Six Reasons I Love Press Trips: The Debate on Free Travel Continues

Free trips! Free trips! It’s still a hot topic (see post below). I just came across a post on Gadling.com by Tom Johansmeyer called Free press travel: necessary … and certainly not evil, a well-thought out – if slightly exhaustive – piece in support of free travel. I like the sounds of this guy, he cares about getting his story and will break off from the group if he has to. That’s the hardest part about a press trip, being herded around like sheep, because I’ve never been good in a pack, or, um, I mean a flock.

Shell Dog

High end swag?

I agree 100% that the best press trips are the ones with the loosest agendas, and where the public relations people are there to help us get our articles rather than to make sure we Do! Not! Deviate! from the itinerary.

Herd or Flock?

Everyone Stay Together!

Wait, I take it back. That’s not the hardest part of a press trip. The hardest thing is that we never get enough sleep. Why? Why? When did 8 hours of sack time become a forbidden luxury?

But I digress. What are the best things about press trips?

1) The destinations, of course. Spain! Italy! The Yukon! How great is that?

2) Seeing things I would never see otherwise. While I always think I know best when it comes to finding what I need for an article, often an itinerary forces me to do something that sound boring … and then it’s the coolest thing ever. Like touring a ginseng store. Now I love ginseng.

3) Getting to know some of the PR people and the other journalists. After two days together, it’s gone way beyond cocktail party talk and we’re dishing deep. So fun. Except, of course, for the people you don’t like. Or even worse, the people who don’t like you. Not, um, that that’s happened. Nope. No sirree.

4) Breaking out of my self-made box. For some reason, I’m scared of almost everything, except travelling and heights, and often when I’m on a press trip there will be something I don’t want to do, and then I do it and feel like Rocky. I have snorkelled (What? So I’m scared of the sea), gone dog-sledding, gone skiing for the first time in 10 years, ridden an elephant, eaten chicken anus … oh, no wait, that wasn’t a press trip, that was in a bar in Korea with friends. Anyway you get the idea.

5) Itineraries that include facials. What can I say? I love them.

6) The free part. Free trips! Free trips! How could I see the world and write about it otherwise?

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