Why Being a Travel Writer is Better than Winning the Lotto‏

Newport Coast Villas

As I was flying in first class because of a free upgrade then again when I arrived at Marriott’s Newport Coast Villas to two massive welcome baskets and a schedule of luxury events, it really sunk in; being a travel writer is better than winning the lottery. There are some perks that even money can’t buy and I’d choose this life over winning the lottery.

Marriott Newport Coast Villas Pool

Marriott Vacation Club is my favorite place to stay. After traveling around the globe and staying at some of the best resorts in the world, I’ve found that I’m most excited to visit Marriott Vacation Club. The resort activities that they offer read like a dream list of vacation experiences. From tour opportunities, family events, movie nights, fitness programs, a variety of activities for adults, teen hangout rooms, and on-site dining, it’s like going to Disneyland without the excessive line-ups.
Marriott's Newport Coast Villas
When I decided to fly out to California rather than make the 4 day drive with Athena, I immediately reached out to my PR contact at Marriott Vacation Club. (Even saying I have a PR contact for Marriott Vacation Club sounds like something I’m reading from a book or watching on a movie. That’s not actually how people live, right? Is this a dream?) I had driven by Newport Coast Villas a thousand times when I lived in California but I never imaged staying here. Luckily, as a travel writer with a large enough following, they were willing to put me up for free in exchange for coverage on Bucket List Publications. Most of you ask me how I can afford such experiences; well here it is. I ask and because I’m a travel writer, I sometimes receive. I never dreamed it could be that simple.

With accommodations out of the way, I just had to figure out the flight. I had enough points with US Airways so even that was free. Then, when my flight was delayed and I missed the connection, I was upgraded to first class and rode the rest of the way in luxury. I know that lottery winners can pay for upgrades but getting them for free is so much more rewarding.
Duffy Boat Tour in Newport Beach
The icing on the cake was the way I was treated when I arrived at Newport Coast Villas. Two personalized welcome baskets filled with goodies awaited us next to a detailed schedule of events for the week. Among the events, a boat tour, a tour of Hollywood, a behind-the-scenes Extra experience, fine dining, and resort activities for Athena like Build a Buddy and a Treasure Hunt. It was like winning the Showcase Showdown on The Price is Right. Every detail was thoroughly thought out with attention to every detail.

I am Cinderella and Bucket List Publications is my Prince Charming. It is through travel writing and owning a blog that I’ve been able to live my fairy-tale, and every time I go to a new resort or location, my fairy Godmother keeps coming back to make my dreams a reality.
Mom and I Dancing at a wedding
The lotto is more than $400 million tonight so I was thinking about how my life would be different if I won but then I decided not even to buy a ticket. Being a travel writer is better than winning the lotto. This is my Happy Dance.

85 thoughts on “Why Being a Travel Writer is Better than Winning the Lotto‏

        • I was just watching a travel show about Rome and thinking about how much I miss it and want to go back. I only spent three days in Rome, which is not even close to enough. Did you visit Venice too? Everyone always takes about how dirty it is, but I didn’t think that at all. I’d love to get your thoughts on the place. 🙂


          • I have been to Venice several time and love it more each time. Sure the back streets are a little grimy, but the romance and history is what it’s all about, and the people. Also loved Verona, Lake Garda and San Marino. Paying for a big wedding for my daughter this year in Estes Park, Colorado, but next year, back to Rome and then a week in Tuscany near Siena. Keep traveling and enjoying. By the way, I ALWAYS stay in Marriotts. My favorite hotel so I enjoyed your blogs.


          • Hello Lesley, I’m new to your Blog and website (just found them by chance today) and I am thoroughly enjoying it all.
            I went on a tour of Tuscany in 2010, base was in Montecatini Terme with day trips to Pisa, Sienna, Lucca, Greve, Florence etc. Loved it! And the reason I made the decision to see Tuscany was entirely from reading Marlena di Blasi’s fabulous books: A Thousand Days In Venice followed by A Thousand Days in Tuscany. Those two books totally influenced me to go to Italy and especially Tuscany.
            Lillian in Toronto, Ontario, Canada….PS. I work in a travel agency but am bored sitting at a desk sending people off on trips I want to be going on myself!


