and costly to the host, and it should be taken care of prior to the trip. I’ve had PR reps tell me that it’s particularly difficult to make these changes on the go with group trips, when they then have to juggle multiple people who all suddenly want to do different things. But before the trip, I definitely think all of this stuff is up for negotiation, especially because you do need to know if you can fulfill what’s being asked of you, and you want to be able to provide something of value to your readers.

    Overall, though, great suggestions. Keep up the good work on your blog ~ I look forward to following the two of you on future blogging press trips!

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    • Great point JoAnna. We have had some press trips where people have made a point of telling us that tips are paid for. They have said we don’t want you to have to worry about a thing and we appreciate that. I think that your right though, leaving things for housekeeping etc. it a very good thing in general. These won’t be included. (although we have had these included as well-maybe we’ve been spoiled) Either way, you should ask what is included so that you don’t fret about it during the trip and always wonder what you are supposed to be doing.
      When we haven’t had them covered, we pay for them. I guess we have been lucky though because we have had the luxury of people telling us that they are indeed included. Tips can add up quickly and we can end up shelling out a lot of money. Especially when doing a lot of adventures. We have had tips for guides add up quite a bit and have been a little stressed by it. The trips where the people made a point of letting us know they’re included have been some of the most well organized and successful companies out there. So they are definitely doing something right all around.
      But I am glad you brought it up, I definitely don’t want people to think that we would stiff people, if tips are not included, we tip. As ex and ex waiter and waitress, we know how important receiving those tips are.
      And you are so right, you must work with the host before the trip. That is what we learned early. We had a recent trip where we only received the itinerary 3 days before leaving. We kept asking them for the details and they never came. By the time we got it, we were busy on another tour and didn’t have the time to really peruse it. It ended up not being the greatest itinerary for us. Especially when we saw how many adventures a person could do there. But by the time we got to there it was too late to do anything about it. Our hands were sort of tied though because we kept asking for the itinerary and it never came.

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  15. I must say I’m really jealous of all your press trips!! There’s a reason why you keep getting them though- because you rock.

    Thank you so much. This is so helpful and given me lots of things to consider for our next press trip. Not sure where it is yet, but I am expecting it! 🙂

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    • Aw Caz. Thanks so much. It is good that we won’t be doing as many this year though. It is an amazing way to see places that we wouldn’t otherwise see, but we are looking forward to things like the Mongol Rally to get down and dirty in the desert and grime:-) I am sure you will be getting one again soon. They seem to come in batches.

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  16. I really enjoyed reading this post. I haven’t had any press trip offers, but I’ll know what to look for when that day comes. Thanks for sharing.

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  17. Hugely inspirational and very helpful–while it doesn’t apply to me yet, I hope that some day it will! Cheers for sharing your experience 🙂

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    • It will Christine. I remember last year saying to Dave…How do we get on these excellent Blogger Trips? And then it was only a couple of weeks later that we started getting the emails.

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      • I am curious at what point did you get your first email. Were you doing something on your own besides just writing your blog to get the prized email? Contacting PR’s, reaching out to these companies on your own, ect…

  18. Excellent post guys. I have never been on press trip but I am sure one will present itself in the near future. It is great that his post has generated more discussion and advise around the topic. I will be sure to re-read this post when my time comes. Keep writing – Joel

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  19. Great post! I also want to add that this is great advice for, not only bloggers, but travel writers as well. 🙂 I have a friend who is writing a novel and her main character is a travel writer. Naturally, she wanted to pick my brain about what it’s like to do what I do. Most people don’t even think about the behind-the-scenes process of press trips, which can be pretty fascinating, and she had lots of questions about the logistics of “funding” my travel. That’s actually the question I get asked most often…

    There are some pretty thin lines and I’m so glad that you have written a post that doesn’t glamourize these trips and hook readers by saying, “travel the world for free!” Those ads drive me nuts… 😉

    Reply
    • Thanks so much Lori. Press trips can be exhausting and stressful. We want to give the best coverage for the destination while providing our readers with an honest account of our travels. I appreciate you saying that it works for Travel Writers as well. I am assuming the writers need to be connected at all times as well. I just couldn’t speak for them since I am a blogger. Cheers.
      While we love what we do, it is true. It isn’t glamorous but we wouldn’t have it any other way. Just like actors say all the time that acting isn’t glamorous, travel writing isn’t easy. But I sure do love my job:)

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  20. I agree with pretty much all of what you say, especially the point that this is an exchange in which both sides get some benefit but it’s certainly not a free holiday. I’d agree with John and prefer to use the term sponsored trip rather than free trip. It’s misleading to say the trip is free because you are paying for it with your blog articles and social media coverage.

