34 Travel Magazines and Websites That Pay Freelance Writers

34 Travel Magazines and Websites That Pay Freelance Writers

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 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 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. 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.

Filed Under: Freelancing
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119 comments

  • Awesome list! Thanks for posting it.

  • Kimsea Sok says:

    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..

  • 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

  • Georgia says:

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

  • Val Vassay says:

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

    • Laura Smith says:

      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…

    • Linda Hagen Miller: Thanks for the unvarnished truth. Travel writing is one of the pursuits where you can cover a lot of mileage (literally), but stay in the same place (figuratively, i.e. payment. I’ve gotten most of my pleasure from the travel, but have always kept my day job. Since I owned my day job and had a wonderful partner, I was always able to get away and do the fun things while my business at home kept perking.

    • Naushad Mohd Ansari says:

      Your reply is more practical and helpful. It is a bit demotivating but reality should be put forward and you have done it in a good and decent manner. It is correct that competition is rising day by day. But can you clear one more point, besides writing for the magazines, there are options to sell the photographs also?
      Besides photographs, can the travel videos be sold? If I say videos than I mean to say videos of natural places, videos of journey etc.
      Can you please comment on it?

      • Naushad – I’m sorry to be negative about travel writing as a career and I’m glad you saw through my comments and found some helpful info. Having quality photos to accompany an article can help, but won’t necessarily make a huge difference. It depends entirely on the publication and, really, it’s all over the place. You can usually tell what they want/like by reading the publication’s submission guidelines and studying the publication. Further research — If you see a byline that says story and photos by the same person, then you know they’ll buy a package. If you see a writer byline and a different name on the photos, then check the masthead and see if the photographer is on staff. That will mean once they accept a story, they will assign their staff photog to shoot images. If you see “Getty Images” or some other stock house, that means the publication is buying from a library of images. Again, it’s all over the place. As for videos, I’m afraid that’s beyond my experience and knowledge. Hope this helps and I wish you the best of luck. Send me a message when you sell your first story!

      • Julia k says:

        I think and I also met a guy who made his income from stock footage and videos. So the answer is yes. You can sell it to businesses like shutterstock. It has to be a professional one though.

    • Mark Archibald says:

      Great insight from an experienced writer. Good to have balanced and realistic info. Thank you.

  • 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.

  • Linda Ballou says:

    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

  • 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!

  • Becky says:

    this is great. thanks for sharing the list

  • Arpan Modi says:

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

  • Olga Baker says:

    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

  • 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.)

  • 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.

  • pamela says:

    owe some list thanks for sharing. very educative and inspiring.

  • Kelly says:

    Great post! I’m hoping to do some more freelance travel writing during our world cycle trip! I’m not going to have regular net connection, so will have to see how we go, but you don’t know unless you try. We’re starting our trip cycling through Canada then the USA before hitting Latin America, so a lot of these sites might be worth trying, as they’re mostly American based sites.

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  • Thanks for sharing. I hope it will be helpful for too many people that are searching for this topic.

  • Nice list of travel magazines. Thanks for sharing the information.

  • Amman Nafees says:

    Amazing list of all travel related websites that pay for posting articles. We have websites for travel and tourism and would love to invite fun writers to write for us. It is Oman based website and we are providing Khasab Musandam Travel and tourism services for more than a decade.

    You can drop us an email at info@dhowkhasabtours.com
    or
    can directly contact us at http://www.dhowkhasabtours.com

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