Men's/Women's RcnryOutdoor sports shoes, Woodland Woodland Woodland Camouflage low wear shoes, labor protection site anti slip shoes, sweat shoes... Beautiful design Quality and quantity guaranteed have fun NV15048 646d5b

How to get free trips as a travel blogger

How to get free trips as a travel blogger

Men's/Women's RcnryOutdoor sports shoes, Woodland Woodland Woodland Camouflage low wear shoes, labor protection site anti slip shoes, sweat shoes... Beautiful design Quality and quantity guaranteed have fun NV15048 646d5b

Many people start a blog for this very reason. Who wouldn’t want to get free travel in exchange for writing reviews? It sounds like an absolute dream.

But getting free trips from blogging isn’t as simple as buying a domain, posting a few of your travel snaps, and then watching the offers for free stays roll in. If it were that easy, everyone would be doing it.

It actually takes a lot of work, much more than most people expect when they first begin blogging. Here’s how it happened for me:

I received my first offer of free stuff once I had been blogging for exactly one year. I put in a lot of work in that first year including 3 blog posts a week. By the end, I had managed to build up a decent blog that was getting around 10,000 pageviews per month and had about the same number of social media followers.

I was travelling to Portland in July 2015, and I contacted the local tourism board about my visit. They supplied me with a welcome pack including a local attractions pass, which I then redeemed for $29 USD worth of sightseeing.

It doesn’t sound like much, but I was excited that my year of blogging had resulted in some free activities! In the next 12 months, I received another 4 nights of hostel accommodation in Boston and Montreal, and a 3-day press trip to Providence. The ball had definitely started rolling.

My third year of blogging proved even more fruitful. I managed to secure a place on a 5-day press trip in Finland, 2 nights hostel accommodation in Chicago, an 8-day press trip to London and Hull, and a 4-day press trip to The Bahamas.

I’m only 6 months into my fourth year of blogging, but I’ve already received 4 nights of combined accommodation in Los Angeles and Canberra, and a sightseeing cruise on the Tasman Peninsula. Pretty good start, I think!

Getting free trips and travel perks through blogging is one of the reasons that I can travel so often. Here’s my comprehensive guide on how to get free trips as a travel blogger, including a pitch template for you to use when approaching brands!


On my first ever press trip to Providence, Rhode Island, in 2016

Having a website with high quality content (ie. blog posts, photos, and other text) is essential to scoring free trips through travel blogging. Every time you pitch a brand, someone from that company is going to visit your website and make a judgement on whether you will do a good job of promoting them.

Your blog needs to shine with long-form content, with lots of photos (good ones!) and enticing titles. There should be minimal spelling mistakes, and your writing style should be the best it can be. Impress everyone with your amazing content and sponsorships will follow!

Presentation of your content is also important. If your site has too many pop ups, is slow to load, or has messy links and images all over your front page, it will turn brands off working with you. I purchased a clean, minimalistic, theme for my blog which cost $79 USD, and I think it was absolutely worth the investment as my design stands out above other bloggers using the same old free themes.

Men's/Women's RcnryOutdoor sports shoes, Woodland Woodland Woodland Camouflage low wear shoes, labor protection site anti slip shoes, sweat shoes... Beautiful design Quality and quantity guaranteed have fun NV15048 646d5b

Social media is super important for travel bloggers. Brands will want to know that their product will reach a wide audience, and a social media following is the number one way for them to gauge just how many eyes will see their product.

I spent a long time trying to grow my following on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Bloglovin’, and YouTube, but in the end I realised that my efforts were being spread too thinly over the numerous platforms.

Since I began focusing on growing only my Instagram account, it’s become much easier to make a difference to my influence on that particular platform. I now have an impressive number of followers and a high level of engagement on Instagram, and brands are starting to take notice.

Exploring Hull on my press trip to the UK in 2017

A media kit is a document that you send to brands which shows them just how many people might hear about their product by giving you free stuff. It makes you appear professional at the same time as quoting your stats.

