Last Updated: 5/29/23
In addition to the General Guidelines for All Articles, the Travel Editors have developed certain standards and practices unique to their section.
If you work for other areas at Wealth Geeks (i.e., entertainment or news), please note these guidelines are for travel articles only.
Table of Contents
- Wealth of Geeks Article Tracking Sheet
- Style Guide
All pitching happens inside the #Team-Travel Slack channel.
Pitches should be two to three short paragraphs with PITCH before all other text. Detail what you will write and why you are the person to write it, plus any additional information you think we need to know.
While there are exceptions, the general rule for travel features and lists is that the writer must have recent, firsthand information about the destination or subject. If you’ve never been to the Bahamas, don’t pitch an article about why it’s a great vacation spot. Don’t pitch us an article about surviving a flight with a toddler if you’ve never traveled with children.
Some articles can be based on or augmented with research. Those articles are assigned/approved on a case-by-case basis.
Sample Pitch That Works:
PITCH: X Things To Do in Quito, Ecuador. First things first, prepare for the altitude. Usually, the impact of altitude can be avoided by “easing your way” upward to the destination over a few days. Flying into Quito — which is over 9,000 ft of elevation // Andes Mountains– might be a major adjustment. I'll include a few tips to prepare in advance + the hotel I'll recommend is very helpful — you're welcomed with a special tea and itty bitty glass bottle of herbal remedy. Once settled, the city is bustling with sights & foodie treats.
I was just in Quito this past fall & here are a few examples of some faves:
Visit the actual middle of the earth! Middle of the World Monument, situated at 0o0’0” latitude. There are two sites to visit — one, a small park with guides & fun equator demonstrations (trying to balance an egg — success on one side of the demonstration column, and 99% fails on the other side — gravity/balance due to proximity of equator). The other site has a monument and surrounding park and food carts and such. There are (2) sights – quite close to each other because the original calculations were off — but just slightly, which is amazingly impressive. Take a picture with your feet on both hemispheres!
Iglesia de la Compañía de Jesús — breathtaking church/construction began in 1605 & took 160 years to complete.
The proposed due date is 2/28.
Why this Pitch works:
While not all pitches need to go into this much detail, the writer gave us a possible title and a thorough description of the article she proposes. She’s indicated this is a list and provided examples of what will be on the list. She’s told us that she’s recently been to the destination she’s pitching and gives a due date.
**Don’t Pitch Like This:
I’m going to Ecuador next week and want to write a story about my trip. I’ll be back on Thursday, and I’m sure I’ll have lots of ideas. I’ll have time to work on these after I get done with my long list of other projects.
Why this ‘Pitch' doesn’t work:
There’s no title or structure, and the only thing we know is that this is a story about the country of Ecuador that we’ll receive at an unknown future date when the writer finishes more important things. We’re happy to consider a story before a trip, but we need details on the story. If you don’t know your plans, wait until you’re home to pitch.
We aim to respond to pitches in Slack within one week. Feel free to tag us if it’s been longer than a week. If your pitch is time-sensitive or urgent, state that upfront.
Acceptance + Rejections
Writers will get a confirmation of acceptance in Slack and pertinent assignment details. If we pass on a pitch, we’ll do our best to give you feedback. However, that is not guaranteed.
We may suggest ways to make the pitch work for Wealth of Geeks or ask you for clarification. Please respond promptly if you want us to continue to consider the pitch.
Rejection is part of being a writer. If you’re hesitant to pitch because you fear getting a “no,” you won’t pick up many assignments here or anywhere else.
Don’t know what to pitch? These thought starters are pinned to the top of the channel and updated frequently. Grab one of these topics and tailor it to what you know.
2. Wealth of Geeks Article Tracking Sheet
The Wealth of Geeks Article Tracking Sheet is how we track assignments. If you do not have access to this sheet, use the “Request Edit Access” button at the top right.
There is a tab labeled “Travel Specific” on which your assignments will go.
Fill in the first five columns upon acceptance of your pitch. Do not fill in colors or sort the data.
We will clarify the due date when we accept your pitch or assign you work, but in general, lists and features are due within two weeks of the assignment, and short news pieces are due within 72 hours of the assignment.
If we accept a pitch based on future travel, the general rule is that the due date will be two weeks after your return.
Do not change a due date without clearing it through an editor.
If you need additional time to complete your assignment, reach out before your work is due.
Submit all articles in a Google Doc that anyone with the link can view. You do not need to grant editing access.
Put the link to your Google Doc in the column labeled “G Doc of Post.”
You do not need to let editors know your work is there. We track assignments by the due date.
Requests for Edits
If we return a piece to you for edits, we expect you to return it within two business days unless we agree otherwise.
