Call for Submissions: The Travel Issue

Send us your leads and pitches by Jan. 31.

For a lot of lucky people, warm weather and vacation from work mean travel. Sometimes short trips nearby, sometimes big adventures to other countries. Those experiences are important not just for our personal happiness—a break from daily routines—but for societal growth. Imagination, inspiration, perspective, empathy—so much about work to build a better world depends on exposure to other ways of being, experiencing other people, places, and cultures. Social justice depends on how we travel.

There has been a lot of progress in increasing understanding of travel’s carbon footprint. But in our summer travel issue, we would like to look at solutions and analyses that take into account: Racial justice. Feminism. Exotification. Poverty, inequality, and access. Segregation. Colonial mindsets. Rights of underdeveloped countries. Rights of nature.

Who gets to travel? Tourism tends to benefit wealthy people, both those doing the visiting and the capitalists in the places being visited. Even at the city level, one of the consequences of poverty and inequality is not being able to leave the city to experience wilderness or cultural spaces. If you charge more to travel, with carbon offsets and the actual costs of travel, then you increase the inequality of cultural access. If you make it less expensive, it often becomes unsustainable. Is there way out to break out of the market forces? How do we democratize travel?

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What is a fair exchange? Traditional global tourism tends to be extractive—think African safaris and cruise ships destroying reefs. In the urge to find authentic experiences, technology such as the camera phone have changed the way people of other cultures experience tourists. If travel and tourism are socially and economically important, how can it be done in fair and socially conscious ways? Does mixing volunteerism with travel work?

Outdoor travel: “Wilderness” historically has meant pristine places set aside for White people to experience. The national parks and monuments have a history of racism. What are they doing to increase cultural access, and is it working? Significantly, is it working for the Indigenous people whose traditional lands these are?

Alternative economies: Capitalism fosters an exploitive industry, and studies show tourism exacerbates income inequality. Are there ways to do cultural exchange outside traditional economies, such as the Eatwith platform or grassroots home exchanges?

Your own backyard: America is large and multicultural, but Americans don’t often value touring their own cultures. A recent study shows travel within American cities is segregated and limited. Segregation and confinement breed fear, and economic and political polarization, as in the rural-urban divide, as in White-only neighborhoods and Black-only neighborhoods. How do we encourage everyone to move freely and fully experience their own cities? How do we get citizens to venture out of their own comfortable spaces?

How to get there? Fast travel is bad for the planet, and many tours try to address issues of sustainability. What are the best ways to get far away yet do the least harm? Less expensive can often mean more unsustainable. What are the actual costs of travel?

Expat or migrant? What is our right to travel? Limiting travel at all steps on personal freedom. When we differentiate tourism from travel, then the discussion about the right to move freely is one that involves migration, global citizenship, and segregated cities. Empowerment comes from freedom to imagine a better world for yourself, to pick up and find a better place. Yet even temporary migration is viewed with suspicion and disdain when it involves people from poor countries. When it’s an American or a European trying on a new country, they’re enviable expats. Is racism the only root of the difference?

YES! Magazine wants to know how individuals and communities are solving some of these problems.

Send us your story ideas! We seek examples of excellent journalism: character-driven and place-based storytelling. Your story will be well-researched and demonstrate conflict and resolution in the form of a reported feature, explanatory analysis, or insightful essay. Send pitches to by January 31.

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