Subscribe on iTunes

Subscribe on Stitcher Radio

RSS:Use this link in your RSS reader

This episode features detailed show notes below which will help you understand the concepts we present in the podcast. Also, a free cheat sheet – Which is a “Fill in the blanks” pitching template based on what we use to pitch companies on a weekly basis.

We’ve had a lot of proven success with this template. But you do need to listen to this episode and read the notes below to understand better how to get success from the template yourself.

Although these notes will really help you, listen to the podcast too for more content than is written. Plus, we’ll say silly things to keep you entertained while you learn.

In the Pitching Travel Brands episode:

We detail all of our expenses, what we got in exchange for blogging and promoting companies and valuable tips and tricks that helped us make it happen.

$7,254USD of Travel from Girona to Bucharest in 30 days has ended up costing us under $1,000 net, and we may clear a zero balance within the next 3 months.

Why building your own press trip is better than applying to be on someone else’s press trip.

FREE Pitch template cheat sheet – Instant download

[magicactionbox id=”9056″]

Your free pitch template will be delivered as a word document, attached to an email.

Pitching Success – Our $7,254.20 trip cost under $1,000

Over a 30 day period during May/June 2015 we took a trip by train from Barcelona to Bucharest and visited 12 countries.

The entire value of the trip was $7,254.20 USD. But, we received $5675.52 in free products and experiences, and at current counting (September 2015) have earned over $650 through selling articles about destinations we visited as well as some affiliate sales.

More money is still coming in. But you should note, although we got things for “free” we actually work really hard to pitch the companies, and then deliver content and results that they are happy with.

Nothing is ever really free. We exchange our time and services for products and experiences. It’s a straight trade. Good pitching is all about making a trade both parties are happy with. If you can offer enough value, you can ask for a fee as well. You have to decide if what you offer is of greater value than the product you receive before you choose to ask for financial compensation too.

Our one month Eurotrip, Which included many expensive destinations such as Switzerland, Germany and Austria, cost us (2 people: Tommo & Megsy) less than $1,000USD net. We aim to get that total into profit over the next 6 months by selling more articles and affiliates.

All this was possible because we are travel bloggers. We pitched and got 25 nights of accommodation, plus Eurail / interrail passes and more than 20 high value tour/experiences.

For more information on all the figures and details, take a listen to the podcast.

But can you replicate our success? Yes, you can.

2 reasons bloggers think they can’t pitch

1. My blog is too small. No one will give me free stuff.

Ok. Some reasons why this isn’t true.

Firstly, your pitch is an exchange. Although big bloggers simply exchange writing an article and putting it on social media. That is not the only exchange option.

Instead of promising promotion. You could promise amazing photos – if you are great at photos. Or a cool promo video – if video is your thing. So long as you have some skill that you can send them samples of and give a reason why it is a good trade, there is your pitch.

We offer watermarked photos as an extra incentive in some of our pitches. You could offer completely free photos that the company can use without limitation. Of course, offering that trade to a company that already has great photos is not great. So do your research first. See what the company is lacking and make an offer that will benefit them.

Secondly, our first successful pitch, back in September 2013 got us a $250 discount on accommodation and scuba diving open water certification training in the Philippines. We pitched with a blog of just 7,000 monthly page views.

We didn’t get that $1,000 experience for free. But a 25% discount for our first pitch, with small numbers was pretty good as a result. This got our foot in the door to improve our travel resume for use with working with other brands in the future.

Over the last 2 years, the article we wrote for that first company has established itself with really decent SEO and gets constant traffic. More traffic today than ever and still growing. It’s had about 8,000 page views in 18 months. Not huge numbers, but a good win for the company given we only asked for a 25% discount.

We cut into the profit of the company, but it didn’t really COST them anything. But it meant a lot to us and got our travel resume started.

I’ll send a more detailed case study of this by email if you sign up to get our free pitching template below.

2. What if my pitch gets rejected.

Well, here’s the truth. Some of your pitches will get rejected.

We’ve been pitching companies, journalist and other bloggers with various ideas since we started blogging in December 2012.

We’ve had a lot of rejected pitches.

But, we have also honed our pitch writing skills, what we offer and how we select the companies to approach. So, we certainly get a lot of successes – almost $6,000 for the 30 day Eurotrip, and lots of other things before and since.

You just have to face it. Many of your pitches are going to get rejected. Even at our level, or above our level. If you don’t accept that and just pitch anyway, you will never get your first few big breaks and you will never get to the point where pitching becomes easy.

Top 5 Pitching Tips

We have a lot of tips we use to get our pitches opened, read and approved. Here are just 5.

Get Sidekick

By far the best learning and efficiency tool for pitching is Sidekick.

If you use Gmail, this extension, which works on chrome browser, will tell you if your email is opened at the other end.

It will tell you how many times it gets opened.

It will tell you when it gets opened. So, if you see the email was opened a second time, a week later, that indicates they did not instantly delete the email after first reading, meaning it may have been up for consideration.

Analysing the data you get back from sidekick is pretty useful for learning. Also, if your mum opens your email but doesn’t reply, you can be pissed at her.

If you don’t use Gmail & chrome… Sidekick is the reason to start.

Brand Alignment

If the company you approach is closely aligned with your values, or the values of your blog, this will mean that your readership is a better fit for them than a generic blog would be. So, small numbers can be effective as they are more targeted.

Plus, if you agree on your worldview, you are likely going to see eye to eye. And good relationships are often more important than numbers.

