Travel Writing: 10 Globe-Trotter Magazines that Pay Freelance Writers

Lisa Rogers

What if you could mix your global wanderlust with travel writing and get paid?

Sounds pretty sweet, right?

As the world of work changes, foreign countries offer digital nomad visas, and remote working remains an option.

They’ll need to know the best places to go, travel stories no one else can tell, and experiences that define us as travelers.

There’s “travel revenge,” too. You know…after COVID-19 restrictions and lots of vacation cancellations, people are traveling in record numbers. 

And that’s really good news if travel writing is one of your niches as a freelance writer.

Who’s hiring? While some of these magazines do have staff columnists and writers, they’re always looking for fresh perspectives and new contributors.

So, what better way to get your foot in the door than to knock their socks off with your first freelance assignment.

Below are 10 magazines that hire freelancers and pay up to $800 plus 50% of campaign funds.

Travel Writing: 3 Tips to Land Magazine Assignments

These magazines are for the world traveler, who book trips regularly, and for those looking to experience a new culture, a new dish, or a new adventure.

Many are looking for first-person stories about how a place made you feel or challenged your assumptions.

As always, doing your research, studying the publication, and pitching per their guidelines is essential.

Follow these three tips to land travel writing assignments:

  1. Read a few back issues. If something you want to write about has been covered, what fresh perspective do you bring to the story?
  2. Study the publication and read the guidelines. Submission format and method are essential to review for each magazine.
  3. Keep your pitches short and focused in 1-to-2 paragraphs. Some magazines offer an example layout of how best to pitch them.
article writing template

1.   Travel + Leisure Magazine 

One of the best known travel magazines, Travel + Leisure, is the only print international travel magazine in the US with a circulation of nearly a million. That’s a lot of eyes on your story!

They’re looking for stories from around the world whether first-person, as-told-to, or service-oriented for their target audience of active travelers who immerse themselves in a culture or location whether they’re traveling or not. T + L is primarily looking for new voices who bring a fresh perspective about a place or topic.

When pitching, explain in one paragraph:

  • Why the story should be covered,
  • Topic, angle, and scope of the story,
  • Why you are the one to tell it.

Tip: Think like an editor. Many stories have been in the works from 3 months to a year before publication.

If you haven’t traveled for your story yet, let them know what kind of editorial support you need. When considering story ideas, what’s a unique angle you can write about that hasn’t been documented elsewhere?

Rate: Negotiated and based on assignment. Paid upon receipt of the accepted story with an invoice.

Contact: Flora Stubbs, Executive Editor at flora.stubb@meredith.com; Paul Brady, Articles Editor at Paul.brady@meredith.com; Peter Terzian, Features Editor at peter.terzian@meredith.com, or Hannah Walhout, Senior Editor at Hannah.walhout@meredith.com.

2.   Condé Nast Traveler

Condé Nast Traveler is looking for travel stories that inspire and inform to help people travel better and wiser.

Keep your pitch to two paragraphs or less, including a suggested headline, angle, sources, and why this story should be covered now.

Tip: If your story is focused on responsible travel, Conde Nast prioritizes those stories over others. In addition, they are most interested in hearing from voices of the BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and disabled communities.

Rate: $300+ for 500 to 600 words.

Contact:  Editor Megan Spurrell

3.    Hidden Compass

Hidden Compass is an online international travel magazine with a twist. Focusing on travel journalism education, it wants to dive deeper into the obscure angles of travel, place, and those we meet on our journey. It is unique in that its rates are set, and writers can earn 50 percent after a 90-day patronage campaign.

Travel stories blended with culture, art, history, and science within the categories of Quest, Portrait, Chasing Demons, Time Travel, and Human and Nature told through words and images of 2,000 – 3,000 words is their way of showcasing unique aspects of travel and sense of place.

Tip: Include your submission in the body of your email. No attachments.

Rate: Photo features: $800 + 50% of campaign proceeds; Features: $500 + 50% of campaign funds; Custom artwork: $400; Photos: $75/photo

Contact: Please email all questions and submissions to Sivani Babu, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Hidden Compass at: submissions@hiddencompass.net.

4. AFAR

AFAR is a bi-monthly publication that publishes reported features, personal essays, opinion pieces, and aspirational lifestyle travel stories. They want to tell the stories of a place and its people.

Pitches should include your story’s synopsis, sources, relevant news or timely events, and estimated word count. Always have a short bio and relevant clips of your previously published work.

Rate: $1 per word payable 30-45 days after the piece is published upon a filed invoice.

Contact:

  • Please send pitches for feature stories to Aislyn Greene, Senior Editor, at aislyn@afar.com.
  • Please send pitches for middle-of-book stories to Mae Hamilton, Assistant Editor, at mhamilton@afar.com.
  • Please send pitches for photo essays to Michelle Heimerman, Photo Editor, at mheimerman@afar.com.
  • Please send pitches for illustrated features to Supriya Kalidas, Creative Director, at skalidas@afar.com.

