Trips aren't actually that glamorous
If you are covering your own expenses, there's a pretty big gap between the level of luxury you're reporting on, and the level at which you're traveling, says Thomas Kohnstamm, a guide book writer and author of the book Do All Travel Writers go to Hell? “You might be writing about super nice places, but staying in the worst dirt bag place in town. And you usually won't be able to afford the stuff you're covering."
If you're on a comped press trip, however, it may be free -- but it's a grind. Your days and activities are usually planned in advance and there's little room for spontaneity. And nights are often spent organizing your notes or working on other articles.
In fact, it's nothing like being on vacation
Unless you spend eight hours at a desk when you visit the beach. Sure, you might be reporting on at a fancy restaurant in Rio, but if you're even eating there at all (and often you are not), you're still taking notes, looking up phone numbers, opening hours, prices, etc. “It’s not the same as traveling for pleasure," says Kohnstamm. "You may have one foot in the pleasure world, but there’s much more of you working. It affects your ability to enjoy yourself in situations that should be really enjoyable."
Adds Rolf Potts, author of the books Marco Polo Didn't Go There and Vagabonding: "The main misconception is that you're on this kind of permanent vacation, just enjoying yourself in faraway lands and dashing off accounts of your experiences. In truth, there are far easier ways to travel without having to take notes and collect stories and check facts all the time.”
It can also get lonely
Generally, you’re traveling solo. “I occasionally get lonely,” Potts admits, “but this is actually a good thing, since it compels me to get out and meet more people.”