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7 Reasons to Say NO to a Press Trip

7 Reasons to say no to a press trip

I admit, there was a time when I thought nothing could top the idea of free travel. And then I went on a press trip. It was certainly fun. And interesting. It was also long. And tiring. And there were moments that I was so intent on sharing what I was seeing and learning on Twitter and Facebook that I felt like I wasn’t present on the trip at all. And then, the trip ended and I was home. And the real work began.  Writing, editing photos, fact checking, creating video and promoting my posts. And that’s when I realized there is no such thing as free travel.

I’ve been blogging for over five years. I no longer accept every press trip or event that I’m offered. While I’m flattered, sometimes a press trip doesn’t make sense to me or my brand. I’m at the point where I’ve begun to ask myself a few questions before I RSVP.

7 Reasons why I Say No to a Press Trip 

  1. Not a good fit.

This is a tough one because I want to experience everything, but honestly, some destinations simply are not a good fit for my site. Last year, I was invited to go on a week-long cruise on a line that I could only dream of traveling on. My family is pretty much budget focused and I write a lot about how to save money while traveling so a luxurious cruise though oh-so-tempting- wasn’t a good fit. In a few years, I may be in a better position to write about luxury travel, but right now, it’s not normally a good fit for me or my audience. I’d rather say no now, and have an opportunity to work with the brand in the future than say yes now, and leave the brand disappointed.

  1. I wouldn’t pay to visit on my own.

Before I accept a press trip, I ask myself if the destination is one that I would visit if I were footing the bill. Is this a destination that I would visit on my own? Is this a location or attraction that my audience will be interested in reading about? If the answer is no, to either question, I can’t justify accepting.

  1. I can’t afford it.

Some press trips cover all expenses. Some cover everything once you arrive at the location, but offer a stipend to cover some of the travel expenses. Some destinations require you to foot the bill to their location. The costs can add up. Especially if you take several press trips a year or month. I’ve learned to allocated a portion of the income I make from my site for traveling to and from press trips, but even so, if I’m required to travel a long distance or I’m not able to find what I consider a reasonably priced flight, I’m likely not going to accept, because I can’t afford to.

  1. Bad timing.

I’ve said no to press trips that I would have loved for no other reason than the timing was bad. What more can I say?

  1. If I feel the PR invited the wrong person.

You may think this never happens, but it has happened to me. I was once invited on a press trip that included my family only to find out the destination thought I had young children. Clearly, they didn’t read my About Page. If they had done their research they would have seen that my kids are grown. It would have saved embarrassment for both of us.

  1. Press trips can stress me out.

Nine times out of ten, I can roll with the punches and a press trip goes off without too big of a hitch. But once in a while, things can go awry.  The weather doesn’t cooperate and leaves me stranded at an airport hours from home. The hotel accidentally charges my credit card for the entire length of my stay. Or the cabin where I’m supposed to be shooting a TV segment that was sprung on me at the last minute isn’t ready and its five minutes to airtime.

I’ve learned to expect the unexpected when traveling, but the unexpected is easier for me to take when I’m traveling for pleasure and not for work.

  1. The trip doesn’t align with my goals for my site.

When invited on a press trip, it’s important to remember that you’re there because the brand is expecting you to help them reach goals that they’ve made. The same goes for me. The trip needs to offer me good return, which means I’m looking to further build a connection with the PR reps or brand hosting, that I’m looking to make new connections, and/or I the trip will provide content ideas that will be a natural fit for my site or for another site and for my audience.

I really do love press trips. I returned from one last weekend and had a lovely time with my husband and bloggers that I’ve come to think of as part of the family. I’ve simply learned that for me, it’s best if I don’t accept every offer that comes my way.  I try to limit my press trips to once a month- of course there are always exceptions.

There are times that I find it easier to plan and book my own travel which is what I did when my husband and I traveled from Ohio to the Oregon Coast. Sure I still posted to social media (I’m a hopeless Instagram addict) and I have written some blog posts about the trip so it’s not like I turned my work off completely, but footing the bill did give me the freedom to travel on my time frame with no deadlines and no expectations.

Are you a travel writer or blogger? How often do you accept press or hosted trips? What so you consider before accepting an offer?

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Piritta Paija

Friday 9th of October 2015

Hi, nice post! I totally agree with you, that press trips/hosted trips are a LOT of work after the trip. I have been blogging about 2 years now and I have never been invited to an "official" press trip yet. However, we've been (me&my spouse, who also writes) on several hosted trips during the past year, but we have found and negotiated them by ourselves with companies that have been a fit for our brand. Because we've found these opportunities by ourselves, we have also managed to negotiate reasonable amounts of work to include into the deals (so that it matches to what they are offering to us).

Of course, this means more work to find the deals when they just don't drop into your inbox, but there definitely are certain advantages. I.e. because we both still work also in full-time jobs alongside with the blogging, our time to use to our blog is limited. But we can negotiate i.e. publishing schedules that we can manage. It always still is a lot of work, therefore we are very careful in choosing the companies, etc. to work with. I think that when your time is limited, you become even more careful in what you spend it into. It has to be mutually beneficial.

Happy travels & thanks for these views of yours!


Thursday 8th of October 2015

Awesome post, as usual. I have never done a press trip or even sought them out. I am moving very slowly in the blogging realm, and it does seem to me that I've read a lot lately about you shouldn't do press trips instead of the other way around. Anyway, I'm learning a lot thanks to bloggers like you. So, thank you for that!


Monday 12th of October 2015

Press trips are great- if they align with your goals. I don't think a blogger should ever accept one simply because they're flattered. Personally, I've found many hosted trips to be a better fit for me. They allow me to explore on a slower pace and align with my goals better, rather than PR trying to appease a handful or two of writers, a hosted trip is generally only me or my family.

Thanks for commenting, Tara! :)


Tuesday 15th of September 2015

I heartily agree! Great post.

Dominique King

Tuesday 15th of September 2015

Amen! I turn down more press trips than I accept...for many of the same reasons. I like the idea of going on the press trips to meet folks and build closer working relationships with them, but I'm not good with running myself ragged to see (and not really experience anyway) things that have nothing to do with my audience or goals for my own blog. The expense of participating in some of these trips (both in money and the time you have to invest in them at the expense of your other work or meeting your own goals) is definitely a real issue. I remember getting invited to one trip recently that I declined after one look at the itinerary (a destination/region that would definitely fit in with Midwest Guest and one I haven't done a lot with yet). I heard from other bloggers I knew that did take the trip that the organizers ran them around without regard to what they might have covered and did stuff like taking a drive-by of one of the organizers' childhood homes while totally ignoring one of the state's largest and most-popular attractions that was definitely of interest to many of them... organizers eventually gave into repeated requests to schedule a 15-minute stop at the place...which wasn 't enough time to experience it or do more than grab a couple of quick Instagrams. There is also the issue that Tim has always been a part of Midwest Guest, and is taking a more visible role in the blog I rarely consider trips that do not allow the both of us to attend...or trips that we cannot easily expand a day or two so we can travel on our own on the way there or back.

Sara P. (@SensiblySara)

Tuesday 15th of September 2015

I LOVE press trips! But I always ask myself if my blog is fit before I say yes. Protection Status
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