Who We Are and What We Look For
Transitions Abroad has long been an inspirational yet practical planning guide for cultural immersion travel, work, study, living and volunteering abroad. Founded by a trained and experienced journalist, professor of modern literature, and award-winning study abroad advisor Dr. Clay Hubbs in 1977 to provide practical information on educational travel abroad, Transitions Abroad was the pioneering magazine and TransitionsAbroad.com is now the leading website for independent travelers of all ages (travel has no age parameters in our view) who want to extend their time abroad through work, study, volunteering, or low-cost cultural immersion travel.
Our name suggests the changes that result from immersion in another culture. Our community of travel writers provide both the inspiration and the details that readers need to make their own plans. We consider it "hip" when thoughtful writers provide stories and information that inspire others to seek and engage on their own travel experiences in a respectful manner in host countries. Millions of visitors come to our website yearly in search of a wide variety of information, so your contributions will be seen and valued by curious, passionate, educated, motivated, and sophisticated travelers globally.
Due to our mission and the nature of our coverage (work, volunteering, study, travel, and living abroad), our notion of "travel writing" is more all-encompassing in scope than many other publications and websites who have imitated aspects of our long-standing editorial. Please see our travel writing editorial requirements below to ensure your submission is the proper fit.
What We Are Looking For
- Usable practical information gained from first-hand experience for readers who travel to immerse themselves abroad while respecting the culture and customs of the people whose countries (homes) are being visited (while preferably spending money which benefits the local economies directly).
- Articles that inspire others to enjoy and explore off-the-beaten track travel respecting natives, their culture, and the land being visited. TransitionsAbroad.com is primarily a space for travelers and travel writers to share information with an emphasis on the practical yet inspirational. Be as concise as possible and do not hesitate to offer your own documented critical evaluations.
- Content must be information-based. The editors are unable to check all sources, so current and accurate information is essential. Try to approach travel writing as an engaged journalist wishing to share important and exciting information with others.
- Sidebars/box outs should ideally include resources not in the body of the article: e.g. websites, social media, or books in any format which refer to the subject covered. Well-researched supporting material and annotated links in sidebars/box outs greatly increases the likelihood of publication; we cannot emphasize enough the importance of providing others practical information others may use.
- Photos, Videos, Graphics. Multimedia is becoming increasingly expected by all those who read about anything related to travel, and is an infinitely effective way of engagement. The more powerful and sensitive the photos you include, the more the reader will get a sense of place, people, and culture.
- Non-self-referential travel journalism. Take the "I" out of your sentences and concentrate on letting the story tell itself.
Current Submission Needs!
- Articles on working abroad, especially teaching English abroad, internships, volunteering (including the Peace Corps), short-term jobs, and international careers.
- Articles on studying and student travel abroad, including teen, college and post-graduate, language learning vacations, and adult educational travel overseas.
- Articles on living abroad and long-term travel.
- Articles on what we have long termed cultural immersion travel as described in the Travel Writer's Guidelines below. What we call cultural immersion travel encompasses educational travel, responsible/conscious travel, long-term travel, slow immersion travel, budget travel, independent travel, adventure travel, and many of the other type of travel that are currently now artificially separated for the sake of convenient discussion. See our articles to get our editorial bent in action.
See the writing guidelines for each section below for more information.
What We Do Not Want
- Submissions that are promotional or advertorial in nature. No guest blog post requests with link backs to commercial sites please!
- Submissions that represent travel as a form of consumption and objectify the people of other countries.
- Sightseeing or "destination" pieces that focus on what to see rather than on the people and culture hosting you.
- Information that is readily available in guidebooks, on the Web, or from government tourist offices. These information source are all valid, and our articles link to them where relevant, but we are always seeking new perspectives on both ancient and current destinations and issues.
- Self-referential writing, including personal travelogues or lengthy personal narrative travel writing.
| Cultural Immersion Travel Writer's Guidelines
This section focuses on interaction with local people and cultures and the avoidance of superficial tourist routines. Articles may involve such activities as a finding a home stay or a rural bed and breakfast, a 1- or 2-week language study course, or pursuing a special interest or activity like cooking, music, dancing, visual arts, writing, photography, hiking or biking. Travelers of all ages are invited to share their experiences, as the passion for travel and the desire to learn has no age limits. Striking a balance between practical and inspirational travel writing is preferred.
