7 Publications That Pay For Travel Writing

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I recently enrolled at MatadorU — travel writing school!  I’ve been travel writing since the fall, including some paid gigs, but I’ve been feeling a bit adrift lately.  I’m tired of just winging it without in-depth knowledge of the industry.

I’m in need of  1) a guide and structure, and 2) a kick in the pants to make it all happen.  Hence, MatadorU!  I hope that by the end of the course, I’ll be writing steadily for a variety of publications.

Over the next 12 weeks, you’ll see my assignments posted here.  They will all be tagged MatadorU.  The first one is What to Eat in Florence, Italy.

In this assignment, I’m choosing several publications for which I would like to write.  The following seven travel publications spay for submissions:

Literary Traveler

Editors: Linda McGovern and Francis McGovern, founding editors

Email: submissions [at] literarytraveler.com

Submission Guidelines: 1500-2000 word pieces written in a first-person narrative that inspires readers.  Articles must capture the literary imagination; subject matter can cover all types of artists.  Small .JPGs must be included.  Authors paid $50 per article.


Editor: Sean E. Keener and Chris J. Heidrich, directors

Email: features [at] bootsnall.com

Submission Guidelines: Feature Articless: 800+ word features on pieces with appeal to a wide audiences; authors paid $50.  Expert Travel Articles: 1200+ word pieces that extensively cover one subject that isn’t terribly unique and helps people planning specific trips; authors paid $30.  Travel Essays: 500+ word pieces with wide potential; good conversation-starters; authors paid$20-40.

All paid articles must be previously unpublished material; others fill the “unpaid articles” program.  Photos must be your own or have a Creative Commons license.  Include “FA” in subject before the title of the piece.  Include images up to 350×350 pixels.  Include a note to indicate which photos go where.

AOL Network (Seed.com)

Editor: Many.

Email: Submit through Seed.com

Submission Guidelines: Seed.com advertises assignments for sites throughout the AOL Network, including travel sites  AOL Travel, Gadling, Tripvine and more.  Authors paid $10-200 per piece.

Outpost Magazine

Editor: Liza Finlay, Editor; Kevin Vallely, Editor-at-Large; Fina Scroppo, Managing Editor

Email: editor [at] outpostmagazine.com

Submission Guidelines: All story ideas should be submitted by query letter and should contain:

  • One-page query letter outlining the story idea, including its angle, direction, elements and proposed length.
  • A brief list of where the writer has been previously published
  • The availability of photographs or other artwork to illustrate the story
  • All necessary contact information, including phone number and email address
  • A full or partial manuscript
  • Examples of previously published work are encouraged

If including a full or partial manuscript with your email submission please enclose it as a word, .txt, or .rtf document attached to the message.


Editor: Dan Linstead, Editor; Lyn Hughes, Editor-in-Chief

Email: submissions [at] wanderlust.co.uk

Submission Guidelines: Several different submission categories for engaging independent travel, semi-independent travel and special-interest travel.  Categories include destination features, dispatches special-interest features and consumer articles. Nothing regarding luxury or family travel. Authors paid 220 GBP per 1000 words for most features.

In the Know Traveler

Editor: (unlisted)

Email: editor [at] intheknowtraveler.com

Submission Guidelines: 450-600 word pieces on travel; topics within are open-ended. “We seek writers who truly enjoy travel, have strong writing skills, style, a dose of originality, a sense of humor and a maybe a box of crayons.”  Authors retain the rights to their writing and are paid $10 per 450-word submission.

Wend Magazine

Editor: Kyle Cassidy

Email: edit [at] wendmag.com

Submission Guidelines: “Wend is namely interested in first person accounts of literate adventure travel with a social/anthropological/environmental awareness that permeates throughout the story. Many different categories focusing on environmental impact, food, news and more.

“Send two clips of your work, relevant to the story you’re proposing. Send a summary of your experience. Send a brief query summarizing the scope of your story, estimated word count, which department you deem it appropriate for, and an explanation of why you’re qualified to write it.” Authors paid $0.25 per word.

This piece is Assignment I, Part III, at MatadorU.

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35 thoughts on “7 Publications That Pay For Travel Writing”

  1. Hi Kate,

    Thank you for the In The Know Traveler shout out.

    For the record, we also pay for blog posts (100+ words/$4) and now pay $15 for stories over 450 words. Feel free to contact me for details or questions.

  2. Anyone writing for $10 per 450 word article (and the likes) needs their head examining. Surely you’d make more just writing that 450 words for your own blog/ site and sticking a few adverts around it.