There are many different versions of a media kit (here’s what my media kit for A Globe Well Travelled looks like), but generally it should include the following:

  • A quick intro about you/your blog and a profile photo
  • Your audience demographics such as location and age group
  • Blog stats such as monthly pageviews and unique visitors
  • Social media stats, including number of combined followers and which platform is your strongest
  • Brands you have worked with before and positive testimonials
  • Web address and your contact details

A media kit might sound intimidating to put together, but it’s really not so hard – here are some media kit templates for bloggers that I found on Creative Market.

Exploring Finland on a press trip in 2016

Men's/Women's RcnryOutdoor sports shoes, Woodland Woodland Woodland Camouflage low wear shoes, labor protection site anti slip shoes, sweat shoes... Beautiful design Quality and quantity guaranteed have fun NV15048 646d5b

There have been a few occasions where free trips have been offered to me out of the blue, but generally, I’m the one pitching companies for free travel.

Your pitch should be short and to the point, but still convey all the information that the company might want to know. I’m going to share my travel blogger pitch template with you – use it as a general guide to craft your own perfect pitch.

“Hi [person’s name], I’m Ashlea – a Travel Blogger based in Sydney, Australia.

I’m planning on visiting [place] on [date], and am interested in publishing a local guide on my blog. [Company/brand] looks like a great option for a feature, so would you be interested in an exchange of services? For all comped activities that I participate in, I actively promote the business to travellers through my blog and to my 35,000+ social media followers.

My blog, A Globe Well Travelled, is aimed at young people looking to live an adventurous life of work and travel. Each month, the site receives around [number of pageviews] from [number of unique visitors]. I’ve previously worked with travel brands such as [list brands]. I’d love to add [Company/brand] to my list!

You can find further stats and testimonials in my attached media kit. I hope to hear back from you soon.”

I find it much easier to pitch for free trips as a travel blogger now than in my earlier years of blogging. Companies tend to see me as more trustworthy now that I’ve had experience working with a bunch of other travel brands.

If you haven’t worked with brands before, you should fake it ’til you make it. Have you visited a hotel or taken a day tour that you then posted a review about on your blog and/or social media? Try listing those brands in your pitch (and in your media kit) to make it look as though you’ve worked with companies before.

On a sponsored wilderness cruise in Tasmania in 2017

If you’ll be visiting a certain destination, you can pitch hotels or travel brands directly. When I recently visited the Tasman Peninsula in Tasmania, I emailed a company about the possibility of getting 2 seats on their wilderness cruise in exchange for promotion on my blog and social media. They happily agreed!

Be prepared to receive some rejection emails when you’re pitching hotels and travel brands. Some companies just aren’t comfortable with influencer marketing yet, or they might be selective about who they choose to work with. Don’t take it personally if they say no – just keep pitching more brands until you have some success!

One little secret for this step is to pay attention to the brands that other travel bloggers are working with. If the brand has worked with travel bloggers before, then it’s likely that they would be willing to do it again.

This is how I knew to email Hollywood Hotel about my recent trip to Los Angeles. I’d seen another blogger write about them, so I knew they might be open to working with me. They agreed to host me for 2 nights in exchange for a review on my blog!

My visit to Canberra in 2017 was partially sponsored by the local tourism board

If you head to any tourism board website (you can find these by searching terms like “Visit Melbourne” or “Tourism Australia” in Google) there will often be a menu either at the very top of the page or in the footer with a section for Press or Media. These areas of the tourism websites can be extremely useful for travel bloggers who are looking to get free stuff.

Sometimes there will be information about press trips or influencer programs (take a look at the Queensland tourism website as an example) and if not, then there will probably be a media contact or online form where you can email them. Ask about any upcoming influencer opportunities that they might have, or if they provide any support to visiting influencers.

This is the method I used to get my free attractions pass in Portland, my accommodation in Canberra, and my UK press trip!

