An open letter to advertisers who don’t appreciate our hard work

bDear advertisers, partners, companies, etc.

The moment I receive an e-mail from you and you don’t address me with my name, your message automatically goes to trash no matter which travel company you are representing. Isn’t this basic courtesy? To at least read something about me? Why is that so hard for you when I already have an ‘about’ page on my blog?

I am speaking for all of us bloggers, travel industry or not.

Your ‘no subject’ messages also pass the move to trash category. None of us open messages like this, I am saying this with all honesty. A subject is really important when we are browsing hundreds of e-mails we receive every day. This is very basic, ‘no? I mean putting a subject in your e-mails?

When you tell me you like my stuff, please make it believable. A US-based tour company e-mailed me saying I have awesome pictures in the Grand Canyon as an introduction to their proposal but didn’t work. You know why? I have never been to the United States of America. It seemed to me that you are just guessing what I do and that is not cool. Not to mention you greeted me with “Hi, Psimon!” That is actually not my name nor my blog name. Double whammy.

1Look how this one greeted me.

It’s funny how you have the guts to negotiate and decline my counter-proposal just because you think my authority doesn’t meet your ‘standards’ but let me tell you that you don’t have the right to do that. Yeah, we can meet halfway but I want you to understand that I should have the last say in sealing the deal. Not you. You are asking for a favour, right?

It’s also ridiculous for you to offer $10.00 USD for an article. I mean, come on! I am not a popular travel blogger of some sort but you coming to me means you believe in what I do. And what I do is write. I put all my efforts to it and I’d like to believe I am good at it. I stopped working with companies like these — who think our hard work is worth anything. Our efforts are priceless that’s why a lot of us decline your offers. We are not looking to have gazillion sponsors. We actually choose who we want to work with and we opt for something we believe in.

Another thing that pisses bloggers off is when you actually want to avail our services for FREE. Can you picture what a blogger’s day usually look like? Writing, social media promotions, replying to hundreds of e-mails: all done with so much love and effort, by ourselves. I regard any blogger in all industry as super heroes. I think you should, too.

Screen Shot 2016-04-08 at 6.25.24 PMHi???

If you give me a travel organiser plus $200.00 in exchange for a review on my blog, I definitely won’t take it right away. I need to think. I weigh the pros and cons of working with you. I need to work with products I believe in. I don’t want to fool the readers of this blog just because I want to get your free organiser and the cash that goes with it. Most of you think we are after the money but we are actually the exact opposite.

I gave a well-known sports watch company a negative review and their Marketing Manager went crazy on me. Wait, you sent me the product and asked for a review. I did not give you the assurance that you will get something positive because everything will depend on my experience. Another company wrote to me asking for the same thing but he said “we are expecting a positive review in exchange for the product we will send you.” Wait, wait, wait, wait, where did you get that ridiculous idea? That you can actually direct me with what I have to write?

Screen Shot 2016-04-08 at 6.23.44 PMWhat awesome stuff??? Come on, you can do better than that.

Do you even know why you should kiss our as* and not the other way around? Famous bloggers or not, all of us have loyal following. People who believe in us. People who will buy the products we give positive reviews to. People who have our blogs bookmarked on their computers. They run to us every time they are in need and please believe me when I say that a loyal follower is not your ordinary loyal. They are believers. We will never want them to believe we love your stuff just because you paid us for it.

Related Article: Maximise your advertising budget: it’s time to work with travel bloggers

I may sound like I am attacking you but I am not. I actually want to give you tips on working with bloggers: build relationships and maintain it. Most of you work with us one time and that’s it. There was this instance when I worked with a 5-star hotel in the Philippines: I gave them a positive review because I really liked their wonderful, honest and genuine staff. After a few months, I went back to that hotel but did not request for a room. I just asked a very small favour because I already had a place to stay. The next thing I knew, they were charging me for it. I only asked if I can use their gym for an hour and they wanted me to pay. Again, I mean… come on. I am supposed to be a part of your team now. A friend. An ally. I am pretty sure one-hour in your gym for one person won’t be a large financial loss.

2I am wondering if “Hi Admin” is acceptable. What do you think?

When you are asking for a favour, we deliver. When we’re the one asking, you ignore us.

We are also marketers so we know if you are giving us BS or not. Be genuine. Be your true self. You are not required to smile at us the moment you see us in person. I myself know and understand when people are having a bad day and that’s okay. You are entitled to that. I just don’t like it when you are being fake because you need something from me. So please, please, please, I beg you: be real. Show me who you really are.