Submissions by travel writers to qualify for inclusion in the Cultural Immersion Travel section should describe (and provide supporting information for) travel that involves some active participation in the life of the host community:
- Cultural Immersion Travel: Usually a slower form of travel that includes interaction with the people of the host community. It goes beyond conventional tourism to the deeper experience that makes travel exciting, enriching, and educational... travel that includes immersion in another culture by living, working, studying (or playing!) alongside your hosts.
- Community-Based Travel: Travel that profits the host community. If an organized tour, the organizer and guides should, whenever possible, be from the host community.
- Travel for Pleasure: The Slow Food® movement, born in Italy but now spreading its influence globally in the form of a slower immersive mode of travel and living, has demonstrated the intrinsic connection between ethics and aesthetics, responsibility and pleasure. In a new series of travel subsections described below, we wish to explore and expand upon this notion while keeping interaction with the host community to the fore.
These three complementary principles of Cultural Immersion Travel are the primary basis of our editorial preferences for the following subsections featured on TransitionsAbroad.com and our webzine.
Examples of the types of travel writing submissions we are seeking are listed here in alphabetical order:
- Adventure and Sports Travel
First-hand accounts or overviews of adventure travel experiences ranging from rafting to cycling to motorcycling to mountain climbing, from independent adventure travel to participation in small alternative group tours.
- Art Travel
Detailed itineraries which chronicle independent explorations of various forms of fine art — whether the art takes the form of painting, sculpture, architecture, music, theater, dance, traditional rituals or combinations thereof — as well as small thematic group tours through regions, countries, or cities.
- Budget Travel
A key section which provides current information on best-value-for-money travel opportunities. Very often travel bargains are also a most rewarding form of cultural immersion travel. Be specific about websites, dates, contacts, etc. either in the body of the text or in accompanying sidebars.
See the Budget Travel section for many and varied examples.
- Cultural Travel and Alternative Tours
While our focus is on independent travel, we recognize that there are many occasions when locally-organized tours are the least intrusive, safest (e.g. safari), or most efficient ways to see the local sights.
See our Cultural Travel section for examples.
- Disability Travel
Travelers with disabilities have found plenty of opportunities for immersion travel, volunteering, interning, and studying abroad. In cooperation with the National Clearing House on Disability and Exchange (NCDE), Transitions Abroad encourages submissions on projects, programs, how-to information, and planning advice for travelers with disabilities.
See the Disability Travel section for examples.
- Educational Travel: Lifelong Learning
First-hand reports on a travel-to-learn or study abroad experiences or programs relating to cultural history, musical studies, archeology, or eco-friendly safari tours. This could include cultural immersion experiences that travelers would find difficult to organize on their own.
See the Educational Travel and Language Study sections of our site for varied examples.
- Family Travel
Vacation overseas with the kids? Short- and long-term family travel can be inexpensive and enriching, and is increasingly practiced. Submissions can focus on local family tour operators, home stays, vacation rentals, camping, and independently planned itineraries with an emphasis on cultural and community-based travel.
See the Family Travel section for examples.
- Festival Travel
One of the best ways to immerse oneself in another country or to enjoy music and the arts in historical settings is through itineraries following festivals which spring up year-round. Detailed accounts of thematic festival travel and experiences in another land should be supplemented with supporting links and information to enable others to follow your trails. See some examples here.
- Independent Travel Itineraries
Detailed itineraries that take independent and solo travelers off the tourist trail—whether to the less-visited areas of Europe or to remote regions of the rest of the world.
See the Independent and Solo Travel section for many and varied examples.
- Language Vacations and Studies
A key section which consists in first-hand reports on language-learning vacations. This often includes home stays and other cultural immersion experiences that travelers might find difficult to organize on their own.
See Language Study sections of our site for varied examples.
- Long-Term Vacation Home Travel
Whether renting a home or apartment for the long- or short term, or staying in an Italian agriturismo, there is no better way to immerse oneself in the country being visited. Instead of being a tourist reliant on food and lodging from ubiquitous "tourist traps," you can shop and cook your own food, take daily trips at a leisurely pace, read or daydream, and invite locals or other visitors to join you. Detailed descriptions of experiences seeking, renting, and living in vacation homes and how this helped immerse you in the local community at your own pace are welcome.
