How to Set Up an Individual Trip from Scratch

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71 minutes of video
71 minutes of audio
19 slides
22 pages of transcript

In this webinar we’re going to dive head first into how exactly to plan your own individual sponsored trips that fits your interests, travel preferences, and schedule. Here we look at where to find these trips and best practices for applying. I pull real press trips, read between the lines, and break down exactly what you would do in each situation of your application.


One year when I had not been a full-time freelance travel writer for too many years, I was in Europe to attend a conference and had left some time open after the event hoping to get myself set up on a trip somewhere fabulous.

I haven’t applied for the trips through the conference, as I felt a little shy and unqualified compared to other folks (none of whom I had met, but I imagined to be way bigger deals and this more likely to get selected than me), but also because I was a very niche writer at the time, and my niche was Italy, which was not the location of the conference.

When it came to setting up interviews, tours, and visits in Italy, I had a trump card–a recurring gig with a respected publication that was very happy for me to leverage its name to get access to interesting story opportunities.

But even still, as I sat in that chair listening to someone talk about how to be a good travel writer, I nervously checked my phone because my post-conference days were still a blank.

I had three places I was interested in visiting or had been invited on trips to–Sardinia, Lake Garda, and Tuscany–but none had yet confirmed.

Feeling the stress of potentially not having anywhere to sleep for a few days, I finally sent them all one last email with a more clear and explicit ask: “can you please confirm if the trip on XYZ days is a go?”

In that same conference session, I got positive responses back from two of them.

For new travel writers, getting on that first press trip is often an important psychological stepping stone.

Even if it doesn’t impart a sense that “you’ve made it” in the same way a newsstand magazine or $1-a-word article does, there is a sense of validation and accomplishment both as you enjoy the actually complimentary aspects of the trip and as you are humbled that someone has invested that money and confidence in you.

But getting an individual trip is different.

Rather than claiming a spot on a tour architected for media with beds that need to be filled, PR people and tourism boards are taking time to research, make contacts, and book itineraries based solely around affording you your best story opportunities.

This is a great responsibility, but also an incredible step of industry inclusion on the journey to becoming a travel writer.

Fortunately, it’s much easier to reach than you may think (whether you haven’t done it yet or have tried in the past and found the experience so trying and time consuming you’ve avoided it going forward).

In this week’s webinar, following our introduction to the different types of sponsored trips last week, we’re going to dive head first into how exactly to plan your own individual sponsored trips that fits your interests, travel preferences, and schedule.

We’ll walk step by step through planning an extensive road trip that I took last year as an example of the process–going much more nitty gritty and step-by-step about exactly how to pull this off then usual.

We will cover:
– The real reason people let you go on these trips in the first place
– When you shouldn’t try to set up an individual sponsored trip
– The planning process (overview) + in practice