Travel Essays Online

When you dream about your writing career, do you picture yourself sitting at a romantic cafe, sunlight streaming through the windows to light up the table? As you sit, sipping a steaming latte, you scribble in your notebook about your world travels.

If you have travel stories to tell, plenty of markets are more than willing to pay for your stories about destinations, tips and your experiences on the road.   

Think outside the box

Don’t think travel writing is limited to travel-specific magazines or travel websites. Plenty of local and regional publications are actively looking for travel stories, sometimes for destinations right in your own backyard.

Many envisiontravel writing as sharing tales of globetrotting and running with the bulls in Pamplona, exploring the ancient relics of Rome, or island hopping in the South Pacific. But that’s only a small part of travel writing.

Publications are often even more eager to snap up stories about the lake an hour away that makes an easy weekend getaway or the nearby metropolitan city that has a new art exhibit and great restaurant scene.

Check out these 34 paying travel markets for just a few ideas where you can sell your travel writing.

Click on each title to access submission guidelines or editorial contacts.

1. Matador Network

Matador Travel seeks original writing, photo and video contributions “that speak to the adventures, cultures, and identities of people around the world.” It suggests writers spend time on the site to see what’s already covered, and pitch new topics and angles.

While the website does not list a specific payment, Who Pays Writers reports payments ranging from $0.03 to $0.09 per word.

2. BootsnAll

Submit a feature or an article on long-term independent travel and earn $50 from the BootsnAll website.

This site often looks for interviews with travelers and tips on saving money, packing and other topics, but be sure to check itsguidelinesto get an idea of just what BootsnAll is looking for at the time you want to contribute. Calls for submissions are often very specific.

3. Outpost Magazine

Outpost Magazine looks for submissions about travel, adventure and culture. It is looking for longform travel stories, travel guides, and stunning photography. The publication is Canadian and it has a “Canadian slant.”

Columns and stories typically range from 800 to 1,500 words and features can be up to about 5,000 words; pay varies.

4. Wanderlust

This British travel magazine publishes destination features up to 2,200 words, along with shorter dispatches, special interest features and consumer articles. Pay is typically £220 (about $325) per 1,000 words, but rates vary.

5. AFAR

AFAR Magazine appeals to college-educated, high-income readers who seek a personal connection through travel. The publication is looking for pitches for One Great Block (focusing on one block of one special neighborhood), news items, local resident stories and food pieces.

While its guidelines don’t include rates, Who Pays Writers reports rates ranging between $0.50-$1.50 per word.

6. GoNOMAD

Write travel articles about destinations, activities and experiences for GoNOMAD, but take note that this website seeks pieces that meet its style and focus.

GoNOMAD’s guidelines say, “If you write for GoNomad, it’s best to avoid guidebook lingo, promotional hype, and extra fluff.” Articles are typically 800-2,000 words and a detailed list of locations and topics the publication is seeking is available in its guidelines.

Pay is $25 per article.

7. The Wayward Post

The Wayward Post is an online publication for mid-range to upmarket socially conscious travelers. It’s looking for writers for one-off pieces and to work with on a regular basis to contribute photo stories, travel features, “Top 5” listicles and more.

Payment varies based on experience, feature length and writing samples.

8. National Geographic Traveler

This magazine looks for fresh content and stories that share the spirit of each destination. Each issue typically includes about five features, with about half on U.S. destinations and half covering international travel. It aims to cover places regular people can go, not just the wealthy.

Stories range from 750 words for a department to up to 2,500 words for a feature. Pay is competitive.

9. Travel + Leisure Magazine

While this magazine doesn’t have specific submission guidelines online,Freedom with Writing says this magazine is written 95 percent by freelancers on assignment and pays up to $1 a word.

10. Arizona Highways Magazine

Arizona travelers rely on this magazine for destination-based ideas, and the publication also encourages travelers to come to Arizona.

Check its guidelines to see when queries (typically on specific locations) are accepted. This period is often in March. Pay varies.

11. Canadian Geographic Magazine

Write about Canada’s people, frontiers, places and issues in this magazine that comes out six times a year.

It buys about 30 features a year and pay varies.

12.Delta Sky Magazine

This airline magazine seeks stories about travel, lifestyle and business. Features are typically 600-2,000 words, but shorter pieces can contain as few as 100 words.

Payment varies and the magazine has a four-month lead time.

13. DesertUSA Magazine

Desert lovers can write all about the North American desert in this publication targeting those who love the natural and cultural history of the region. Wildlife, adventure, history, desert lore, and travel stories are in demand.

Articles with photos receive payment of $50.

14. Escapees Magazine

RV travelers with stories to tell and wisdom to share might consider submitting to Escapees Magazine, which specializes in RV lifestyle.The publication only accepts fully written articles on spec.

Pay is up to $150 per article.

15. Hana Hou! Magazine

Hana Hou! looks for a fresh take on Hawaii travel, culture, people, and life.

Pay ranges from $50 to $175 for some departments, with others pay 40 cents per word.

16. KANSAS! Magazine

Celebrate the wonders of Kansas with this publication offered by Kansas Tourism and partner organizations.

Most readers are locals over the age of 50. Payment varies.

17. Los Angeles Times Travel

The travel section of the Los Angeles Times looks for pieces with a strong visual component. Trips must be taken in the previous two years and writers must follow specific ethical guidelines, including not receiving comped travel.