See the Vacation Home Travel section for examples.
- Responsible/Conscious/Green/Sustainable Travel and Ecotourism
Department editor Ron Mader welcomes information on how local communities abroad organize and profit from ecotourism, plus details on responsible ecotour organizers. Topics may also include a discussion of the ways in which you may have given back to the people in the countries where you have traveled or ways you have attempted to limit the impact of your presence on the host environment through low-carbon emissions, for example.
See the Responsible Travel section for many and varied examples.
- Senior Travel
Among the most noticeable features about global travel today are both the age and the sheer numbers of mature men and women taking active, adventurous vacations with a strong learning and service focus. Whether short-term vacations or retirement sojourns, Senior Travel Editor Alison Gardner is looking for 50 to 80-year-olds to write about ecological, educational, cultural, and volunteer travel. Topics may include home stays and hospitality exchanges, international tours with substance, educational programs, and service-learning.
See the Senior Travel section for examples.
- Solo Woman Traveler
More and more women are traveling solo or with other women. Submissions should emphasize the advantages of independent solo travel and precautions regarding health and safety.
See the Women Travel section of our site for examples.
- Spa/Relaxation/Meditation Travel
Whether through yoga retreats in Asia, meditation stays in Buddhist monasteries in Nepal, or spas in European mountain villages, travel which allows the soul to regenerate itself in the company of welcoming hosts has historically been a great way to reconnect with the world. Please detail the locations, organizations, and people who made the experience possible.
- Student Travel: High School, Gap Year, and College
The first exposure to travel overseas is often as a teen and college student, and the experience is therefore very often all the more intense and transformational. We seek practical yet inspirational articles which describe summer, semester, or longer-term travel abroad which have resulted in a change in the perception of others and of yourselves through immersion in the culture you have visited. All such travel is inherently educational.
See the Teen Travel and Study and Student-to-Student sections for examples.
- Travel to Cook
Cooking school vacations provide a chance to combine travel with educational activities which enliven all the senses. You can work with established native cooks, admire the local lands where the food is grown, hear and learn to speak the local language of food, work with local produce, and taste the product of your work. Details of such tours or independent travel which translate your experience such that others may be inspired and perhaps even follow your footsteps.
See the Travel to Cook section for examples.
- Travel to Eat and Drink: Culinary Travel
Culinary vacations are growing in popularity. Movements such as Slow Food® highlight the fact that food provides an intrinsic connection to the land from which it is produced. Detailed itineraries describing culinary travels and off-the-beaten-track discoveries of distinctive local food. Since wines are being cultivated in more and more regions of the world, wine tours — whether in small groups or solo — have long been one of the most relaxing ways to travel. Detailed itineraries describing wine tours, including references to the people, land, and foods which accompany the experience are ideal.
See the Travel to Eat section for examples..
| Working Traveler Writer's Guidelines
The working abroad section deals with the varied ways for travelers to support themselves while living for an extended period abroad. For many, the work is not an end-in-itself, but provides the possibility for a more deeply rewarding experience though immersion in a foreign culture. For others, international work is a great way to build a global resume.
Articles in this section should provide the practical information necessary to prepare for and to find work abroad of both a long- and short-term nature. A discussion of the process by which work permits are applied for and obtained for each of the following types of jobs—if such is not covered in a program you have participated in—is much appreciated and is of great use to those who are looking for work abroad in a new country.
Writers are encouraged to include an evocation of the specific culture or the experience of cultural immersion and/or culture shock within the context of an information-based article. Articles which discuss working within the context of living abroad are of great interest, as many who take jobs overseas do so in order to experience another culture in the more typical everyday basis where interaction with locals is constant.
As always, inclusion of annotated links and resources useful for others are greatly appreciated and increase the likelihood of publication.
- Teaching English Abroad
As the world rushes to acquire English, the new lingua franca of international commerce, diplomacy, and higher education, the bulk of job opportunities abroad are for English teachers. In many cases, your credential is simply being a native speaker of the English language. In this section we seek various practical articles and participant reports which provide information such as:
- What were your experience(s) teaching and living in a country overseas either through a program or as a freelancer?
- What motivated you to want to teach English?
- How did you research and find your position?
