The Frugal Traveler To The Web?

Friday, December 4, 2009


The New York Times’ “Frugal Traveler,” Matt Gross, was in attendance at last night’s talk, “Travel Gets Social: The New World of Travel Media,” when discussions turned to the prospect of the future of travel journalism.

In a surprisingly candid, yet refreshingly sober, analysis of his own employer, Matt admitted that should the Grey Lady cease to exist one day, or at least cut back even more dramatically than it already has, he has often wondered what the demand in the the marketplace would be for a stand-alone Frugal Traveler site, with reader-based instructions as to where to go and what to do.

Payment, he mused, could be collected via a PayPal donation box on the site, with tourism agencies and readers alike supporting his travels. Kind of like the guys you see playing mariachi music in the subway on the weekends.

What do you think? Is this the future for Matt? Is this even a viable idea? Haven’t people tried this before?

In my opinion, as good as Matt is, the sad reality is that it’s often the name way above the byline that draws the readers. There will always be excellent independent travel publications (whoo-hoo) and bloggers, but let’s face it, it takes something like the New York Times to really draw the eye-popping number of readers and advertisers.

It’s up to the Times to adapt to the times, and not up to its writers, if quality travel journalism is going to survive in the future. Otherwise, time to snap up the URL:

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