Today’s show was inspired from Maria, who asked the following: “I wanted to ask your opinion on [NAME REDACTED] travel writer's program. As a travel writer, do you think this program is a good investment?” Without any personal experience with the travel program in question, we decided to reinterpret her question as: “Should I pay good money to take travel-writing specific online course that promises to make me a travel writer rich beyond my wildest dreams?” In a word: No. In more than one word -- an entire podcast episode, in fact -- we’ll break down the cash-flow realities of being a for-profit travel writer/travel influencer. We’re sharing *all* the times we got paid to create travel content over the last three years, so you can decide if this is the life for you or not. (Granted, you’re only getting our perspective.) Here’s what we’re talking about: How we established and how much we were paid during our more-than-a-year working relationship with TravelSmith that ended when the company sold How much I was paid to write a nifty article for a nifty travel app, Findery A paid podcast episode for Ricola, Thailand Evo’s paid gig as the keynote speaker at Nordic Bloggers Experience in 2017. A week-long free and luxurious trip to Chengdu, China thanks to our friends at With Husband In Tow and Nicolo Chengdu Three great days at the Khao Lak Marriott All the great reasons to attend TBEX, including lots of free trips and experiences thanks to the various tourism boards and vendors at the destination Free experiences in Bangkok from Expique and Taste of Thailand Free beer (because we’re clever) from Bottles of Beer and Save Our Souls in Bangkok, and Oskar from Pegasus in Tallinn, Estonia. Not that we have anything against being better writers, or paying money to hone your craft as a writer. But we’re skeptical of any get-rich-quick schemes. But YMMV. Got a question for us? Leave us a quick voicemail. And if you want these episodes early and gain access to all of our bonus content, support us on Patreon. Silly Transcription Of The Audio For This Episode By A Computer Computers are getting much better at listening to human speech and turning it into scannable text. At least that's the theory. It's not working all the well for us. But we're still using PodcasterPro's free service if only for the comedy value. 00:00:00 I assume they listen to the show what they should have known, the kind of content we produce, and the Czech cleared even been done done. It has good. Oh, that's one time. This one is spend one time this, No, what this morning? This one time. Oh my God, Just one time. Are you my loved had been email cooking? Shoot. He actually was a very long questions rather than the entire thing. I'm going to summarize it. This comes in from Maria, and she basically said in a lot of words, I want to be at travel writer. Should I pay good money to take this online course their promises to teach me to be a travel writer. Thank you. Bye Riga. You are great at summarizing. Thanks, maybe. Thanks for asking Maria. I'm Sheila D and I am Ibo Tara. You are listening to this one time. We are Chievo. I think I got that backwards, but nonetheless, the. Idea is out there. So let me Marie is question was two-fold. The biggest one was kitschy become a travel writer and be should she take this shouldn't sign up for this chorused a teacher had to be a travel writer. Can you answer the second part of that one First for me, honey? Should she sign up to take this course learn how to be a travel writer? I'd say now I say Hell no, rudder way. I I say just jump in If you're going to that, But I will get some some information about that. 00:01:42 Regarding like funds and things like that, it's a it's a hard life as a travelled blogger. Yeah, aged Rich, a heart trouble. But before we go down that road back to the original question, would you suggest someone pay money to take a course to teach them how to be a travel writer? No, but I don't think it's a bad idea to take a writing course. Um, I think everybody can hung up on their they're writing skill Wells. Yes, But However, it makes sense to sign up to become It makes sense to become a better writer. And if you need to take a horse to become a better writer than take a course to become a better writer. But if you think that there is someone out there or if some agency has created a long form email, that makes it seem like All you have to do is take this course and travel magazines, travel, blogs and other travel publications are just waiting for you to send them information and then riches will flow from there yet. It's ruining is not not going to happen. So this. Oh no. Does does what it gets that company rich not exactly want. That's exactly what does that's designed to make them rich, not make you Rich, bring a travel writer. Now, back to question a getting rich being a travel writer. you're that That's good for about. I don't know. Five people I can think of. Yeah, maybe fifty in total. I mean, it's like anything in live. It's the upper echelon. The top point one percentage who make all of the money. Can you make money being a travel writer and do people do it? Absolutely, absolutely happens. Is going to happen for you statistically speaking, No. But