The great news for travel writers or those who would like to get into freelance travel writing is that, with the increasing importance of inbound marketing, there are more opportunities to write about travel than ever before. The bad news, if you want to be a travel writer, is that the growing popularity of travel (according to ABTA, 31% of people plan to spend more on their holidays over the next 12 months) and the well-published attractions of the digital nomad lifestyle (in 2016 the UK boasted 311,000 freelance workers in ‘Artistic, literary and media’ occupations) both mean that there are also more people out there trying to make a living out of travel writing. Here at Fi Darby Freelance we regularly put our talents to writing about just about everything, but our real passions are travel and the outdoors. We have five top tips about how to get into travel writing.
Start doing some travel writing
With so many travel writers out there, clients are looking for authors with experience, who can show a flair for the task. If you want to be a travel writer, the chances are that you like travelling, so get out there, explore and make sure that you write about your experiences. A great way to start is a travel blog, which will give you excellent opportunities to build an audience. Remember, travel isn’t all about luxury overseas hotels, a wild camping trip can give just as much writing inspiration as a stay in a luxury hotel.
Find your travel writer’s voice
One of the great things about travel is that we all experience it differently. Quality travel writing is about telling the travel story with a unique voice that will draw people in and make them want to read more. Letting your sense of humour or your wonderment at your surroundings show is important. Lots of people choose travel destinations because they have talked to someone else who has visited previously. A good piece of travel writing will achieve the same effect.
The client is always right
Using your own voice for a piece of travel writing does not mean that you should ignore your clients’ expectations. Most travel organisations will have a format that works for them and their target audience. Finding the balance between pleasing a client and letting your personality shine through takes practice but, in your quest to be a travel writer, you will be getting plenty of that.
Do your travel writing research
It is easy to work out what to write about if a client has made a particular request. However, when you are first starting out with travel writing, you will be deciding on articles yourself and pitching these to editors. You will need to come up with ideas that stand out from the crowd, appeal to a specific audience and, ultimately, sell either holidays or publications. Your research should include,
- Forthcoming travel trends (refer to these in your pitch)
- The topics of previous articles
- The style of previous articles
- Your own budget and travel costs
Don’t take rejection personally
This takes us back to our original point; there are lots of people out there trying to make money from being a travel writer. This means that editors have plenty of options to choose from and will definitely not choose your work every time. Your pitch (an initial idea for a piece of writing) or your article may be rejected for any number of reasons, including market trends (the travel market can be fickle), previous publications (always do your homework) or a clash of styles (think about a publication’s target audience). It would be great if editors had time to give individual feedback but they don’t so be prepared to move on, make changes or make your pitch to someone else.