Is Matador Network’s Travel Writing Course Worth The Cost?

When my parents asked me what I wanted for Christmas last year, I answered without hesitation – the MatadorU Travel Writing Course.

travel writing course

taking notes at a cafe in Bogota

I have been reading Matador for ages. Every time I visit the site, I spend at least an hour browsing through their extensive article archive. For me, Matador is the pinnacle of online travel writing and I always wanted to write addictive content like they do.

I had read through the travel writing course landing page several times, though I wasn’t able to shell out the $350 to take it. Choosing the course for a Christmas present was a no-brainer.

The Coursework

MatadorU is broken up into 12 chapters spread out over 12 weeks. The course is self-paced, so you can finish it in 3 months or 3 years.

The first few chapters talk about the elements of travel writing, like how to utilize effective openings and conclusions, the different kinds of writing, such as destination pieces versus narratives versus blog posts, and how to self-edit your writing.

The next few chapters show you how to become a travel writer, like how to write an author bio, how to pitch properly, and how to score press trips.

The last section covers the practical aspects of travel writing: how to do research, how to combine assignments to make a trip worthwhile, and an introduction to monetizing travel blogs.

The Benefits

Even if you’re not in the how to be a travel writer stage and you’ve already been published, Matador’s course is still helpful.

One of the most helpful aspects of the course is having access to the editors of Matador. Every week, students can submit a piece to the writing lab where at least three editors review the article and offer feedback and constructive criticism so you can improve your writing.

Another useful feature is the Market Blog, which has press trip announcements, calls for submission, editor jobs, writing contests, and travel photography opportunities. I found one of my first paid gigs there, a front of book piece for a new magazine coming out called Centro y Sur.

The student forum offers also excellent networking opportunities and makes a great place to ask for advice from a group of people that know what they’re talking about. Some topics that have been discussed include when to follow up with an editor and how to use social media effectively.

Along with getting feedback from fellow students on your latest assignments, you also get feedback from Julie Schwietert, Matador’s managing editor who is crazy helpful and still finds the time to respond to my emails and questions even after I finished the course.

The Takeaway

Thanks to Matador, I:

  • Know how to pitch editors (and get responses)
  • Feel confident about my writing ability
  • Learned how to market myself
  • Have a built-in support network
  • Am on my way to becoming a successful travel writer

In short, would I recommend Matador’s travel writing course? Yes! And if you decide to enroll, please click on the affiliate links throughout the piece so I can make a little bit of money :)

Have you taken Matador’s travel writing course? Has it helped you become a travel writer?

When my parents asked me what I wanted for Christmas last year, I decided to choose something less tangible and more useful – the MatadorU Travel Writing Course.

I have been reading Matador for ages, each visit seducing hours of my time reading through the latest articles and the archives. I had read through the travel writing course landing page several times, though I wasn’t able to shell out the $350 to take it.

The Coursework

MatadorU is broken up into 12 chapters spread out over 12 weeks, though the course is self-paced so you can finish it in 3 months or 3 years.

While some of the topics I was already familiar with, such as the travel blogging sections, I found several of them helpful.

The first few chapters talk a lot about the actual travel writing and how to do it. How to utilize effective openings and conclusions, the different kinds of writing, such as destination pieces versus narratives versus blog posts, and how to self-edit your writing.

The next few chapters are useful for actually getting into the business and working as a travel writer. How to write an author bio, how to pitch properly, and how to score press trips.

The last section covers the practical aspects of travel writing: how to do research, how to combine assignments to make a trip worthwhile, and an introduction to monetizing travel blogs.

The Benefits

Even if you’re not in the how to be a travel writer phase and you’ve already been published, Matador’s course is still helpful.

One of the most positive aspects of working in the course is having access to the editors of Matador. Every week, students can submit a piece to the writing lab where at least three editors will review the article and offer helpful feedback to improve your writing.

Another useful feature is the Market Blog, which has press trips announcements, calls for submission, editor jobs, writing contests, and travel photography opportunities. I found one of my first paid gigs there, a front of book piece for a new magazine coming out called Centro y Sur.

The student forum offers also excellent networking opportunities and makes a great place to ask for advice from a group of people that know what they’re talking about. When to follow up with an editor, how to use social media effectively, and to get feedback from fellow students on your latest assignments. You also get feedback from Julie Schwietert, Matador’s managing editor who is crazy helpful and still finds the time to answer my emails even after I finished the course to answer all my questions about the travel writing world.

The Takeaway

Thanks to Matador, I:

  • Know how to pitch editors (and get responses)
  • Feel confident about my writing ability
  • Learned how to market myself
  • Have a built-in support network of alumni
  • Am on my way to becoming a successful travel writer

In short, would I recommend Matador’s travel writing course? Yes! And if you decide to enroll, please click on the affiliate links throughout the piece so I can make a little bit of money J

Have you taken Matador’s travel writing course? Has it helped you become a travel writer?

becoming a travel writer

12 Comments
  • LASHTOUR
    June 25, 2011

    Hi JAsmine,

    Thanks for the explanation of their course and your endorsement. Like you, I’ve been looking at their course page off and on for ages and wondering whether to take it or not. I think the connections alone will be worth it, along with the writing critiques. Thanks! Lash

  • Naomi
    June 26, 2011

    I haven’t taken any Matador courses, but I have been looking at their photography course. The pricetag is a bit daunting – though asking for it as an Xmas present is definitely a good idea ;) I’ve also been a huge fan of Matador for ages – every time I go on that site I seem to wind up with a thousand new tabs open – and actually gave up the chance to apply for an internship with them when they were first starting because it was unpaid. Little did I know how cool that site would turn out!!

  • Alouise
    June 26, 2011

    Nice post. I took MatadorU back in September 2009. I found it really helpful because I knew absolutely nothing about blogging or travel writing at the time. I also recently found out that graduates still have access to the course information, market leads and forums – which I think will come in handy for future reference. 

  • Jasmine Stephenson
    June 26, 2011

    Let me know if you decide to take it! I thought it was a great experience overall.

  • Jasmine Stephenson
    June 26, 2011

    Luckily it’s not too late to get involved with them now that you know they are cool :)

  • Jasmine Stephenson
    June 26, 2011

    I refer to some parts of the coursework a lot before I write a new post. Plus the pro modules, like the front of book section, was helpful too.

  • Nomadic Samuel
    July 1, 2011

    This was a really relevant post for me because I’ve just enrolled recently in the Matador U photography and writing programs.  I’m glad to hear you’ve had an overall positive experience and learned some valuable skills along the way.  I largely joined after hearing recommendations from others and I will likely write a review post myself when I complete all the course material.  

  • Jasmine Stephenson
    July 2, 2011

    Cool, let me know how the photography course goes :)

  • Julie McElroy
    August 17, 2011

    Thanks Jasmine.  I am still on the fence as I don’t know how much more useful it is than just learning some of this on your own – there is plenty of info online and Tim Leffel’s Travel Writing 2.0 book is helpful.  It seems to me the biggest value is the networking and access to the editors.

  • Jasmine Stephenson
    August 20, 2011

    Well learning how to pitch was also really valuable for me, as well as polishing up my writing skills and learning how to write for different types of publications.

  • Vincent C
    January 1, 2014

    Happy New Year, I signed up to MU because of you. Hope this works.

  • Jasmine Stephenson
    January 5, 2014

    Great! I hope you get as much out of the class as I did.

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