    • It is a lot of work but even if I won the biggest lotto in history, I’d still write daily. It’s a reminder of how beautiful the world is. 🙂

      The weather is perfect now and we’re settling in nicely. It will take a few more days to finish unpacking but it’s coming.


  1. I think, that you are right, to win the lotto would not change your life into a better position.
    Continue your great and good work, I know there are tough times too, but I think it is those worth.

    When I had my newspapers and magazines, I was invited at several travels to write about different companies posibilities and it was a wonderful way to explore.

    Enjoy your lifestyle Leslie.


  2. I love to hear about your travel experiences so thank you for writing them and sharing with us!! That is so awesome your treated so well!! Have a WONDERFUL time! Hugz Lisa and Bear


  3. Such a great post and well done you, you deserve it. You don’t get these opportunities overnight, you’ve worked hard to build this following and now it is time to reap the rewards. I do a similar thing through my work as editor for an online festival publication – it gets me free entry to festivals of my choice – but work comes with it – I just don’t consider it work because I love it! Would love to branch out further into travel writing. Looks like an amazing trip!


  4. I agree with you. Negotiating and earning a trip or accommodations is like shopping in a second-hand store and finding a treasure instead of paying full price in a specialty shop (IF I had the money = winning a lottery and devil-may-care about the cost). Your adventures are always fun to read.


  5. I would LOVE to be a travel writer. I’m going to ask the obvious question: How did you get into this field? It’s always felt like the perfect combination of passions, the travel and writing rolled into one. I’m just curious how you got started! Love the blog though, and thoroughly enjoy the photos and stories!!


  6. Winning the Lotto would be nice…but it doesn’t turn you into the kind of person who deserves, knows how to handle, and attracts wealth. Being in charge of your own destiny, forging bonds that bring tangible results, and providing benefit to others made you someone who can do all the things I first mentioned. So yes, being a travel blogger, creating an active and engaged community, and forming partnerships with individuals and organizations around the world is a LOT better than winning the Lotto. Keep doing that happy dance, Lesley! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t know. My husband and I have talked about it a few times. I think that it changes people and not always for the better. I also think it changes your relationship with family, friends, etc.. I don’t know if I’d want all of that. Have you thought about it?


    • Have you thought about how it would change your life? I don’t know if it would all be positive. Even if I did win, I’d still be writing. I guess it would be nice to help out family and be certain my daughter would have everything she ever needed in life.


  7. This is a great post! I am a travel writer as well, and have also enjoyed my stays at the Marriott Vacation Clubs. My partner’s parents have a time share with them, and we stay in the Newport Coast Villas at least once a year. It is always a slice of heaven! I love your photo of the pool. It is rarely overcrowded, and at night, the lighting is magical. If you go very late at night and float on your back, taking in the clear night sky, it feels as if you are floating amongst the stars.


  8. Great post again. I love your lifestyle and I get the value of all the free stuff. However, still wondering how online blogging can be lucrative. Considering the frequency and length of your blogs and articles, you seem to be writing day and night – don’t know how you do it with Athena in your life (:. Does your online work generate enough income to live on, or do you do it for fun and the perks?


  9. I just have a question for you: Since Bucket List Publications is your Prince Charming, what do you call your husband?

    I’m glad you’re enjoying life to it’s fullest and sharing it all with us. You deserve Free!


  10. It’s so refreshing to hear someone who would take travel over money any day, I hope to see as many places as you have in the future – your posts never fail to inspire me to do this. Great post, I enjoyed the read 🙂 x


  11. Thank you for the inspiration and insider! Its writers like you that make me so happy to have started my own blog! You were one of my first followers and I am so happy you stumbled upon “BettyAbroad” because that’s how in return I discovered the “Bucketlist publications” 🙂 because I am new to this I don’t know many of the tricks and insiders that travel bloggers have up their sleeves but I always learn something new through your posts! I hope that one day my blog and work will be just as great as yours.
    Thank you for that 🙂
    -Betty ♡


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