We may not like you but we love you. How can we not? You make the travel industry a beautiful place to work in. You make things possible. You do great things. But you have to know that we do the same. We are on the same side here so treat us right.

To be fair, I also want to address the bloggers who are overpricing and think of themselves as the most famous blogger in the world. None of us are actually famous, keep that in mind. Let’s not be rude. Let’s give these companies the treatment they deserve.

If both parties behave, I promise all of you that we will thrive… together.

Love from sunny Boracay,
Trisha Velarmino
who is traveling, writing and loving

P.S. I am from the Philippines. Not Philippians. Please get it right.


Are you a blogger? Share the most ridiculous e-mail you received from an advertiser on the comment box below! I would also love to hear what you think about this letter!

Trisha is one of those people who left their comfortable life to travel the world and learn about life. Her style is to stay in one place she likes for 3 months (or more) to know what it feels like to eat, cook, speak, and sleep in another culture that isn’t hers. She'd like to believe she's not traditionally traveling but she just chooses to be somewhere else all the time. In no particular order, her favorite cities in the world are Barcelona, Buenos Aires, Hong Kong, Mexico City, and Tel Aviv.

Comments

  • April 8, 2016

    Today, yes today! I had one from what looked to be a big, legitimate Australian marketing company offering me “free content”. All I have to do is publish it on my site, ( which I’ve spent 4 years building), share it with my audience ( ditto) and I’ll get loads of happy readers. Yes…free. Wow. How could I say no!
    But I did and the guy threw a total hissy fit and said that because of my attitude he’d refuse to work with me. Hellooooo! It was you who wanted to work with me I believe! I won’t take your Google -law-breaking sponsored posts anyway, with their 1 or 2 do-follow links as a permanent blot on my site. We just don’t do that, we make a living through legitimate means. They drive me nuts. Thanks for sharing this.

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  • April 8, 2016

    I loved this, great reactions! Ha. We all have to slow down a little and put some more humanity into our online interactions.

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  • April 9, 2016

    Hi Trish – great outlook – my latest one was this:

    Hey, Im the VP, Content at (xxx) a travel experience platform. We are the world’s largest travel magazine, built by the people. I have seen your blog/social accounts and would love to have you as a top contributor on our platform. Being a part of the blogger program, gets you added into an exclusive list that for one gets updates on everything that we do, before everyone else. Also we receive around 50k uniques per month and growing, that is a possible new audience network that can be traffic directly to your site. – Early Access To New Features (Video, Sharing, ETC.) – Greater Incentives for Traffic, we will use our bloggers in our collections that are distributed to our syndication partners. These are nationwide websites that will have our content on them. This allows thousands of possible clicks to your website. For example, we are currently in conversation with The Discovery Channel. We have partnerships with SeattlePI which has over 100k uniques per day, and more partnerships in the works. Our blogger partners are notified for content, you link us up. We pay for what is used. We can go over this in more detail on a call.

    No name, no paragraphs and wild claims about traffic for my content if I would just give it to them for free. I did a DA check and they are a 1. 1?! Like how on earth do you expect me to believe you have 50k unique views with a DA of 1?! I don’t normally reply to these things but I really gave it some in my response to them on behalf of all bloggers. I hope they realize their mistakes! And the rest of these companies who expect our hard work for nothing in the hope of building their own business.

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  • April 9, 2016

    You speak for so many of us! I get more and more of these emails every day. When I first began receiving them I was pretty flattered. That didn’t last very long. But I also agree with your final statement – if we work together and behave, we will all thrive.

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  • April 9, 2016

    I read a wonderful article the other day which was a blogger who also worked in PR and he wrote an open letter to both sides, and it was quite eye opening and a really good read. I obviously agree with everything you’ve said here – I do think that awareness is slowly coming around to the fact that blogging is an actual profession which should be treated professionally.

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  • April 9, 2016

    Well done rant,
    people really do misinterpret how much work one article on a blog takes, let alone how much work actual blogging really is… I get the occasional e-mail when someone asks for a HUGE discount to post articles for 25$… like really…you want an 80-90% discount……because that happens in real life…never.

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  • April 9, 2016

    Amen sister! I get these emails all day every day. I worked for brands for 26+ years and spent a lot of my time training them on how to engage with bloggers, SO many companies don’t get it! And this working for free stuff is just ridiculous, no business would do that. We are business owners, we cannot work for free. The problem is that so many bloggers do work for free or for terrible rates and that makes brands think they can still send out these communications – SIGH!

