Freelancing for Newspapers Challenge: Travel Stories Part Two

Sue Fagalde LickBy Sue Fagalde Lick

We often read travel articles about adventurous adults rafting the rapids, hiking to the top of Diamond Head, touring the wine country, or exploring galleries full of delicate artworks. That’s great, but how many of us are so blissfully unfettered? Where can we take the kids, the grandparents or our favorite canine companions? Those exotic trips we read about are not accessible for us or for many of the other people who read newspaper travel sections.

Solve this problem by offering articles about destinations for travelers with special needs. For example, small children would be bored silly-and dangerously-in the gallery, but they might love to visit a zoo, hike an easy trail where they can chase after squirrels and birds, or play on a wooden climbing apparatus filled with kid-sized steps, slides and tunnels. In addition to keeping the children amused, parents will bless the travel writer who lists affordable motels and restaurants where everyone can sleep and eat in comfort.

Those who don’t have kids at home might be interested in articles about traveling with elderly or disabled companions, or they might be looking for places to take their dogs. Article ideas that cater to any of these travelers offer endless possibilities for publication, both in general-interest newspapers and the many specialized papers for each group. Perhaps that child-friendly park is also a good place to take the dogs, or that easy trail is wheelchair-accessible. If you hold on to your reprint rights, you can resell the same article to non-competing newspapers. You can also re-slant the same basic information for different audiences to hit even more markets.

For marketing ideas, visit The Society of American Travel Writers site (www.satw.org). To see what papers are looking for, check Parenting Publications of America (www.parentingpublications.org), Google “senior newspapers” and look for dog-lover’s rags at your local pet-supplies store or veterinarian’s waiting room.

YOUR CHALLENGE: Brainstorm ideas for good places to take kids, seniors or pets. Write down as many possibilities as you can think of or discover with a little research. Pick one, find a likely market, and start working on your query.

You are welcome to share your results or discuss the challenge here, as well as at my Freelancing for Newspapers blog. Remember, there are no right or wrong answers.

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Sue Fagalde Lick, author of Freelancing for Newspapers, worked as a staff writer, photographer and editor for newspapers in California and Oregon for many years before moving into full-time freelancing. In addition to countless newspaper and magazine articles, she has published three books on Portuguese Americans. She has taught workshops at Oregon Coast Community College, online for Writing-world.com and for Willamette Writers and California Writers Club. She offers an online course on reviews as well as individual coaching. See her website and visit her blog.
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