As explained here, the publication you're writing for or pitching to isn't going to pay for you to travel. But how else do you get around and make a living when the fee for your writing is hardly enough to cover a night in a hotel?
This is where PRs come into play...
These are usually most-expenses-paid (with the exception of alcohol) group trips with set itineraries, organised by a PR company who represents a tourist board, tour operator or airline.
Invites go out to editors or well-known freelancers who can provide coverage in the favoured publications and spaces are allocated on a first-come-first-served basis for those with a guaranteed commission.
How do I get invited?
Signing up to useful networking resources like TravMedia will expose you to some invites in their daily email, and networking with PRs at their events will always help. Get yourself on as many press mailing lists as possible, as this is where PRs are likely to send out invites.
Similarly, these are funded by PR companies or departments, but are mainly organised by you by contacting the various relevant PRs for a destination or attraction.
For example: if there’s a new attraction opening in Dubai and you’d like to write about it and have (or can get) a commission, you might contact an airline, a tourist board and the attraction themselves to ask for assistance with your trip. Usually, if you’ve a desirable enough commission, they’ll be able to fund various aspects your trip (a few meals, transport, hotels etc).
How should I start?
Again, it's all about networking. Tourist boards usually have a media centre or press office you can contact, as do airlines – though they're unlikely to offer flights unless it's on a route they're trying to push PR for. So once you've got your idea cemented and your commission confirmed, you can go about contacting the various organisations that might be able to help.
Don't just rely on the big guys, either. Smaller organisations, like city tours or independent restaurants, are usually more than willing to help you out if they're going to get a review.
If you're concerned about the ethics of press trips, head here for some pros and cons to help you decide what's right for you.