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  • April 9, 2016

    Thanks for being passionate and doing something perfect, now you can always send this link out to them as a reply which I think is savy. I end up just putting most of those inquiries into the trash. Seriously, I have no time to waste with tire kickers in this business.

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  • April 9, 2016

    Hi Psimon,

    lol, just kidding but I couldn’t resist. This is so true and I wish Marketers (and I am a Marketer myself) would start treating bloggers as professionally as they treat their other Marketing outlets. Luckily, this is slowly changing and companies start to see the value that bloggers can provide them.

    Not all of them got it yet, though. I was recently contacted by a brand new Travel “publishing” company. They didn’t even have their website up and running and asked me to reblog my content on their site. They claimed to have over 25k real Facebook followers (but only 400ish on Twitter, Instagram and a handful on Pinterest? Yeah, right!), but when you look at the profiles of their followers, you can see they are mainly fake or not my target market (aka the cheapest Facebook Ads can buy).

    But what I hated the most, is that the guy treated me as if I am too stupid to see behind his tactics and make it sound like he are doing me a favor. Yes, I have contributed articles for free, but only if it was in my interest and I received something back, whether it may be credibility, traffic from my target market or something that helped me to achieve whatever goal I was pursuing. I also contribute guest posts to other bloggers, because they too put in a lot of work on their blogs and are not just looking for free content for their blog.

    Thank you so much for sharing this open letter!

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  • April 10, 2016

    OMG. You put so much truth into this blog post – i kept nodding over and over again and at one point I shoutes ‘YES!’ at the computer. I was contacted a few days ago to have several blog posts published on my blog and the fee they were going to pay me….wait for it….$15.-. They also included a list of bloggers that supposedly work with them on a regular basis (which is an insult on its own as it decreases the standard and our reputation….). Another day I received an e-mail from some journalist….he started the e-mail with ‘Hey Maggie’ – but he was OH SO eager to work with me. Well, if you are, then the least….VERY LEAST…i’d expect in return, is that you know my…..well….name?! Brilliant post psonmyway ;o) !

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  • April 10, 2016

    This is an interesting article. Compared to all the season travel bloggers, I am kinda new to the travel blogging scene. But being a business consultant I can sniff out BS a mile away.

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  • April 10, 2016

    Over worked and under valued we are for sure. The amount of times you get the I have no budget sorry and for me to follow that up with “Do you work for nothing well I sure don’t”. Ah well maybe one day we will all be payed what we are worth

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  • April 10, 2016

    Great post. Honestly, still quite new in this game so this quite eye-opening. Thanks for sharing and now feel so much more informed. Great article!

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  • April 10, 2016

    Haha, I could’ve written this. I can’t believe how advertisers still have the guts to send shitty emails like they do but what I can’t get over either is that apparently it works, otherwise they wouldn’t do it… sad really, but good on you for sticking to your beliefs and hopefully, one day we’ll all be relieved from this!

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  • April 10, 2016

    I LOVE THIS! How many times do I get emails calling me Justin…(when I’m the one who does all of the emails for our blog)…I respond with my name, and the email gets returned to me addressed still to Justin! It shows the person isn’t even reading it. Not personal at all. You’re right, it’s all about building relationships and maintaining them, which I’m all for. 🙂

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  • April 10, 2016

    Thanks for writing this Trisha. Not only is it helpful for advertisers, it’s good for those of us with younger blogs, too. When you’re new at this, it can be confusing to know which offers are legit and which are just scams/jokes/nonsense/unprofessional. After the amount of time and work that goes into running a blog, it is so disrespectful to expect a good review, ask for content that is undervalued, or for something that is considered shady. So appreciate your honesty, Trisha!

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  • April 10, 2016

    Hahaha yes! I recognised most of these faux pas. As someone who has worked in blogger outreach as well as being a blogger myself, I know that pitch emails are actually a bit of a skill and you can either get it right or so, so wrong. Good on you for calling the bad ones out!

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  • April 10, 2016

    I LOVED reading this… cheers to you for putting it out there and saying what I’m always thinking. Hope all is well with you in Philippians… ; ) That really made me laugh.

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  • April 10, 2016

    Ha Ha
    You made my day ! Exactly similar views as mine. We are all being ill treated by these companies.

    It’s high time we showed mirrors to these people.