Downer. Well, rather than be down, or I thought what we should do, honey, for the rest of this program is tell laid out our people how it worked for me, how it worked for us. I was gonna say, Just you Well, how it worked for us in the life of being war for me being a travel writer. And for us being travel influencer because we have been paid. We have been paid. We have gotten free stuff. That is true. And we have gotten upgrades. That is true too. Now we shall go into the hard and fast reality. So if you wa. 00:04:09 Break at your pencils and start keeping track of this and and accounting mode. We'll have fun. Mr I recommend you do that is going to be a depressing story Spoiler alert. So well run through it. Let's start with their biggest went. Uh, the first biggest when that we get paid for is working with travel Smith as writer. That's correct. Travel Smith is or I should say, was a large travel outfitting company. They sold clothing and bags and other accessories four the travel lifestyle. Anybody that was on your SNT Snapchat remembers the fashion show us fried Africa . A fashion shows on Snapchat. Oh my God, I miss those days. Oh me too. Who is awesomeness? Salmon pants fashion show. So great. So great. You're exactly right. Answer praise. You don't bring this out just on Lake Saturday nights edge Saturday night. I have them about as an act Lot of gestured mightier points. Hold while I put on my salmon pants and Break out the right said Fred. I aim to sixty bore my salmon Pat back back back to what we're talking about, right? So travel Smith, We got very lucky. We met travel Smith. We met a guy named Matt, who at the time worked for travel Smith when we were addi conference, which will talk about carpenters a little bit met him not far into our realization that we're travel bloggers like within a month. Yeah, with realizing a asked, realize we were travel bloggers and got an opportunity to start writing in exchange for goods or Yeah, originally it was just in exchange for goods. Airwaves money. You write me. 00:05:50 The a an article that we agree on a topic and I will send you I think he sent me is they send us five hundred dollars worth of product. Yes. And we get to choose the project, pick and choose the product could be anything that we wanted in the catalogue of travel Smith at the time, clothes, Bags, whatever didn't really matter. So we did that. I think I did that a couple of times more than a couple we lose three. Yeah. Maybe so to wear. And the great thing about working travel Smith as I was working with an amazing editor on the back in. This wasn't just I turn in an article and they publish it. This is I turn in an article and the woman who has been an editor for forty years would then go through and just crush my words to death, which is awesome. I actually loved that when I am work with the professional editor, she made my stuff so much better than it was she did. She did a great job antacid job. So after X number of times. Doing that, they liked it. We like the products, Matt said, Hey, let's let's formalized this a little bit more. Exactly. So the formalized the I'll just lay it on a table because I'm not under any strange India is that I created twice monthly content for them, right. And in exchange, I think we got paid a red notices for an entire year, and I believe the the the payment on each one of those was around two hundred fifty dollars per article who plus we received two hundred and fifty dollars. We're monopoly worth a product. Yes. So what does that Reagan as five hundred bucks a month plus two hundred and fifty dollars worth of products, and that relationship went on. They loved it. They loved with that stuff we were doing. We did some other stuff with. It has to like Sheila mentioned, the the Snapchat stories that I did because we also did some tweets and some blog post what we did our own internal blog post. 00:07:50 Some social media Stephenson video wreck, and the time I got an Snapchat her was doing a lot of Snapchat he stuff. So part of the deal was instead of doing things on YouTube will create Snapchat. She social step forward of this when they come at. So that was a that was a lot of fund that was going really well. But only one thing stood in our way. Capitalism. The company sold to another company, And it sounded like it was going to be great because there's other company was an even bigger company who could do even more, and then what they did was close everything down. All of the articles that we wrote are down, but yet, but now it is strictly e-commerce all the time. Yes, no longer are they using blogs to drive traffic to website. So boo-hoo Matt, who was are the way we got in is gone fired most of the staff. All the editors are guy turned out bad. That was a fun thing. Lasted a little over a year of the paid relationship. