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How to be a Travel Writer Part 4

Photo by Akira Deng on

by Kevin Burns

Read the article or take the class at Udemy!

Before you travel, think of some ideas for stories you could write. You may change your mind during your trip, but you can at least start with some pre-travel ideas. Once you have completed your trip, choose the 6 most important events from the trip and these will comprise your anecdotes says Don George in “How to become a Travel Writer.” George relates that “…you might spend 3 pages on one event and 5 lines on the next week of your trip.” (3)

When on a Media/Press trip, take thorough notes. Perhaps use a sound recorder for interviews. Make sure that you understand what your interviewee has said. You do not want to be misconstruing another`s message. If a reader or editor challenges you, you will have great notes from which to fact check.

Gillick was called by an editor who implied that his piece about a pizza restaurant was incorrect. He checked his notes, and it appeared that the tour guide, assigned to assists the media, had provided the incorrect information. So, keep your notes forever, just in case. You may want to keep your notes in the cloud or on a laptop. Gillick keeps his in a small lined book for each trip. Each book is labeled and kept safely. Your notes can help you for future articles. If say you are asked about writing an article about New York, you can check your notes from a previous trip, add to them and submit your article. Your notes are gold! Treat them as such.

Research When researching for an article, make sure your sources are good- be they people or books, choose wisely. Your reputation is important.

(Typed block) Test – The Steps to Becoming a Travel Writer (Answer True or False)

1. Knowing your own goals is one step to becoming a travel writer. (T)

2. Knowing your markets is another step to becoming a travel writer. (T)

3. Do not start local, go for it big time! (F)

4. Start small. (T)

5. Submit articles to newspapers unannounced, you never know. (F)

6. Do not ever enter any writing contests until you are an established writer. (F)

7. Try to start writing for newsletters like Steve Gillick has done. (T)

8. Reading will help you to become a better writer. (T)

9. Build up your clips, contacts and confidence. (T)

10. It is best to think of travel writing as a side-gig until you get enough work. (F)

About Travel Guides like Lonely Planet, Frommers etc:

Write a good pitch for an article, send it, then follow it up with a phone call. Colm Hanratty had his own website called before he was hired by So, having your own website or blog in order to show what you can write, is a great idea! A Vlog on YouTube or elsewhere is another great idea!

Bailey advises, “Never think of writing as a side gig. – If you are at all serious about this work, you cannot think of it as a side gig. Even if you work full-time at some other job, writing is your primary work. That is the mindset you need if you want to be a writer. If someone tells you otherwise, they are lying or not a writer.”

(Typed Block)

Exercise –

What do you love to write about? Please reflect. Write about this topic and why you love it. When did you first become interested in it? How do you engage with it? (How do you do it?) Is it a sport? Hobby? What? (200 words or more)


Finding your Niche What will your niche be? How can you get recognized as an expert? When it comes to travel, what is your passion? If you can be thought of as an expert in a certain niche, you will not need to pitch. Publishers will find you. Could you write a book or blog on your topic to get recognized as an expert? (Loc290, Don George, How to be a Travel Writer)

My niche is the Hakone-Odawara-Izu area of Japan. I am is my travel website. I do most of my travel writing there. You may want to choose a niche as well. If I lived in Vancouver for example, I might want to write about a particular aspect of it–The topic of Vancouver being too large. But ski vacations near Vancouver might be better. Though that might be too small. Ski vacations in Canada would be better. Or dining in Vancouver. Or Asian dining in Vancouver. Could you find an aspect of your hometown and write about it? Or your province?

Melinda Joe sometimes travels the world for free, gets perks, and a good salary, she often meets famous people, and writes about food and drink. She is known as a culinary expert and getting an approving article from her now seems to be cherished by hotels and restaurants around the world. Could you specialize in a niche? Luxury travel? Budget travel? Are you a foodie? How about culinary travel?

Some use humor. People like Bill Bryson and Dave Barry do this through humor. Gillick likes to write about bird watching. So, while there have been many articles about Japan, there are far fewer, about bird watching in Japan. What is a niche that you would enjoy writing about that has monetary potential? Read travel magazines, websites, and newspapers to find out what others are writing about. You can get story ideas from this. (4)

Here are some possible niches: travel with children, business travel, gay and lesbian travel, adventure travel, literary travel writing, travel and teaching, sports related travel-tennis camps etc., solo travel and others.

Go to Part 5 of How to be a Travel Writer

About kintaro63 (218 Articles)
Writer and teacher in Japan

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