    I haven’t actually been on any group press trips but have been on a number of sponsored trips that I have arranged myself to places that I really wanted to visit. Others I was approached and if the proposal suited my blog and I could include my husband or family then I went for it. Talking to other bloggers I know that many prefer to work this way as it enables them to get a different angle than they might if they are at the same place at the same time with a number of other bloggers.

    On the subject of flights, although they may be included in a group press trip, I’ve not managed to get them covered as part of an individually arranged trip, so I now have to be careful or a ‘free’ trip can end up costing me a small fortune in airfares and other costs and I still have to end up working for it.

    Reply
    • That is exactly what this post is stating. Whenever I mention the term free trip it is when I state don’t be taken advantage of. I state, don’t let people make you think that because it is a free tour, you should be grateful to them and bow to their every whim. We have been on both group press trips, individual press trips, trips where other bloggers are at a different location or there at a different time and we have found them all to be very successful. We have found that even when we are with other bloggers we are all off doing our own thing in our respective niches. Maybe we have been lucky. We have never felt that we are on a “fam tour” following the crowd around getting tours of resorts. We have always been sent off on adventures and meet up with other bloggers at night or sometimes ont at all.
      It is true about flights. They can be the most expensive thing in travel and a lot of companies won’t pay for them. We have had a few covered and there have been other times when they only covered 1 flight. We can understand that because most journalists work alone. We didn’t have our flights covered for Flying kiwi, but for that trip we weighed the expense of what a trip to New Zealand would be complete with every adventure excursion you could think of in the country. Plus we were already in South East Asia when they approached us so the flight wasn’t breaking the bank. Like I said, a trip will have to be pretty amazing for us to cover our flights. 6 weeks in New Zealand with all excursions, food and accommodation covered was justifiable

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  21. Thanks for putting together such great advice. I recently responded to another press trip invitation, and was much more firm with my terms than I would’ve been a year or two ago.

    I’ve only been on one press trip so far, to Rwanda, and that certainly set a high standard in terms of what to expect, even though I did have to cough up the roundtrip airfare myself (as did everyone on the trip). When the dust settled, the experience, new relationships, and content I created all made it worthwhile.

    At the end of the day, I think each blogger has to decide for him/herself if paying some money out of pocket will be worth the experience and exposure they can generate from the trip.

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    • You are right Dave. It is up to the individual. We have paid for flights before, but have now decided that we won’t. It will have to be a very special trip for us to fork out that kind of money again. Because there are two of us, some will only pay for one flight and that is understandable, but now that we have a few under our belts, we are like you and are becoming more firm. It is up to us to decide if the exposure is worth the out of pocket expense. B

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  22. Thanks so much for posting this information. It is nice to read about your experiences and how you handled them. I appreciate the part about saying no. This is something I had a hard time doing when I got my first press trip offers. Either the schedule didn’t work or it didn’t fit with my niche. I wanted so badly to make it work because I was so excited to get the offer. I was afraid that turning it down meant no other opportunities would come along but I just couldn’t make it work for me and my site (and a better opportunity and contact came along later).

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    • Hi Jen, I am so glad that a better opportunity came along. I know, when we have turned some down, I had a pit in my stomach thinking, did I do the right thing? Did I burn a contact, will they call me again? But sometimes it is much better to say no than to go on a trip that won’t work for you.

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  23. Thank you for posting this. Being somewhat newbies to the travel blogging we have not had any press trip requests yet, but who knows what the future holds… This posts answers so many of our questions of what we should ask and what should be expected of us. I agree with Mark in the comment above in that you have to be able to give an honest review, otherwise you are putting your own reputation at risk.

    Thank you again for this post. Great stuff!

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    • Glad we could help Pete. We didn’t know much at all on our first one. Like we said, we were lucky because it was Princess Cruises was so organized that we learned quickly what to look for.

