31 Travel Magazines and Websites That Pay Freelance Writers

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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.

1. Matador Travel

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.

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 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.

3. Outpost Magazine

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.

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, it pays more than $1 per word according to Mediabistro.

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, “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.

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, FreelanceWriting.com 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.

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.

11. Canadian Geographic Magazine

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.

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.

Articles with photos receive payment of $50 to $100.

14. Escapees Magazine

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.

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.

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 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.

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.

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.

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

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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

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Comments

  1. Awesome list! Thanks for posting it.

  2. Thanks for sharing…! It’s an awesome list for writer to get paid..

    Honestly, I’m not a travel writer but I’m interesting in traveling…

    A few week ago, I’ve done some traveling in my local area. Maybe I need to plan to write about that…

    Nice post..

  3. Good and important piece for start-up freelance writers. Many thanks for mention!

    As a note, since 1977 when my father founded the magazine which is now a website, we have actually largely been a very varied website publishing articles not largely for those currently living abroad, but mostly for those seeking out many modes of travel (adventure, budget, cultural, culinary, independent, etc.), volunteering, study, internships, language learning, and work abroad to allow for extended travel and immersion.

    In fact, the founder sought to emphasize educational travel, as our idea is that you never stop learning at any time in your life, and all practical and inspirational experiences should be shared to help others to do the same.

    In this age of unedited and often unverified user-generated reviews/testimonials, we seek to provide in-depth information and pay as much as we can to freelancers and professionals.

    Thank you again.

    Greg

  4. Lov to do this. I have a tremendous legal, TV and travel background, lived in Europe. Very interested.

  5. “Scottish Life” is an excellent magazine which accepts articles about Scotland. In my experience they pay well and the editor is very pleasant.

  6. Great list, Kristen! I always assume I don’t travel “enough” to write for travel magazines, but a couple of these publications seem like solid possibilities.

  7. A word of caution and a comment about the state of travel writing. Your readers should know that this is absolutely the toughest market to break into and one in which it is nearly impossible to make decent money. I know, I have written for Coastal Living, Sunset, AAA Via, Journey, Alaska/Horizon and many others for over 15 years. No more. None of the publications I wrote for have raised their payment rates in that amount of time and many have actually lowered their compensation. Really, how can you make a living with articles that pay $25 or $40? Aren’t your words worth more than that? And remember, MOST magazines do not reimburse a writer’s expenses, so how can you justify paying hundreds of dollars in airfare or hotels or meals and not be reimbursed? Yes, the pay for top magazines like Coastal and Sunset is very good at $1 per word, but the competition is massive and your query may never even be read. It will likely go into a huge pile that will not grace an editor’s desk but will be answered by an intern whose job is to reject you as politely as possible. I sound jaded, I know, but I am really just sad. I followed all the “rules” to make my way up the travel writing ladder (start with local pubs, take whatever payment they offer, turn everything in on time, build your clips, study your target magazines, keep sending out queries), and I enjoyed years of wonderful assignments, reimbursed travel and checks for $1,000 a story. But when the editors who knew me and liked my work moved on or retired, a new crew came on and brought their friends/former co-workers with them. I wasn’t willing to go back to the trenches, and I am weary of the lack of respect many publications have for their freelancers. If you absolutely,positively want to be a travel writer, then buckle up and persevere. But don’t quit your day job.

    • I don’t think anyone would be tempted to quit their day job for gigs ranging from $.07 a word to $40 an article. But it’s always nice to find more places where you could submit pieces if you wanted to. That’s the hardest part for me– not coming up with ideas but where to put them afterward.

    • Gail Goeller says:

      How refreshing when someone speaks their historical truth re selling their writing. This letter should be a part of the curriculum for any writing class–followed by an honest conversation.

      Thanks for sharing, Linda; it’s a crazy world out there when you dead-end with your finest writing…

  8. Rachel Lee says:

    Hi,
    I have landed my first assignment with International Living magazine only a month after starting out as a freelancer so it is possible.
    And for those who don’t want to work for peanuts, there is a solution- don’t work for magazines that pay peanuts. There are still plenty of magazines that pay excellent rates if writers are prepared to look.

  9. My e-book How to Make Travel Writing Work for You available on Amazon is about going through the back door. I don’t try to make a living at travel writing, I try to get fabulous trips. Obviously, this demands a certain amount of financial freedom, but I consider my trips payment in advance.What I get for my articles is just a little bonus. http://www.LindaBallouAuthor.com
    P.S. Thanks for updating this list for me.
    Cheers, Linda

  10. ModernDayNomads.com seeks how-to article submissions on the digital nomad + expat work-life for North American globetrekkers. Accepting reprints for now (writer retains all rights), but looking to establish working relationships with writers worldwide, will begin to assign as our budget increases: http://www.moderndaynomads.com/jobs/call-for-submissions-moderndaynomads Thanks + happy travels to all!

  11. this is great. thanks for sharing the list

  12. Kristen Pope you really can write very good piece of the content . and great list very nice and researched list.. thanks for sharing it

  13. Kristen, thank you so much! I came across this post by googling “freelance writer pay” for the magazine I was interested in. This is incredibly helpful, and I so much appreciate that you have shared this!
    All the best luck with all your projects!

    Sincerely,
    Olga

  14. Thanks for putting this together! It’s a great list and now I’ll have some places to aim for getting published in (when I get a bit more experienced.)

  15. Putting the list of magazines who accept content from freelance writers is nothing short of great help. Manyvthanks is for doing so.
    I am a traveller with my camera. I am inspired to add content of my travels to support my photographs.

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