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Third Hungary signed it a couple of times. So Yeah, that was the big deal travel Smith. And There you go. Five hundred dollar 250 and article rain plus free stuff. It's hard to riven Piper entered a month. Yeah, But we also you also wrote for fine jewelry. So around the same time that I met, Matt from travel Smith, I met up with the people that run a company, an app called find arri and with fine jewelry. It was a it was a similar situation over there. It was, Hey, we need someone to write stuff for us. Would you be interested in doing so? And so they paid me and I don't think I got paid a whole lot. I think I got paid like maybe maybe this too. I make maybe two hundred what I think was I don't remember. I got to I got paid to Right now, get paid two hundred bucks to write an article four find Orie that wound up on Huffington Post. Yep. So where it was publish was HuffPost but it was written all about find arrear all four find Deary but penned by me. So totally a work for higher. I gotta byline on it, but everything really went back into into fighting for that. So that was a one-off deal one time Hagan your to Article. Yes I can. And that was it Because apps as it turns out also don't have a whole lot of money news must have. 00:10:07 Windows apps don't charge anything to their users, Right? Uh, the free economy strikes again cited that. Yeah. And then we did the pre Golah event. All yes, Yes. So recall a Thailand reached out to me last year. This was partly because we were doing our podcast, but also because I was connected with the Bank, our podcast, right, The other show that Greg and I do. They reached out and said, Hey, we were talking to your partner, Greg host of the bank, our podcast and long-time Bangkok blogger. Yes, he's coming to our event. Would you like to come to our event? So I immediately conduct Greg, and I said, How much of their pain you gave me the number thereby means Why said wrote back to the recall people? I said, Yes, I will do it for the exact same animosity that you're paying rig, which was five thousand Thai baht. . It's still not chump change. Northland Trump figured all five thousand Thai bahts about one hundred and fifty blocks. Yeah, About one hundred fifty US at the time. And for that, we had to go to the recall event, which was very difficult to do is at their rooftop bar in Bangkok, It was in a fully catered event with free boos and free food who Israel. Ezra So rough hanging out with the other influencers of Southeast Asia, and then we you and I did up a podcast about it. We did read Orange, We will link to in the show notes If you missed an actual, really didn't do much of a podcast about recall I which is what they wanted and much more of the podcast about what is shitty job. It would be to be the guy wearing the recall a box. 00:11:44 Yes. I assume they listen to the shows are they knew they should have known the kind of content we produce and there And the Czech cleared even been done done. It is good. What else that I do an EU actually in this as you, you went to the NB? Yeah. Conference, Yes. Oh Nordic bloggers experience in B. E two thousand seventeen they needed a keynote speaker who could talk about with authority, the travel industry as a travel influencer, which I guess I am. I guess we are. And also someone who could speak well and I have done keynote speaking for a fair amount of time right now. So they flew me to Finland last year time listeners may remember and I Keno Did their conference And I was compensated or that they wrote me a check Plus took care of all of the expenses along the way. And I'll share exactly what I was with you. That was five hundred US dollars. And you were gone for like two or three weeks drawing. Drag free trip and five hundred bucks in pocket, which kind of why we went back to his Estonian executive. I had a great time there. So if you're keeping score at home, you know what the number is. I don't know what the number is. A whole lot of what else? Well, that's about it for paid gig. That was that. Was it for paid gigs or two and a half years. So now we're on two freebies things that we got for free Because here's the deal. It doesn't take a lot for a travel blogger or a travel influence her to get free things from companies wreck. 00:13:27 It's hard to get paid. It is hard to get past, has any travel influence our will tell you, especially is just starting out the first two or three years. It's really, really, really hard to gets route. There are a lot of people in the travel influencers space And many of them only want free stuff. Yeah, they just went to endure in exchange, And we have been guilty of that as we're about to talk about right now. We have definitely done some free be tripped some good, some. Great. We're gonna just talk about the big when Lessard about the big ones. Okay. The biggest when we did was in China in Chengdu at with the Niccolo hotel system, It was a big deal. We got a full weeks trip to Changdu which is in this session one area. Yes, yes. Where such one chicken comes from none other chicken itself, but would assess One efforts cut for that first when your at home eating sexual. Chicken, You think that's more talking about It's really not, But him that Little Red peppers that are dry. Those red peppers are probably such one peppers. I love this. And those come from this area of such One China were there handpicked by Panda's if I understand it. Not. Any how we got to go. Uh, thank you very much to our friends. Eric, an amber who were much more serious about this travel blocking stuff of their brand is with husband in tow