By Sarah Russel
If you’ve just graduated from a top online college and have dreams of traveling the world before settling down in your career, then you need to read the information below. Travel writing is a highly competitive profession, one that doesn’t pay especially well unless you make it to the top, and free travel is usually reserved for the very best writers. However, if you love to travel as much as you love to write and are sure you have something to offer to readers, then you will find the following information incredibly helpful as you pursue a career in travel writing. Below, you will find advice from professionals, tips, opportunities to get to know other travel writers, organizations for travel writers, places to find writing classes, and resources for traveling.
Advice for Travel Writers
These sites all offer great suggestions to help you learn what it takes to be a travel writer, how to improve your writing, and ways to increase your chance of success.
- The Travel Writing Portal. Find plenty of helpful articles written by some of the top travel writing experts in the field offering great advice on how to break into or improve your travel writing as well as other handy links.
- Travel Guidebook Writing. The advice on this website explores topics such as knowing your readership, creating a brand for yourself, and do’s and don’ts of contracts.
- Travelwriter Marketletter. This monthly newsletter offers advice, tips, and news pertinent to travel writers and photographers.
- Writer’s Digest. While this site is more general than just travel writing, it does offer great writing tips, advice and support from other writers, and plenty of information on improving your writing.
- Adventure Travel Writer. Find lots of tips and advice on both traveling and travel writing at this site.
- Travel Writing. Read through these writing do’s and don’ts written by a professional writer.
- Travel Writing for Pleasure and Profit. This article offers a good overview of the travel writing profession.
- Travel Writing Tips from Three Pros. Take the advice from these three travel writers who have plenty of experience under their belts.
- Travel Writing. This site offers tons of links to articles with great advice to help your travel writing including interview tips, travel quotes, and tips for success while traveling abroad.
- Guest Blog: Travel Writing Tips from Paul Kilduff. This successful Irish travel writer shares his tips on how to create great travel writing.
Follow these suggestions to help create the best travel writing you can.
- Use correct grammar. There is no bigger death knell for a writer than bad grammar. If you struggle in this area, take some classes, study style manuals, or find places online with grammar information.
- Be succinct. Chose your words carefully so that you convey plenty of meaning in fewer words.
- Incorporate your senses. If you stepped into a country and immediately smelled a distinctive odor that lingered wherever you went, incorporate that information. If the vivid colors affected how you approached your visit, explain how.
- Let your personality shine through. Don’t hide behind stilted language, instead, write with your own personality and be sure to include personal anecdotes.
- Keep it light. For the most part, the tone of travel writing should be light and fun. Include some of the funny experiences travel brought your way instead of focusing on any negative aspects of travel.
- Keep the facts to a minimum. Anyone can find facts about a place from a quick search online. Instead, devote your writing to descriptions of your experience.
- Include dialogue. A short bit of dialogue can provide more clarity to readers than a whole page of description. Include what others say for a powerful method of conveying a situation.
- Keep a travel journal. Write down your impressions and feelings immediately instead of waiting until you return from your trip. Journal each day, then go back and pull it all together when you write your article.
- Move beyond the destination. You’ll be hard pressed to find a destination that hasn’t already been written about, so focus instead on what will make your experience unique and worth reading.
- Read other travel writers. The best way to get a feel for good travel writing is by reading the work of accomplished professionals.
Tips for Breaking into the Business
These tips offer a brief list of suggestions for how to get started in the business of travel writing.
- Travel. As strange as it sounds, there are some folks who intend to write about traveling and have never done so. Give yourself the experience of travel before you decide to become a travel writer.
- Start a blog. Write about your travel experiences in a blog. It is free, offers a great opportunity to practice the craft, and provides an opportunity for you to get your work in front of others.
- Write for user-generated websites. Sites like Bukisa and Associated Content allow users to publish their articles, then depending on how popular they become, earn money from them.
- Seek out small magazines. There are plenty of smaller, local magazines that will publish new travel writers. Search for these as a way to build your portfolio rather than starting with the big ones.
- Follow submission instructions to the letter. If you are submitting an article to a publication, study their instructions very carefully and follow them exactly as printed. If you do not, there is a good chance your article will be thrown to the side without even being read.
- Don’t quit your current job. Earning money through travel writing is not an easy task. Not only will you still need to pay the bills, but the travel about which you will be writing is usually at your own expense.
- Enter contests. There are plenty of travel writing contests available and cost absolutely nothing to enter. See if you can win one and gain recognition for your writing.
