Donald MacInnes: Why I'm waving goodbye to freebies - until the next time

In The Red

As I write, the redoubtable Mrs MacInnes will be digging her heels into the flanks of a wearisome rental horse and urging her accompanying posse of mounted travel agents through the surf on some Moroccan beach.

In her job as an account manager for an airline she sometimes has to act as a guide for a coterie of industry professionals, whom she whisks off to such climes, gratis; the idea being, when they get back to Blighty, they will be suitably enthusiastic about the trip and will push it as a destination for their clients.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I should confirm that I have been on my share of free trips. Actually, I have been on a lot of people's share of free trips. But that's the nature of journalism, or certainly used to be.

There was a time when, as long as you had enough holiday time, you could find yourself on an all-expenses-paid trip to anywhere in the world as often as you liked. You and half a dozen other journalists from various papers and magazines would be met at the check-in desk by the public relations person who usually worked for either the destination's tourist board or the airline.

What followed was anything from a few days to a week of being treated like some kind of magnificent, laser-emitting emperor. Going on press trips would make you think that every waiter, receptionist or taxi driver from Mexico City to St Petersburg existed purely to place slivers of melon on your tongue and iron your khaki leisure suit at the drop of a fez.

I actually grew tired of all the fawning and deviation-free itineraries (you do tend to get led around by the nose a lot … "Look at this … isn't this amazing?" Then on to the next wax sculpture or underground monorail), so I resolved not to accept any more invitations to go on any freebies.

Handy, then, that at pretty much the same time, the travel industry realised it barely had two pesetas to rub together, so should probably refrain from handing out five-star trips to anyone with a press card and a nice line in overly descriptive prose.

So my days of quaffing pricey wines and sampling swoon-inducing local cakes, while some flunky rubbed my feet, are over. Well, until my next press trip. Wherever that may be. Now, where did I put my camel repellent … ?

Independent Partners; Do you need financial advice on your investments, pension or insurance? Book a free consultation with an independent Financial Adviser at

Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Recruitment Genius: Digital Optimisation Executive - Marketing

    £30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's fastest growing, multi...

    Recruitment Genius: Financial Reporting Manager

    £70000 - £90000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Financial Reporting Manager i...

    Recruitment Genius: Payments Operations Assistant

    £23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They win lots of awards for the...

    Recruitment Genius: Telephone Debt Negotiator

    £13500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This nationwide enforcement com...

    Day In a Page

    Syria civil war: Meet the military commander who says his soldiers will not rest until every inch of their war torn country is free of Islamist 'terrorists'

    ‘We won’t stop until Syria is back to normal’

    Near the front lines with Islamist-controlled towns where Assad’s troops were besieged just last month, Robert Fisk meets a commander confidently preparing his soldiers for battle
    The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation may undermine Hillary's chances

    The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation...

    ... and how it may undermine Hillary's chances in 2016
    12 best olive oils

    Extra-virgin, cold-press, early-harvest, ultra-premium: 12 best olive oils

    Choosing an olive oil is a surprising minefield. Save yourself the hassle with our handy guide
    Rafa Benitez Real Madrid unveiling: New manager full of emotion at Bernabeu homecoming

    Benitez full of emotion at Bernabeu homecoming

    There were tears in the former Liverpool manager’s eyes as he was unveiled as Real Madrid coach. But the Spaniard knows he must make tough decisions if he is to succeed
    Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

    Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

    Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
    Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

    The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

    Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
    Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

    The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

    Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
    The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

    The future of songwriting

    How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
    William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

    Recognition at long last

    Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
    Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

    Beating obesity

    The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
    9 best women's festival waterproofs

    Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

    These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
    Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

    Wiggins worried

    Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
    On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

    On your feet!

    Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
    With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

    The big NHS question

    Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?