How to Start Your Career in Travel Writing

You love traveling, and you would like to start writing about your travel adventures and experiences in a blog. How do you start? Or, you love writing and would like to create a profession in the travel niche. What things should you consider? Or maybe, you are just someone who wants to learn the art of travel writing. If you are any of this person, I may have some thoughts to share and tips on becoming a travel writer.


What is Travel Writing?

Writing about places, persons, things, and food you had in your travel is the standard definition of travel writing. It is also writing about your travel experiences and advice on traveling like best places to travel, ways to travel, and staying on budget when traveling. And, the person and the profession is called a travel writer.

The term travel writer is meant for professional writers (those belonging to a publishing company or an established freelancer in this field) and can also refer to someone who writes about their experiences in a blog. 

Anyone could be a travel writer if you have a passion for becoming one. But before you start seeing the glamour of travel writing as a profession, have a look first at the myths often associated with this.

Myths in Travel Writing

Below are the myths in travel writing that Beth Blair, an award-winning travel and lifestyle writer, discussed in her book Break Into Travel Writing.

#1 Travel writers are a full-time tourist
A writer’s time is not their own, but in the host’s hands – the host is the one who sent an invite to the writer, for example, a resort owner. A host usually has a planned itinerary, and, in most cases, it is extensive – interviews, resort tours, and lectures about the region. While following through the host’s planned itinerary, writers would have to furiously jot down notes, quotes, and information between taking photos, collecting business cards and brochures.

#2 Travel writers travel for free
Writers who belong to a publication do not experience, all the time, an all-expense-paid trip when they are assigned to travel to a destination to write about it. And this is rare for freelance writers. Journalists on assignment or established writers usually would have arranged excursions called the press, media, or Fam (familiarization) trips.

Experienced or established professional travel writers would usually receive many travel invitations in their inbox; this is also true for well-established bloggers and even vloggers. But such an invitation comes with a price, ensures your work is published and seen by the world. And that it is posted on the agreed deadline. If you fail to produce a published article after the trip and on time, your name will fall off their list much quicker than when the host added it.

Also, take note that a press trip or Fam trip package does not include financial burdens, incidentals at your destination, airport parking, or checked luggage fees, and sometimes airfare. And, some publications have a No Subsidized Trips Allowed policy. This policy can hinder your publication chance if you take a press or Fam trip and write about it.

#3 Travel writers make a lot of money
Most people think that a travel writer earns a lot compared to other writers, but this is not true. The competition among travel writers is fierce. If you are starting your career, you will have a more challenging time landing an assignment than those established writers. And even if you are a well-established writer, you will still have a hard time because of the increased number of online freelance writers offering lower rates. So, before you pursue a career as a travel writer, keep your day job or make sure that you have enough savings to get by.

#4 Travel writers only write things related to travel or traveling
Travel writers have a broad writing niche and are not just limited to writing about travel or traveling. They can do technical and other specialized and general interest topics.

Personalities That Travel Writer Must Possess

Travel Writer Personality

You already know the misconceptions of travel writing, and you still want to pursue your interest in this field. That is the spirit! But before you start writing, make sure that you have what it takes to be a travel writer. A travel writer should be:

Active and Adventurous
Traveling includes a lot of walking (during research trips) and lively activities (cycling, hiking, snorkeling, or zip-lining), so the writer must be in good shape to do these things. He must also be daring to try new food, traditional clothes, or learning a cultural dance.

Adaptable and Organized
Travel writers should handle any unforeseen travel situations and adapt to changes since many unplanned cases happen when traveling. You, as a writer, would also need to be organized on both your things and workload.

Timely and Accountability
Whether traveling or submitting assignments, a writer must be reliable, timely, and responsible. You should take responsibility for your work and submit writing assignments on time. Tardiness is not acceptable in the publishing industry.

Self-Motivated and Business Minded
There are times that a writer cannot write anything and would be frantic because of deadlines. If you ever reach this point as a writer, you should find ways to motivate yourself. There is no one to do this for you. And, no one knows yourself better than you.

Travel writers also need to be business-minded. Writers must seek assignments that pay; thus, they need to find ways to market themselves effectively. And since you will be invoicing clients, you also need to know the ins and outs of computing tax.

Courteous
Last but not least, and the most important, I believe – travel writers must be courteous. Respect begets respect. As a travel writer, you need to respect the cultures, traditions, and laws observed in the place you are traveling. Always aim to be professional not only in your work but also in how you interact with the people you meet in your travels.

How to Start Writing?

Now you know the qualities you need to have to become a travel writer, what is next?

Find Your Niche
Travel writing has many niches like backpacking, solo traveling, boomer travel, theme parks, spas, accommodation, and more. It would help if you found which travel niche you want to focus on in your writing. For first-time writers or novices in travel writing, focus on one subject first and eventually venture to the other niches once you have the experience.

Decide Which Channel to Write
You can either write online through blogs as a guest blogger or self-published your work on your website. You can also apply to a publishing company or be a freelance writer. Most freelance writers offer their services to publishing companies and online, those who own a travel website or travel-related website. Either way, you will need to work hard for others to recognize your write-ups and your capability as a travel writer.

Decide Your Style of Writing
If you have decided on your travel niche and where you want to publish your work, then it is time to determine your writing style. Remember that every article has a purpose. A write-up or story could be informational, or it could be for pure enjoyment. Below are the types of writing that you can try.

Reflective Writing
Reflective writing reflects the memory of a writer, interaction, or what he had seen and experienced through his words. The writer would have to describe what he sees, hears, tastes, and touches as he experienced it.

Persuasive Writing
If your purpose is to influence readers, persuasive writing is the style you need. This style is often associated with politics and causes, but you can use it in travel writing. Changing a reader’s thoughts about a particular location or influencing them to act is where persuasive style can help.

Objective Writing
You can often see the objective writing style in newspaper articles. This style of writing presents facts, figures, and stories in a non-biased way.

Once you have decided on your writing style, you can start your article; however, this does not mean that this is all you must do. Once done writing, you will need to check your work for grammar, word repetition, incorrect punctuations, and lengthy sentences or phrases that do not add value to your article. A plagiarism check is a must to ensure that no story is like yours – you can use online applications like Grammarly or SmallSeoTools. And if you know someone knowledgeable in writing, have your work proof-read. Two pairs of eyes are better than one.

Takeaway

You do not get to be a travel writer just because you love to travel. You need to consider things before venturing to travel writing, like if you have the travel writer’s mindset and the resources. Travel writing is fun and can offer you flexible working hours, travel perks, and even a good paycheque. However, it would be best if you worked hard to establish yourself in this field to gather clients. And, you have to ensure that you deliver worth reading travel articles.

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