Thursday, 18 September 2008

#18 – Expensive destinations on a budget

Or getting money by writing about value for money.

Oslo on a budget
In my tip about looking for the opposite of a destination’s reputation, I gave the example of a story I wrote about doing Oslo on a budget for the Sydney Morning Herald.
The Norwegian capital has a reputation for being very expensive, so I researched a story on how to do the city on a smaller budget: the good value hotels, free attractions, cheap eats, bargain bars etc.

Cheap accommodation from Monaco to Moscow
Of course, it’s not just Oslo that’s expensive, and this is an angle that can be recycled again and again. In fact, I’ve done it numerous times. I’ve done London on a budget, Monaco without breaking the bank, good value deals in Iceland, cheap lodges in Anguilla and reasonably priced accommodation in Moscow.

Good, solid information
To put it simply, readers tend to want to know about this sort of thing. It’s good, solid information that provides a service. And from the editor’s point of view, it’s an interesting angle on a destination that they may have covered quite a lot in the past.

Tourist board assistance
And there’s another positive to this approach as well. Tourist boards in places that have expensive reputations are often dying to put across that they can be done affordably. If you can line up a commission in advance, then it is highly likely that they will be willing to help you out.

Complimentary hotel rooms and free entry to attractions?
They may not pay up for the flight, but they will possibly subsidise your meal and accommodation costs, or give you free entry to some of the relevant attractions. In an expensive destination, this sort of assistance can be invaluable. A complimentary hotel room for a couple of nights can cut your costs dramatically.

Ready-made information
The tourist boards in these destinations also tend to have a wealth of information on accommodation/ things to do for those on a budget. Half your job will be done for you – although if you’re doing things properly, you will check these out in person and get some ideas from other sources too.

1 comment:

Ann said...

It's me again. As an unexperienced published writer, but a college graduate who had to write many papers... how do you go about crediting sources. Say you find some budget information via the tourist board, and part of your article exists thanks to their help, do you acknowledge that?

This is one area that's always perplexed me because a lot of the articles I read seems to give an impression that 100% of the article were things the writer just knew. However, I'm sure the history of the location and other tidbits had to be researched.

Thank you.