Writer guidelines

Want to write for Wanderlust? Read these guidelines first

Wanderlust Magazine

With only ten issues a year, the opportunities for getting work published in Wanderlust magazine are very limited. The vast majority of our articles are commissioned specifically for the magazine, and written by experienced journalists, guidebook authors or travel experts. Please read our guidelines carefully and note that we do not accept enquiries or proposals by telephone. Here are answers to some of the commonest queries we receive.

Should I send a manuscript or a proposal?

Please do not send us manuscripts – we simply do not have the time to read them. If you have already completed the trip(s) you wish to write about, please email submissions@wanderlust.co.uk, or write to us with:

  1. A one-paragraph proposal outlining the story
  2. The proposed first paragraph of your story
  3. Brief details of how you undertook your journey, including any tour operators used
  4. If you have pictures, please include up to 5 low-resolution images to give a flavour of your trip (if emailing, your whole message should not be larger than 2MB)
  5. Any relevant experience you have, with links to / cuttings from previously published stories if possible
  6. NOTE: Please make sure your email subject line sums up the theme and destination of your proposal, eg Trekking in Nepal; Siena short break guide
If you have not yet undertaken the trip you wish to write about – or your proposal is for a different kind of feature, please email submissions@wanderlust.co.uk, or write to us with:
  1. A one-paragraph proposal outlining the story
  2. Your proposed dates of travel
  3. Brief details of how you will be undertaking your journey, including any proposed tour operators
  4. Any relevant experience you have, with links to previously published stories if possible
  5. NOTE: Please make sure your email subject line sums up the theme and
    destination of your proposal, eg Trekking in Nepal; Siena short break

Please note we cannot respond to postal contributions unless a self-addressed envelope (SAE) is enclosed, which must be stamped or accompanied by sufficient International Reply Coupons (IRCs).

I've submitted a proposal – what do I do next?

Although we endeavour to reply to proposals, at busy times this is not always possible. If we are interested, we’ll respond by email, asking you for further details or a draft article for consideration. But please bear in mind that this may take several weeks.

If you have not heard back from us within a month, feel free to email or write again. If you need an answer by a specific date, let us know – and if the date passes, please assume we are not interested.

Please do not telephone the office to follow up submissions – if you do not hear back from us, you should assume we are unable to use your proposal.

I am a first-time writer – will my proposal be considered?

Yes, but you need to demonstrate writing flair and professionalism. You should also target one of our shorter regular slots, for example a news story, pocket guide, or a consumer feature.

How do I know if you have already covered somewhere?

Most of our articles from the past five years are now archived on this website, and can be searched by destination. Study a copy of the magazine before considering a submission.

It is no coincidence that the majority of our contributors are regular readers! Ensure you are familiar with the magazine. Copies can be bought from our shop or the Apple App Store.

Do you accept articles without accompanying photographs?

Yes. The photographs in the magazine come from a variety of sources – writers, professional photographers, stock libraries – and we can normally find or commission images to accompany a good article. However, if you have print-quality, professional standard images, please let us know when submitting a proposal.

What do you look for in an article?

Our mission is simple – we want to provide our readers with the best writing, the best photographs and the most authoritative facts.

Wanderlust aims to cover all aspects of independent, semi-independent and special-interest travel. We do cover ‘soft’ adventure but leave the crampons and adrenalin stuff to other magazines. Off-the-beaten-track destinations, secret corners of the world and unusual angles on well-known places are always of particular interest.

We are particularly interested in local culture and try to provide more of an insight than travel articles in other publications – hence, we prefer pieces to be written by someone with an in-depth knowledge of a topic or destination.

You should make yourself familiar with the style, tone and content of Wanderlust, and be aware of recent articles to ensure your chosen subject has not be covered in the past year or so. Many of our articles from the past five years are now archived on this website, and can be searched by destination.

If tackling a topical subject then do bear in mind that we plan the contents of each issue up to a year ahead.

Always ask yourself what makes your article different from all the others that may have been sent to us on the same topic, and why you are qualified to advise others.

What kinds of feature / regular formats do you publish?

Wanderlust includes various features open to submissions:

  1. Destination features – Covering a specific destination – a country or a region – or an activity, eg, horseriding in Chile, walking in Morocco. Should be both anecdotal and informative, written in the first person and in the past tense, and between 1,800-2,200 words.
  2. Dispatches – Shorter, topical pieces (700-1200 words) describing a recent development in a destination of interest to our readers. Examples include an eyewitness account of a royal wedding in Uganda, a new walking trail in the Middle East, and slum tourism in Mumbai.
  3. Special-interest features – Do you have specialist knowledge on a travel-relevant subject? Topics covered to date include safaris, cycling holidays, New Zealand walks, family adventure trips. Must be authoritative – authors should have in-depth and regional or global knowledge.
  4. Consumer articles – A practical guide of value to travellers. Explain how people can save money, or make their travels better and easier. The style should be direct and instructive, but easy to read and understand. Recent articles have included: finding cheap flights online; road safety abroad; making better travel videos

What kind of articles DON'T you publish?