Get To The Point

People are busy. If you are writing a load of fluff about how you love flowers, traveling the world and seeing rainbows and you rode a pony once when you were 12 so would love to do this camel riding experience and your mum is really a fan of sand so she’ll tell all her friends too about your trip to the Sahara… blah blah blah…

We are all guilty of rambling. You should clearly state who you are and why they should care, but make it very concise. 2 sentences if possible. State your website and some relevant experience or reason why you are a good fit.

Our pitch now normally states Nat Geo Traveller Blog Of the Month July 2015. If you don’t have accolades… State something else positive and relevant about your experience.

Be Clear On The Exchange

We screwed this up early on. When you start pitching you feel apprehensive asking for free stuff. So, you dodge around the specifics and are just looking for a response.

Not good. This can lead to turning up to experiences expecting them to be free and the company thinking you just wanted to know if it was alright to write about them but expecting you to pay…

Be clear. I will do X in return for 2 free places on your Tuk-Tuk tour. Either they say yes, no or negotiate.

Sweeten The Pot

If your pitch offers a little more than expected, more than just a basic blog post – like most blogger offers, then that’s going to set you apart.

Example: When pitching for accommodation and tours, we offer watermarked DSLR quality photos. If your photography is not saleable, can you write content for their site, rather than just for your own blog?

What is a unique skill that you have that will be useful to the company, which you can exchange for them giving you a complimentary experience.


Take Action – Travel Homework

Go out there and pitch! Get our free pitching template DOC below, find companies that align with your brand and send them an email.

FREE Pitch template cheat sheet – Instant download


[magicactionbox id=”9056″]

Your free pitch template will be delivered as a word document, attached to an email.

Become part of the Travel Freedom community on twitter.

Follow us

Tweet suggestions to @mytravelfreedom

#travelfreedom #travelmonday #moneymonday


Weblinks from Pitching Travel Brands Episode

World Nomads Insurance – Specifically designed for digital nomads, flashpackers, adventure & long term Travellers – Get a 5% Discount with our coupon code: FOOD5

AirBnB – THIS LINK  gets you $20 (£12/18Euros) off your first booking with AirBnB.

Sir Toby’s Hostel, Prague – Get your 10% discount off your next stay with the code “travelfreedom”

Retox Budapest – Party Hostel in Budapest

Polawalk Vienna – Check out all their available Tours HERE
Want to do the same tour we did? Then check out the Prater Vienna Tour HERE

Claustrophillia Escape Room (Exit Game) in Budapest.

Eurail – Eurail sponsored our travel across Europe by Train.

Yahoo Travel Explorers

Food Fun Adventure Vienna – our article on five dollar traveller

Our Munich podcast

Our Innsbruck podcast

Book a Rest Hostel – where we stayed in Bucharest

Liquid Dive Resort – Our first ever post written after pitching and working with a brand.


Polawalk tour Vienna

Polawalk tour Vienna

alcoholympics at Retox Party Hostel

Alcoholympics at Retox Party Hostel (Budapest)

kase spaetzle in Innsbruck Austria

Kase Spaetzle in Innsbruck Austria

ohhh so adorable - kittens in Switzerland

Ohhh so adorable – kittens in Switzerland


Love this post? why not pin it to your favourite Pinterest board?

We detail all of our expenses, what we got in exchange for blogging and promoting companies and valuable tips and tricks that helped us make it happen. $7,254USD of Travel from Girona to Bucharest in 30 days has ended up costing us under $1,000 net, and we may clear a zero balance within the next 3 months. Why building your own press trip is better than applying to be on someone else's press trip. We also unveil a little surprise...



DISCLAIMER: We are affiliated with World Nomads, PolaWalk, and many of the other companies listed in this post. All our opinions, as always, are our own.


This podcast is new, so help us out. Please leave your comments below so that we can make changes to future episodes based on your feedback.





Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

8 comments on “040 Pitching Travel Brands: How our $7,254.20 trip cost under $1,000

  1. Steve R Dec 22, 2015

    WOW! My wife and I have traveled a lot but the way you guys travel is on another level. I’ll be following your blog and podcast now for sure. Thanks

    • Dec 23, 2015

      Thanks Steve! Yeah we’ve gone hardcore on working with brands in 2015 – a lot of content for a lot of amazing experiences 🙂

  2. I have to be honest that I absolutely HATE the title of this post, as I think it is a major part of what gives bloggers a bad rep, but truly appreciate what you’ve broken down on the inside and the quick caveat that nothing we do for “free” actually means “free” — so thanks for shutting me down quickly!! 😉

    these are great tips for bloggers looking to connect with brands, especially about Sidekick — GAME. CHANGER. — and being clear from the beginning about the value exchange!

    thanks for sharing these tips, and hopefully the title will grab the attention of exactly those who need to read it!!

    can’t wait to see where your adventures head in 2016! 🙂

    xo christina

    • Dec 29, 2015

      Thanks Christina 🙂 The headline has certainly caused some controversy for us. All part of the game. But, yes nothing is truly free in the blogging industry. Happy 2016 to you!

  3. Great article. I am still new to blogging and not ready to pitch yet. Maybe when I get over 1000 visits a day. Working on it, lol Thanks for the great advice. I have bookmarked this page for the future.

    • Feb 4, 2016

      Thanks Sam! You really don’t need to wait that long to work with brands. Start working on small projects now and grow your experience. Our first pitch was when Our blog only had 7,000 page views a month. And that worked out really well. The case study is in the email series if you sign up above.
      So get pitching!

  4. I’m interested in learning about your mentor program. Please let me know the next steps.

    • Tommo Jan 22, 2018

      Hey Scott. We no longer run a mentor program as we now have a comprehensive course featuring top industry experts to help you learn about every element of the pro travel blog industry. You can take the introductory free course at
      Email us if you have questions for a faster response. Cheers!