All About Travel Sponsorship
Traveling around the world particularly to your favorite destinations and spending days doing what you enjoy doing may entail a big expense. It’s good if you have the funds in your pocket.
But what if you don’t have the budget? Will you let money stop you from doing one of the most fulfilling things you can ever experience?
Of course not! There’s always a way to travel without shelling out a big amount of money. One way to do it is through travel sponsorship.
Travel sponsorship means having someone pay for your travel expenses in conjunction with certain activities or business arrangements.
If you are not familiar with how traveling sponsorship works and how to find one, this guide is for you.
How Does Travel Sponsorship Work
You might have already been traveling a lot and you wonder if there’s a way to continue your way of life without breaking the bank. Or you just started traveling and wonder if it’s possible to get sponsorship or even get paid to travel.
The answer to the above is yes! However, it is not as easy as many may think.
No individuals or companies are willing to pay for your travels unless it is something that will also benefit them. This makes total sense.
It takes careful planning and a good marketing strategy to convince sponsors to pay for your travel expenses. This means that you need to conceptualize a travel project and market it to potential sponsors.
When it comes to travel projects, if you have an amazing idea that you think will interest other people, don’t be afraid to push for it.
As for the content, you will be creating in connection with the trip and sponsorship, generally, all rights reserved for you.
Sponsor Travel Benefits
Before we will share with you some tips about sponsorship, we want to first show you its benefits.
- You get to travel more with less expense – We can’t deny the fact that traveling can be expensive and not all people can afford it. But if you can find sponsors for your trip, you can visit more places with less expense. Your sponsor may partly or fully pay your travel expenses which is a good thing. Some are even willing to finance two or more travelers, allowing you to have a companion.
- Experience new cultures and meet new people – The number two benefit of sponsorship has to do with learning about new cultures. And as a traveler, I can attest to this. With each destination, you gain new friends, taste local cuisines, visit where the locals go, and most importantly, learn their culture. Each destination will give you a unique experience.
- You get to explore new places that you would not otherwise visit because of expense – Do you have a dream destination that has been on your bucket list for a long time because you can’t afford it? Find a sponsor and make your dream a reality!
- You will be able to promote a good cause – There’s no better way to travel than to travel for a cause. For instance, you can promote environmental awareness or travel as a volunteer. These are just two of the most popular ways to get sponsorship.
- You get to promote your brand – If you are a blogger, vlogger, or influencer, travel sponsorships will help you promote your website or channel while also promoting that of your sponsor.
- You’ll be able to use products that otherwise you wouldn’t have purchased. Some expensive travel gear can be totally unaffordable, but if a sponsor wants to advertise them through your adventures, they will be sending you products for you to use and probably review either on your blog or social media.
3 Important Questions You Should Ask Yourself Before Looking for a Sponsor
1. What is my ultimate goal?
As part of your initial travel plan, you should be able to define your goals for a particular trip. You surely want to achieve something at the end of your trip, be it climbing the highest mountain, exploring the unbeaten path, trying an extreme sport, and so on.
Knowing what you want to achieve will help you identify the possible ways on how you can find sponsorship.
2. Do I really need a sponsor or someone to pay for me to travel?
Traveling while on a sponsorship contract is more than just free traveling. If you spend your own money, you can do your own thing. But if someone will pay your travel expenses, typically there are some expectations and responsibilities attached to it.
Knowing these expectations and considering how much you would potentially spend on a specific trip, you can ask yourself if you really need a sponsor or can go by on your own.
3. Am I willing to give up some of my freedom to meet the demands of my sponsor?
More often, in travel sponsorship agreements, you will find that sponsors would require you to incorporate their ideas into your trip.
This may take a significant amount of your time and limit your freedom.
How to Spot Your Prospective Sponsors
Contacts and close friends
You may have some friends or close contacts who are just waiting for an opportunity to promote their business or brand as your travel sponsor. It will not hurt if you send them an invitation.
The people who personally know you and what you are doing are the best people to be your sponsor. More likely, they already have a general idea of how you can help them and how they can help you.
Companies in your niche
If you have a travel blog or vlog, approach brands that have something to do with traveling. That way, it will be easier to establish how you can help the brand through your trip.
However, it does not mean that you should limit your reach among those in your niche. If you have a brilliant idea for promoting a certain product or brand throughout your trip, put that on the table.
Charities and other organizations
Working with charities and other organizations for a cause is also a great way to enjoy your travels while helping people or the environment.