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  • April 10, 2016

    This is so true! This week I have had three emails asking me to add a widget to my blog for free! I blog because I like it but I don’t advertise people’s stuff for free for their profit! It’s insane! And it’s so bad when they don’t even bother to find out your name. Awful!

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  • April 11, 2016

    We get those e-mails on a regular basis. I always answer back with our services and rates, more often than not, I don’t hear back from them. It’s always difficult to filter who is authentic and who is not, I agree.

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  • April 11, 2016

    This post needed to be written. I can’t believe how rampant this seems to be in our industry. Also, I hate having a conversation with a potential partner then after reaching what I think is an agreement, never hearing from them again? You are right, common courtesy is definitely missing in a lot of these scenarios.

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  • April 11, 2016

    The last line made me LOL @ not being from the Philippians 😀

    I agree, a lot of people still don’t take blogging seriously, and it’s a shame! It creates tension in the industry where there shouldn’t be. Hopefully people can learn from your e-mail examples! Also, I don’t think it matters if your blog is “famous” or “popular.” As long as you put in the work and have an audience that knows and trusts your opinion as a traveler, then that has value! And like you said, if someone actually came across your blog AND took the time to contact you then they must believe in you too. Glad you know your worth! We all should!

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  • April 11, 2016

    I haven’t personally experienced this but I’m sure it will definitely get on my nerves too. Would it hurt to do a little research before you actually approach the person you want to work with? If they can’t even call you by your first name then I’m sure they don’t even know what your blog is about.

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  • April 11, 2016

    Ha! Love this. I delete so many emails every day. While I, of course, want to continue to grow my income from my blog it isn’t worth it to do it unless it’s something I believe in. I can’t believe some of the products people attempt to convince me are right for my brand. Thanks for sharing.

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  • April 11, 2016

    I think every blogger has felt your frustration … big or small. I guess it is a little like spam, it wouldn’t exist if SOMEONE didn’t click on it? would it?

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  • April 12, 2016

    Oh men, this is really awful. How do company really think about travel bloggers? Do they really think we would scumbag the moment they sent an email regarding marketing and all? I think they need better marketing staff 😀

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  • April 13, 2016

    Well said!!!! It seems to be a very popular mistake. Makes you wonder how are these people reading and processing your work. Thanks for this.

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  • April 19, 2016

    Oh man, how I needed this today!!!
    Read from start to end totally fascinated that this happens not just to me alone. I, personally, have a hard time separating real from fake in this pile of crap that gets into the email inbox. Thanks Trisha, this made my day.

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  • June 24, 2016

    Wow, what frustrating situations to deal with especially how generic the emails you’re getting are. I think the icing on the cake for me would be when they said they “loved your Grand Canyon photos,” and you had never even been to the United States. Haha, what the heck? Alot of people underestimate how much work goes into blogging, I am pretty sure my parents think it’s something that takes as quick as uploading a photo to Facebook. But when people are trying to “sell” you to go for their ads or work with them, they could easily add a little more personal touch to the way they contact people. I’d be interested in reading the article Megan Jerrard mentioned in the comments as well.

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  • June 24, 2016

    Got a number of proposals as well but they sounded like a send to all letter, though, they would address me by my name. Send to all because the font of my name is different from the body’s font. Also, sadly, there are a few organizers or PRs sending one letter to all, thus, I could see the name of other bloggers.

    I love to receive proposals and letters written in a more personal tone. We all do want that, I guess.

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  • June 24, 2016

    You hit them in the right spot! It is so sad of these companies to lose their dignity like these. They really need to lose some of the head weight and realize that we’re at the same level as them… it should be respected by them the fact that they are somewhere only because of us!
    Thank you floor writing this!

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  • June 25, 2016

    Thank you for standing up for us. A lot PR and Advertising Agency thinks that what we are doing is easy, they don’t have an idea on how hard it is to start an article specially when your juices are drained. Some look down on us and think they are better because they are the ones who invited us on an event or for a write up but in reality they are the ones who owe as because we are the ones giving them free promotions.

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  • June 25, 2016

    Really good points, Trisha. Advertisers, Companies, etc., should understand that blogging is like other jobs that deserve an equal treatment and offering. Well, most of the time, bloggers work harder than ‘normal’ 8am-5pm employees. I once had an offer for an ‘exposure’ on its site in lieu of my writings. I firmly against for unpaid articles, which, unfortunately, big companies are doing and being patronised by bloggers. Even if you are a newbie blogger, learn to establish your self in state you truly deserve tso companies won’t look down on you.

