It’s late afternoon. There’s a warm breeze blowing off the multi-hued Caribbean waters. We are having a refreshing drink by the pool of this five-star resort in Mexico’s Riviera Maya. Earlier today we explored a spectacular ancient Mayan city, not yet open to the public. We are travel writers and our press credentials and assignment letter opened up this trip for us.
Last year we went on a “trip of a lifetime” to Greece. Half of the trip was a press (fam) trip arranged by a writer’s organization we belong to. We were wined and dined on four of the Greek islands compliments of their respective tourism departments. On the second half of the trip, Greek Macedonia, we were hosted by two local Greek tourism departments–again based on our press credentials. Several members of the same writer’s organization just returned from a life-enhancing journey to Jordan, sponsored by that country’s tourism department.
Travel writing is work with its commitments, deadlines, etc., but also a lot of enjoyment. We are not pulling down the six figures the ads tout, but are getting a few dollars and the chance to experience places and cultures we wouldn’t otherwise. Part of this is the inspiration to do what we love and part belonging to a writer’s organization. I belong to four and my partner three.
What I’ve found, whether you are just thinking about becoming a travel writer, are a newbie, or a seasoned veteran, joining a writer’s organization is a way to advance your professional career.
One of the important advantages I’ve experienced is networking with other writers. These organizations are a source of news about travel, story and publishing opportunities, press trips, credentials, social media presence. Most sponsor professional development conferences—sometimes at exotic places. They often provide a venue to showcase your work and an online profile where clients, potential hosts, etc. can learn about you.
Of course, you can do it all on your own, but you know what they say, “…it takes a village.”
A few of the International and national (US) organizations are:
International Travel Writers Alliance (ITWA)
North American Travel Journalists Association (NATJA)
Travel Writers Network (TWN)
International Food Wine and Travel Writers Association (IFWTWA)
Society of American Travel Writers (SATW)
Also, search to find local travel writing organizations.