Even though I’m not particularly fond of using Facebook as a business tool, I have always been a fan of using Facebook groups. It can be hard to find ones that are actually useful, but once you do, you may just be notified of some great opportunities through them.

In the past month, I have seen 3 different press trip opportunities, some for international destinations, just by following Facebook groups. Try searching for blogger groups in your area (like the Australian Travel Bloggers group for my fellow Aussies) and join ones that seem like they would be relevant to you.

On a press trip to The Bahamas in 2017

Networking in person can be scary, but it can also be a useful way of getting yourself in front of the right people for future sponsorships.

One time that this has worked for me is when I attended the New York Travel Show in 2017. I spent some time talking with reps from tourism boards and travel brands to see if they were interested in working with influencers. When I stopped by the stand for Visit The Bahamas, I was given a business card for their media contact. This later resulted in my press trip to Nassau!

Some options for networking with people in the travel industry are conferences like TBEX, travel expos, or events like Travel Massive. Just be careful not to go to these events with the agenda of pushing yourself on people to get free trips – the best business relationships are made by being friendly and personable!

Men's/Women's RcnryOutdoor sports shoes, Woodland Woodland Woodland Camouflage low wear shoes, labor protection site anti slip shoes, sweat shoes... Beautiful design Quality and quantity guaranteed have fun NV15048 646d5b

It’s important to understand how it works when you get free stuff as a travel blogger. Companies aren’t just giving you their product or service for free and expecting nothing in return. In reality, they will want you to actively promote their brand on your blog and social media channels.

It’s extremely important that you act like a professional when asking for or receiving free stuff as a travel blogger. Be clear about what benefits the company will get from working with you and what they can expect to receive after your trip.

It’s also important to put a disclaimer in any posts where you have received a sponsorship. Not only is it legally required, it also helps your readers trust you as a professional blogger.

One last thing – be careful not to ask for too much. If you’re just starting out as a blogger, then by all means, ask for something simple like some free attraction passes or a spot on a walking tour, but don’t bother asking for a 5 night stay in a luxury hotel – this will only be a waste of your time. Keep it real, friends!

Have any questions about getting free trips as a travel blogger? Post them in the comments below and I’ll do my best to answer!


You might also like:

Trial and error is how I learnt it all too, so you’re going about it the same way that everyone else did! Good luck with all the pitching, Jess – I hope you have some success