If you can come up with a unique plan on how to promote the organization’s goals to your followers, that’s probably one of the most meaningful things you can do as a traveler.
Charities can work with you in two ways. You can either represent them, so you attract donors for them directly. A charity will recognize this and will support you to spread the word about them (attracting even more donors for their cause).
Secondly, since you’ll be supporting a good cause, companies will be more willing to work with you and sponsor your travels. They can be associated with a charity, therefore they will appear (rightly so) as a company that is not all about making a profit. It’s great PR for them. This has worked for us in the past.
If you are out of any idea who to contact regarding travel sponsorship, don’t be afraid to ask around and solicit recommendations or advice.
You may also search through search engines such as Google. You have nothing to lose and so much to gain if you do this.
If you’d like to learn more, check out this FREE offer below:
Tips to Make Your Prospective Sponsor say Yes!
Now that we have established that travel sponsorships offer a number of benefits to those who like to explore the world, your next step is where most of the hard work starts.
1. Submit your proposal early
The first thing you should remember is that most companies plan their budget early in the year. The earlier you submit, the higher the chance that your proposal will be approved because they can easily incorporate it into their budget.
Additionally, submitting your proposals early gives you enough time to find other potential sponsors in case you are getting many “No”-s for an answer.
Also, since time is of the essence when it comes to traveling the world, the earlier you submit your proposal, the earlier you can find a sponsor, and the earlier you can plan for your adventure.
2. Identify your goals and be specific about it
One thing is for sure. A potential sponsor will not be interested in financing your next trip if you will simply go out and do what other regular travelers would do. Your goals should be specific and unique so you would stand out from the rest of the world travelers.
This will also help you to find a travel niche. A travel niche will help you to not only specify a goal but also to narrow down the type of brand and product that you’d like to be sponsored by.
When identifying your goals, think of something you are passionate about. For instance, if you love cycling, you can say that your goal is to explore the beautiful island of Croatia in 10 days by bike.
While it’s important that your goal should be attractive to prospective sponsors, make sure that it is something you love doing. After all, traveling the world should be fun.
3. Highlight your followers
Businesses and individuals will not sponsor your trip if there is nothing in it for them. One way to establish that is by showing you have many active followers. This means people who are interested in what you are doing. Potential sponsors will see this as an opportunity to promote and get seen by your followers.
Followers can also be your website’s or blog’s visitors. The more visitors read your content each month, the more chance you have for landing a travel sponsorship deal.
4. Be clear with your sponsorship package
Be clear as to what you can offer to your sponsor in return for the monetary contribution to your trip. You should specify this in your proposal.
It’s a good idea to outline how you will promote the sponsor’s brand during your travel. While on location, do you plan to post daily on your Instagram account? Do you intend to use their product during the trip and show it to your audience? These are just some of the ideas that you can consider.
Additionally, instead of just one sponsor, you can offer several levels of sponsorship based on the amount of contribution.
For instance, you can have a Silver Sponsor, Gold Sponsor and a Platinum Sponsor. In this case, a Platinum Sponsor will get the highest level of visibility on your website, channel, or social media posts.
But definitely, you may want to consider featuring the logo as well as the company description of the three types of sponsors in your content.
5. Learn how to pitch and prepare your media kit
Brands will not knock at your door to offer sponsorship for your next travel adventure. It is your responsibility to find them. With that said, you should also know who to contact and have a meeting with to show your proposal. Once you have the name, you can now prepare your pitch and medial kit.
Your sales pitch can greatly impact your chances to get sponsorships. It should be convincing enough to persuade the companies to sign the deal.
On the other hand, your media kit works like your resume. It should include this basic information:
- Relevant information about your platform
- Description of the type of blog or vlog you are running
- Information about your site views, visitors, active followers and other similar information
- How your trip can add value to their brand or cause
- Highlight how your website or channel fits with their brand
- Your contact information
You may already have your own structure on how you would like to curate yourself to get sponsorship for travel. Some people like their pitch to be short and concise while others like theirs to be very detailed.
But regardless of the format that you like, there are some important points that you should consider.
First and foremost is to be as personal as you can. Address the person using their name instead of just saying sir, ma’am, or miss. Doing so will not only create a good impression but it will also show that you did your job in researching who to send your proposal to.
