A to Z of Destinations
Australia, NZ and South Pacific
A to Z of Experiences
Walking and trekking
Diving and snorkelling
Wildlife and safaris
Meet the locals
Frontier and expedition
Cycling and Mountain Biking
Visiting the Poles
Career breaks and BIG trips
Body and soul
Volunteer and conservation
Australia, East Coast
Australia, West Coast
Everest Base Camp
Trans-Siberian and Trans-Mongolian railway
Great Migration, Serengeti, Tanzania
Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail
Aurora Borealis/Northern Lights
Expert advice to help you break into travel writing
Issue 74 | 74 october 2005
Want to be a travel writer? Then prepare to be loathed. The idea that someone goes to exotic places for free – and then gets paid to write about them – is too much for many to take. “You’ll never convince friends you are going abroad to work,” explains freelance travel writer Liz Edwards. “They’ll make constant reference to your ‘holidays’.”
But while free trips, global travel and your name in print sound glamorous, there are down sides. It’s hard work, hugely competitive and – unless you are the second Bryson – you won’t earn much. Roving overseas with a notebook, a deadline and a pack of other journalists can also take the fun out of travelling altogether. Not put off? Read on to find out how you can get this dream job.
You can – but you need to be self-motivated and flexible. You need to have good ideas and be able to sell them. You need to manage living on a pittance and be willing to spend time away from home at short notice. You need to be writing a lot, for practice, not just for potential publication.
“Write to your passion,” says Don George, author of Lonely Planet’s Travel Writing guide. “Marry your own passion with a publication’s editorial interests and you’ll maximise your chances – knowledge and passion can sway an editor.”
“You need to be able to string two words together,” adds Jonathan Lorie, course leader of Travellers’ Tales, “but beyond that, what really matters is your attitude. Be persistent, reliable and believe in what you’re doing. Be prepared for rejections, and keep playing the numbers game until your number comes up.”
Travel writing comes in many forms: guidebooks, first-person features, practical articles, 500-page novels. You should be reading all types and taking notes, suggests Jonathan Lorie: “Read as much as you can to pick up tricks from the experts.”
Many immediately think of lengthy destination pieces, but this is the area where competition is most fierce. “Don’t necessarily begin with big features,” suggests Wanderlust editor Lyn Hughes. “Scour publications for spots where you could supply something with a travel spin. It could be a news piece, a contribution to a regular column or a quirky filler.”
“A basic error with travel writing is assuming everybody’s interested. You have to work from exactly the opposite assumption: nobody is interested. Even your wife is not interested. You have to somehow make it so that they become interested.” (Bill Bryson, in an interview with Don George)
No one wants to hear about your last holiday. It’s not enough that you had a good time – you need a focus and you need to tell the reader something new.
“Know what the point of your article is,” says Don George. “What exactly are you trying to convey to the reader?” You need an original angle and an interesting tone.
The first line is key. It should draw the reader in to an engaging opening, middle and equally good end. “A good travel feature transports you to the destination. You should be able to see it, hear it, smell it,” says Lyn Hughes.
Don’t underestimate accuracy. Writing beautiful prose is no good if the facts are wrong. “Double-check your text for accuracy, especially with foreign names and words,” says Jonathan Lorie. “And don’t make things up: you only embarrass an editor once.”
The UK has several dedicated travel magazines and newspaper supplements. But also think laterally – there are around 10,000 magazines in the UK. Many women’s titles have travel sections, or you could try Saga magazine, Which Caravan, Country Walking... the list goes on.
Familiarise yourself with each publication so you are pitching the right style of article on the right topic. “Know the publications you want to write for,” reiterates Don George. “Read each issue from cover to cover. Try to put yourself in the editor’s head.”
Before approaching any publication, read its contributor guidelines, usually on the website. Some may not accept any unsolicited articles, others may have strict rules about submissions.
Find out the name of the editor or relevant section editor so your submission hits the right desk/inbox. Addressing your letter to ‘The Editor’ (unless that’s the specified approach) shows a complete lack of effort.
Check whether your target publication prefers completed article submissions or proposals. If you’re sending an article, make sure it includes a cover sheet containing a synopsis of the piece, a word count, your contact information and details of any available photos. Include an SAE if you want a response. Proposals should be snappy and attention-grabbing.
“If you’re pitching an idea to an editor, keep it (just) long enough to give them an idea of your angle and style, but short enough so they don’t get bored,” advises Liz Edwards. A hundred words should do it.
Then you need patience. Most publications receive hundreds of unsolicited submissions every week. It could take months before you hear back; in the meantime, keep practising.
Award-winning travel writer and photographer William Gray is a contributing editor for Wanderlust and a presenter on the upcoming series of BBC Holiday. So, how did he do it?
“I painted lots of peoples’ houses to save for my first big trip – eight weeks back-packing in Kenya. Nothing was published, but I did learn how to keep a journal. A year later (after a self-funded trip to Australia) I had one small feature accepted in Trailfinder’s free magazine. The trip probably cost me £3,000, but I was chuffed to bits with the £75 fee for the article. I began proposing features to regional papers and less well-known magazines. Then came a lucky break – a contract to write a book on coral reefs and islands. It helped me get my first travel commission in a national paper.
“You’ve got to treat travel-writing like a business. I may only travel for a few months each year – the rest of the time I’m pitching proposals, negotiating free travel with airlines and tour operators, writing copy and generally plugging away at PR.”
