How to Pitch AFAR: Digital Contributor Guidelines

AFAR.com publishes stories about air travel, cruises, culture, diversity in travel, food and drink, hotels, outdoor adventure, and sustainability, all under the idea that travel is a force for good. We also publish book reviews, e-commerce roundups, essays, evergreen stories, features, op-eds, and news stories. Most of our pieces are commissioned based on our current needs, rather than accepted via cold pitch. Our rate starts at 50 cents a word and goes up based on the difficulty of reporting, and we aim to send payment within 30-45 days of an invoice, which can be filed once a piece has been published.

Regardless of the department, to be considered, all pitches should include:

  • A synopsis of the story you’d like to report and write, with specifics including—but not limited to—any potential characters and sources, relevant news pegs, and estimated word count.
    A brief bio and relevant clips
  • Though we aim to respond individually to each pitch, we regret that sometimes we are unable to. If you have not heard back from us in two weeks or your story has a time hook, please feel free to follow up once.

Here’s how to pitch specific departments:

Travel News

When it comes to air and cruise coverage at AFAR, we are looking for stories that offer color and context to the new product, policy, or issue at hand. In our stories, we include industry analysts, executives, travel experts, or travel associations to weigh in on any given topic or debate. We also want to tackle larger issues, whether they revolve around sustainability, legislation, design, accessibility, inclusion, and health and safety. In our coverage, we look to embrace both the positive change as well as the pain points.

Trends are key, too, but we aren’t just looking to cover a trend—we want to explore how it affects the traveler. Noticed a shift in the way airlines or cruise lines are conducting business, new places they are headed, or a particular consumer they’re trying to court? Let us know.

To pitch an air travel, cruise, or travel news story, email Michelle Baran at mbaran@afar.com.

Culture

80 books that take you around the world. Where to see the immersive virtual Van Gogh exhibit. Tokyo’s honky-tonk music scene. AFAR stories about culture—which encompasses literature and art, music and festivals, museums and galleries, UNESCO World Heritage sites and history—stoke curiosity in our readers. The best introduce travelers to exhibits, books, history, and artists they may never heard of before, or to introduce a new angle to a popular or well-known event, book, exhibit, or site. We explore photo essays about women who live as men in remote Albania, dive into the roots of K-pop music, and share our takes on the best travel shows to stream right now, all in pursuit of sharing the best and brightest around the world.

To pitch a culture story, email Aislyn Greene at aislyn@afar.com.

Destination Inspiration

AFAR seeks to arm readers with in-depth, best-in-class destination intel and inspiration to help guide their way. We’re looking for thoroughly researched, up-to-date, and deeply reported service journalism that meets travelers at every step of their travel planning journey—from dreaming and consideration to booking.

We tell these stories through the lens of travel as a force for good, written for our ever-expanding audience of bright, well-seasoned travelers who care about the planet and the communities they visit. AFAR readers are curious, responsible, and discerning travelers who want their travel experiences to reflect their values. They seek joyful experiences that enrich their own lives—and the lives of others.

We think about seasonality; our Where To Go monthly and annual series tells readers why this place at this time. Our coverage provides a spotlight on a destination—more a curated look by trusted sources than an all-things-to-everyone guidebook.

How do we decide where to go? We write about places where your visit could really count. Places that haven’t been overrun by tourists. And when we cover on-the-beaten path destinations, we’re looking for an off-the-beaten-path or unexpected angle. We seek to incorporate local voices and perspectives into our coverage, as opposed to only covering places from a traveler’s standpoint. A good entry point to our destination coverage is our Local Getaways series, a weekend guide to America’s smaller towns and cities.

To pitch a destination inspiration story, please email Tim Chester at tchester@afar.com.

Diversity in Travel

Travel informs how we understand and experience the world, and it starts when we step out our front doors. Yet everyone’s experience outside that front door is different, and our goal is to showcase as many of those perspectives as possible. After all, the white reference point is not universal—and nor should it be.

We are aware of the pressing need to provide more resources and travel intel for BIPOC travelers, and that this is work that is never finished. We at AFAR are committed to showcasing diversity in travel.

We’ve published everything from op-eds on why Black travel isn’t a monolith to news stories on organizations helping traditional travel media shake off its white gaze. We love book reviews and interviews, intel-heavy reported features on diversity in the industry and communities we visit, and restaurants and bookstores you’ll want to put on your must-visit list, stat. We are looking for stories that help us celebrate and explore the world through different vantage points.

To pitch a story about diversity in travel, please email Katherine LaGrave at klagrave@afar.com.

Commerce

AFAR’s commerce coverage serves every aspect of a traveler’s trip—the sunglasses, sanitizer, and the right suitcase to put them in—but we won’t tell you about every brand out there. Instead, we focus on the essential gear from brands we really believe in, allowing conscientious travelers to vote with their dollars.

AFAR is interested in covering the most durable, stylish products that stand out from the pack that are worth paying a little extra for (though we’ll let you know when they’re on sale, too). We’re talking carbon-neutral carry-ons, reusable toiletry bottles, and sustainably-sourced clothes that will make you feel good even when you’re not wearing them. If it’s from a certified B Corporation or a BIPOC- or women-owned businesses, let us know. Our coverage is service-oriented, personal (gear has been tested), and passionate—but not overly technical.

Gift guides and sale coverage roundups—like 25 Travel Gifts That Support Small Businesses and 17 of the Best REI Labor Day Sale Deals for Travelers—are typically done in house. Select SEO-driven product roundups and essential packing lists are sometimes assigned out, so reach out with relevant clips if you have a particular area of expertise you cover and are familiar with calling in gear to test out.

