What is a FAM trip? I must admit that I hadn’t heard of this term until I was invited to join a media trip.
FAM trips are actually Familiarization trips, but they are loosely called “FAM” in the travel agency world. These trips are to introduce travel agents or people in the media industry to various places of interest so that they can help to promote them as a tourist destination.
Here are some helpful tips if you get the opportunity to go on one of these trips (I learned the hard way so decided to pen this down after my initial experience):
(1) Note that technically this is not a holiday but a working trip – some people have the misconception that you are going on a free holiday but it can be quite stressful as you’ll need to ensure you are paying attention to all details at all times so that you can write your report about it (unlike a real holiday where you don’t need to pay 100% attention to the tour guide).
(2) Touch and go – these trips are basically to introduce you to the places of interest but you may not be given ample time to fully enjoy all the attractions and facilities. For example, I was taken to one of the Disney theme parks for lunch, ushered to watch 1 show and to take 1 ride, and this was followed by a press briefing, then we were out of there!
(3) Bring a notebook to jot down your thoughts and anything newsworthy.
(4) Bring your camera and take lots of pictures – you may have more photo-taking privileges over members of the public, especially when attending certain events or festivities.
(5) Carry a big enough bag during the day to store your press kits – there will be lots of these which are handed to you and they can be heavy, so ensure that you also allocate some space in your luggage for them.
(6) Based on the press kits, you may be expected to write about places and events you didn’t have enough time to experience. In the event that you didn’t bring your camera or perhaps you did but your pictures didn’t turn out well, you may choose to use the official photos which have been provided in the press kits.
(7) You may only be given 5-15min for shopping depending on location – this is hardly enough time to do any serious shopping! I was given 15min to tour a factory outlet and this 15min included time for our toilet break which gave me only enough time to walk 1 round of the outlet mall without entering any shops! In addition, at one of the Disney theme parks, we were given only 10min for shopping – I decided not to shop but take more photos instead.
(8) Bring your business cards as you will be meeting PR people, bosses of companies and sometimes government officials.
(9) Be prepared to pose for official photos – depending on the organiser, you may be asked to pose for these pictures at every single stop!
(10) Good food will be provided – this is the best part if you are a foodie! At some of the places, you’ll get to sample some of the best local cuisine.
(11) Freebies may be given to you – don’t expect to receive them all the time but if you do it’s a bonus! ^_^
(12) It helps if you know the language of the country you are visiting as sometimes even with an interpreter, things get lost in translation and some explanations of the places of interest are brief – i.e. Not everything gets translated.
Hope this was useful! If any of you have any queries, you can drop me a message and I’ll try to answer to the best of my knowledge.