- Was your experience a positive one?
- How did you prepare to become an English teacher? Did you get a certificate or some formal education before going abroad, or were you trained overseas?
- What were your experiences in terms of cultural immersion?
- Had you already visited the country, or did you learn to appreciate it while in there?
- How did you fund your training and/or trip abroad?
- Can you provide anecdotes relating to your experience abroad which will provide insight to others who wish to follow your footsteps?
- If you are still in teaching overseas, have you found other options to develop a career in the host country through networking and your presence?
- If you have returned to your home country, did the experience help you in developing your career?
- Tell us what you think are the top countries to teach English, provided you have taught in more than one and know other EFL teachers in other countries.
- What were the most positive (and sometimes negative) aspects of teaching in a given country or to the people you were teaching?.
- Any theme or country-related theme you think will be valuable to others who wish to teach.
See the Teaching English Abroad section for featured writing examples.
- Volunteer Work Abroad
A very popular and rewarding way to extend a trip abroad is to exchange work for free room and board. In many cases volunteer programs may be quite comprehensive — including language learning, internships, excursions, etc. — and the cost is correspondingly higher. Many volunteer programs are excellent ways to combine or extend your travels with participation in a useful service, which some refer to as volunteer vacations or voluntourism. Articles by participants in the Peace Corps or issue-related articles by other dedicated long-term volunteer veterans are welcome. We seek:
- First-hand practical participant reports relating to your experience in a country overseas, including the research methods you used to find the program or organization you chose. Would you choose different methods or tools to find a program now if you were to volunteer again?
- The top countries in which to volunteer, meaning where you feel you can make the most difference.
- The top organizations you would recommend for a given country, region, or worldwide.
- How the to find the most responsible and effective programs.
- Any theme or country-related theme you think would be valuable to others who wish to volunteer overseas.
- Has volunteering abroad resulted in a learning experience which changed your life in general and in your current life? Do you continue to volunteer even when back at "home?"
- Discussions about issues such as volunteer vacations, and how they impacted you and the host community in a meaningful manner.
See the Volunteer Abroad section for featured writing examples.
- Internships Abroad
The best time to seek work abroad and to prepare for an international career is while you are a student or soon after graduation (though some internships also exist for those seeking a career change.) Please tell us why you sought an internship abroad:
- For the adventure of learning, working, and living abroad?
- As a chance to gain in-depth knowledge of another culture and of yourself through immersion?
- As an inexpensive way to improve foreign language proficiency?
- As preparation for an international career.
- First-hand participant reports on how to do this are welcome, as are thematic articles by experienced interns.
See the Internships Abroad section for featured writing examples.
- Short-Term Work
Your experience in finding and maintaining a short-term job abroad is of great interest to our readers, especially as a way to extend your stay. You should include resources and practical information for how readers can find a similar work experience.
- First-hand articles about your experience on jobs ranging from from crewing a yacht to leading an adventure tour to freelance travel writing and publishing to working abroad as a journalist
- What you consider the top short-term, seasonal or summer jobs?.
- The pros and cons of particular jobs around the world.
- Tips on how to make the most of your job in order to combine work with travel and pleasure.
- How to find a short-term job in a country which will be meaningful.
- Opportunities for creating your own work as a freelancer or entrepreneur.
- Any other ideas or tips you may have regarding short-term, seasonal, and summer jobs abroad.
See the Short-Term Work section for featured writing examples.
- Teaching K-12 and University
Travelers with K-12 certification have a wide range of options for teaching abroad. Articles in this section include work in private international schools, Department of Defense schools, teacher exchange programs, and volunteer organizations. Topics of interest include:
- First-hand evaluations of your experiences while teaching are welcome.
- Tips for those who wish to find such teaching jobs.
- Issues regarding teaching overseas in K-12 and University settings.
See the Teaching Abroad section for featured writing examples.
- International Careers
In many cases international careers are sought and found as a result of previous travel, study or short-term work abroad..
Submissions should focus on your experience securing long-term jobs abroad and discussing ways to prepare for a successful overseas career.
- What inspired your choice for an international career?
- How did your travels, study, or any previous experience living abroad prepare you for an international career?
- Did your international career start from the U.S.? Emphasize practical information and insights based upon experience (which may include international work in the U.S.)
