I missed the travel writing questions...
"Extremely intrigued by the potential of travel writing. Would be particularly interested in a sampling of the publications and handling of finances (i.e. is the publication generally picking up the tab, is the destination extending a gratis stay for the publicity, etc.)? Also, do you generally travel as a family, or solo?
Thanks in advance for any input here; it is greatly appreciated!"
Mmm - it's a bit of a huge topic, but I can share my path
My first travel clips were about trips and activities we did as a family, which were typically close to home. I searched through the newstand and the free mags at the library and outdoors stores and then hunted down their writer's guidelines for info on how to pitch the stories. For those first stories I footed the bill (they were trips I was doing anyway) - very few mags, except the top tier, offer expenses. My first pay tended to be in the $100-$500 range for a story - so not a way to get rich, but it usually covered the cost of whatever we were doing.
After I had a few travel clips I went to the Travel Media Showcase in the US and joined our national travel writing association up here. That opened a bunch of new doors - now I have a group of mags I write for and my family and I are invited on trips quite often. My daughter and I just went on a luxury train ride through the Rockies then spent a long weekend in Calgary - our share of the expenses was one meal that wasn't hosted and our airfare home (about $200 - and I'll earn about $2000 for the story and pictures)
While the perks are awesome and it sounds great - it is work. I need to produce and sell the stories - in a very competitive industry. I have a couple of niches and specialties and tend to steer away from the traditional travel format. But the effort to learn the industry has been worth while - I've taken my family on some amazing trips (and done a few dream trips on my own.)