I was very lucky to have started writing travel stories at the dawn of the Internet, when the new medium coexisted with publishing. Back then, the pay was outstanding by today’s scale and writing assignments were easily obtained. Every country, state, region, city, resort, hotel, spa, and cruise line wanted travel features. It was a golden era. Then the Internet exploded with information, along with social media in the form of influencers, blogs, etc., leading to a massive dilution of stories and, for the most part, the demise of newspapers. Now, budgets of travelers and destinations have been crippled beyond the foreseeable future by Covid-19.
Here are some first-hand observations.
> Invariably, when someone learns what I do, their initial reaction leads to these questions or comments: What’s your favorite place to travel? Are the trips free? I’ve always wanted to do that. The first always leads to their favorite spot, not mine. Is it free? My answer is always no (at the least, there are always personal expenses and tips). The last remark assumes anyone can write, edit, and take photographs to produce a story. It ain’t as easy as you think.
> Thanks to some programmer for spellcheck and cut and paste.
> Editors sometimes change a title or a couple of words just because they can; no other reason.
> I find it odd that destinations usually don’t post travel stories at their website or social media channels.
> A small number of entitled travel writers exist. Hopefully, there is a PR blacklist.
> I dread group FAM (familiarization) trips. They are hosted destination outings designed to be the equivalent of a 12 hour stress-echo test.
> Q. Regarding mega-ship cruising during the Age of Covid-19, who will go? A. Probably the same people who refuse to wear masks.
> Oy, flying! It has never been fun, nor will it ever be. Hours of boredom are interrupted by moments of sheer terror. Luggage comes in two classifications: carry-on and lost.
> Strip your bedspread immediately after entering your hotel room and never use the hotel phone in the bathroom. Don’t ask.
> What a good run it has been; no regrets.