How to Start Travel Writing
June 22, 2016
By: Adrienne Fouts
We’ve all seen those travel blogs filled with stunning photos of the blogger visiting European castles or riding camels through the Sahara Desert, while on his bio page he proclaims, “I quit my job as an accountant to travel the world! And so can you!” There are countless travel blogs on the Internet today, and they can sometimes be intimidating with their low-budget traveling strategies and professional-quality writing about faraway places (see websites like Nomadic Matt and The Blonde Abroad). However, even if your farthest destination is the state fair, you can be a travel writer, too! Here are some tips about what to include in your writing and what to pay attention to on your vacations.
Start small by writing about the logistical details of your trip—this won’t take much time or effort on your part, and these details can be useful references upon which you or others can look back. Why did you choose to visit that destination, and how did you get there? How much did your hotel cost? What restaurants, stores, and attractions did you visit? Listing the locations, costs, wait times, and similar details gives your travel writing a foundation to build on.
Next, add your opinion. Write down your thoughts about the places you saw, the hotel you stayed at, and the food you ate. Think of it like a review—be honest about your opinion, but also observant and objective—giving reasons why you did or did not like something. If your writing will be seen by others, try to be fair when describing an attraction so that they can get an idea of whether or not they would visit (“I didn’t particularly like the water park, but people with small children will love it!”).
Make sure to record other details, even seemingly unimportant ones, from your vacation as well. Maybe a stranger gave you directions that took you through more scenic views than the normal route. Maybe a seagull landed on your head and tried to steal your sandwich (happened to me once). These anecdotes add a personal touch to your writing and will help preserve those memories.
Now that you know what to write about, all you have to do is take a vacation and start your travel writing career! Even if you don’t start a blog about it (or even if your blog isn’t super popular), travel writing as a form of journaling will help you to keep memories of your vacation sharp and provide you with details to look back on in case you ever return to the destination. While on your vacation, keep a small notebook and pen or use your phone to jot down notes throughout the day about where you went, what you saw, etc. Be observant about the weather, the atmosphere, the local people, everything you experience. (Make sure that you’re not living in your notebook or your camera the whole time, though; try to absorb your surroundings and be present in them!). When you get back to your hotel each night, you can take the time to elaborate on those notes and write while the memories are still sharp.
If you are serious about starting a popular travel blog, read up on blogging and marketing tips online. This website gives a step-by-step guide on the basics of beginning your blog, and this website lists things to know before you start a travel blog. There are countless other websites and books that can be of great help. Overall, the most important things to remember when travel writing are to be creative, be yourself, and have fun with it.