    The BootsNAll and Literary Traveller rates are a joke too (although I concede that both sites are at least trying to do the right thing by paying for content).

    The Wend rates are just about worth working for (although at the lower end of the scale).

    There are plenty of publications that do pay decent rates for travel writing (30c a word plus). It’s just that competition is unbelievably fierce to get into them. That said, if your story is good and you can write well, you have got a chance. The idea that you need to build up clips at laughable pay is nonsense. Write the right story well and the $1 a word publications will run it, irrespective of how many pieces you’ve wasted your time on for less than peanuts.

    1. Hi David.
      I thought your comment was interesting and true. However, what publications are you suggesting that pay 30 cents a word? Didn’t know there were such things out there?

  3. Hi David,

    I completely get where you are coming from and I couldn’t agree with you more in terms of writing payment available online and print — the industry has changed. Even the sites you are referring to that pay .30c a word are far from reasonable pay and certainly not a living wage.

    However, writing a great story will not simply get you picked up by higher paying outlet. You’re right, competition is fierce, but developing a relationship with an editor is crucial and so is getting experience. Even at my medium sized site, I turn down 90%+ of the submissions I receive as it is much too easy to get good articles from reliable writers I know. I frequently turn down well-written articles because I do not know the writer well enough to trust or verify the story. I get enough submissions from writers I know, or writers that have worked with editors I know, that I never have to gamble with my credibility, which is important. While this may not be true for all editors, I can say that this is true for the dozen or so editors I know personally.

    Oddly, when i first started accepting outside writers I assumed I would get mostly inexperienced writers. That was not the case. From the start, I received submissions from more experienced writers who were looking for additional outlets. I suppose what I lack in compensation, I make up for with trip opportunities, letters of assignment, industry respect (I have developed strong relationships with pr firms, ntos, tour operators, hoteliers etc.), exposure, and flexibility. Simply put, I can open some doors for writers that are reliable, professional, honest and can write a good story. Right now, I have several writers on trips on my behalf. Still, I do make space for new writers as often as possible, this is not true of all publications.

    Of course, what I offer, and those like me, is not for everyone, but the writers I publish will get a fresh clip from a respected independent site, which may be a good starting point.

    As for making money starting a personal blog, again I agree. However, this is only good advice for those who will actively write, have something to say and people want to read, market, develop a focus, social network, build readership, and do about a million other things. It is a lot of work and extremely rewarding if the writer is passionate.


  4. Welcome to Matador U! We have a lot of fun!

    Regarding David and Devin’s comments … Writing for online publications isn’t lucrative and you can’t make a living off of it, but it is a good way to connect with editors and showcase your work. To make more money, you definitely have to move to print, though a lot of these publications are also struggling financially. When you start out, you’ll probably need to build a portfolio of published clips, and online publications are a good place to start, but don’t limit yourself and keep striving for bigger, more competitive and higher paying publications as you continue to build a travel writing career.

  5. Hey all,

    The above list of 100+ paying publications is for sale, charging between $25-75 and claims that a writer can make $500+ a day! If you are a new writer, consider spending a few extra minutes on google for lists like Adventurous Kate’s and keep you money.

    The $500+ a day part is rare, if not impossible. I would say the latter.

  6. Kate,
    Thank you for sharing these sites. It can be difficult finding reputable sites to write for to build up your clips. I have been thinking about Matador U but am still on the fence. It seems that unless you have connections with travel editors, it is rather difficult to break in, regardless of the quality of writing. Can Matador U help get that trusted exposure? While I love writing travel articles, getting paid would be nice too!

    1. Honestly, Julie, I haven’t been doing much freelancing lately. If you’re a good writer, with the talent and ability if not the connections, then the course isn’t as meaningful. However, being a student makes it easier to get in at Matador, and THAT can open doors.

