Imagine snorkeling off Cozumel…hiking in Baja California…enjoying a massage in a Puerto Vallarta spa…and, best of all, getting paid for it. Become a travel writer, and it’s all possible. And Mexico, with its diversity and romantic appeal, offers scope for an almost infinite variety of articles. It’s also a great place to base yourself as a writer.
If you have a good eye for detail and basic writing skills, you can make money writing about Mexico. Here are a few tips to increase your sellability to publications.
Become a Travel Writer and Write About What You Know
The old writer’s adage of “write about what you know” is true when you write about Mexico, too. The advantage, however, is that so much of daily Mexican life can seem exotic to folks back home. How to buy fresh tortillas at a local tortillería, the going rate for a day’s sports-fishing in the seaside city down the road, or the best bargain hotel in a pricey resort town is all information that someone out there wants to know. Turn it into compelling copy and you can sell it…possibly several times.
Pursue Both Romance and Practicality
Mexico readily feeds the romance of travel. It’s already a major tourist destination, with beaches and beach towns, historic colonial cities, a rich indigenous culture, and a capital that has become a foodie and cultural mecca.
As a result, travel articles with a Mexico theme work in many different kinds of magazines. In addition to general travel magazines, check out niche publications like those focused on beaches or islands, or those dedicated to luxury or budget travel. Airlines—including all those flying to Mexico—have in-flight publications that always carry an article on a destination they fly to.
But travel is not all romance. There is also the logistics of traveling—booking flights, packing, making connections and all the rest.
Readers are always interested in tips on how to make travel easier, from those like you who have already done it. If you’ve found the best source of cheap cruise tickets to Mexico, the top three carry-on bags for travelers (and why you like them), or a sure-fire strategy for negotiating down hotel rates, there are readers who’ll want to know, too. Pitch an article about it.
Plenty of websites and writers’ groups are sources for article leads, free press trips, and lists of publications and the material they accept. For travel writers, one of the best-known sources is WritersMarketplace.
Re-use Your Travels Multiple Times
Like other successful writers, travel writers learn to recycle their experiences. Make your trips more profitable by repackaging your travels for multiple articles.
Let’s say, for example, that you’ve snagged an assignment from a health magazine to cover top spas in Puerto Vallarta. After visiting a handful of spas, you have enough material left over to write an article for a men’s fashion magazine on male-centric pampering available in Vallarta.
And that time you killed between flights browsing airport shops? With a little additional research, you’ve got a short tech piece on the latest travel gadgets.
Take Your Own Photos Too
One way to increase the chances of successfully pitching or selling an article is to include photos. Mexico is so photogenic that it’s easy to take good photos…so invest in a decent-quality digital camera, learn to use it—and get in the habit of taking photos, especially when you’re on assignment.
Your pictures may not always make the grade: Glossy travel magazines require professionally-shot images. But your images may work for Internet-based publications. At very least, having pictures to accompany your article increases its appeal to a picky editor.
Have Fun as a Travel Writer
Travel writing does take work. After all, you need to take notes while you travel, do research, and finally sit in front of your computer to write. But it can pay for your travel…as well as being one of the most enjoyable types of journalism around.