To pitch a travel gear story or review, send a two- to three- paragraph email to Lyndsey Matthews at lmatthews@afar.com telling us why this brand/product should be covered by AFAR.

Food and Drink

Yes, food is often the fastest way to get to the heart of a place. Who hasn’t landed in a new city and looked for the place that all the locals gravitate toward? But we believe that food contains so much more: culture, history, migration, power, and economics.

While we don’t shy away from the Michelin-starred restaurants, or the buzziest restaurant in a city, we’re not solely after the hot new thing in the food world. Instead, we’re more interested in stories—from roundups of the best Native American restaurants in the U.S. to a feature on the culinary universe of Queens—that champion diversity and help us understand the world we all share through a lens we all share: food!

We’re especially interested in food stories that seek to showcase underrepresented perspectives, and that go beyond the colonial food gaze. AFAR food stories aren’t divorced from the issues of our times; they’re fun, personal, eye-opening, deeply reported—and of course, deeply delicious.

To pitch a food story, email Aislyn Greene at aislyn@afar.com.

Features and Essays

AFAR’s digital features support the brand’s mission to encourage readers to travel smarter and deeper. AFAR digital features use travel as an entry point into global conversations around culture, gender, race, sustainability, and society—essentially, taking readers through a front door they are comfortable with to walk them out of a side door they never knew existed. We are interested in ambitious stories about the natural world, profiles of fascinating people and collectives, scientific oddities, deep dives into subcultures, compelling takes on industry trends, and the never-before-told stories behind some of the world’s most storied places. Most digital features run at around 3,000 words. We typically publish 1-2 digital features a month.

Because of their length and scope, features require some pre-reporting, and we request that you address the following questions in your pitch: Who will be your sources and characters, and have you secured access? Is there a time hook? What, if any, is the tension? How long would you need to report this story? Perhaps most importantly, how does this story connect to AFAR’s belief in travel as a force for good? Give us a sense of your voice in the pitch, and in addition, please send clips to longform stories you’ve written in the past.

AFAR digital essays are personal, first-person stories that provide perspective into someone’s travel experience through vivid prose, creative retelling, and voice. They touch on shared ideas that nod to the “how” and “why” of travel, all while keeping AFAR’s mantra in mind and furthering its message to raise cultural awareness. Though digital essays speak to one person’s experience at a point in time, they successfully build a bridge of connection between their experience to reflect on the greater world without being overly earnest.

We are interested in digital essays that raise empathy for the author, and enable the reader to see themselves in the story in some way, shape, or form: We have published essays about the value of being alone, learning to navigate borders and binaries, the kindness of strangers, and the idea of redoing a terrible vacation. Most digital features run at around 2,500 words.

To pitch a digital feature story or essay, please send an email to Katherine LaGrave at klagrave@afar.com.

Hotels and Sustainability

AFAR readers know what they like in a hotel, and sustainability is increasingly a concern. We’re looking for stories on true pioneers that are really making an impact in this space—not just ditching plastic straws, but rethinking everything from their construction materials to their impact on the local environment and their carbon footprint, as well as their supply chain, hiring policies and community engagement. Pieces could potentially take the form of news stories (The World’s First Energy Positive Hotel Is Coming to Arctic Norway), features about new openings, interviews with leaders in the space (Why Lake Como Will Forever Be a Dream Destination) or driven by interesting industry trend (Are Flexible Hotel Check-In Times the Way of the Future?)

To pitch a hotel or sustainability story, please email Tim Chester at tchester@afar.com.

Outdoor Adventure

When it comes to outdoor adventure, AFAR is interested in reporting about new outdoor developments (think: epic walking trails, adventure platforms, nature preserves), service pieces, and gear reviews. We are especially interested in stories about diversity in the outdoors, and about novel attractions. Roundups—like the “Best State Park in Every State” and “The Best Hiking Boots for Women”—are typically done in house.

To pitch an outdoor adventure story, email Katherine LaGrave at klagrave@afar.com.

Travel for Good

Nearly everything we do at AFAR is seen through a travel for good lens, but it’s also a category in its own right. Here we explore how travel can positively impact the people and places we visit, how we can be better travelers, and how epic trips can give back to the environment and local communities. We consider the ethics of vaccinated travel and how carbon offsets really can make a difference. We’re looking for stories of environmental, cultural, and economic sustainability, of travel that’s inclusive, conscientious, and responsible, of travel companies with purpose.

To pitch a story about travel as a force for good, email Tim Chester at tchester@afar.com.

Sponsored Content

Sponsored AFAR stories generally fall into one of two categories: articles and itineraries. Both integrate the advertising partner within the content itself, and should have distinct angles that are broad enough to appeal to readers while also differentiating the sponsor from competitors.

Interest-based approaches (think national parks, the outdoors, food, wine, art and architecture, culture and history, shopping) tend to work well. Personality-driven or trend-focused stories are possible too, especially as they relate to sustainability, diversity and inclusion, and travel as a force for good. Articles also include the sponsor name in the byline, tend to cover inspirational topics, and can take the form of roundups, reported pieces, profiles, primers, quizzes, interviews, or other formats. Itineraries (called Journeys) are service-based, day-by-day guides to a place that include recommendations of where to stay and eat, as well as what to do and how to get around.

If you’re interested in being considered for branded content assignments, please send a short bio and clips to Ami Kealoha at akealoha@afar.com.