You write. You travel. What’s not to like about this marriage? How do you get to be a travel writer? Research from several sources suggests the following guidelines.
1. Learn to write tightly and sparingly with limited word count. (An exception is a travel narrative like Peter Mayle’s A Year in Provence.) Write articles using 700 words or fewer.
2. Start your own travel web site or travel blog. Use page breaks to prevent endless scrolling; keep articles short and succinct. Know what you are talking about.
3. Target regional magazines and newspapers. Living in an area gives you an edge. Alternatively, write an article for a newspaper in a city or area different from where you are living from a visitor’s point of view.
4. Be able to follow travel trends. Greece is NOT trendy right now because it is too dangerous but New Zealand, Australia, Thailand and the Pacific Islands are hot. Travel agencies are pushing Turkey but safety in the entire Middle East is tenuous. If you know proven travel tips on how to stay safe in a region, you may have a sellable article.
5. Target your audience and study demographics of where people visit. Write about specialized travel, generational trips, specific interest trips (bird watching, collecting Chinese figurines, seniors only, handicapped, college students, antique shopping, modern art museums or canal buffs, obscure fishing destinations, geological dig sites, looking for dinosaurs . . . . you get the picture.)
6. Guidebooks are almost impossible to break into unless you specialize and probably self-publish or write a regional guidebook. Avoid listing prices of hotel rates, airplane flights, or cruise ship fares so the information remains current. Write about famous landmarks or historical places to visit instead.
7. After you have some experience and clips, you can branch out into writing travel brochures for corporate incentive programs, local convention/visitors bureaus and newspaper ads for travel companies. Target corporate marketing-communication departments and advertising agencies for work.
8. Query specific magazines like antiques, railroading, horses, skate boarding, tennis resorts or schools, custom made trip organizations like YMCA, Singles Travel or for pianists, circus lovers, cold weather destinations, or volcano enthusiasts. Approaching a speciality magazine for equine lovers with an article about raising horses in Argentina may lead to an assignment.
9. Write an article for a local newspaper on how to make leftsa or schaum torte after visiting Norway or Germany, how to take care of lederhosen after visiting Switzerland or silk umbrellas and ivory chopsticks after a trip to Japan.
Hone your skills and you may be able to write for the prestigious magazines earning $2.00/word!