Thanks for visiting Expat Heather! I’m an international teacher, writer, and expat mom currently living in Vietnam. On this site you’ll find things about raising kids abroad, teaching in international schools, travel, writing, and expat life.
If you’re an expatriate or independent traveler looking to break into travel writing, one of the first things you’ll want to do is research potential markets for publication. Here are ten magazines and websites that publish different types of travel writing. Before submitting to any of these sites be sure to spend some time browsing the sites, reading their articles and getting a feel for who their readers are.
Looking for: Travel narratives, personal essays, vignettes,
Audience: College students (print magazine)
Submission length: Varies by type of story
Payment: $25 for exclusive rights
Response time: Publishes in spring and fall, may not respond
Submit: editors [at] abroadviewmagazine.com
Note: Looking for contributions for current students, recent alumni, study abroad professional and college faculty
Looking for: Informative, SEO-oriented travel articles and destination guides
Audience: People searching for travel information
Submission length: 350+ words
Payment: Varies, upfront pay + page view bonus / $8 per article (exclusive rights) for Featured Travel Contributors – Payment is by PayPal within one week of publication
Response time: 1 week
Note: In order to publish, you must sign up and create an account as an Associated Content contributor. Each article you publish can be sold for non-exclusive rights, exclusive rights or display-only rights. If your travel articles are successful, meaning they garner page views, you can apply to be a Featured Travel Contributor. Then you can get paid $8 per article for 3 exclusive rights travel articles every month. Associated Content is not a travel magazine and creative writing/narratives are not eligible for upfront pay.
Looking for: First person narratives, destination guides, women’s travel
Audience: Long and short-term travelers, expatriates
Submission length: 800 – 2000 words, aim for 1400
Payment: $25 by check – you must send an invoice by snail mail to get paid
Response time: Faster if you let the editor know you’ve promoted Go Nomad in your pitch/query letter
Submit: editorial [at] gonomad.com
Note: Post photos to a Picasa Web album and include link
Looking for: Travel narratives, destination articles, eco-travel
Audience: Independent travelers, cultural travelers (50%+ of their readers have incomes of more than $50K)
Submission length: 500 – 900 words for department pieces, 800 – 1200 words for features
Payment: $35 – $50
Response time: May not respond due to high volume of submission
Submit: submissions [at] goworldpublishing.com
Note: Photos should be sent separately
Looking for: Narratives and destination guides that “promote travel”, book reviews
Audience: Long and short-term travelers, adventure travelers, golfers & sports enthusiasts, eco-tourism travelers, food and wine enthusiasts
Submission length: 450-600 words
Payment: $10 per article
Submit: editor [at] intheknowtraveler.com
Looking for: First person narratives combining literature with travel – non-fiction only
Audience: Travelers, expatriates and literary types
Submission length: 1500 – 2000 words
Payment: $50 for exclusive rights – paid 5 to 6 weeks after publication
Response time: 2 – 4 weeks
Monthly visitors: 80,000
Submit: submissions [at] literarytraveler.com
Looking for: Travel narratives, personal essays, destination guides, photo essays, travel interviews, reviews of travel gear
Audience: Long and short-term travelers, expatriates, volunteers/development workers, travel writers
Submission length: 800 – 1000 words, 1200 max for Brave New Traveler
Payment: $25 for First North American Serial Rights – paid by PayPal on publication
Response time: Up to 4 weeks
Unique monthly visitors: 720,000+
Note: Matador Network is made up of 11 blogs, each with separate editors and a distinct focus
Looking for: Practical pieces to aid those who study, work, live or volunteer abroad / Cultural travel pieces
Audience: Students, expatriates, volunteers/development works, travel writers
Submission length: 1500 words max
Payment: $50 – $100 by check or PayPal for first rights (not to be published for 6 months)
Response time: Varies
Submit: webeditorial [at] transitionsabroad.com
Looking for: “inspirational, humorous, entertaining, educational and adventurous travel stories as told by women”
Audience: Female travelers
Submission length: 900 – 2500 words
Payment: None, although authors may be considered for an upcoming anthology with payment
Response time: ?
Submit: wanderlustandlipstick [at] gmail.com
Looking for: First person travel narratives, lists, personal essays, news and humor, book reviews, cultural guides, travel interviews
Audience: Long and short-term travelers, expatriates, volunteers/development workers, travel writers
Submission length: 1500 words max (no multiple submissions)
Response time: Do not respond to every submission
Submit: dispatches [at] worldhum.com
Note: Published authors include Anthony Bourdain and Ralph Potts
Within minutes I’m surrounded by local women from the village. Usually I can hold my own in Urdu conversation, but many of these women speak Burushaski, a language that is unrelated to any other language in Pakistan. Linguists class it as a ‘language isolate,’ and there are estimated to be some 87,000 speakers living in Hunza Valley and the surrounding region.
