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 envision travel 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 31 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.
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.
Standard payment is $40, but some stories may receive more.
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 its guidelines to get an idea of just what BootsnAll is looking for at the time you want to contribute. Calls for submissions are often very specific.
Outpost Magazine looks for submissions about travel, adventure and culture. They’re It seeks expert tips, inspiring long-form pieces and photos.
Columns and stories typically range from 1,000 to 1,500 words and features can be up to about 5,200 words; pay varies.
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.
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, it pays more than $1 per word according to Mediabistro.
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, “No glossy magazine fluff, no standard guidebook descriptions, no promotional hype; just honest, accurate, well-written and detailed articles and destination guides that speak to an educated, curious and well-traveled audience.”
Pay is $25 per article.
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.
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.
While this magazine doesn’t have specific submission guidelines online, FreelanceWriting.com says this magazine is written 95 percent by freelancers on assignment and pays up to $1 a word.
Arizona travelers rely on this magazine for destination-based ideas, and the publication also encourages travelers to come to Arizona.
It doesn’t accept as many freelance queries as it used to, but there’s an open period each year, generally in March, when freelancers can send in their ideas. Pay varies.
Write about Canada’s people, frontiers, places and issues in this magazine that comes out six times a year.
They buy about 30 features a year and pay varies.
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.
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.
Articles with photos receive payment of $50 to $100.
RV travelers with stories to tell and wisdom to share might consider submitting to Escapees Magazine, which specializes in RV lifestyle.
Pay is up to $150 per article.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
This publication accepts stories about the RV lifestyle. Payment ranges from $100 for a small piece to $700 for a technical feature with photos.
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 800-2,000-word article for the web.
25. Open Skies
Emirates Airlines’ in-flight magazine offers opportunities to write about travel and lifestyle topics.
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.
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.
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 email@example.com.
This magazine covers the midwestern region, including Missouri, southern Illinois and Indiana, along with eastern Kansas.
A 1,200-word feature typically pays $400.
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.
Which travel publications would you add to this list? Share your favorites in the comments!