will link to that in our show noted, lessening notes, if your report check on your app. 00:14:55 They needed some people to go with them, Entrepreneurs. Do we got picked specifically? They wanted photos. Yeah, That wasn't me bringing along. This is the Sheila party right here. Yep. Eric, an amber. Really good taking food photos yet. That's what they're known four but Changdu the Niccolo hotel Wanted pictures of the Changdu area to show people in the western world that there's more to travel in China than I think about yet, And they needed a photograph or long. So they brought their favor photograph her along Sheila. And I got the tag along with Aston yet, so they they Niccolo actually paid for the hotel. They paid for our flights, and they took care of several of our meals. Hear of the on the tour out to the Let's Sean area to see the giant Buddha. That's right. Yeah. They paid for our driver to go to the Panda Research sanctuary. And they just like they really took care of us. Philip and Jonathan were awesome. Mazey's drew related area. We have that was a it was a great time. So thanks for them sometimes freebies or out of the park rain. That was what if somebody says, Hey, can you come to China and your new travel blogging? You say yes? Do you remember when we came back, I think of us from the list churn. Uh, Buddha and our bathtub was overflowing with bubbles And a rose Puddles. Yes, You've been you made that sound like, Oh my God, My bathrooms overflowing. Then you could levels are the rose by us, which is why I do the travel writing photography. Yes. They had set a lovely romantic bath for us. That was all set up only got back on our hose. Beautiful, How awesome that if you're traveling to China and you're going to Changdu state the Nikola hotel, uh, not just because they said as a preferred, but because it was amazing, It was an incredibly showed us the right way to do things. So. So thanks to them an and then we. 00:16:53 We stayed and Co lock at the Marriott Yaohua worked hard to get a trip to the Mary. I'd that almost got totally buggered because we were taking my mom there. It was actually part of a 'nother piece hours writing for travel Smith on multigenerational Travel International. That fell through because Mom got sick, Right and cut income. So instead of mom we hooked Now, we returned the favour we brought our friends, Eric, an amber with husband intoe. We brought them down with us and got several nights free accommodations and tours and packages from the lovely people at the Cadillac Marriott just north of Pook at which is a lovely place. Yes, lovely. They have the longest pool. Thailand, like three kilometers, long wise, all the way through the properties really It was cleared of Regita that on and then we go to conferences. Yeah, Yeah, we get a lot of our free stuff by attending conferences, Ray every talking about t- backs Brazilian Rai I am an we've been we started with them in Spain. We are here in Thailand with them. The Philippines am. We were in Alabama with them last year. Now the great thing when you are a travel blogger then goes to T backs just simply going to D-backs any travel water, go to T Becks you pays your money, you gets your ticket Now with us. We don't pays monies and we gets tickets, but that's that's because we're putting in some time. Yeah, we're we're both speaking, right. So if if you like, I know Maria understands this on the Convention same. If you say I will present rail, you get to attend for free. Well, t- backs you apply, And if you are chosen, then they will take care of your your editor, a combinations. And for us, they even fly us. They fly in wherever away. But then also wrapped around that. You have pre-t backs and post t- back. 00:18:47 Events, which the tourism board and others in that space for that particular location will take care of trips and accommodation. So we've done lots with the just just a real good time. So that's a great time to mingle, meet more people, good industry contacts. You're not going to make any money there, but hopefully you meet people who can help you make money, which is where we met Matt from travel Smith and fine jewelry. So it's definitely a good thing to attend. It is. And we met some lovely people while being there. So just the friend benefit is also amazing. Next, We have tours that we've taken for free and Sylla taste of Thailand errand X peak. Yeah, Those are either to tour companies here in Bangkok that do took took tours and food to his around the city and there are expensive, But occasionally they're looking for travel blogger to help spread the word. And we have been fortunate enough to take a couple of trips with them. So so thanks to the people from taste of Thailand. And also from X peak for letting us letting us travel That's freebies. Okay. So our next one is about upgrades. Yes. Because Beyond getting paid and beyond getting things for free, there's kind of weird thing of the middle to where you can get upgrades as a travel border. Yes, we can't upwards of we have gotten. I could think of three that we had it in. This is going to sound really strange honey, but they also center around Bir I'm shark, This that these upgrades happened when we walk into a place, It doesn't take very long to where we're just were kinda like vegans and were kinda like fitters. 