After greeting the recipient, introduce yourself and let the reader understand the reason for contacting them. Give the recipient an idea of your content. Perhaps you could highlight the excellent stats of your vlog or blog site. You can also showcase the people you have previously worked with in the past.
After the introduction part, you can then thoroughly discuss your proposal. Include some key details about your trip such as the duration, how many people are coming and what you need.
If you already have an idea of how you can showcase the brand, this is the best time to share your idea. Tell them what you can do for them, and how often you will do it. Let the reader know that you have attached a media kit for more information on the travel sponsorship arrangement.
Of course, don’t forget to mention that while you are promoting their brand, all rights reserved for you as the author of the content.
6. Don’t be easily discouraged with a “No” response
Getting one or two refusals is a normal thing. And the more offers you submit, the higher the chances of getting a “no” for an answer. This is especially true if you are just starting to create a name. Don’t be easily discouraged though.
If you don’t get a nod, just think that the sponsor may not have a budget at the time or that they still don’t see the benefit of sponsoring a trip. But don’t stop trying.
Even if a potential sponsor says no, stay connected as there will always be that possibility they will work with you in the future.
If you’d like to learn more, check out this FREE offer below:
Preparing for the Actual Trip
Your preparations for a sponsored travel can be slightly different than when you are traveling at your own expense. You may need to do certain arrangements to ensure that you meet the expectations of your sponsor.
Depending on your contract, your sponsor may require you to have a daily post (while on location) in your social media account featuring their brand. Now, it gets really challenging if you go to places where there is no reliable internet connection. In this case, you need to prepare your plan B in advance.
It’s always a good idea to hire someone to take care of your social media commitments when you can’t go online. You may also consider scheduling important posts in advance to make sure that you are fulfilling your commitments to your sponsors.
Also, don’t forget the paraphernalia that you will use in promoting your sponsor. It could be a banner, a shirt that you need to wear, or a product that you need to bring.
What’s Next After the Trip
After the fun and adventure, it doesn’t end there. You still have to make sure that you are able to fulfill everything that you promised in your sponsorship contract.
In fact, your next actions are so crucial that they will possibly affect your ability to get another sponsor for your next travel goals.
Deliver What You Promised
Review your contract to see what else needs to be done. It’s easy to miss the small details if you are busy with your travels. So after the trip, the first thing that you need to do is review your contract and take note of your deliverables.
Showing sponsored product on our social media
It is important to document the exposure that you are giving to the brands that help finance your trip. Once you are done, send the details to your sponsors. This will help build your credibility as a partner. Not only that, but it will also help you build a connection after an event.
Brands, companies, and organizations would want to work with someone they can trust. Make sure that they will have that impression of you so that you will not find it difficult to find a sponsor for the next item on your bucket list.
Don’t forget to send a ‘Thank You’ Card!
This may sound very basic but believe it or not, many people forget about this. Sending a personalized card or email that says thanks can go a long way in developing a good relationship with your sponsors.
And if you can also include a travel souvenir item, that would be great.
Traveling around the world and completing your travel bucket list doesn’t have to be expensive. With travel sponsorship, you can now freely plan your travel without worrying about where to get the funding from.
Travel sponsorship is a win-win arrangement between an avid traveler and the companies who like to promote their brand.
Traveling sponsorship is for you if you are willing to commit part of your travel time to promote a brand or a cause. It’s also for you if you don’t have any problem carrying some responsibilities in exchange for a free trip.
Traveling while on a sponsorship arrangement can still be fun and exciting. It doesn’t have to be all work and promotions.
All it takes is for you to carefully plan your itinerary and make sure that you get to visit and do what you love doing.
Getting a sponsor is not a walk in the park for sure, but our free course can help you get started. And don’t forget our tips on how to persuade a prospective sponsor to sign the contract.
If you’d like to learn more, check out this FREE offer below:
Ferenc Elekes has been a devout Overlanding enthusiast for many years. During that time, Ferenc has explored 75 countries on six continents, with overland travel involved in 40 countries on three continents. From his trusty 2006 Toyota Land Cruiser Prado with a roof-top tent, he’s blogged about experiences that can only be found in the remotest regions on Earth. Along the way, he's gained in-depth knowledge of the novel challenges overlanders encounter and practical ways to meet them. On his website, he shares informed opinions about everything from the best overland gear to how to get a vehicle unstuck. Ferenc has also written for Ih8mud, the Expedition Portal, the Overland Journal, and he is often invited as a guest to outdoors-related podcasts.
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