The door to the screened porch swings open, and a freckled girl with waist length black hair brings in a large tray of tea and bread. A colorful cloth is spread on the floor, and the women pass out teacups and quarter plates. The tea has been brewed with milk and sugar, like most tea in Pakistan, but it surprises me that the women add a pinch of salt to their cups before taking a swig.
The thick, freshly baked bread is nothing like the flat chapattis of the Punjab, and our teatime is rounded out with a teeming plate of hot, hand cut fries.
After spending five months teaching in Lahore, I was ready to travel and see Pakistan’s Northern Areas. I had spent weeks marking up my guidebook, figuring out which hotels to stay in and budgeting for different treks. When I told my Pakistani friends that I planned to go up north, many of them voiced concern for my safety.
One of these friends, Rana, decided to use his connections to contact locals in Gilgit, the capital of the Northern Areas, and get the low-down. Rana ended up chatting with the manager of a bank in Gilgit, and the manager offered to meet me at the bus station and introduce me to his daughter, Rukhsana, who was also in her mid-twenties.
Rukshana’s dad met me at the station and assured me that the situation in the Northern Areas was calm and that I could travel freely on my own.
“If you’d like, I can take you to my village to stay with my family. But if you prefer, you can stay in town in a hotel. It’s up to you.”
I clutched my guidebook and thought about all the highlighted destinations and editors’ picks. All the sights I wanted to see and souvenirs I wanted to buy. I hesitated for a moment before loosening my grip on the guidebook and accepting his invitation.
Rukhsana gets my attention using my Urdu name, “So Mishal, tell us, are you married?”
The photo of my mehngator (fiancé) gains a round of approval, but one of the older women looks concerned. After a hushed conference in Burushaski, she asks in Urdu, “When is your wedding? Your hair is much too short to get married now!”
I learn that 15 inches of hair is just not enough for a bride. I eat pomegranates straight from the tree, get lost in cornfields and wade in glacial streams.
I don’t have any notes to write in my guidebook, but that’s more than okay with me.
If at all possible, avoid sending any luggage or cargo to the Lahore Airport in Pakistan. The hassle you’ll go through, the fees you’ll pay, and the time you’ll waste are only worth it for a large amount of cargo. While shopping in Thailand, I ended up with 10 kg of luggage over my weight limit for Thai Airways. I decided to use Thai Airways ThaiPac service for tourists to send my extra 10 kg bag to Lahore. This was a bad idea for many reasons, especially once I found out about the process I needed to go through to actually pick up my bag in Lahore.
When your bag arrives, you’ll get a call from someone working with Shaheen Airport Services (SAPS). Don’t talk too long to this person, as he may actually be an agent and not an employee of SAPS. I had two men calling me, from different numbers, telling me to meet them in various places that were not near the Cargo Terminal. At first they were giving helpful information, such as when the SAPS office would close, but they were also lying and telling me that they could get my bag for me without me going through customs clearance. They wanted to make themselves my ‘agent’ and do the process for me for a high fee. I’d suggest that when you get your items shipped to Lahore, you take note of when the cargo is supposed to arrive. Don’t give your mobile phone number if you don’t want to be harassed. Then show up one day after your baggage was expected.
The Allama Iqbal International Airport in Lahore actually has great signs directing you to the Cargo Terminal. Follow the blue signs marked “Cargo” until you see SAPS office on your left. Enter the gate and pay 15 rupees for a ‘token’ (paper ticket). Don’t lose the paper as you’ll need it to leave the Cargo Complex. Park on the left across from the SAPS complex.
SAPS and customs are technically open from 9 to 5, with a tea break from 1-2. The customs clearance process, even for personal effects, takes at least two hours. I actually had to go on two different days, and on the second day it took fours to get my bag cleared. You basically have two windows to work with, 10-1 and 2-5. The morning is more pleasant as all the agents who prowl around looking for customers aren’t awake until about noon. I wouldn’t suggest going before 10, because it’s unlikely anyone will be there yet to process your papers. The day I went, the customs officers arrived at 10:40am. I’d already been there for an hour just waiting.
The first thing you need to do is get a delivery order (DO) from the SAPS office. When you enter the cargo complex, you’ll see office areas on your left. The place where you get the DO is towards the center on the left. Signs in this area are lacking, so you might have to ask around. Asking for help is likely to send a swarm of agents after you who want to help you with the whole process. You can talk to men in brown uniforms if you need help. I found them to be very helpful and genuine.
