Writers with a sense of adventure often long to write about their travels. There is always the hope that writing can lead to further trips and paid vacations. However, the travel writing industry is competitive, and often takes a little something extra to break into. To even have a chance to make it as a travel writer, you need a few skills and tips to help you on your way. Here are 7 must-have tips to get you closer to becoming a successful travel writer:
Tip #1: Travel Like You’re a Travel Writer
Travel writers discover the secret gems and hidden stories of destinations. They reveal the essence of what a place is. While the everyday average person goes on a vacation to simply have fun and relax, a burgeoning travel writer should be “working” while vacationing. Now this doesn’t mean you still won’t have fun, but look at each moment as an opportunity. Be aware of sights and culture, up-and-coming attractions, or something that makes the place you’re visiting stand out. Talk to locals and learn the history and customs. Take notes and pictures, and practice writing stories—you can use them later in your portfolio. Successful travel writers excel at research, so they can find the information that no one has yet.
Tip #2: Possess the Right Writing Skills
Professional writers don’t just slap words on a page—they learn how to craft vivid stories that entrance their readers. Travel writing is all about painting a picture with words. It takes time to build that skill. Here are a few key skills writers possess:
- The ability to take rejection and keep trying
- Practicing and cultivating their writing skills with classes, groups, resources, and practice
- Finding a voice while still maintaining the integrity of who they’re writing for and to
- The ability to rewrite, revise, and self-edit
- Knowing how to pitch a story
- Creating a network
- Practicing on whatever platform they can to become a travel writer (this can mean copywriting and writing content for travel companies, cruise lines, airlines, and more)
Tip #3: Possess Other Key Skills
Have you ever noticed that many travel writers take their own pictures? Having other skills may make you more attractive to companies seeking travel writers. Some things to think about are editing skills, web skills, interviewing skills, and of course, photography skills. Find classes to help you gain these extra skills. It may make the difference in whether you’re hired.
Tip #4: Read
Reading other travel writers will help you hone your craft, especially reading publications and sites you’d love to work for. Find out who is popular and why, and try to infuse that same enthusiasm into your craft in your own way.
Tip #5: Narrow Down Your Niche
You most likely aren’t going to be able to write about adventure travel, foreign travel, and culinary travel; instead, you need to figure out what you do want to write about. Sure, you may get to cross niches from time to time, but in reality, it’s essential to have a more narrowed focus, which will also help you develop your voice. Decide whether you’re going to be humorous or paint intense visuals; whether you want to write travel guides or pieces on individual attractions. Try and find a style and genre that you can excel at.
Tip #6: Get Feedback and Keep Working at It
Have people start reading your work and offer critique. If you can find people who fit your audience, even better. You want to make sure you appeal to your audience, and the only way to do that is to ask people. Try not to take things too personally, but instead incorporate constructive feedback into your writing. This is another place the skill of revising and rewriting will come in handy.
Tip #7: Submit Pieces
Every successful writer faces rejection, but that doesn’t mean they stop submitting. If they did, they wouldn’t be a success. Start submitting pieces to publications you want to be published in, and keep trying until you build your name. The key is to keep going, even when you’ve had 50 rejections in a row. There are plenty of successful writers that have been there before.
Travel writing holds a lot of allure, and for a good reason. Travel writing allows you to flex your creative chops and tell a story about places. If you want to become a successful travel writer, start taking the steps to make it happen—and don’t give up before it does.