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  • June 25, 2016

    Very funny! Do people really misspell the Philippines as Philippians? It’s so annoying to get spam emails from company. There are a few out there that are notorious for just sending their invitations to everyone. Not surprising that they don’t get much return. And I agree that they should at least use our names!

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  • June 26, 2016

    Applause , applause !!! I hate that as well , you get these spam emails ( I call this spam as well , because as you stated , that is NO way to communicate in a decent way ! ) . I can relate to every single statement you have made , I think the blogosphere is getting so big , and unfortunately not all people ( bloggers included ) have certain standards . Or maybe it’s their parents’ fault ? Lack of education ? Keep your standards up , quality ( counts for people as well ) at the end always wins . It drives me mad when I get these sometimes really cheeky emails or notifications . Just ignore , know who you are !

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  • June 27, 2016

    so true what you say, we have to encounter such crazy PR and advertisers all the time as well, most of the time I won’t give the email a second look and just trash it. For me, all I want is some real sincere appreciation of the hard work I put in when writing.

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  • June 27, 2016

    This post has opened my eyes in many ways and it does open the conversation on whether we should beg for the advertisers to notice us or make them see that we are not robotic beings with no feelings and that behind our blogs, are actual people who write stories.

    It’s a big competition out there and there are so many bloggers who would take the things that I may turn down because the person who reaches out to me doesn’t even address me by name. But at the end of the day, you don’t get the respect that you want if you don’t show people that you deserve it. And in this case, if somebody doesn’t even have the decency to call me by my name then I’m not going to give him/her any time of day.

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  • June 27, 2016

    This is a very helpful post for both bloggers and those working in the industry. I personally take time and effort reading through posts of perspective bloggers when I was with my previous agency. To be honest I do group emails when we do sign ups but I send out personal emails when I ask for campaign rates. I just didn’t know that most do group emails for most inquiries. I think that is just wrong and unprofessional.

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  • June 30, 2016

    Wow, very ‘sagad sa buto’ post! there’s no other way to say it really, and I wholeheartedly agree with you that if a marketer really believes in what we do, and that it’s not just sweet talk they should at least have the courtesy to check our name. and spell it out correctly. right?
    PS: Philippians? are they talking about you living in a bible verse sis? hahaha

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  • October 22, 2016

    As one of the marketers who has reached out to you in the past, I find this post particularly interesting. Unfortunately, the reality is bloggers are mostly looked upon as nothing but a resource to help game Google’s ranking system. I’d much prefer to create awesome content and leave everyone else alone.. but that doesn’t result in getting found… its known as posting and praying… and when your entire business isn’t based purely on your content, you have other problems to worry about other than perfectly crafting your mass email to hopefully get backlinks…. If there was some reliable way for businesses to pay bloggers fair prices in exchange for solid content with do follow links, I think that’d do well… But the reality is… I’m not going to pay $200 for a DA 20-30 backlink that may or may not get deleted at a whim in the future (or trickly no indexed or no followed). Its just not worth it to my business. Additionally, rarely is your actual blogger audience counted as part of the valuation, unless somone specifically is looking for influencers… but again that model doesn’t have a pay for results or easy marketplace either… Paying $50 to 100 dollars for an instagram post that might get 500 likes but no sales isn’t sustainable… plus there’s no way to hold influencers accountable… its pay and pray now…

    Anyways, all I’m saying is that it’s hard for both sides…

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  • February 2, 2017

    You hit the nail on the head on many things Trisha!

    Love how they call me Dear Mister when they clearly see my photo and my name is not masculine.

    They say cheesy things like i was recently reading your blog and loved it.

    Then they ask what kind of posts you write and if you’re willing to collaborate with them by writing or promoting their site or product in exchange of a public thank you.

    Like to they even offer a chocolate cookie or brownie points instead?

    They’ve no idea about the time and effort required to create a post and social media updates!

    They should conduct a better research and offer more because i know they get paid at least several thousands while they offer peanuts or nothing.

    It’s better to work with professionals and those go truly get it and create a connection. Word of mouth is worth lot$ and we in the travel community help each other by protecting one another from such individuals right?

    Thank you for your honest post!

    All the best,

    K

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P.S. I'm On My Way is a blog by Trisha Velarmino. She didn't
quit her job to travel the world. She made a job out of traveling and you can do it, too.