I wouldn't get into the game of charging per word/hour. You don't want to commoditize yourself. I suggest looking into value-based fees. Here's a good place to start. http://www.freshbooks.com/blog/2013/06/12/breakingthetimebarrier/
Are you talking about travel writing, writing for websites or writing for magazines? It really varies. For magazines, sometimes there are directories in professional groups (such as ASJA or Freelance Success), or paid sites like MediaBistro or Writer's Market (which is also a book). There's even a tumblr called Who Pays Writers? (http://whopays.tumblr.com/) Writer's Market also has a chart of going rates for various projects, though I think what they say for copywriting is a little low.
If you're working individually with a site, I wouldn't go any lower than $1/word or $100/hour. In general, it's a good idea to keep track of your hours so you can begin to calculate pay per hour, though. A magazine that pays 50 cents a word but is easy to work with may have a higher hourly rate than a site which pays $1.50/word but requests a lot of interviews and research and/or multiple rewrites/revisions.
I'm not a travel writer, but found this for you. Great tips!
It's much better to charge per project or to offer a series for a fee. My experience with many years in travel writing has taught that a few good pieces can lead to an annual contract, to an ongoing blog or to a book. I'll be glad to discuss details of my recent mobile travel apps and books.
I wouldn't focus on charging per word either, though this can be helpful once someone gets more specific with you about what they're looking for.
When you're giving a price, think about 1. how much research the piece requires 2. how much time it will take you to do this research 3. how much insight you'll need to have about the site's "personal" brand 4. how specific and original the work will be 5. how much experience you have writing pieces like this. 6. how many revisions you are willing to do.
1,000 words off the cuff is a lot different than 1,000 words that have been well-researched, edited, and revised.
My feeling is that you're asking how much you should charge for travel writing in general. For a 500 word travel blog post that required "light research", I would charge at least $100.
Don't forget as you're doing your travel writing, you should be able to get certain things comped for you, like a hotel, special event or performance, or even a meal. While this doesn't necessarily pay you by the magazine, this is a type of income that can make the article much more rewarding.
I was a travel writer for the state of Indiana for a few years, and would often get to travel to different parts of the state for an overnight trip. I only ever made $25 or so from the article (state government doesn't pay much), but the value of that "vacation" was often worth a few hundred dollars.
Still, as the others have pointed out, $1 per word is a great rate, and you should take it when you get it. Otherwise, $150 - $200 for a 750 word article is not out of the question.
Travel writing is a difficult genre to classify as it shares in so many other genres. Histories, personal narratives, accounts of exploration, and tales of epic quests: travel writing derives from and adds to each of these forms. Travel writing has always been as much about the exploration of the writer's self as it has been about the places or peoples visited. Travel writers and critics of the genre have often argued that the destination is of relatively little consequence; it is the process of travel, the work or travail involved, that is the true subject of the travel writer. If travel writing is as much about the traveller as it is about the destination, then American travel writing reveals as much about the American self as it does about other peoples. American travel writing during the period 1820–1870 reflected the nation's expansion of its territorial boundaries, its participation in the process of Manifest Destiny, and its developing sense of itself as a distinct nation with ties to its European past. That sense of nationhood and of a national self was to be severely tested during the American Civil War. Among the many political, historical, and social events that determined the scope and focus of American travel narratives during the period were the Lewis and Clark expedition (1803–1806), the voyages of the United States Exploring Expedition (1838–1842), the Mexican-American War (1846–1848), the California gold rush (1849), and the American Civil War (1861–1865).
Today things have changed a lot. In a day and age where 35% of the workforce are freelancers, brands have countless options when it comes to hiring a freelancer – and the range of pay rates from freelancer to freelancer varies widely. Many writers will work for next to nothing, while others come at a high premium. The rates of Travel writers can vary:
1. Beginner: $0.10 per word
2. Pro: $0.25 per word
3. Expert: $1.00 per word
Beginners and pros were chosen via postings on various writing and job boards. The two experts were chosen from a pool of writers who were verified to have written for highly credible travel publications and media, including Travel Channel, National Geographic, USA Today, Newsweek, Forbes Travel, Where, and Frommer’s. Writers had three days or more as the demand is to complete the assignment, and they were never told that this was part of a study.
After each writer’s submission was received, 30 editorial professionals judged the quality of the work on a sliding scale from 0 to 10, with 0 being “Horrible” and 10 being “Stellar.” Each submission is judged anonymously, without any indication of the writer’s name or pay rate.
The editorial experts were asked to “rate the overall quality of each submission” based on:
1. Grammar and degree of copy editing needed
2. Sentence variety and lack of filler
3. Readability and logical story structure
4. Factual accuracy and specific details
5. Trustworthiness and authenticity
6. Ability to follow assignment directions
7. Ability to meet the deadline
8. Overall quality of writing
Aside from the editorial ratings on the copy alone, if a writer missed a deadline without any communication beforehand, an automatic 0 was given (which was the case with one of the seven writers). Any evidence of significant plagiarism also warranted an automatic 0 rating (which was the case with another writer).
Besides if you do have any questions give me a call: https://clarity.fm/joy-brotonath