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Want to travel the world and get paid for it? Looking for invitations for international tourism board press trips for travel writers or curious about how to get hotel, airfare and destination support for an individual media trip?
You’re not alone. These are some of the most popular questions I get asked as a Canadian travel writer.
Public relations firms and destination marketing organizations (DMOs) are responsible for inviting journalists and bloggers on press trips or arranging media visits, both group and individual. They’re your best source for getting a media FAM trip invitation.
Here are some of the best sources of press trips for travel writers, bloggers and other media professionals who want to network with travel industry pros and discover the best press trip opportunities in 2020 and 2021.
Note: Dates, costs, fees and other details of conferences can change without notice so readers should double-check for accuracy.
1. International Media Marketplace ( IMM)
This single-day networking and relationship-building Media Marketplace and Summit hosted by TravMedia, is one of the top events for travel journalists, editors and broadcasters to meet travel and tourism brands. It’s a prime place to get story ideas and opportunities to participate in press trips for travel writers and bloggers.
In order to be successful in pitching with the brands you like the most, you should prepare for your meetings. Conduct some advance research on the brands you’re meeting with and be prepared to showcase yourself and demonstrate your unique value. At minimum you should have demographics of your audience, reach and social channels (see our Media Kit for one example).
International Media Marketplace is held in the US as well as other locations around the world and since 2013, has featured more than 1,425 exhibitors represented by more than 1,835 PR and Travel Industry Professionals.
It takes place in New York on January 22 and 23, 2020 and at QEII Centre, London, UK on March 9-10, 2020.
2. TBEX Europe and TBEX North America 2020
If you’re a travel blogger, podcaster, videographer or writer, TBEX offers an opportunity to network with fellow new media creators and industry professionals such as PR representatives, major brands, tourism boards and destination marketing organizations.
The fee to attend is relatively low and there are generally attractively discounted accommodation options and a wealth of pre and post trips.
TBEX North America will be held between October 7-9, 2020 in Lafayette, Louisiana. For bloggers, this is one of the best sources for press trip opportunities and collaborations in North America. Get details at TBEX
TBEX Europe 2020 will be held in Catania, Sicily in Italy between March 13-20, 2020. get details on TBEX Sicily.
3. Travel Media Association of Canada
Canada’s national trade association representing qualified members of the travel media will hold their 2020 conference in Sudbury Ontario from June 9- 13, 2020. Monthly Munch n’ Mingle events and directory listings offer the opportunity to meet with industry pros. Membership in TMAC is by qualification and there is a fee to attend the conference. Get details at Travel Media Association of Canada
Related: If you’re headed to Victoria and have to pass through Vancouver, check out these ideas for great day trips from Vancouver.
The 3-day U.S. Travel Association’s IPW is the travel industry’s top international marketplace and brings together 6,000 attendees including more than 1,000 U.S. travel organizations as well as international media. During the event, travel journalists also have the opportunity to participate in specialized press tours and can also sign-up for official post-FAMs offered by the state. In 2020 it will be held in Las Vegas, Nevada from May 30-June 3, 2020. Get details at IPW
5. Society of American Travel Writers
Qualify to join this prestigious organization and you’ll be attending conferences (and pre/post trips) in exciting locations. In 2020, the SATW convention will be held in Milwaukee, WI from October 11-15, 2020. Plus, you’ll be listed in a Directory that’s a go-to spot for PR and travel industry pros. Get details at Society of American Travel Writers
6. North America Travel Journalists Association
The annual NATJA conference offers its members the opportunity to meet with US, Canadian and international tourism representatives, attend personal development sessions, network with other travel writers/editors and participate in destination tours as well as pre and post press tours.
