By Kelsey Mulvey
Congratulations! You were just invited on press trip. Free flights, food and stay some swanky hotel — who would pass that up? But before you pack your bags and jet off, you should know that press trips are a tricky balance between business and pleasure. Sure, you’ll be boozin’, bikin’ and bruchin’ with a bunch of cool editors and publicists, but it’s still work.
So how do you ace your first press trip? We talked to two well-traveled editors and shared their advice below.
Rule 1: Don’t Go on Every Press Trip You’re Invited To
“You should treat it like any other business meeting: If you see a place for potential partnership or some sort of shared benefit between both your brand and the brand inviting you, then that’s great. If it doesn’t quite feel like a natural fit, it probably isn’t. ” — Christine Flammia, Associate Style Editor, Esquire.com
Rule 2: Document the Trip on Social Media
“[Posting] on social [media] is a big one. Even if not specifically expressed, many brands expect some level of social engagement—it’s part of why they invited you.” — Shannon Bauer, Associate Beauty Editor
Just note that you need your brand (read: your boss’s) approval before you go on the trip. And it should always be labeled “sponsored”.
Rule 3: Network, Network, Network!
“I always make it a point to get to know the other editors there. It’s designed for you to meet brands and PR reps, so that’s the easy part of the networking. But getting to know the people you’re sharing the experience with is equally valuable. Treat everyone like you would new coworkers, and get to know them as people. You already have a lot in common because you’re both there. When in doubt, talk about writing.
— Christine Flammia
Yes,the free food and drink and lavish accommodations are pretty nice. But even nicer can be the high-level editor sitting next to you at dinner. Take this advantage and get to know her. She could have a job opening …
Rule 4: Be Open to New Experiences…
“They may have activities/plans that you’re not super excited about, but lean into it and give it a try (within reason). Try something new and don’t be the one who brings the whole group down and makes things difficult for everyone else.” — Shannon Bauer
Rule 5: … But Don’t Treat a Press Trip Like a Party
“Have a glass or two of wine, have fun, but be in control of yourself and your drinking. It can be difficult (especially when the wine is automatically poured) but try to take your cues from the PR reps. If you’re in line with them, you should be fine.” — Shannon Bauer
Kelsey Mulvey is a New York-based writer and editor. She has written for several publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Time Out New York, LuckyMag.com, Business Insider, Taste of Home, NYMag.com and Wallpaper.com. Check out more of her work at KelseyMulveyWrites.com and follow her on Instagram and Twitter.