So you want to become a travel writer.
If you love to travel, you probably dream about ways you can earn money for traveling. The only thing better than having a fun hobby is getting paid for it, right? Travel writing is a very real job, and one that numerous people possess. Somehow these wizards are able to generate an income from it too, so it is possible. But what is their secret? Well, as you might have guessed, getting into the travel writing business is challenging at best. It is likely that many ambitious millennials have died on the hill of “trying to get paid for doing cool things.” If you want to learn how to become a travel writer, you need to be prepared to work hard.
On a lighter note, travel writing is an incredible way to capture aspects of the world around you. This platform honors the individual experience and expresses the uniqueness of other cultures through the written word. People are fascinated with the perplexities of foreign countries and natural wonders. It makes complete sense to want to jot down a few words to help preserve the sacredness of the experience. The opportunity to read about travel adventures is also beneficial for those who are unable to visit a place themselves. Not everyone has the ability or means to hop on a plane tomorrow and visit Australia. As a writer, this is your task. You carry the weight of the world and its immense beauty and you must strive to capture it on paper. Before you begin trying to earn money from this field, you need to first have this mindset. This makes you a writer no matter what. It is not the monetary gain that credits you as an adequate writer, it is that you have a story worth sharing.
These 8 tips will get you started with how to become a travel writer.
1. Find your voice.
Do you have a specific niche you want to focus on? Maybe you are passionate about backpacking. Perhaps you enjoy writing about traveling for humanitarian purposes. Every great travel writer has their own special focus within their craft. This helps keep your work content consistent. As you work on how to become a travel writer, consider some of your favorite ways to travel. Do you follow specific organizations like National Geographic? Look at the places you have been and analyze your personal travel style. Don’t be afraid to embrace your unique edge, for that is what sets you apart from everyone else.
2. Research, research, research.
As you learn how to become a travel writer, you quickly realize that opportunities usually don’t fall from the sky. Nobody is going to tell you about that editor looking for more writers. You likely also don’t have telepathic abilities to sense new job opportunities. Fortunately, the research component of travel writing is two fold. First, you need to have the tenacity and drive to search for opportunities. Sometimes a simple Google search for “writing jobs” or “travel writing” is enough to get you moving in the right direction. From here, be sure to have copies of your personal writings and an updated resume. Second, research is an important part of the actual writing side of things. As a travel writer, you need to be able to investigate the topic you are writing about in order to capture it accurately and thoroughly. So even on those days when you don’t want to send another e-mail, remember that all this research practice will come in handy later when you start writing.
3. Keep a journal of your adventures.
What good is a writer without a story to share? And what good are memories if they fade away? The answer is clear, neither of these things benefit from a lack of content. Your travel writing should begin first with you. Everyone wants to capture their trip in pictures, but what if you just took a journal? Personally, I spent three weeks backpacking Europe without my phone. I brought only a journal, and proceeded to fill the entire thing with musings, random observations, and humorous stories. As I reflect back on this experience, my mind is sparked by all of the things I would have forgotten had I not written them down. No matter where you travel, get into the habit of jotting down your thoughts and experiences. You never know what kind of magic you will create.
4. Start a blog.
Now that you have some stories of your own, you need a place to put them. Starting your own personal travel blog or vlog is a great place to start as you learn how to become a travel writer. Here are some great tips for starting your own travel vlog. This not only gets your content onto the internet, but it gives you the practice you need to improve your writing and creating skills.
5. Commit to your goal.
Let’s face it, the artistic field is competitive. Quite frankly, the odds will not be in your favor often. Or at all. This is certainly not to discourage you, but rather, to prepare for what is out there. If you are persistent and dedicated, you will certainly reap the benefits. However, you need to decide long before the rubber meets the road that this is what you want. Because if you go into this unsure, the best time to make your mind up is definitely not after receiving 70 publisher rejection e-mails. Remind yourself why you are doing this. Hopefully you write because you enjoy it and you delight in sharing beautiful pieces of the world with others. That should be your true motivation and will help keep you on task in the more discouraging moments. So the question is: Are you all in?
6. Read everything.
To be a good writer, you must first be a good reader. Lisa See said, “Read a thousand books, and your words will flow like a river.” I firmly believe that a writer who does not regularly read is like a quickly drying up well. Eventually that steady flow of words diminishes. I recommend that you read everything. Read books about traveling. Open up a book about that new destination you want to visit. Research how to be a better writer. You might be surprised how much easier writing gets when you consistently practice reading.
7. Build your content.
As a social media manager, I am certainly unable to adequately capture everything you need to know about building an online presence in a single paragraph. However, I can express the importance of doing this. Having quality content available on the internet is ideal for maintaining a reliable reputation. Also, as you seek out writing and publishing opportunities, editors want to see examples of your work. I would suggest building upon your existing social media platforms, or beginning profiles specifically geared towards travel. Do your research on trending travel topics and popular hashtags as you strategize your content. It is also helpful to follow likeminded travel profiles for those community connections.
8. Of course, travel.
Ah, last but not least comes the most important part. Traveling is the key component of this, because this is where the content lies. Go on a humanitarian trip for a broader worldview and to make a positive difference. Take a completely spontaneous adventure and see where you end up. The more personal travel experiences you have, the easier you will find it when you write. As far as how to become a travel writer, traveling is an excellent way to make connections within the field.
Do you have what it takes to become a travel writer?
After reading all of this, you are either feeling intimidated or inspired. Perhaps a little of both. It is okay to experience uncertainty as you embark on this journey. Know that there are going to be numerous highs and lows along the way. Just because you fail doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be doing this. Rather, look at failure as a way to grow. Keep trying, keep writing, and most of all, keep traveling.
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