In 2019, the NATJA Conference & Marketplace was held in Syracuse, New York from May 15-May 18, 2019. In 2020, it will be held in Puerto Rico. A wide selection of Pre and Post Press trips will be available for attendees. NATJA membership is by qualification and there is a fee to attend the conference. Get details at North America Travel Journalists Association
7. The World Travel Market (WTM)
WTM is the grand-daddy of travel industry events, drawing almost 48,000 industry professionals across four days. Score an invitation to this conference and you’ll meet with reps from over 150 countries – Angola to Uzbekistan. Get details at World Travel Market
8. International Food, Wine & Travel Writers Association
This network of journalists covering the hospitality industry offers an annual conference as well as ongoing press trip opportunities for Taste & Tour events in foodie destinations such as Missouri, Switzerland and California. Get details atInternational Food, Wine & Travel Writers Association
9. Travel Classics Writers Conference
This event offers pre/ post conference trips and includes presentations & workshops with top magazine editors, one-on-one consultations with 6-8 guest editors (not for the tongue-tied). This conference is focused more on the craft of writing and building contacts with editors than press trip opportunities.
10. Visit Europe Media Exchange ( VEMEX)
Presented by the European Travel Commission, the Visit Europe Media Exchange (VEMEX) is a one day forum in late October for industry professionals and invited travel media. Formerly held in three locations in North America, it’s a whirlwind series of one-on-one appointments much like speed dating.
Register on the VEMEX website to receive an invitation. Get details at VEMEX
Be ready to pitch your best story ideas to industry representatives at break-neck speed. If there’s a match, you may be invited on a press visit. If not, at least you’ll have a suitcase full of swag and plenty of story ideas. There is no charge for invited media.
11. GoMedia Canada Marketplace
Sponsored by the Canadian Tourism Commission, this is where Canada’s provinces, territories and industry suppliers strut their stuff in a selection of first rate pre/post conference press trip opportunities. GoMedia 2020 will be held September 10 to 13 in Victoria, B.C.
Prospective attendees must register at the beginning of each year to be considered. There is no fee to attend and airfare/transportation is usually provided for qualified and invited attendees.
12. Travel South Showcase
This conference is focused mostly on tour operators and suppliers but still offers plenty of networking and city FAM tours for travel trade journalists looking for an excuse to visit Waffle House or enjoy some southern hospitality in the winter. The 7th annual Travel South USA International Showcase will be in Baton Rouge March 8-11, 2020. Get information at the Travel South Showcase.
13. Travel Media Showcase
This annual 2-day event, held in different U.S. cities each year, offers an opportunity for travel journalists and travel industry professionals to meet one-on-one, at a single location. A wide range of often unique Pre/Post tours can make it worth braving the intense appointment schedule. Dates for TMS 2020 have not yet been announced so check for updates at Travel Media Showcase
14. Adventure Travel World Summit
Strap on your mountaineering gear for this conference focused on outdoor adventure, extreme sports and professional development. The 2020 Adventure Travel World Summit will be held in Adelaide, Australia October 6-9, 2020.
It features top notch speakers, networking, marketplace appointments with suppliers and plenty of opportunity to explore the host destination. Membership is by qualification
15. The KITI
Sign up for a membership to this online information exchange that unites working travel journalists and PR professionals worldwide.
Get story ideas, submit requests or respond to others according to your account level. Search, save and reply to what is of interest. The KITI
16. Travel Massive
This worldwide network of welcoming travel professionals, bloggers, new media creators and industry pros meets regularly in a social setting ( think drinks and munchies) to share information, learn about online writing craft, technology and destinations. With chapters everywhere from Amsterdam to Washington, you might be able to find ‘one in your home city.