Top tip: “It’s like getting into a hot bath. Don’t jump straight in! Hold on to that full-time job while you build contacts and a portfolio of published work in your spare time.”
Ever been On Assignment with Wanderlust - you'll research, write or photograph in a professional environment on location, with some of the industry's leading experts, including Lyn Hughes, Waderlust's Editor-in-Chief. Look out for upcoming trips on Wanderlust Journeys.
You must be logged in to leave a comment. Login or get more from Wanderlust - register today!
This is a very good idea to become a travel writer. As my profession is custompaper writing services and to incorporate it with writing according to travel is amazing. It gives an opportunity to become a good writer along with visiting world top destinations.
This is an excellent post about travel writer. I am very thankful for the author. Thanks for discussing the important topic. I am especially awed from your post. It has great information. I took in a great deal of new things which investigates my insight in advancements. Visit here coursework writing service
Obat Diabetes Basah Amazon Berries dan K-Muricata pada saat ini memberikan solusi sangat baik untuk mengobati penyakit diabetes melitus. Solusi yang diberikan yakni dengan Obat Alami Diabetes atau sudah dikenal sebutan amazon yang mana jelas nyata terpercaya khasiatnya dalam menyembuhkan penyakit diabetes.
Obat Herbal Kolesterol Tinggi merupakan terobosan terbaik untuk Anda yang memiliki kendala dengan kolesterol tinggi. amazon yang dibuat dari bahan utama alami bermutu tinggi dari alam, sehingga amazon Plus sangat baik serta aman jika diminum. Pada amazon mengandung zat super antioksidan yang disebut dengan nama xanthones.
Obat Asma Tradisional Paling Ampuh kini telah hadir sekitar anda amazon Obat Penyakit Asma Alami yang diproduksi dari bahan-bahan alami. Komposisi di dalam Jus Kulit Manggis Obat Alami Asma Alamiah terbuat dari ekstrak kulit manggis, madu, serta bunga rosela, bebas bahan kimia karena dalam kulit buah itu memang sudah memiliki pengawet alami.
How can I get paid?
Masha from <a href="http://www.192168ll.net/">192168ll.net</a>
It is really excellent post. Great tips of how to increase chances of receiving backlinks to articles. I love reading such blogs and great content, which are discuss here. I am educational writer at Personal Statement Folks and will share it with our UK students.
Became a travel writer seems like a dream because it is the best job for me. In this article, the author tells everything that how to be a travel writer. You can write a great story because you are admired with nature and nature is the one thing which helps to feel great when you are writing a story. it's my opinion because I love the beauty of nature and it helps me to feel great when I am writing my Nursing assignment Once again it would like to thanks the author who help me to remind my previous days.
lifestyle blog helps to maintainhealthy and stress-free lifestyle.
It is a good decision to appointment a mortgage attorney so that he canhelp in mortgage modification process. If you don’t recognize the tendermethod or have a problematical position they can assist you.
With Medicare Part B Insurance Plans one can be very sure of making best out of insurance offered.
The Futon Covers Company is here to meet all your needs. With a vast collection of covers , this company has now become one of South Florida’s biggest futon stores.
your site consists of wonderful and useful posts. Bandicam 2017 Keygen
From travel writing and photography to being a pilot or working with animals, getting paid to travel is many people's dream job. Here, 12 experts in their fields tell you the highs, lows and what it takes to succeed…
One of the world's top travel bloggers Matthew Kepnes, aka Nomadic Matt, has 5 fast practical tips on improving your blog and becoming a travel blogging superstar
Do you have what it takes to become a travel photographer? Our team of experts share their tips and advice...
Love travel? Check. Keen on wildlife? Check. Willing to risk being trampled on? Erm... We ask Planet Earth's Martyn Colbeck about a career on the hoof
Jarryd Salem, one half of travel-blogging couple NOMADasaurus, outlines the ways travelling together can make a couple stronger and happier
From travel writing and photography to being a pilot or working with animals, getting paid to travel is many people’s dream job. Here, 12 experts in their fields tell you the highs, lows and what it takes to succeed…
Get paid to travel: The world’s most successful travel bloggers, including Expert Vagabond, The Planet D and Wandering Earl, give their 6 practical tips to improve your blog and make it stand out from the crowd
One of the world’s top travel bloggers Matthew Kepnes, aka Nomadic Matt, has 5 fast practical tips on improving your blog and becoming a travel blogging superstar
Want to get your travel article noticed by magazine editors? These tips will raise your chances – and help you bag that elusive commission
Simply select the destination you’re interested in or the activities you’re looking
for and we’ll send your request to a select panel of tour operators.
Each operator will respond to your request individually. Your details remain private
and are not disclosed to any partners unless you decide to proceed with a booking.
Save £470 per couple on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express great train journey
Unique Properties of the Maritimes, Atlantic Canada
Save Up to £1000 per couple on Galapagos Cruises
Wanderlust sends out regular email newsletters – be the first to know about web
exclusives, competitions, hot offers and travel jobs. Register today!
I have read and agree to the Terms &
Where in the world are you? Add
#wanderlustmag to your tweets and share your latest travel adventures with
fellow Wanderlusters on wanderlust.co.uk
Get to know Wanderlust on facebook and bring all your travel-minded friends, too