We do not require writers to turn in images with their writing. If you want to submit an image, do so in an open Google Drive or Dropbox folder and label them so we can tell what they are. If the photo credit does not go to the writer, specify who we need to credit.
Do not put images inside the Google Doc with your copy.
3. Travel Style Guide
Most travel features and lists should be in the 800-1200 range. We can commission longer lists and detailed destination guides, but unless we agree to over 1200 words when we accept your pitch, please stay within the guidelines for word count.
Travel news pieces are 300-600 words.
If your submission is over or under the established world count, discuss this with an editor before turning it in. Otherwise, we will return your piece to be beefed up or trimmed down.
First Person or Third Person?
Writers may choose whatever style they’re comfortable with as long as they choose one and stick with it throughout the piece. Unless we give guidance on which style would be the best fit, the writer can decide how to best write the story.
Title vs. Text
Editors may rework your titles, but your copy should align with your working title. If your title is “10 Tips for Navigating Rome, ” then every heading needs to be a useful tip. “Rome is beautiful in spring” is not a tip but “Visit during the spring” with an explanation of why the perfect weather, lower crowds, etc., make it a good time to visit.
If your title proposes a question like “What’s the best cruise line for kids?” or “Should you vacation in Ireland or Scotland,” you need to answer that question in some way, even if it’s pointing out in your conclusion that it’s ultimately the readers choice.
Avoid Ambiguity and Generalizations
Some examples of ambiguity are “You probably don’t want to visit North Dakota during the winter” or “These two cities are relatively close together.” If I don’t want to visit North Dakota during winter, tell me why. Also, “relatively close together” means different things to different readers.
Avoid generalizations like “No kid likes spinach.” Generalizations aren’t valuable for readers.
U.S. Spellings and Measurements
Wealth of Geeks has writers from all over the world, but it is a U.S. site. We use favorite versus favourite and traveler versus traveller. Adjust your spell checker for American English if necessary.
Also, use miles versus kilometers, and if you’re listing any prices in your text, convert it to U.S. Dollars first.
Keep your stories free of pandemic language unless there’s a specific reason to discuss COVID-19-related travel restrictions, vaccinations, or testing requirements, such as a location still requiring testing or special paperwork.
Intros should be one to two paragraphs that lead the reader into the story. Do not put links in your first paragraph.
Use H2 headings every two to three paragraphs. If your H2 section is longer than four paragraphs, use H3 to break up your text.
Links Within the Article
You must include at least two links to relevant Wealth of Geeks travel articles within your article. You may include links from outside sources or your website if relevant, but two MUST be from Wealth of Geeks. Anchor the link to relevant text.
Do not promise links to a destination or business. We include links that enhance our reader’s experiences, but we may limit the number of external links in an article.
What’s up with the three-assignment rule?
Writers may have three outstanding story assignments at once. If you’ve got more than three assignments, please complete those before pitching additional stories.
We are happy to bend this rule for writers with a track record of turning in outstanding Wealth of Geeks articles on time and who are responsive and communicative.
How Often Should I Check Slack?
Treat Slack like you treat your work email. Most freelancers check their work email daily unless they are traveling or on vacation. If you will be out or unavailable for an extended period, update your status in your Slack profile.
Can I get a Letter of Assignment?
We can provide writers with Letters of Assignment if requested. Reach out a week in advance if you need an LOA.
Do I really have to use Grammarly Premium?
Yes. We check.
Your submission must have a score of 95 or higher upon submission.
- Names of ships and trains should be italicized, just like movie and video game titles.
- The Disney Wonder and Emerald Princess are ships, not boats.
- Double-check your nomenclature, i.e., jetBlue versus Jet Blue, Hersheypark versus Hershey Park.
- Avoid describing something as a “hidden gem” or “off the beaten path.” It is probably not that hidden if you’re writing about it online.
- Do not use “something for everyone” to describe a location or activity.
- Don’t write about experiences that aren’t repeatable. If you received a private tour or perks unavailable to the general public, don’t write stories about them.
- Do not end any list with “finally,” “concluding,” “the last on our list,” or anything that states or implies the reader is finished with the article.
- Don’t force comparison, i.e. Baja is the new Tulum.
- Balance positivity with honesty. While we probably won’t publish a “Worst hotel ever” article, don’t tell readers that a basic Hampton Inn is the most wonderful and luxurious property.
- Use phrases like “best-ever” or “my favorite” sparingly. Be genuine and believable.
- Being hosted or comped does not obligate you to write a glowing review or to allow a PR representative or destination to dictate your narrative.
- Don’t make it all about you. Readers are taking in your experience but applying the knowledge you’re giving to their own trip.