If you proposal falls into any of these categories, it’s not for us:

  1. Luxury hotels, resorts or spas
  2. Activity holidays – golf, skiing, bungee-jumping etc. If an activity provides a unique perspective on a destination or a way of travelling through it (for example, hiking or kayaking) that’s fine, but activities are not of interest in themselves
  3. ‘Big trip’ diaries. Round-the-world odysseys, charity challenges, ‘wacky races’ across continents in unusual vehicles – all make great trips, but long-winded, cumbersome and often superficial articles
  4. Family travel. We do not run full-length features.
  5. One-off expeditions. All featured journeys must be achievable by our readers.
  6. Trips to FCO-blacklisted destinations, for example war- or disaster-zones. We will not feature destinations the FCO advises against visiting – read their advice here
  7. Previously published articles of any kind

Who reads Wanderlust?

Our readers encompass all ages and budgets, and at least 50% are female. They are well educated and reasonably affluent, and are mostly active travellers, perhaps more experienced than you. Although most are British we have readers in more than 80 countries worldwide.

Some travel independently, others with specialist small-group or tailor-made tour operators. Major interests include wildlife, trekking and photography. A high proportion take 2-3 long haul breaks a year.

Do you commission articles for your website?

We don't publish narrative travel features on the site, but we do accept interesting blogs and inspirational round-ups. Please note there are generally no fees available for online content, but we are happy to link back to your or other relevant sites. To suggest an idea, please email us at website@wanderlust.co.uk.

Do you have any general advice for aspiring travel writers?

Here are some general tips:

  1. Your article should have a beginning, a middle and an end – do not just tail off. Make the opening paragraph one of your strongest, in order to pull the reader in. You do not have to tell a story in chronological order – you can open with a tense situation and then flashback to how it began.
  2. Ensure that your piece has a strong central theme that moves the reader forward and provides a point to it all.
  3. Do not try to cover too much in one article – there may be several different articles hiding inside one large piece. You should be able to sum up the contents of your article in a single sentence.
  4. Show the good and bad side. Disasters and tricky situations often make for a more entertaining read than harmonious, straightforward trips.
  5. Present an honest account – Wanderlust is not a travel brochure. If you hated a place, then say so (and why).
  6. Feature articles should have personality – though often not yours; dialogue and comment from local people add colour to a story.
  7. Think about how you can avoid blandness in your descriptions of a destination – recounting a seemingly unimportant incident can bring a place to life more than a detailed adjectival description of its physical appearance. And don’t forget smells, sounds, flavours and even temperature or air quality as well as sights and emotions.
  8. Be aware of the political, environmental and social background to the places you describe – they may not be pertinent to your story, but be sure of this, especially if you are going to allude to them.
  9. Be aware of the consequences of what you write – for example, ecological issues such as the damaging effect that snorkellers may have on a coral reef. Be wary of endangering the subjects of your article if describing an illegal activity or political views.
  10. Avoid Americanisms (unless you are recounting speech or quotations from an American!), jargon, foreign terms that are not generally understood, and the numerous travel clichés that many writers fall back on – snow-capped mountains, lands of contrast, kaleidoscopes of colour and seething masses of humanity will all get the chop.
  11. If we have recently run an article on a particular destination or topic then it will probably be some time (perhaps several years) before we cover that area again.
  12. Check your facts and be wary of making generalisations that you cannot be sure of.
  13. It goes without saying that Wanderlust will not tolerate any racist, sexist or otherwise discriminatory writing, but be careful too of patronising the peoples you describe and making generalisations about characteristics that could be deemed insulting.
  14. We have readers in 80+ countries worldwide – try to avoid references that would confuse other nationalities.

What are your rates?

Current rates (as of 01/06/10) for most features are £220 per 1,000 published words. Unless otherwise agreed, the fee is based on printed, not submitted, words. Fact pages are paid at £90 per page (approx 750 words) pro-rated. Fees for other sections (including Dispatches and interviews) are set per-article rates, agreed on commissioning.

These rates are based upon copy being available by email, and First British Serial Rights being offered. An invoice request and complimentary copy of the magazine will be sent upon publication. Payment will be made within 30 days.

How do I contact you?

For the print magazine, by email: submissions@wanderlust.co.uk

For the website, by email to: website@wanderlust.co.uk

Editor, Wanderlust: Phoebe Smith;  Editor-in-chief: Lyn Hughes

Please do not telephone the office to follow up submissions – if you do not hear back from us, you should assume we are unable to use your proposal.

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