- Write for free. Many freelancers will tell you never to take a job for free when you can get paid to do the same thing, but sometimes working for free provides you an opportunity to get published when you don’t have much experience. Many travel websites actively seek contributors they publish with no payment in return for online recognition.
- Network. Make friends, meet contacts, join organizations, keep a business card book, and generally do whatever you need to do to meet as many people as possible in the travel writing business. The old adage of "it’s not what you know, but who you know" is frequently the way to get your first break.
- Don’t give up. Most successful travel writers don’t make it on their first or second attempt. Keep trying until you get what you want.
Travel Writing Blogs
Learn from others who show their travel writing stuff on these blogs.
- Vagabonding. Rolf Potts writes about places, travel tips, travelers, and more.
- Cheapest Destinations. Study Tim Leffel’s style in his blog where he writes about ways to travel on the cheap.
- WrittenRoad. Find out all the inside news in the world of travel publishing by following this blog.
- Write to Travel. This fledgling travel writer includes plenty of informative links on her blog about breaking into the world of travel writing.
- 1001 Travel Writing Tips. Find plenty of tips from a veteran freelance travel writer on his blog.
- Killing Batteries. This freelance travel writer shares his travel and writing experiences plus much more on this blog.
- Best Travel Writing Blog. This blog touches on some information for travel writers and also runs many contests for aspiring writers.
- Travel Writers. Written by a veteran travel writer, this blog offers news and information about the travel writing industry.
- Jeremy Head’s travelblather. Travel and Internet meet in this blog that brings all the latest about the intersection of these two worlds.
- Nick Dawg’s Writing Blog. Nick posts lots of information that might be of interest to those breaking into the travel writing business with such topics as contests, writing tips, and publishing information.
These blogs share travel tips, offer a glimpse into their experiences, and also offer prospective travel writers a great opportunity to check out other travel writers’ techniques.
- Gadling. Get travel and photography tips as well as a few posts about travel writing on this blog.
- Wonderlust and Lipstick. Women who travel will love this blog that includes plenty of tips and information on making travel go smoothly.
- The Travel Blog by TravelPod. Get information on destinations, world news that affects travel, and more on this travel blog.
- The Cranky Flier. This airline aficionado blogs about news and events relating to the airlines.
- Parisian Spring. This travel writer with a penchant for all things French offers great suggestions for making the most of your travel.
- Collazo Projects. Written by a couple who share a passion for travel and culture, this blog shares their insight, especially with their experience among Latin American communities.
- Go Green Travel Green. This blog features the best of green travel and tourism.
- Indie Travel Podcast. If you love to see the world on your own travel terms (as most aspiring travel writers do), then these podcasts are a great resource.
- What a Trip. Find out about budget travel opportunities, learn how to pack appropriately, get destination information, and more on this travel blog.
- Nile Guide. The Nile Guide team goes out into the world and brings it all back for you. They offer stories, travel tips, and photos from around the world.
Meet Travel Writers
These travel writers offer samples of their work, glimpses of their lives, and more through interviews and on their personal websites.
- Travel Writers: Interviews. Meet several travel writers through these interviews and get tips from those who have been there before you.
- Bill Bryson. Find out about this award-winning writer through his website that offers plenty of downloads and the opportunity to sign up for his newsletter.
- An Irreverent Curiosity. David Farley provides his travel stories, interviews, blog, and more on his website.
- Jann Huizenga. This travel writer and ESL teacher shares her work, photos, and more.
- Joe Cummings. Travel through this website to see travel photos, read interviews with Joe, and more.
- Joshua Berman. Read Joshua’s articles, his blog, and find out about his travels on this website.
- Jen Leo’s Rising Thong. Find out what this travel writer has to say about how travel changes a person and getting travel writing published.
- Randall Wood. Read Randall’s travel writing or just find out more about him and his adventures here.
- Peace Corp Worldwide. This site is devoted to Peace Corp travelers who share their travel experiences and life after volunteering.
- Life of a Travel Writer: Lara Dunston. Find out what this travel writer has to say about her 17 years on the road with her husband, her aspirations as a child, and her advice for new travel writers.
These travel websites can help you learn about destinations you may want to visit, help you plan your trip, and more.
- WorldHum. Read what travel writers have to say, check out the blogs here, and stay on top of both travel and those who write about it.
- Rick Steves Europe. Learn from one of the most recognizable names in travel writing at his website.
- Perceptive Travel. This online travel magazine publishes some of the best travel articles by top writers.
