By:Â Caitlin Murphy, guest blogger
Press or “FAM” trips are an important part of the travel public relations profession allowing journalists to fully experience a resort so they can write about it.
I romanticized this as a perk – I’ll get paid to go on vacation!
Now, don’t get me wrong – press trips are a blast, but during my first-ever press trip to the Caribbean, I learned a few things along the way…
The tickets were booked, the itinerary planned to a T (including free time), press materials delivered and top journalists were traveling with us. Since this resort is family-friendly, each journalist was encouraged to bring a child to experience it all alongside them.
I was itching to go – I packed my bathing suit, sunscreen and my laptop. I thought I was prepared, but no PR class could have prepared me for the following. Below are my favorite stories as a newbie @TravelPRgirl:
Journalist 1 and I are waiting for the rest of the group to board the bus. I know we have a 30 minute drive ahead of us around the island, so I announce that I will go to the bathroom. (I do drink a lot of water…)
Anyway, I thought I would make fun of myself for always being in the bathroom:
Me- I think I will go to the bathroom before we go.
Journalist 1- That’s a good idea. I always have to go to the bathroom.
Me- (laughing jokingly)- Yeah, I’m a regular. (Meaning I use the restroom often.)
Journalist 1- Oh, I’m IRREGULAR too…. (Not what I intended)
At least she thought we had something in common
We are going swimming in a waterfall dubbed the island’s “fountain of youth.” Older journalists are excited for a chance to turn back time. It is perfect timing to take a dip as we have just seen a volcano, banana plantations and have been on a jeep safari tour.
We are hot.
We are sticky.
We need to change into our bathing suits.
Me getting into a bathing suit is tough enough…then add hot and sticky and it is downright impossible. ick.
One journalist and I are waiting in line to change in the bathrooms. There are a few stalls and a lot of people. So, Journalist 2 invites me into her stall to save time.
I panic…a lot.
She wants me to get down to my birthday suit and then put on my bathing suit in a bathroom stall with her?! I tell her I am shy. I wait for the next available stall.
We are playing paintball. I have never played, but was looking forward to the game. It was decided it would be kids against adults. Even though I still eat at the kids table on Christmas Eve, I was undoubtedly an adult according to these standards.
The rules: Only hit below the shoulders and you must be more than 10 feet away to shoot. First team to get all the players on the other team out – wins.
*yay!* Can’t be that hard.
Well, going into my first game and being a little competitive, I was excited! It was a game of elimination. There is one kid left and itâ€™s him vs. me and my coworker. The adults had the advantage. My teammate is going to run around while I distract him. So, I just start firing shots at him, not really aiming. SLPAT! Yellow paint everywhere. I shot him….IN THE FACE!!!
Yeah we won…but on bad terms.
I had broken the rules and I had shot Journalist 3′s kid in the face with a paintball.*umm go me?*
Thank goodness he was wearing the proper equipment (so no actual contact). I let the kids win every other round.
I am internally laughing at all of these things while secretly jotting down notes on “what NOT to do on a press trip.”
At least Journalists 4 and 5 survived with out a scratch.
Although, there is still time for me to add to my list of NOTs.
Caitlin Murphy is a public relations professional specializing in travel. She has her B.S. in Public Relations from the University of Florida and currently lives in Miami. She loves sushi and currently works for Cheryl Andrews Marketing Communications.