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  24. I’m also learning the best way to handle press trips. When we went on a river cruise in Europe last year, I wrote a post every single day. Instead of experiencing any night life at all, we were in our room every night as I wrote and posted. Not only that, I had a new iPad and we didn’t realize how difficult it would be to get the photos from the camera to the iPad – we eventually got them on our Mac and then my husband emailed them to me. Took FOREVER. I have learned not to put myself under so much pressure and write some when I am traveling, but then write a lot when I get home so I don’t miss everything! I also had my first bad experience (with a restaurant) on our last trip and I was just in a quandary about what to do. I really didn’t want to write a bad review, so instead I emailed the PR person and told her about our experience and exactly why it was so bad. I figured they would rather have me do that than write about it for the world. Maybe they will want me to give them another chance sometime in future and I am willing to do that. It could be a completely different experience next time. Having someone pay for your airfare is really a plus and I have only had that happen twice so far. We don’t mind paying for part of the trip because they are such great experiences, but eventually I want all expenses paid!

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    • Thanks for sharing your experiences Jan. You are so right about putting too much pressure on yourself. We did that too and then learned to use twitter and facebook more to generate interest and then write our posts when we get home. We are still writing about Jordan now that we are home, but we were sending people to the JTB website and using their hashtag throughout our time in Jordan. You have given me a point that I forgot to write about and I am going to add to that now. Preparation. I’m adding it in. That’s something I love about a blog, you can always edit as you go!
      It is also a difficult choice to write about it or leave it out. We always say that people should have confidence in their product for you to give them an honest review. I’ll never forget the Flying Kiwi telling us that they invited us knowing that it could be a risk. But they had to believe that their company was good enough for us to enjoy it.
      If a company does their research on your blog, you should end up having a great trip. We wouldn’t have thought that the Marriott in the Caribbean would be a good fit for us, but they did their research on the destination to send us to and we ended up climbing volcanoes, ziplining and hiking. They knew that they could tailor the right trip for the right blog.

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  25. Nice guide and very true. I’m looking forward to getting to do some of these. I think most of the bloggers who take them go to great lengths to be honest about their experiences. So far, I haven’t noticed any posts that read like press releases, which is good.

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    • You are so right Scott, that is what makes travel blogs so powerful. We only have our readers to think about. We don’t get a regular salary or have an editor to answer to. Most travel bloggers care about the integrity of their blogs and companies are taking notice of that.

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  26. thanks for this one… i received my first free trip last year and i didnt know what to do… i ended up asking a friend to cover for me since i was in singapore (the free trip is in the philippines) and doesnt want to let the opportunity to pass by… now i feel more confident in dealing with possible future offers because of the points that you outlined… 🙂

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  27. I disagree with your term “free trips”, it is not what Press Trips are about. In fact I will go so far as to say that by describing them as such you undermine what you are trying to convey in your post.

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    • Thanks John, What shall I use instead? You are right, it is not a “free trip” and as a matter of fact we say that quite clearly, we state right off the top “there are many factors that a travel blogger needs to take into account before accepting just any free trip.” That says it pretty clearly to me – a press trip it is an exchange in publicity for very hard work on the Bloggers part. A free trip is not what a press trip is all about.

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      • Dave and Deb,
        Press Trips or blog trips, not free trips. Free trips are got as a result of winning a competition. The most they require on behalf of the person winning a competetion is a photo for publicity purposes and to prove they did actually award the prize. The trips you are writing about exist to publicise whatever the organisation running them wants to. Usually they have a fixed itinerary, although some allow the blogger more freedom to discover what they want not what the organisation wants them to see.

      • Your comments make no sense and you aren’t being clear as to what your point is. My entire post is about the fact that a press trip is not simply a free trip. It’s funny, whenever I mention the term free trip in this post, it is in the exact opposite context of what you are accusing me of using it in. I say things like “It is upsetting when a company actually makes you feel that you should be happy to be there and if anything goes wrong, well that’s just too bad, you got a free trip.” That is stating that the last thing a person should be thinking is a press trip is a free trip. It states that this is your job and the company should respect that you are there to do it.

  28. Incredibly useful information in this post!

    The entire article is great, but I especially like the tip at the end. If you CLEARLY state to the company before you go on the trip that you will be honest to your readers about the experience, you avoid the hassle of possibly feeling bad about writing negative feelings.

    Thanks so much!

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    • You are right Mark, you have to be clear. Something that we learned over the year. At first we just accepted and hoped for the best. We have been very lucky because they have turned out well, but there were times when we wished that we outlined our terms more clearly before leaving.

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