You’re at the Grand Canyon. It’s breathtaking in a way that makes you speechless but not wordless. Your hands begin to twitch with the need to capture what you’re smelling, tasting, hearing, seeing, and feeling. But you’re only off for a few days, and your office job is waiting for you come Monday morning. That’s when you find yourself wondering, Do any jobs pay you to travel and write books?
The light bulb goes off. Your distinct voice is ready to capture different parts of the world. Sounds amazing, doesn’t it? Let’s hit the open road toward that ultimate destination—getting paid to travel and write books.
A great place to get started as a travel writer is via blogging. You can get paid to blog. Many travel magazines will pay a blogger to provide engaging content for their readers. Moreover, travel companies often pay for bloggers and social media influencers to take sponsored trips and write about their experiences on the company’s website.
You can also start your own blog and allow advertising on your site as well as connect to other social media platforms (like Instagram and Twitter) to get your words out into the world. (See the resource section at the end of this post for more information.) Though your blog will likely not pay the bills for a while, part of your job as an independent blogger is to grow your followers. Once you have built a platform, you can partner with like-minded brands, which will bring in money that will allow you to travel and write books.
The point of a blog, beyond a way for you to find and practice your distinct writing personality, is to make believers out of your readers. This may parlay into other paid travel-writing opportunities. Blogging builds your writing portfolio and your traveling experience, and those are tickets to more and better opportunities.
Journalism is a job that often requires writers to produce material on assignment or, if you’re a freelance journalist, on a pitch you’ve created. The subject matter may not be travelcentric, but traveling is incorporated into the job description.
Of course, freelance travel journalism specifically allows a writer to travel and create articles about special interests or holidays or special events. Still, at first, freelance travel journalism may be a rough way to make a decent living. Keep building your brand and your writing voice throughout the process. Start a portfolio. Collect followers. Write and pitch your work to travel guides, magazines, and journals. Find a unique angle, like you would for any story, and go for it!
Newspapers are sometimes open to travel pitches from freelance writers. While they probably won’t pay for your travel expenses, they will pay for your writing. This is true of a lot of freelance travel journalism. At first, you’re paying for your travel expenses, but the publication is paying you for the words you write afterward. Once you’ve established yourself more fully, you’ll confidently be able to negotiate getting paid to travel and write books.
If a travel guidebook editor hires you, you can get paid to go to specific locations and report back, much like journalism. Guidebook writing allows you to get paid to travel and write books. You may not be going exactly where you want to explore, but you’ll be traveling and getting paid to write on your assignments.
Most people have at least heard of Elizabeth Gilbert’s book Eat, Pray, Love. Gilbert became one of the world’s most influential people (according to Time) for her work in traveling and writing. Her journey to India, Italy, and Indonesia after a bad divorce was so inspiring that many readers subsequently did their own versions of an “eat, pray, love” soul cleansing. Other writers like Cheryl Strayed and Bill Bryson have traveled and then written books about their traveling. Publishers are more likely to pay you to travel and write books if you have a preexisting platform and a reason for your exploration.
So do any jobs pay you to travel and write books? You now know the answer is yes.
Enjoy the experience of building your brand, blog, or portfolio as you take on whichever job most fits your dreams. Even before you’re getting paid, you’ll be paid with memories that will transform you. You’re one of the lucky ones. You’re living life. These jobs often take years to offer steady income, but they’re worth it if you believe they are.
Furthermore, it doesn’t matter whether an article, memoir, blog, essay, or book remains your end goal—your words will inspire others when you share them. And people will be compelled to pay you to tell them a good story, which will often lead to even more job opportunities. As writers, isn’t that what we crave? Do any jobs pay you to travel and write books? Many do. Many will.
I can’t wait to read about the places you’ll go. That’s more than a Dr. Seuss saying.
It’s a mantra.