- What do you see as trends in international careers, e.g. the movement towards freelancing abroad or working as an entrepreneur?
- Issues relating to getting your international career going.
See the International Careers for featured writing examples.
| Living Abroad Writer's Guidelines
The best way to learn about a country and its culture is to live there (or short of that to travel like a local). For longer stays nothing beats exchanging your home for a comparable home abroad or renting or buying a vacation home. Often you may extend your stay by working or studying in the host country as well, so living, working, and studying abroad are often inextricable.
Making the move to live abroad is for many the ultimate transition—often the fulfillment of a lifelong dream, in other cases the result of chance and circumstance. We are seeking inspiring articles which also provide in-depth practical descriptions of your experience moving and living abroad, including discussions of immigration, personal and family life abroad, housing, work, social interactions with the natives, food, culture, study, language learning, and potential prejudices encountered.
Apart from practical considerations what were the most important physical, psychological, and social adjustments necessary to integrate into the local communities? Feel free to include anecdotes about locals who may have aided in your adjustment to the physical conditions and social mores of the host community, as well as the role of other expatriates in providing information and support.
A listing or reference to the most important websites, publications, and other resources which have aided you in the cultural adjustment process or enhanced your current life abroad is necessary to help others who may find themselves in similar situations or even similar locations. Such sidebars should include supporting details and resources that are not in the body of the article.
As always, we do not seek diaries or personal blogs, but your own perspective in which the host country remains the primary focus, such that the culture remains in the foreground.
See the Living Abroad section for many and varied examples.
| Student Travel Writer's Guidelines
TransitionsAbroad.com’s student section deals specifically with learning and studying abroad for pre-college, college, and graduate students, as well as living, working, and volunteering abroad for this same audience of 17 to 25-year-olds. Articles should be 750-2,000 words. All student-written articles are eligible for consideration in the annual Transitions Abroad Student Writers Contest with a grand prize of $500 (please make a note if you wish your article to be considered for the contest).
To see a collection of articles recently published by Transitions Abroad go to the Study Abroad section of our site or see our annual Student Travel Writing Contest winners.
Well-researched supporting material and annotated web links in sidebars greatly increases the likelihood of publication; we cannot emphasize enough the importance of providing others practical information which they can use.
| Student to Student Writer's Guidelines
Features articles in which currently enrolled or recently graduated students share information and experience with other students contemplating an educational experience abroad, whether formal study abroad, volunteering, or work abroad. Students write articles that emphasize essential practical information such as: how they selected a program or arranged their own independent study or job or internship. Many examples can be found in our archived section dedicated to Student to Student articles and our annual Student Travel Writing Contest winners.
| Student Participant Reports Writer's Guidelines
Students returning from a program abroad evaluate the program based on their own first-hand experience. Informational sidebars provide details on the program (contact info, costs, etc.) and a selection of similar programs—with contact info—so that other students can plan a similar experience. Many examples can be found in our archived section dedicated to Student Participant Reports.
Both Student to Student and Student Participant Reports should focus on practical, usable information based on personal experience. Think about what you were looking for when you were planning to travel and study abroad. The general guidelines for articles in this section are the same as for our annual Student Travel Writing Contest, a page on which you can see some excellent examples which we have selected as winners.
| Study Abroad Advisor Writer's Guidelines
Started in 1980 by the late Lily von Klemperer, a legend in international education, to provide practical information for advisers to use in their day-to-day work to make their efforts more effective, efficient, and rewarding. Many examples can be found in our Study Abroad Advisor archives.
Note: Busy international educators are encouraged to email conference presentations, rough drafts, outlines, or ideas to webeditorial@TransitionsAbroad.com. TransitionsAbroad.com’s editors will be glad to help you turn promising ideas or material into a polished piece for publication. We maintain that anyone working in the field for more than five years has something valuable to say to his or her colleagues about what works in advising students.
Students and especially education abroad professionals are encouraged to submit articles on the following topics:
- Work, Intern, and Volunteer Abroad
Started by William Nolting in 1993. This section is dedicated to information and experiences specifically for students or recent graduates. Work, including volunteering, is the only affordable education abroad choice for a great number of students. What are the opportunities both paid and unpaid? Practical information and evaluations on service-learning opportunities for students which often involve volunteering abroad. How can students find and use them? Is credit available for service learning? How can students tie service learning into their on-campus academic curriculums? What is the value of experiential education?
