Adventure Travel

How You Could Get Paid to Visit 52 Destinations in One Year

Do you love traveling enough that you would explore 52 destinations in just one year, writing about the magic of each one every step of the way? Then the New York Times wants to hear from you—even if you’re not a journalist.

The newspaper made waves across the internet this week when it posted a unique job offering. The Times is seeking “at least one ambitious traveler” to visit all of the destinations on its upcoming annual 52 Places to Go list, and cover everything along the way. Sound like your dream job?

The Times’ hiring editor said this week that the publication welcomes non-journalist applicants who have covered their travels in some way—perhaps just on social media, via digital blog, etc. But there are still a few catches.

Aside from the fact that more than 3,100 people have already applied for the opening, this rightly sought-after dream job has a few prerequisites. According to the posting, the ideal candidate:

  • Has traveled to several destinations.
  • Has documented travel in writing, social media, or elsewhere.
  • Is active on social media.
  • Has prior experience at a magazine, publishing company, newspaper, digital publication, film, or other media organization.
  • Can commit to a full year.

You don’t necessarily need journalism experience to be the wayfaring unicorn that will win the Times over, but you will need to follow its strict no-comp travel correspondent policies: Accepting free items or services of any kind is not allowed, and, since the paper pays for its writers’ travel, you can bank on flying economy class. If you’re a high-maintenance traveler, this may not be for you.

Think you have a shot? Apply by October 31 if you want that year-long dream vacation—with some deadlines attached. The job will begin in the new year. Last year’s 52 Places included a wide array of destinations, from Agra, India, to Greenville, South Carolina, and far beyond.

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Associate Editor Shannon McMahon writes about all things travel. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

By Shannon McMahon

Editor Shannon McMahon is always planning her next trip and often writing in her travel journal. Follow her on Twitter @shanmcmahon_ and on Instagram @shanmcmahon.

Shannon joined SmarterTravel in 2015. A former news reporter, she's lived in the south of Spain, spotted elephants in Sri Lanka, gone spelunking in the Caribbean, hiked Jordan's Petra Basin, interviewed Sao Paulo's Michelin-Star chefs, and explored China via bullet train. Travel trends, news oddities, and her visits to up-and-coming destinations are some of her favorite things to write about.

Her stories have also appeared online on USA Today, The Sun, Huffington Post, Business Insider,,, and more. Her educational background is in journalism, art history, gender studies, Spanish, and film. She's been quoted as an expert travel source by CNBC,, MarketWatch, The Washington Post, USA Today, and more.

The Handy Item I Always Pack: "Plenty of extra thick hair elastics. They tame my frizzy curls and come in handy in a surprising number of packing and hotel dilemmas."

Ultimate Bucket List Experience: "Climbing (yes, climbing, it's steep!) the Great Wall of China before it's gone."

Travel Motto: "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness." - Mark Twain

Aisle, Window, or Middle Seat: "Window, of course."

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