Want to get paid as a travel writer? These days, that’s relatively easy to do. Although magazine venues for travel writing are slim, there are many markets to consider, and some pay very well.
You can get started writing travel pieces in many different ways. The method I’m sharing with you has worked for my writing students. Feel free to get creative with it.
Here’s what I mean by “creative”. Think about what you’re writing. Most pieces you’ll write promote tourism to your chosen destinations.
Keep that slant in mind. When you write, you’re promoting, as well as entertaining. For example, Several years ago Hamilton Island in Queensland Australia ran a promotion called the “Best Job in the World”. Ostensibly, they were looking for a “caretaker” for the island. The winner’s job was to use social media to promote the island.
It was a clever campaign. If you can be clever in a promotional sense too, without being overt, you’ll do very well in commercial travel writing.
Let’s look at the steps.
1. Start Local: Write and Sell Articles
You need to get your foot in the door. The best way is to write about your local tourist hot spots.
I live in Sydney, Australia. It’s a prime tourist destination. Within just a couple of hours, armed with a notebook and my camera phone, I’d have a stack of ideas for articles, which I could write and sell.
2. Create a Travel Blog
Your next step is to create a blog. You’ll be directing businesses to your blog to see samples of your writing.
3. Who Pays? Many Businesses in Tourism Pay Well
With your blog created, pick up the phone, or fire up your email program and get in touch with tourism companies. You’re just starting out. Don’t be too fussy. Take any job you can get; everything helps to get your name out there. You need to get known.
Keep in mind that there are two tourism markets: consumer, and business. Of the two, the business markets are more lucrative.
4. Write an Insider’s Guide
“Insider” travel guides always sell well, particularly to magazines. Staffers hate creating these pieces, so magazines farm them out.
However, don’t forget websites. If I wanted to get a toehold in travel, I’d write a short report which I could offer to websites in return for a link to my blog.
5. Develop Your Voice
Travel writing is a lot like photography. You need an eye. That means, you need to observe.
Read famous travel writers, like Paul Theroux, and even Elizabeth Gilbert. The journey in her book, “Eat, Pray, Love”, was as much emotional and spiritual as it was physical. I’m a fan of her book; many people aren’t. That’s fine, not everyone has to love what you write.
Travel writing is a very broad church. There are endless markets for commercial pieces. While you’re on your travels, you can gather material for books, too.
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