If not, it’s worth checking out the online event calendar and joining an event on one of your travels. You’ll need to qualify, but new bloggers are welcome to join so Travel Massive is a good place to begin if you’re new to the industry. Get details at Travel Massive
17. Mid-Atlantic Media Marketplace
Hosted by the Mid-Atlantic Tourism Public Relations Alliance ( MATRA) this fall event includes press trip opportunities and media meetings with PR professionals representing Delaware, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. The MATPRA Media Marketplace 2020 will be held September 21-23. Apply early if you’re interested in attending Mid-Atlantic Media Marketplace
18. Adventure Travel Mexico
Hosted by the Mexico Tourism Board, the ATMEX conference showcases what Mexico in terms of adventure, nature and cultural travel. It’s an opportunity to network with the people responsible for organizing immersive experiences and Mexico’s wealth of outdoor adventure destinations.
ATMEX will be taking place in Baja California Sur in the Fall 2020. FAM trips and press trip opportunities are available. Hosted Media have airfare and accommodation paid. Get details at Adventure Travel Mexico
19. Tianguis Turistico – Mexico Tourism Media Marketplace
This annual event hosted by Mexico Tourism generally takes place in Acapulco, Guerrero but in 2020 it will be taking place in Merida. Dates for Tianguis 2020 are March 22-25, 2020. Get details at Tianguis Turistico
20. Women in Travel Summit
The WITS event is aimed at women travel influencers and publishers as well as brands that want to work with them. WITS North America will be held in Kansas in April 2020 and WITS Europe will take place in Gdank, Poland from October 16-18, 2020. Visit their website at Women in Travel Summit.
21. Tourism Boards
It’s also possible to contact tourism boards directly and submit an application for an individual press trip or group trip. Most tourism boards and travel writing conferences require qualification by way of clips, significant publication circulation and readership stats and more. Competition for invitations can be fierce and press trip disclosure rules apply.
How to Work with Public Relations Companies
It’s also worth mentioning that there are many other reasons to attend conferences, join professional associations and maintain relationships with public relations firms and destination marketing organizations (DMOs).
Not only are the people you meet at these media marketplace events, experts about their destinations, they often have insider access to interview sources, fact-checking resources, image banks, unique story ideas and the latest news about upcoming developments — all of which can help you write better travel stories.
What is a FAM Trip?
Although often confused with a media press trip, the term “FAM trip” originally referred to a “Familiarization trip” and was aimed at travel agents. It was intended to be (and still is) a free or low cost way for travel agents to become familiar with a destination in order to portray it more accurately to their clients and sell more product.
A FAM trip for travel agents or consultant is often provided by a tour operator, hotel brand or an airline as a means of promoting their service.
Differences between a FAM Trip and a Press trip
The terms FAM trip and Press Trip are often used interchangeably, but press trips for travel writers and bloggers generally include more opportunities for experiencing a destination through its cuisine, culture and history rather than hotel inspections. A FAM trip is generally focused more on property inspections and may include more hotel and attraction tours than a media press trip.
Another important difference is that a FAM trip may (but not always) have a cost associated with it. Travel writers are not charged a cost to participate in a media press trip.
Other Ways to Find Press Trips for Travel Writers, Bloggers, Influencers and Journalists
Become Cabin Crew: If you’re not interested in freelance travel writing, you might be interested in a job as cabin crew with an airline. Check out Resources for Prospective Cabin Crew to help secure a job travelling the world with airlines such as Norwegian Air, Thai Airways, Air India and others.
Volunteer Abroad: If you’re interested in teaching English, working overseas or volunteering in a foreign country, a worthwhile website to browse is Transitions Abroad. Since 1977, it’s been helping readers explore the world and broaden their horizons.
Awards and Recognition: If you win an award for travel writing (as we did for our Costa Rica Intergenerational Family Travel story) or are recognized for travel writing excellence, then you’ll likely be contacted and approached directly for travel press trip opportunities. But beware of scams – in no case should you be expected to pay a deposit to secure a place on a press trip.
If you’re just starting out, you might want to learn more about how to start a travel blog. You might also be interested in my How to Break into Travel Writing Online Course and Workshop.
Do you know of other sources for finding travel writing press trip opportunities or PR contacts for media visits? Do you have other favourite conferences for travel writers? Let me know and I’ll add them to the list