If what we publish isn’t adding value for you, what the hell is the point?

There’s been a great deal of confusion about sponsored content in the travel industry. I’m talking specifically about posts, reviews, press trips, social media shares, and the like that a writer/blogger has been compensated for in some way (free travel, cash payment, comped gear, etc.).

We don’t want to read shit and we’re pretty sure you don’t either.

I personally believe in the value of sponsored content. Call it a necessary evil. Particularly in the travel realm, sponsored/press trips allow writers (including us) to visit destinations we may never otherwise be able to see. Most travel writers/bloggers travel at least twenty times more than the “average” person. Unless they’re muling drugs or are independently wealthy, it’s unlikely they can fund all of that travel on their own.

Which is why, with the right brands and a healthy dose of research on our part, we’re fully behind the right sponsored content. We work with tourism boards, hospitality providers, and gear manufacturers to assist us where possible.

But our commitment is first and foremost to you, the Vagabondish reader. Because if what we publish isn’t adding value to your travel planning, gear buying decisions, or your overall sense of inspiration to get out and explore the world, what’s the point? We don’t want to read shit and we’re pretty sure you don’t either.

All that said, here are our guidelines for publishing sponsored content:

Full Transparency

We believe in complete transparency which is why we never hide or attempt to obscure that we’ve received compensation before publishing a specific piece of content. Any sponsored content published by Vagabondish — including on Twitter and Facebook — is always labeled as such.

For sponsored posts on the Vagabondish.com website, this includes a clear disclaimer at the end of the post. For Twitter, this means using the #spon hashtag, while on Facebook, we typically include the word [Sponsored] in the title.

Maintaining Our Integrity

Bottom line: we don’t promote anything we don’t truly believe in. We work with brands we trust and travel providers that we know we can count on.

Personally, a great deal of planning and research goes into each of my own sponsored trips so that I’m 99% certain that I’m going to love a destination/hotel/attraction before I even leave home.

Quality + Accuracy of Content, Sponsored or Not

Whether we’re reviewing a hotel room bed, the durability of an iPhone case, or whether you should bother visiting some far flung beach, we value quality and accuracy above all else. We do our damnedest to convey what we saw, what we smelled, what we loved, and we what we didn’t in the most well-written, most accurate way possible.

Cultivating a Sense of Respect, Gratitude, and Wonder

That we receive assistance in the way of travel, gear, or gold doubloons is just a means to an end. That end for us means maintaining a sense of wonder and wanderlust and sharing it with you! All the while keeping our humility about us and appreciating that we, as travel writers, are very, very fortunate.

In this, we agree with editor and travel writing rockstar Don George:

Those of us who get to travel the world on someone else’s dime, whether on assignment or on a press trip, are incalculably lucky. It’s essential that we bear this in mind and keep our experiences in perspective—and that we continue to connect with the core of wonder that inspired us to travel this path in the first place. Honoring our shared craft in this way will enhance and enrich us all.

This is all a very long-winded way to say: we value our readers and we’re not going to bullsh*t you.

Thanks for reading!

Questions? Comments? Dirty jokes? Feel free to get in touch!

Cheers,
Mike Richard
Founding Editor / Vagabondish.com