Announcing Gadling’s 2011 writer contest!

*UPDATE!* This contest is now closed!

*UPDATE!* This contest is now closed!

Some people call it a dream job, others, a freelance gig with a few fun benefits. Travel writing is a profession that many people like to dream about: the writer gets to experience beautiful, new destinations, get paid to go on vacation and sit on the beach drinking daiquiris while the money rolls in.

Reality is a bit further from the above superlatives, but there are a lot of great things about travel writing. You can work from anywhere, can share stories from your travels with the world and if you’re good, can make a nice side purse of cash to boot.

For Gadlingers though, it’s not about money so much as the love of travel. Half of the copy for this contest was written from seat 3A on a flight from Madrid to New York to Chicago — a journey made not with the press or as part of a sales pitch, but because the price was right and there was so much more in this world to see. This is the sort of mentality that flows through our team, and the sort of cloth from which our new bloggers will ideally be cut. No, our pay isn’t great, but we have amazing opportunities.

And that’s why we’re turning to you, our readers, to solicit entries for the 2011 “Become a Travel Writer” contest. If you’re reading this on Gadling, chances are that you’re a traveler and a dreamer as well – someone who reads Kraig Becker‘s stories about hiking in Nepal and thinks “wow, I could totally do that,” or someone who took a trip to Puerto Rico last winter just to get in on a weekend backgammon tournament.

If you’re that sort of world savvy traveler, we’d like you to join us on our team. We’re going to do this in a few rounds, but at the end of the day, here’s what we’re ultimately looking for in a new blogger:

  • At least 25 posts per month. You’ll need to have the skills to cover the full spectrum of articles, from simple reblogs or coverage around the web-at-large to SEO original content to top 5 and 10 lists to longer-form, narrative travel pieces.
  • A background in journalism isn’t required, but demonstrated ability in web content creation and savviness is key. If you’ve got a blog, get it cleaned up and ready for show, or if you’ve previously created content before then dig up those links.
  • Social media plays a big role in travel writing, and if you’ve got a twitter or foursquare account then you might be able to use those media at Gadling as well.

And here’s what you can expect from us.

  • The final appointment with Gadling is a paid gig. The winner of this contest will be paid the same as other travel bloggers in our stable and are welcome to submit a dozen or so features each month for a higher pay rate.
  • 15 initial entries will be paid via SEED, while two subsequent rounds of entries will be paid at a similar rate.
  • Your first three months on the team will be on a (paid) trial basis. If the relationship is working out then we’ll officially add you to the team roster.
  • Gadling has a dynamic, attentive team, and we stay in laser sharp focus to the daily news and travel community at large. You’ll have the support of our full team behind you as well as the AOL Travel team.
  • Press trips are occasionally permitted on the team and we’ll happily consider sending you abroad after your sixth month on the team.

Want to give it a shot? Here’s how the travel contest is going to go:

  • We’re going to collect all of our initial entries via AOL’s content collection site called SEED. You have until Monday, January 31st at 12PM EST to get your submission in.
  • On Tuesday, February 1st, we’ll pick 15 of our favorite posts and publish them on Gadling. Through SEED, we’ll then assign each of those writers two posts: one, simple reblog and one post relevant to the week’s topics. Each writer will be allowed a week to finish the posts that will be due on February 8th at 12PM EST. Once more, submissions will be paid and published on Gadling.
  • Among those fifteen entries we’ll pick our five favorite writers, ask them to write one last post due February 16th at 12PM EST and then we’ll put them all on Gadling. We’ll select the winner from those entries by Friday, February 25th.

Gadling is a fast-paced media website, and as a blogger for our team you’ll need to be on the ball and writing like crazy. Though bloggable content is everywhere, there are times that you’re going to need to buckle down and push some writing out the door, times that you’ll turn to the team for advice and have to dig through volumes of data to get the fifty juicy words that appeal best to our readership. If you’re up to the challenge, follow these first steps.

  1. Navigate over to and sign up for an account.
  2. Once you’re logged in, find our writer’s call here. You need to be logged in for the link to work. You can also search for calls under the category “travel”.
  3. For your submission post you can write about anything. Our advice? Take a look at Gadling’s article from the last week and emulate our style. Keep it short – under 400 words – snarky and concise. A travel story or narrative post won’t get special attention over a top 5 post or a news reblog. Instead, our editors will judge you on relevance, style, tone and formatting. And in case you’re wondering, Twitter followers and friends of the team don’t get special consideration.
  4. Put your post title in the Title section and the article in the body. For this proposal only new, original work will be accepted.
  5. There’s no need to include a picture or any other multimedia for this round. Instead, paint the story with rich words and strong descriptions – our imaginations will do the rest.

After you submit your article, the only thing left to do is sit back and relax. We promise that we will read every single submission, and that we will let you know whether your article is accepted through the SEED tool. If accepted, your story will be published on, and you will be paid for this work through SEED.

There is of course some fine print involved – all article submissions done through SEED are based upon their publishing program agreement. We can not comment on the reasons behind rejections of content from SEED. And finally – your potential freelance contract with Gadling requires you to sign an agreement with AOL. We will not discuss payment, hiring or other contractual issues with anyone other than the person selected to become a freelance writer for Gadling. Of course, this does not mean you can’t drop us an email with questions about your article submission.

*UPDATE!* This contest is now closed!

*UPDATE!* This contest is now closed!

*UPDATE!* This contest is now closed!