- Brave New Traveler. Get trip ideas, traveling tips, connect with a traveling community, and learn about great gear to take along at this site.
- Jaunted. Pop culture meets travel guide at this site that keeps the ADD crowd updated with small bits of important and interesting information.
- Nomadic Matt’s Travel Site. Find travel tips, photos, videos, and travel blogs at this site.
- Lonely Planet. One of the most recognizable travel guides available, their website offers a wealth of information for travelers.
- RennyBA’s Terella. If travel through Norway is on your agenda, then check out this blog.
- Fodor’s. Explore travel options, discuss travel with others, find travel deals, and more on this popular travel guide’s website.
- Frommer’s. Find plenty of tips, sign up for newsletters, book trips, or connect with others here.
Groups and Organizations
Networking and making connections with respected organizations are great ways to give your travel writing career a boost, so check these groups out to find some that may be helpful for you.
- guidebookwriters.com. The members here can put their photos and work online to showcase their work.
- Travelwriters.com. This professional online network of travel writers will help you get connected and become more visible.
- Travelwriters UK. This organization can host your personal website, offers tips on landing jobs, and facilitates networking with other travel writers from the UK.
- American Society of Journalists and Authors. Visitors to this site can get writing resources, newsletters, and conference information while members can receive professional support and networking opportunities to further their writing careers.
- International Food, Wine & Travel Writers Association. Members here can get job leads, invitations, networking opportunities, and media trip information.
- North American Travel Journalists Association. Working travel journalists can join this group to find professional development and networking opportunities.
- Society of American Travel Writers. Not only can you find professional development assistance with this group, they also provide plenty of tips such as ways to travel inexpensively and how to become an ambassador of peace through travel.
- Outdoor Writers and Photographers Guild. Outdoor writers can post information on the website, network, receive personal development, and much more here. While this group is out of the UK, membership is open to residents of any country.
- National Association of Women Writers. Get education and network with other women writers online and in person with this organization.
- Writers and Photographers Unlimited. This organization is an "online marketing service for English-language professional writers and photographers worldwide."
Finding Writing Gigs
Whether you want to beef up you writing portfolio or are ready to rely on travel writing for your entire income, these sites will help you find the job you need.
- JournalismJobs. Search for jobs in the field of journalism. Categories include freelance, internships, and even contests.
- NewsJobs.net. Get links to sites where you can search for news jobs or read others’ essays offering advice about how they found their reporting jobs.
- Journalism.co.uk. If you are trying to find journalism work in the UK, this site is definitely the place to go.
- Writer Gazette. Not only can you look for freelance jobs here, but you can also read articles, get tips, and more.
- FreelanceWriting. Find jobs, enter contests, and learn how to improve your writing skills from other writers.
- Writerfind. Find jobs, post jobs, and put your profile on this site that helps facilitate finding freelance and telecommuting jobs for writers.
- Mediabistro. Freelancers looking for media-related jobs should definitely check out this popular site.
- WritersWeekly. This site posts weekly job opportunities as well as freelance opportunities, articles for writers, and much more.
- Media Kitty. Search for journalism jobs or get story ideas and media requests at this site.
- Freelance Writing Jobs for Web and Print. Find freelance jobs as well as writing and job-hunting tips, networking, and more.
Travel Made Easy
Check out these tools and resources for making travel easier, cheaper, or let others follow along with you.
- TripIt. This travel organizer will compile all your travel arrangements and create an itinerary for you.
- ePassportPhoto.com. Take a photo at home with your digital camera, then use this free tool to convert it to a passport photo that meets the specifications for over 60 countries.
- TravNotes. Create your personal travel microblog here and you can also plan trips, share photos and videos, and share ideas with other travelers.
- The Universal Packing List. Enter the information about your trip and you will get a complete packing list customized to your needs.
- Jumpclaimer! Send text messages while traveling to create pins on a Google map so that others can follow along as you explore the world.
- Weather2Travel Climate Guide. Click on any place in the world to find current weather conditions. This is a great tool to use when packing for your trip.
- YourGMap. Create a custom Google map that shows where you went on your travels or where you plan to go next.
- Universal Currency Converter. International travelers can use this handy tool to get the exchange rate in many countries.
- iSubwayMaps.com. Choose from cities worldwide and download subway maps to your iPhone, iPod, or iPod Nano.
- Yapta. Plan your flight with this tool and it will alert you when prices drop so that you can purchase the ticket. If prices drop significantly enough after you purchase, it will alert you again so that you can get a refund from the airline.