Payment varies.

18. MotorHome Magazine

This publication for RV enthusiasts wants travel stories with an RV angle.

It pays up to $900 for technical manuscripts with photos, and less for shorter pieces.

19. Oregon Coast Magazine

Write about Oregon’s stunning coastal region and tell stories about everything from day-long driving tours to restaurant features and historical sites.

Payment ranges from $100 to $650 depending on story type and word count.

20. Pathfinders Travel

This magazine looks for fresh ideas and stories about travel and the travel industry. Its main audience is African Americans.

Stories typically pay $150.

21. Road and Travel

Road and Travel specializes in automotive, travel and personal safety articles, including articles that appeal to female business travelers.

The magazine pays up to $100 per article.

22. Sunset Magazine

This magazine focuses on 13 Western states and wants “take action” travel ideas as well as destinations that offer a variety of experiences and “soft adventures.”

Pay varies.

23. Trailer Life Magazine

This publication accepts stories about the RV lifestyle. Payment ranges from $100 for a small piece to $700 for a technical feature with photos.

24. Transitions Abroad Magazine

This publication for people who live abroad is looking for a variety of pieces about working, living and studying abroad, as well as cultural and culinary travel.

Pay is typically $50 to $150 for an 1,500-2,000-word article for the web.

25. Open Skies

Emirates Airlines’ inflight magazine offers opportunities to write about travel and lifestyle topics.

Rates vary.

26. Verge Magazine

Travelers aged 17-40 are the target audience for Verge. It seeks articles about volunteering, working and studying overseas and pays 10 cents Canadian (about $0.07 USD) per word for first-time contributors.

27. Alaska Airlines Magazine

This monthly in-flight magazine for Alaska Airlines seeks business, travel, technology and personality articles, among other topics.

Rates range from $150 to $700 depending on the topic, length and treatment of an article.

28. WestJet Magazine

This airline’s Canadian lifestyle-travel publication wants stories ranging from insider tips and service-oriented advice to local cuisine and features.

Payment varies.

29. Via Magazine

The American Automobile Association publishes Via Magazine, which focuses on auto travel out West.

Payment varies and you can request guidelines by emailing viamail@viamagazine.com.

30. AAA Midwest Traveler

This magazine covers the midwestern region, including Missouri, southern Illinois and Indiana, along with eastern Kansas.

A 1,200-word feature typically pays $400, with an additional $150 possible if it is also published in the magazine’s sister publication.

31. New Mexico Magazine

Showcase New Mexico’s rich environment and culture through this publication of the New Mexico Tourism Department. One-third of readers live in the state and the out-of-state readers typically visit twice a year or so. The magazine looks for a lively editorial mix, with articles that show readers things they can do in New Mexico.

Pay is typically 35-40 cents per word.

32.Roads and Kingdoms

Though it’s only been around for a few years, Roads and Kingdoms is gathering up the accolades, receiving the Society of American Travel Writer’s gold award for Best Travel Journalism Site.

Read the site thoroughly for the best chance at acceptance, and be sure to just pitch a paragraph or two (not an entire manuscript).

Pays $150 for features, $25 for short pieces

33.Texas Highways

Texas’ official travel magazine reaches 500,000 readers in 54 countries each month. It is looking for pieces featuring “scenery, history, small towns, and out-of-the-way places.”

Pays 50 cents per word.

34. EnRoute

Air Canada’s inflight magazine seeks stories with a strong sense of place (not simple travel roundup pieces). Pitches must feature destinations that Air Canada or Star Alliance members fly to.

Pay varies.

Which travel publications would you add to this list? Share your favorites in the comments!

This post originally ran in January 2016. We updated it in January 2017.

About the Author: Kristen Pope

Kristen Pope is a Jackson Hole, Wyoming based writer and editor. Her work has appeared in Discover, Backpacker, Western Confluence, International Journal of Wilderness, and Planning Magazine, and she is the managing editor of JHStyle Magazine.

Kristen Pope | @Kristen_E_Pope

Filed Under: Freelancing

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Journey Into Night by David Sedaris

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Books


Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

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The Lost City of Z by David Grann

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The Great Railway Bazaar by Paul Theroux

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My Kind of Place by Susan Orlean

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The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe

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River Town by Peter Hessler

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Travels In Siberia by Ian Frazier

A breathtaking account of a roadtrip through the world's most fascinating frozen wasteland.

Driving Mr. Albert by Michael Paterniti

A book length version of the excellent Harper's article -- a road trip across America with Einstein's (actual) brain.

127 Hours by Aaron Ralston

A fascinatingly shocking survival story.

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Like Butterflies in the Jungle by Damon Tabor

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A Good Hair Week in Mongolia by Tim Cahill

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The Kingdom of the Lotus by Patrick Symmes

Six weeks, I told my wife. All the way to heaven and then home. Perhaps I would fail in some, or every, way. But one must go oneself to know the truth.

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Misadventure


Death of an Innocent by Jon Krakauer

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The amazing true survival story that inspired the film 127 Hours

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In which three American journalists try to get a little R&R in Bosnia and accidentally almost capture the world's most-wanted war criminal

Death on the Path to Enlightenment by Scott Carney

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