The DO costs 400 rupees ($5). Why do you need to pay just to pick up your bag when you’ve already paid to have it shipped? I have no idea. I was quite confused, but the delivery order only means that you can pick up the bag. It will not be delivered to you by truck or anything like that, although for 400 rupees it should be!
After you get the DO, you need to go to customs. Exit the SAPS complex and turn left. Enter the PIA complex and go left. Enter the last bay and go all the way in and turn left. The office in the right corner is the customs office. There are four desks inside and a bunch of worn green chairs. If you’re lucky, there will also be some customs officers!
Now this is the tricky part. Many people told me that it was impossible to clear customs without an agent. I didn’t believe them on my first attempt. On my second attempt, I realized that it was next to impossible unless you’re a man and you speak Urdu and Punjabi. Out of about 20 people who were getting customs clearance, only one man was doing self-clearance. The rest were agents. The customs officers were actually shocked that this one man was doing it himself, as it was totally not the norm. I gave up and the brown uniformed men asked one nice man to help me out. He would charge less than an agent, and he seemed to have the respect of the officers since he regularly worked with them. The airlines officials suggested I give the man 500 rupees for helping me out ($6.13) with the two hours customs clearance process, but they didn’t want to pressure me and kept saying that I could give as I pleased.
My customs clearance took from 10:00am to 1:00pm. The computer system that you need to use to fill in the customs forms was down most of the time. I basically did nothing during this time, but the man who was helping me, Zaheer, had to go out and type my information into a computer somewhere and make multiple photocopies of my passport. Then he had some other guy running around getting all sorts of signatures from different places, that I probably never could have found. During this time I had to pay a 200 rupee ($2.50) fee for the weight of my baggage. I got an official receipt for it. Save this receipt as you need it to leave the airport.
When all the signatures were done, we headed back to SAPS to where the baggage was being held. It was already 1:00pm and the officers were leaving for tea and prayer time. Zaheer called the office and asked them to wait for me, because otherwise I’d need to come back again after an hour.
We left the PIA complex and went back to the SAPS complex. First I had to pay a handling and storage fee. If your cargo is only there for 2 days, there is no storage fee. There is a flat 50 rupee (60 cents) for handling and a 20 rupee (25 cents) fee for ‘documentation.’ I think that means you’re paying to get the receipt printed.
After getting your receipt, go all the way to the end of the SAPS complex, towards the side where you parked your car. Enter an off white gate and walk down an outer corridor to the baggage hold. There are no signs. Turn right into the first room. Here you’ll meet Mr. Mohammad Saddiq from the PIA Baggage Section. This man was very helpful to me, as well as the other man working in his office. Here they just need to enter some numbers into a big register and you’ll need to sign a few things. Then you’ll get your bag! As you get your bag, one man will need to sign it as you left the baggage hold. Make sure you get this signature or you won’t be able to leave the airport.
If someone helped you with the process, don’t pay him inside the office. He’ll walk you to your car so you can pay him without all the other workers seeing. This saves you having to tip everyone who you talked to that day. The man who helped me do the customs clearance was Zaheer Ahmed, and he was very polite and professional. Many of the men hanging out at the Cargo Complex were downright scary. **Update: Unfortunately Zaheer no longer has the same mobile number, so I don’t have a contact.
You can’t go out the way you came in. Drive past the PIA complex and turn right at the first intersection. You’ll come to a gate. Give your token and show the signature on your cargo and your blue receipt from customs. As the gate opens, you and your cargo are finally free!
Bangkok can be a great place for business travelers, both men and women, to buy ready-made suits or get them made to order. You’ll pay a fraction of the price you’d pay in Europe or North America, and Bangkok tailors are known to be some of the best in the world. That said, Bangkok is a huge city with seemingly unending options for shopping. How and where can you buy a suit?
For women, one of the cheapest and easiest ways to get a great suit is to visit a Thai uniform shop. If you’re in Bangkok for more than fifteen minutes, you’ll notice that Thai women are quite stylish, and many professionals wear pantsuits or skirt suits to work. Thai school girls also wear uniforms, which usually consist of a white button down blouse and a dark colored skirt. Sometimes a suit jacket is also worn. At a uniform shop, you’ll see every variety of skirt in every size a Thai girl might be (so if you’re a US size 8 or up you might have trouble). You can get pencil skirts, A-line skirts, mini-skirts, pleated skirts, tea-length skirts, etc. all in the standard black or navy blue. Some shops also have dark brown, dark gray or pinstripe patterns for sale.
At the uniform shop in MBK (third floor, back of market area), you can get a skirt, jacket and blouse for just 2000 baht ($57). They have four colors: black, navy, dark gray and dark brown. All blouses at these shops are white, but you can easily buy more stylish blouses at different shops.