  7. Hi Kate,
    I understand your dilemma, it is hard to get started as a travel writer. However, producing great work for BootsNAll at $30 for 1200 words is a crime against travel writing and Literary Traveller is building its brand on the naivete of newbies, literally.
    These sites simply exploit the desperation for novice writers to get published.
    I agree with the comment by David that you would be better off showcasing some of your work on a blog and focussing on paid gigs that are worth your time and effort.
    Clearly, Wanderlust Magazine pays the best money in your list. So will Lonely Planet’s magazine, National Geographic Traveler and other dedicated travel publications.
    Newspapers also pay reasonable rates for travel pieces and you can hone your skills with a well-written travel feature, or restaurant/hotel review about somewhere in or around your home town that will be just as valid as a feature about some exotic destination when it comes to pitching for commissions in the future.
    At the end of the day, the quality of your writing will speak for itself.
    So here’s my advice:
    If you are going to make your work pay, it seems more constructive to focus your energies on newspaper travel writing competitions, or even unpaid articles for quality travel magazines (as a foot in the door) than using up your best ideas on web-based travel sites that pay peanuts. That way you will be networking and building relations with commissioning editors that really can help you to get published for decent money.
    Let’s face it, you still get the kudos of being published in a well-respected travel magazine or newspaper even if the piece they accept is a “Readers Journey” type piece or a runner-up in a competition.
    Also, think about widening your search. There are thousands of special interest magazines dealing with everything from bird watching and hiking, to cooking knitting and world music.
    Until web-based magazines covering travel issues emerge that have the revenue stream to pay decent money to writers, stick to the magazines and newspapers that do.
    Good luck.

  8. I’m about to leave for a year in Bulgaria, and have been looking for info about which publications I might submit writing to as I’m abroad. I found this list (and especially the debate in the comments) helpful. I’m also considering Matador U, but we shall see.

    For anyone else who stumbles upon this list and reads to the end, I’d like to mention that transitionsabroad.com pays for information-oriented pieces and runs several annual writing contests (with prizes up to $500) and they normally pay $50-150 for submissions.

  9. The title of this article should have read:

    “7 Publications that pay crap for travel writing.”

    Seriously, folks—

    Unless you are a trust fund kid or a rich retiree, this list is for the birds.

    If you’re good, you’ll get into the big magazines that pay $2000 and up for a story.

    If not, blog away, baby. Ain’t nobody gonna read it.

  10. Thanks for the advice. While I completely agree with most of the people commenting on here that these publications are not going to offer enough to make a living, they are just what someone like me, a novice travel writer, needs to get his or her foot in the door and start generating a reputation. Few really well-known and established publications will accept articles from unpublished writers, which can make it really tough to get started as a professional.

    I will bookmark these sites and consider them for the near future! Thanks again! 🙂

  11. I agree with Josiah…

    The problem with writers as I see it is their willingness to accept a pittance for the honor of saying, “I’m a writer, Ive been published!” I could care less about being published. If you write an article and are paid upon acceptance, then the story is killed, you still earned money for your effort. Of course, I would prefer I am paid for an article that is published but in the end, what I care about is whether I am fairly compensated for the time, effort, and outlay I dedicate to a project. Time is money and spending time on a project for which there is no compensation or poor compensation is lost income.

    IMO, only in rare instances should a writer ever give their work away. Writing for free gives away your time and creativity and selling your work for $4 or $15 is like leaving a three-cent tip on a $50 bar tab.

    Spend time putting together a good pitch for a publication paying a reasonable sum. If you are a good writer you will find better paying publications or they will find you.

  12. For me writing has been mostly a hobby, yet about two years while traveling in Central America, I was looking for ways to earn a bit of extra cash, so I submitted my writing to Examiner.com. They offered me a position as an Alaska Adventure Writer, so I happily excepted. Being that I never thought of my self as someone who would write professionally, I was never the less grateful. Granted it has given me a way of showcasing some of my experiences, yet their structure is pretty frustrating, yet for some reason I decided to stick with it for the experience. Along with that, I have maintained blogs, mostly about animals which i am passionate about having worked with Wild birds of prey and other animals. I work in the Supportive living care industry at the moment, taking a break from seasonal work in Alaska, yet I am always looking for new ways and places to explore and write for. I realize this is not a get rich gig, yet I still enjoy sharing and hopefully some of my articles/story will touch someone. I welcome suggestions to help further myself along this highway of travel writing and gratefully appreciate anything that comes my way.

  13. Hi,

    I am a passionate traveler. I have traveled almost the whole of India, Its a wonderful country to travel and know about the diversified nature,culture, history,wild life and heritage f the country. Please tell me how can I share about m experience

    1. Chitrak, make your own site. That is the best way to share if you aren’t worried about money. If people like it, it will grow over time. If you don’t know how, message me jamierbw (at) gmail (dot) com

  14. You may call this taking advantage of new writers. I call it operating a new website at a loss. If I had got paid $5 or $10 per article in the making of our original website I think i well may have out better off. But at least in the last year or two it has come better.

    Then i decided to make MY Family Vacation Ideas with the goal of providing work for friends and relatives struggling for work. The idea is they get to share in the profits and write about interesting places.

    Only the reality is paying more than about $4.50 a 500 word page is all that I can sustain. It will take years before the website starts to pay for itself. Notice I said “starts”. And I will need to invest likely more than a thousand dollars that I have saved working minimum wage writing on our other site.

