Everyone (well, nearly everyone!) wants to be a travel writer. What could be better than free flights, visiting a beach paradise, and then writing about it? Travel writing offers loads of perks: you can explore the world, and get paid to do it. If you are looking for a job that doesn’t require a suit, travel writing could be perfect. However, it is not that easy to break into the industry, and pay cheques don’t come with any regularity. Here are some tips on how you can crack it.
Image source: sxc.hu
Quitting your day job and launching into a travel writing career isn’t the best move. Ideally, you should ease into it, while you still have the security of a 9-5 job. Freelancetravelwriter.com suggests that an easy way to break into travel writing is to take a break in your career (if you can afford it), or, if you’re a student, take a gap year. You can then build up a portfolio of travelogues while you explore. However, you don’t necessarily have to venture to faraway places to write about travel. You can just begin by writing about your hometown. You would be surprised by what you can discover by just stepping out of your front door!
Travel writing is not as glamorous as it sounds. It takes a lot of hard work and perseverance. It could take several years to get your feet off the ground by building a portfolio and a network of contacts. Hence, it is imperative that you have some sort of a backup plan, just in case you struggle at first. Freelancetravelwriter.com suggests that you have an internationally marketable skill, such as medicine or teaching. That way, you will be able to see the world, write about it, and have a steady income to fall back on.
Since a lot of glamour is attached to travel writing, you will sometimes be expected to write pieces for free. Don’t do that. According to VergeMagazine.com, you can do a few freebies at first (for exposure), but don’t get into the habit of doing this. you will end up getting a reputation of working for free.
Think beyond the destination
Travel writing isn’t only about writing guides to exotic locations. According to VergeMagazine.com, original ideas and angles will set you apart from other writers. Focus on anything special or unusual about the place you visit, and interview local people. Get ideas from news sites or fact boxes from travel guides. Try to get the maximum number of stories out of one trip: for example, if you are visiting Thailand, you can write about cheap dental treatment, kick boxing training camps, the political situation, and about Thai lady boys who become monks. Think beyond temples and pad thai!
Some research online will reveal a range of freelance journalism courses, with travel writing being fairly popular. Most of these courses can be done online, which offers flexibility and convenience. A well-rounded travel writing course will teach you how to write features, conduct interviews, write fiction, market yourself, and even include the basics of photojournalism. Travel writing is an exciting profession that offers insights into different cultures and countries. If you are looking for a job outside of a cubical, it could be for you.