Many of Bangkok’s malls have tailors. A made to order suit will be ready within a week, but it may cost you more than a ready-made suit. At Iberis tailors on the ground floor of MBK, a made to order suit, shirt not included, goes for 4000 baht ($114). Look for sales of items from the last season to save money, as I was able to get a black suit for 2700 baht ($77) and a navy pinstripe suit for 3250 baht ($92). The navy suit was more expensive because the jacket was ready-made and the trousers needed to be stitched. Sizes available are generally small to medium. If you need larger sizes you’ll have to get them made to order.
Wherever business travelers frequent Bangkok, tailors seem to have sprung up. Quality of tailoring is generally high as there is stiff competition. On Charoen Krung Road, between Soi 42 and 30, there are dozens of tailors. This area is very close to piers #1 through #3 on the Chao Phraya River Express Boat. It’s conveniently located near many of Bangkok’s luxurious riverfront hotels and conference centers.
Most stores have signs outside boasting deals like 2 suits, 2 shirts, and 2 ties for $179! These signs are designed to get you inside. Once you’re in, make sure you ask about what types of material are covered under the deal. Many times, in order to get good quality, you’ll end up paying more than the advertised price. Nevertheless, these shops can still be a really good deal and you’ll get suits cheaper than you can elsewhere.
Tailors have lots of fabrics you can choose from, and sometimes the turn around for a made to order suit is only 24 hours. Some shops boast getting it done in 6 hours, although I’d be wary of having tailoring done so quickly.
Siam Square, located right off the Siam BTS Station, has hundreds of hip and trendy stores. If you’re looking for less traditional suits in different colors and styles, this is a great place to check out. You can get funky women’s suits made of Thai silk in all colors of the rainbow, and there are many different designer shops you can go in. This area is better for women’s suits, as you’re not likely to find traditional dark colored suits here.
You should easily be able to get a suit at any of these locations, aside from the designers at Siam Square, for less than $100. Think about what you want before stepping into a shop, otherwise you might be convinced to order the most expensive thing they have. Know what kind of weather you want the suit for, and what colors you want. For women, you’ll have to decide whether you want suits with skirts or with pants, and what cut of skirt you want. Usually there are samples at the tailors, but changing rooms can be small so it’s best to have an idea before you go. Most tailors have staff that speak English well, so next time you’re in Bangkok nothing should stop you from getting that new suit!
If you’re a high school student deciding what to major in, a college student looking for a career to jump into, or a teacher looking to move abroad, follow these steps to start an international teaching career.
Most international schools require at least two out of three of the following: a Bachelor’s degree from a recognized institution, a valid teaching certification in the subject area you’d like to teach, and a minimum of two years full-time K-12 experience. Although you may find a job without a teaching certification, more doors will be open to you and salaries higher if you get certified. In the United States, teacher certification procedures vary from state to state. They usually require post-graduate level training and observation. In some states, like Massachusetts, you can get a 5-year preliminary teaching license after completing a series of examinations in English proficiency and your subject area.
Some international schools will hire fresh graduates, but many prefer 2 or more years of experience. International experience and travel is a plus. Think about what type of curriculum you’d like to teach. International schools generally offer either American, British (GCSE) or International Baccalaureate (IB) programs.
Many schools prefer to hire through placement companies such as International Schools Services (ISS) or Search Associates. These companies provide a database of both schools and potential candidate, and they also arrange hiring fairs around the world. You will need to pay a fee when you apply, and be sure to apply only if you meet the company’s requirements. Once accepted, you will have access to information about international schools, the salary packages they offer, and current vacancies.
You can contact international schools via email in the hopes of setting up interviews. Many administrators prefer to interview candidates face to face, but some will do interviews over phone or internet based called. The best way to get interviews is to attend a recruitment fair sponsored by your placement company. Your application fee generally covers the cost of admission to one fair, but you must secure an invitation well in advance for the fair you’d like to attend. For example, in January 2009 in Bangkok there will be a Search Associates fair at the Royal Orchid Sheraton. 90 schools and 400 candidates will meet for the purpose of schools filling vacancies.
As a candidate, you need to do your research. Know about the different curriculum options as well as information about the countries and schools you’d like to work in. Read about culture, cost of living and travel information. Join an online expat forum to read about other expatriates’ experiences in different cities around the world. Pay for a $29 yearly subscription to International Schools Review to see what other teachers are saying about the schools you’re thinking of applying to. Recruiters want to hire candidates who are conscientious and well informed about the curriculum, the school, and the host country and culture.
All the best to you as you consider a career in international teaching!