    If anyone has a better model than I would love to know.


  15. I do not think that any writer even with average writing skills should want to write for an editor who wants to pay peanuts but want 100% perfection. Writers are advised to avoid such editors who talk about too much rubbish about how to pitch an article idea or submit an article to their expectations. Do not waste time on them.

    I cannot understand what these so called editors/travel website owners think of themselves. They expect top notch articles paying $4-$5 per piece. We do not need your advice or links to published articles on your so called reputable websites. Please grow up and have some self-respect as a writer.

  16. I can think of three reasons why it could be worthwhile to write for low pay. Certainly if you are a full-time writer trying to make a living, some of these publications will not be able to support you.

    1. It’s a foot in the door. If you’re brand new to travel writing – or breaking into a new market – having published clips is imperative for getting the better gigs.

    2. Devin’s comment about opening doors is spot on. If you can get a free trip to Fiji just for writing about it, that’s an awesome trade. But then while you’re there, I guarantee you will find a ton of other things to write about. One trip, ten to twenty story ideas you can pitch to other publications.

    3. Cross promotion. I have a chocolate blog I’m developing into a web series (The Chocolate Tourist, come visit me!). Writing for any other publication is like guest posting on someone’s popular blog. All those readers will learn about me and get a link to my website. Same if you have a book, DVD, speaking series, CD, tour, business or toy scooter. Anything you’re trying to sell or raise awareness of, writing for low pay is better than doing it for free.

    That said, thanks Kate for stirring up this spirited discourse! Even four years later…

  17. Hi Kate,

    Thank you for your post! I am very interested in signing up for MatadorU’s Travel Writing and Travel Photography courses concurrently. I also just applied for a Working Holiday Visa for Australia a few days ago and I am currently waiting to hear back. If I start my MatadorU courses in January 2015 and leave for Australia (assuming I am granted the visa) in mid-February, would I be able to advertise myself as available for freelance assignments in Australia and surrounding areas? I realize I will have to work harder and be self-disciplined to complete the two courses while also working in Australia to support myself until I get assignments (which I may have to work only part-time to allow enough time in the day for the courses), but is this something you believe is doable? I would appreciate any advice! Thank you!

    1. Hi, Chrissy —

      I’m not freelancing or involved with Matador anymore, but my advice is to realize that becoming a freelance travel writer takes a LONG time and a LOT of work. Prepare to work for free for awhile until you build up some credentials. Start writing about your hometown now if you can.

  18. Hi Kate,

    It was a great idea that you have shared with us. I am a new comer in this field of writing never written before but would like to write on my experience of travel some what as currently its India only. I would be obliged if you could guide me something about it the start a kick to Go.

    Thank You,

  19. Kate, Thanks so much for this awesome list. Do these sites still pay/ work as well now in 2016 ? Do you use any of these currently ?
    I am a published travel writer on over 30+ online portals and looking to expand my portfolio.
    Thanks for your help.

  20. Hello Kate,

    Thank you for list. I have came across a facebook ad, travelicious.world. They pay $40 for a 1000+ word article. So, it amazed me knowing there are websites who actually pay for travel writing. So I researched about some more sites that do and that’s how I stumbled upon your list. It surprises me that the site isn’t included in the list. Perhaps they are new. But basing in the comments, it seems they pay even lower than those listed, well-known sites.

    Anyway, I have talked to any acquaintance the other day, said she writes for twomonkeystravelgroup.com. I got excited at first knowing how much traffic that site gets. I asked her how much she earns from it and it surprised me when she said they aren’t paying her. You should have 3-4 submissions monthly. And your article must get certain likes and shares for you to get paid. I think that is even worse than the little but certain pay you get from these sites on your list.

    It’s heartbreaking how some people are writing only for the privilege to be published on a known site. It’s intellectual property and so much time yet people are not compensated well. A little is better than not earning from it at all. And those couple behind the twomonkeystravelgroup.com blog are the ones getting the credits and money out of other people’s ideas. It makes me frustrated that most of these people don’t seem to realize just that. My friend said all she got was a free accommodation treat for her write ups. I’m from the Philippines by the way. Most of those who write for them are Filipinos about the travel experiences and tips they have. I’m thinking of writing something as an eye-opener for my countrymen.

  21. I have written about Greece-2 week trip to Athens; Santorini and not so popular but stunning Siffnos. Where may I send it and get paid for the write up with personal pics of the places? Please advise

  22. Hi Kate

    Thank you for your list and this is exactly what I am looking for. My question is how do we get paid?

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