- Point: Counterpoint
Introduced in 1990 by Bill Hoffa, a leading spokesman on international education and an author and editor of the most important reference guides for international educators, to call attention to trends and issues in international education, this column explores timeless topics and controversies in the field with no immediate “solutions” but which must be continuously addressed by all international educators.
- International Career Advisor
Focuses exclusively on student preparation for an international career.
- High School Exchanges and Study Abroad
Practical information on all educational opportunities abroad for high school students. May be written by administrators or by students (or both).
We are currently reviewing articles and queries for our webzine on TransitionsAbroad.com, which receives well over 8,400,000+ visitors yearly (as of January, 2011) from a rapidly growing worldwide audience.
Manuscripts should be sent electronically and addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your contact information. Please attach only Microsoft Word or Google documents. Please send a minimum of one or more photos to illustrate your piece electronically as attachments, or links to Flickr or other portfolio software which will make photos available for the article. The author's name, address, phone number, and email address should appear on at least the first page of the manuscript of the attached document.
You must have at least one or two photos, preferably many more in an age where photos and videos are in such demand. Multimedia should be relevant to the subject discussed to be considered. Please send high resolution digital photos in .jpg format via email to email@example.com.
Important Submission Considerations
All material is submitted on speculation. We purchase First North American Serial Rights, for publication in the English language in North America only; rights to the unedited content revert to writers six months after publication. However, we reserve the right to reprint published articles in part or whole on our website or in our newsletter.
- Please read carefully our Writer's Guidelines and browse through some of our featured articles for style and content to save your valuable time and ours.
- Please do NOT submit to us previously published travel writing and material; we are looking for original first-time rights for original articles and will conduct a web search to verify originality.
- Our experience is that longer travel articles are not necessarily better when viewed on the Web. Please be as concise as possible and use sidebars. The use of bullet points as part of the topic or a sidebar tends to be far more easily scanned by the eyes of those who read travel writing online, as much research has demonstrated. Articles which are easily scanned are often easier to market via social media, in these days quick consumption of information.
- Please check that your submission is non-self-referential and lets the story tell itself as would a journalist.
- Please include a short biographical note at the end of each submission. You may include a head shot photo of yourself, and link(s) to your blog/website.
- Please include your name, address, telephone numbers, and email address on at least the first page of your manuscript.
- Initial response time to manuscripts is normally about one to two weeks if we are interested (due to the very large volume of submissions we receive). If we do not respond after two weeks, we likely have no space for the piece and you should submit it to other publications. We cannot provide status reports by phone.
- In these times, social media marketing knowledge and experience is more important than ever. Please try to ensure that you, as a paid travel writer, do your part to market your published work, just as we do.
Please email all submissions electronically to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Payment to Travel Writers
Our talented contributors consist of professional travel writers, freelance travel writers, and passionate travelers with practical information and inspirational ideas to share; we are interested in usable first-hand information, and we certainly appreciate engaging writing which requires minimal editing.
- TransitionsAbroad.com is always looking for experienced (published) writers to become regular contributors, columnists, or contributing editors. Fees paid for work to such experienced regular contributors, columnists, or contributing editors are by agreement and are negotiable. Only experienced published writers may submit detailed queries in lieu of articles "on spec."
- Talented freelancers beginning their travel writing career are always welcome to submit articles. Unlike many other websites that do not offer payment at all, or use internships as a carrot, TransitionsAbroad.com will pay a fee for each submission while you gain experience and exposure. Transitions Abroad Publishing, Inc. has a very long history as being a springboard for travel writers, and will offer advice if requested as part of the conceptualization to editing to publication process. Please send us links to your writing for qualification.
For publication in Transitions Abroad's website and our webzine (TAzine), payment is on acceptance, ranging from $25 to $150 (for an article in the 800-2000 word range) based upon how much traffic we believe the submission will generate over time, while maintaining our editorial guidelines. Payment for submissions is made preferably via PayPal, or by check if absolutely necessary. We never publish a piece prior to your compensation!
Please submit your article(s) "on spec" via email to email@example.com. Should you have any questions, detailed queries, or feedback about the Writer's Guidelines please do not hesitate to email us.