Freelance Writing

How I Earned Free Accommodations In Exchange For Freelance Travel Writing

(Last Updated On: January 11, 2021)

Imagine waking up in a new city in a hotel that provided you with free accommodations. As you lie in bed the sun shines through the window. You take your first sip of morning coffee at your leisure. No alarms to get up to and no where you have to be by 8:00am on a regular Wednesday morning.

Well, that my friend is the life of a freelance travel writer. Sounds pretty wonderful right? 

Today I want to share with you my journey from starting a blog six months ago to landing my first freelance writing gig. That freelance writing gig allowed me to receive free accommodations in exchange for writing.

As a new blogger that has been blogging for less than a year with a very small social media presence.

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I couldn’t imagine that I would be able to get my first travel writing project in my first six months of blogging. But it happened.

Initially when I started my blog I knew that I wanted to secure freelance travel and food writing gigs eventually. My hope was that I could build up writing samples through my blog posts and use those to showcase my work to earn freelance writing projects later on.

I did not initially set out to obtain free accommodations through freelance writing. But as it turns out, hotels are more apt to provide a free hotel room instead of monetary payment.

For me, as someone who likes to travel, free accommodations are great for me!

If you are thinking about starting a blog solely for the purpose of having writing samples, I highly encourage you to start today. Honestly, I wish I had started my blog years ago.

Check out my How To Start A Blog Tutorial with hosting site Siteground (affiliate).

I recently came across another blogger online, Ashlea with A Glob Well Traveled and when reading her post How To Use Blogging To Get Your Dream Travel Job I couldn’t agree more.

I felt like we were speaking the same language!

You see, by having a blog, you run the show.

You have the power to write and create whatever you want to share with the world, and while doing so you can help position yourself for the dream job you are seeking. In my case it’s travel freelance writing.

You can be a freelance writer too.

The truth is that I am not special…you can start freelance writing too. I am reminded of a quote from an early episode of Jerry Seinfeld’s Netflix series Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee when guest comedian Sarah Silverman said (and I am paraphrasing) something to the effect of “It always blows my mind when people say, I wish I could work as a writer. But the truth is, no one needs to pay you to start writing…you can just start writing now!”

So while you may not be getting paid to write your blog…it’s a good place to start. Simply getting into the habit of writing more will prepare you for those travel writing opportunities down the line.

Here is a rundown of my blogging journey so far that led me to my first travel writing gig that provided free accommodations.

Honestly I truly believe I would not have gotten it had I not had my own blog.

November 2017 –

The journey begins! I officially started my blog, Plain Jane Lifestyle.  I switched from the free platform to self-hosting with Siteground (affiliate) and using (Affiliate) Check out my blog post that explains how start your blog, pick out your name and get hosting here.

December 2017 –

I had my first blog post “go viral” with over 3,500 pins and shares on Pinterest. My blog post What Every Blogger Needs To Know About Blogging Legally and it continues to be one of my top read posts.  What made this post successful was that it added value to my readers with helpful information and I had an interview with a successful blogger/attorney that provided great information. She was already an established professional blogger with a great following so when she helped promote the blog post on her end it really increased the amount of viewers to my site.

January 2018 –

I joined Tailwind (update – I currently only do manual pinning and not Tailwind) and by joining it really helped me broaden my audience reach and gain more readers to my website.

February 2018 –

I came across while reading another bloggers post about freelancing writing opportunities.  After reading about Arrivedo, I decided to apply to be one of their freelance writers. Arrivedo only accepts about 30% of writers that apply to their platform (3 out of 10), so I was so thrilled when they accepted me after reviewing my application and looking over my writing samples from my online blog, Plain Jane Lifestyle. (I know I never would have landed this opportunity had I not had my blog).

March 2018 –

Once I had been accepted as a certified writer with Arrivedo, it was then up to me to begin outreach to hotels. You see, Arrivedo gives you the tools you need to succeed as a freelancer, but is up to you to reach out to hotels and to set your compensation in exchange for creating a Neighborhood Guide through their online platform. I began contacting hotels via email immediately, explaining what Arrivedo is and why this would be a great benefit to them.

April 2018 –

I must have initially emailed well over 100 hotels before securing a freelance writing project. While it can be frustrating when you are either hearing no responses back from hotels or after beginning a dialog they ultimately decide not to move forward. The key to success in just about all facets of life is perseverance and not giving up. That is surely the case with being a freelance writer.

Then one day in mid April I negotiated my first travel writing job with The Maven Hotel in Denver, Colorado. A 2-night stay at their hotel in exchange for a Neighborhood Guide, written by me, on the Arrivedo platform was the agreement.

May 2018 –

My guide was published on May 1st after undergoing some edits from the Arrivedo editing team. Check out my finished product here.

As an awesome bonus, I also earned my first cash payment of $100 from Arrivedo’s incentive program for new writers. Their incentives change month to month but currently for your first, third and fifth published Neighborhood Guides you receive $100 each. This is just an extra boost to help you with your outreach and sales of Neighborhood Guides for Hotels.

Here is a list of great places to look for freelance travel writing work:

Freelance writing, travel writing, free accommodations,be your own boss


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