Travel Information for Models

Unless you live in New York, Los Angeles, Paris, London, or Milan, there are likely to be many jobs where you will have to travel at least a couple of hours to get to the assignment. In modeling, you have to "go where the action is," you can't wait for jobs to come to you.

However, if you are competing for a modeling position -- realize that any travel expenses are coming out whatever job you are taking. Advertisers and photographers will almost always want to work with a local model. Local models are easy to schedule, easy to locate in case of problems, and are normally available for short shoots. If a model tells a potential client -- "you have to pay my travel expenses" -- almost always the model will be eliminated from consideration. Why pay "extra" when the model there is a GREATER possibility that the model can't make the shoot (car breakdown, underestimating travel time, getting lost in the unfamiliar city).

Remember that travel is YOUR modeling expense -- not theirs. If the job doesn't pay enough to pay for travel plus what you consider is fair for your time and skill -- then simply turn down the job.

Travel Basics

There are some common sense things you should do when traveling. Here are a few (you're encouraged to come up with additional ones).

Confirm all appointment times and locations several days in advance. Unless the shoot is at an easy to find location, request that a detailed map be sent to you which includes the route marked out and phone numbers at each stop (if the shoots will be at several different locations).

Always let family members and a friend in your apartment know where you are going, how long you will be away, and the names and phone numbers of the people you are working with. If there is an emergency of any kind, they will have a way of contacting you. Also, this serves for your protection in case you don't come back when you are expected.

Pack extra clothes in case of rain. You'll need something dry if you've been caught in a downpour.

A cellular phone and a pager come in very handy for a model, but especially when working on location. If you need to be reached (or if you need to call for a tow truck or other help) these items are invaluable. Also, these come in handy if you get lost or will be late because of traffic.

Unless you know the photographer very well, always make your own hotel arrangements and keep the information to yourself. If someone needs to get in touch with you, they can page you, or you can have them call your agency and have the agency call you with their message.

It is sometimes safer and less boring to bring a friend along. You'll have to pay for the extra expense (or your friend can pay their own way), but it's best to have someone with you on long distance trips.

If you don't have a cellular phone, always have a large bag of change in your car. That way, you are able to make phone calls even at phones that won't accept your calling card.

Before leaving for your trip, get traveler's checks instead of cash. If they are lost or stolen, they can be easily replaced. Credit cards may seem more convenient, but it often takes days to issue a new card once it is reported lost or stolen.

If you are driving, plan your trip to avoid rush hours in the towns you are traveling through. Sometimes driving at night through metropolitan areas is best, but stay on main roads. Also, calculate out the amount of time your trip should take you, and make regular calls to report your progress (to your family or friend).

International Travel

International travel poses special problems for models and photographers. You will need a valid passport, and you need to register for one well in advance (2 months to be safe). Your local county government center or county courthouse can give you the necessary forms and applications for passports.

Some destinations also require visas, which can be involve a lengthy process. Here a good experienced travel agent can save you a lot of aggravation.

Here is a partial list of items to make sure you pack when you are leaving to travel abroad.

  • Passport (and perhaps visa).
  • Any prescription or other medications you need.
  • A language phase dictionary, e.g., English/French. Now there are also computerized language translators that are small enough to carry in a purse, and some even have a voice that pronounces the word for you.
  • Voltage converter kit.
  • A pocket calculator (for currency conversion).
  • Two 12 foot extension cords (electrical outlets are sometimes scarce)
  • A typed list of phone numbers, including those for your long distance service (ATT, Skype, etc.)
  • A device to create telephone "touch tones" to make use of your long distance calling cards. Many foreign countries only have rotary dial phones, which make your calling cards "useless" without this special touch-tone device.
  • Detailed street maps of the city you are traveling to. Also helpful are bus and train schedules.
  • Travelers checks and international bank cards (avoid large sums of cash).