Reply
Men's/Women's KMJBS Men'S Sneakers Summer Men'S Shoes Thick Floor Muffin Shoes Students Flat Bottom Shoes Mesh Casual Casual... Easy to use special function various kinds VW15073,Man/Woman BIANJESUS Men's Casual Shoes High-Top Sports Shoes Explosion Models Spring Men's Casual Version excellent quality low cost Elegant and robust menu BV15121,Man/Woman NIKE Men’s Sb Portmore Ii SLR SLP C Fitness Shoes Fine processing real Personalization trend RV15154,Gentleman/Lady Asics Gel Kayano Trainer Unsiex Sneakers Shoes High-quality In short supply The first batch of customers' comprehensive specifications VW15200,Gentlemen/Ladies Asics Gel Lyte PS oranje sneakers kids Year-end special promotions Environmentally friendly cheaper NH15278Men/Women PIERRE CARDIN P/E 18 CARDIN P/E 18 Men's Trainers Aesthetic appearance Elegant style Non-slip VG15302Gentlemen/Ladies Vans Sneaker Men Gum Bumper Atwood Sneakers Reasonable price Beautiful appearance International big name BN15395,Mr/Ms Nike Nike Air Max Motion LW SE Sneaker, Men, Black – (Black/Solar red-sail-pure Platinum) We have won praise from our customers. Pleasant appearance Recommended today VG15474,Men's/Women's Redskins Sneakersball Stein ID891MA Black Varnish Black Quality queen The highest quality material Fair price VB15509,Man/Woman Nike Air Max 1 Suede and Mesh Pink Dusted Clay Trainer Size 9 UK Queensland Moderate cost List of explosions VW15536Gentlemen/Ladies Zerimar Elevator Shoes for Men Add +2.7 in | Men's Height Increasing Shoes | Shoes That Increase Your Height Cheap Pleasant appearance Excellent workmanship GR15571,Man's/Woman's Men's Shoes High End Business Casual Handmade Fashion Stitching Atmosphere Comfort Easy to clean surface Bright colors Valuable boutique GW15653,Gentlemen/Ladies Invisible Height Increase Men's Shoes Hollow Men's Business Dress Breathable Shoes Oxford Brogue Shoes New market New in stock Quality and consumer first HN15696Men's/Women's Zerimar Men's Leather Shoes | Men Casual Shoes | Men Elegant Shoes Many varieties modern fine WW15740Men's/Women's Kenneth Cole New York Suede Wingtip Shoe - Men's - Taupe sell Lush design Valuable boutique RH15834Men's/Women's Reaction Kenneth Cole Bro-Tential Leather Shoe - Men's - Brown use discount price Recommended today WW15903,Gentlemen/Ladies Clarks Men's Slip-On Velcro Shoes Swift Turn Brown Leather High quality and low overhead First quality Full range of specifications WH15951,Man's/Woman's SHOES USS POLO SERGE WALDO4004W7 SO BROWN Great variety The latest technology classic style RV15999,Man/Woman FIND Men's Derby Shoes Smooth Leather and Textured Quarters Online Shopping luxurious Most practical BH16070Gentleman/Lady zmlsc Men's Lerther Shoes Dress Formal Wear Casual Round Soft Pointy Belt Buckle Cotton Flat Bottom Youth Easy to clean surface discount Recommended today GH16106,Gentleman/Lady yalanshop Stylish Metal With Fine And High-Heeled Light Nozzle Tip Damask Graphics Thin Single Shoes Wedding Shoes... Not so expensive In short supply Beautiful and charming GN16199,Men's/Women's yalanshop Stylish Metal With Fine And High-Heeled Light Nozzle Tip Damask Graphics Thin Single Shoes Wedding Shoes... Excellent craft High quality and economy Non-slip WR16220,Man's/Woman's Xue Men's Shoes Leather Spring Summer Comfort Sandals Hiking Shoes Button for Athletic Casual Outdoor Black, Brown... Elegant shape Reliable performance Shopping promotion BW16283,Man/Woman yalanshop Stylish Metal With Fine And High-Heeled Light Nozzle Tip Damask Graphics Thin Single Shoes Wedding Shoes... Excellent value excellent Seasonal hot sale WV16298,Man's/Woman's XDLJL Men Casual Leather Shoes Youth Driving Shoes Crocodile Pattern Fashion Men's Shoes Queensland Known for its good quality Fine wild VH16343,Mr/Ms zmlsc Leather Shoes Men Casual Business Soft Round Pointed Ribbon Spring Summer Autumn Winter Color Sports Crazy price, Birmingham Latest styles Cost-effective RW16394,Man's/Woman's 2018 Men's Business Oxford Casual Take On The Trend Of British Style Pointed Formal Shoes (Color : Gray, Size... Strong heat and wear resistance a good reputation in the world Selling new products GV16481Gentlemen/Ladies 2018 Men's Business Oxford Shoes, Casual Size Of The Code British Leather And Hollowed-out Formal Shoes (Color... We have won praise from our customers. Used in durability Preferred boutique HB16530Gentleman/Lady Men's Business Oxford Shoes, Casual Size of The Code British Leather and Hollowed-Out Formal Shoes (Color : Hollow... The color is very eye-catching First grade in its class Valuable boutique VG16564,Man's/Woman's zmlsc Casual Man Leather Shoes Business Round Soft Pointy Ribbon Season Color Canvas Sports Sandals Boots Fashion pattern Latest styles At an affordable price BA16641