00:20:26 The cabinet will who It takes three seconds before they actually mentioned the fact that there are a vegan recross Better yet same thing happens with travel. Bloggers Manet think we might get free stuff. So we went two bottles of beer, a brand new craft beer store that opened in Bangkok a couple of years ago. Looking around the place, Mitchell proprietors that way we happened to be crappier fans and were a travel. Bloggers may and they sent assault with free beer. Did I per God? And now we're friends with ruin. That's right, big brigade, fat Ram, and we've been to their new spot, the opening of the new spot, leading of free stuff that we got in that we got admitted at the end in just recently when we were in Estonia at Pegasus Yes, mention two lovely Oscar are our waiter there that we were crappier earners and travel bloggers. And I had been at his establishment a year ago, yes, with the tile in the tourism board, visit Estonia people. And we got free beer out of that as well. Yes, Yes. And then also more beer here on our side of the River in Bangkok, there's a little place called save our souls, tiny, very, very, very local Thai. But craft beer location met the proprietor, the first site where their Q casually drop being major beer nerds and major influential travel bloggers and queues break in Africa from the back. So I need been back. I hope Eric, when I turn. 00:21:57 With you right many a time, I don't I don't think I've getting free stuff since then I need to work on the free is not always always get free or upgrades or pay, but sometimes you can. That is our experience as travel influencers making money. Did we attend any clashes for that? No, but I do have publication credits to my name, So I know how to write his true there. There is that we have worked for years to build up our own personal brands, which we have kind assorted tailored into the travel space. So we we are attractive to brands Ray who want to utilize us. Yeah, So here's my my thought on, but we're not we're not getting rich off of it. Odd. That is correct. You have a full-time job, it do the vast majority of full time travel. Bloggers that we know are either massively in debt, living a barely subsistence level life. Even though they are not portraying that in their photos or their blog post or have some other have had multiple sources of income. And that's the reality. Most travel people who rely on the travel space as independent people travel influence much as Call them have multiple streams. Well in It's also not always the pretty pretty pictures that you always see like it's it's a lotta word. He hits it sitting behind your computer and cursing because you can't get the the images, Right, or the words are coming or the Internet has crashed again, Yeah Ito or you can't get a response for somebody, You know, I it's all of that easy. No, this is not an easy life showed it. But as a thought. 00:23:45 It is, but it is definitely find so Maria, Hopefully. I think we answered your question. I did. We did. I think we did this time how I'll after we just did that because we've been answering way too many question raised many questions. Hey, if you have got on. If you have a question for us, it doesn't have to be about travel riding a give me about life. It can be about what we did in the stony that we didn't talk about. It can be anything you would like to know about our lives. Lived abroad, Ask him directly of She last directly of me, ask us together. Doesn't really matter. It's easy for you to ask your question to us. Yes, you could send us an email. Yes, you can tweet to us, but the easiest way to do it is to go to XIV O . WTF slash call us, and we will play back your voice mail Ali air, and then respond to you in kind XIV O . W T F slash call us and ask us your question today. We would love to hear your voice. If you think Our show is worthy, Give us your support. Pretty pleased sugar odd. We will take your support or took four takes your any of those pests calling. Go on air. Patriot makes a relatively straightforward for you to support us, even though I'm pissed off at them right now in our patrons. Know why mess nothing that they did other than Mme bungled something crime. But nonetheless, they are still these sole way that we make money because all those things we talked about at this show, Sir, no longer happening. We are no longer being paid by any of those people to do anything travel-related. So the only travel monies we get these days or from lovely people like you. So if you have not yet signed up to become our patron, please do so go to XIV O . W T F slash patriarch on and get signed up a psycho I think we have take like a bucket like super cheap to come and get involved and support us and help this party going Chievo. WTF slash patriae Fire Ruzic is by the way of land. Thanks for listening listener. I an Ibo Tara ten. 00:25:46 For more about us. Well, the easiest thing to do is stay right here wherever you're listening, Hey, by the way we're on Spotify, We are on the I tunes, we're on the tuning in. We're on all the different platforms. 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