5. World Nomads

World Nomads is looking for stories that go deeper than the location asking its authors to answer the following questions in their articles.

  • Could other travelers imagine themselves in the story, and if so, how might it change them?
  • Were boundaries tested?
  • As the writer, do your emotions come through in the story?
  • Were you transformed in the story in some way?
  • Is this a fresh perspective on something that’s already been written or is it an original idea?

Keep your title to 40 characters max and your synopsis to 250 words or less when pitching. Explain the subject, format, category, what makes it compelling, and why you’re the one to write it.

Rate: $.50 per word

Contact: Email us here or Managing Editor Kate Duthie at LinkedIn

6. Outpost Magazine

Outpost Magazine is a Canadian publication that accepts stories from authors worldwide. They’re looking for longform travel journalism coupled with high-resolution photos, which might be anything from travel guides to hidden gem destinations.

Most articles should be 2,000 to 4,000 words for print, and if you have clips, send two or three samples of your previously published work.

Rate: Negotiated. Pitches accepted on spec only.

Contact: To submit, email submissions@outpostmagazine.com.

7. Hemispheres Magazine

Hemispheres, the inflight magazine of United Airlines, reaches more than 11 million readers every month. They’re looking for writers with expertise and global perspectives.

The three sections available to freelance writers are their Features, Navigator, and Diversions sections. Include your clips as attachments in Word or PDF or links to the samples of your work.

Tip: Their lead time is three months ahead. Keep this in mind if your idea or pitch is timely such as a holiday or news event.

Rate: Negotiated.

Contact: Email Editor-in-Chief: Ellen Carpenter; Deputy Editor: Justin Goldman

8. Family Traveller

Family Traveller is a UK-based magazine that accepts pitches from travelers and writers worldwide. They’re looking for first-hand experiences of practical travel information geared toward affluent families with children who immerse themselves in culture and place when traveling.

Tip: Put “story pitch” in the subject line of your email and send documents as Word or PDF attachments. When giving contact details, include your social media handles and links to any travel articles you’ve previously published, and don’t forget to include the date of the trip on which the pitch is based.

Rate: $.25 per word for pieces from 50 to 1200 words. Paid 30 days following publication.

Contact: Email Katie Bowman at katieb@famillytraveller.com.

9. Outside Magazine

Outside Magazine is focused on adventure travel and is looking for stories about adventure sports, gear, travel, and culture. They cover emerging adventure destinations, sustainability, travel ethics, road trips, national parks, and budget travel. Outside is particularly interested in international adventure travel stories from LGBTQ+, BIPOC, and POC voices.

Tip: If you’re new to Outside, send a few clips similar to what you’re pitching, and note that successful pitches include a compelling narrative, a colorful cast of characters, and a unique angle or point of tension. Tell them how your story fits their magazine and why you’re the writer to tell it.

Rates: $.50+ per word based on reporting, complexity, and writing experience, paid within 30 days of the completed assignment.

Contact: Email travel@outsideinc.com or Assistant Editor Mallory Arnold via LinkedIn

10. Wanderlust Magazine

Wanderlust Magazine is a UK-based magazine that caters to travelers in 80+ countries. Their readers are 50% women who are well-educated, active travelers, most of whom are British.

When pitching, submit a one-paragraph outline of the story, the proposed first paragraph, and include information such as how you traveled, tour operators you used, and pictures if you have them.

Tip: If you’re new to writing for Wanderlust, start small and pitch for one of their pocket guides. Rules of the pocket guide include locations that must be accessible by direct flights from the UK and where you can get a feel for the place in the first 24 hours or perhaps a long weekend.

Rate: Negotiated.

Contact: Founding Editor and Head of Commissioning Lyn Hughes.

How to Break Into International Travel Writing

If you’re just getting started in travel writing, it’s a good idea to begin with shorter pieces and pitch those to the front ends of the magazine. And if you have little to no clips, start in your own backyard. Who knows your neighborhood or city better than you do?

Tip: When writing samples, write in the same voice you’ve read in the magazine. You’ve been studying the publications, right? Show them in your pitch or your article on speculation (spec).

When considering any idea for one of these magazines, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Has my idea been written about before, and if not, what fresh angle do I bring to it?
  • What unique perspective do I, as a writer, bring to the conversation? 
  • How does my experience make me the best writer for the article?

Want more international travel writing options? 

Sometimes the best way to go about it is to enter the following in your search engine – “international travel writing” + “submission guidelines” + “paid.” You may even want to check out whopayswriters.com. Happy writing!

Need help landing travel writing assignments? Let’s discuss in the comments.

article writing template

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