Advice on travel writing can cover two main areas: how to write a good travel piece, or how to get published (or both). These tips are a mixture of the two, based on my experiences as an editor who’s an occasional writer. I’ve tried not to make them too orientated towards Adventure Travel, but different editors/writers will still have different experiences. There are thousands more – I think these are my best five though. Well, and a bonus one. And in case you’re wondering, yes point six was me…
#1 – Start a blog
If you’re going travelling or on an expedition, write a blog. Not only does this let your friends, family and fans back home read what you’ve been up to, it gives commissioning editors the opportunity to see what you can do. Plus, you’ll always have the blog to refer to if you’re asked to write about something you did a long time ago.
If you’re not constantly on holiday or travelling (who is?) then find something else travel-related to blog about – travel news or new destinations, for example, or cultures that intrigue you or trails you want to walk.
#2 – Write as you go
Write about a trip while you go along or as soon as you get back. You can edit it later, but getting stuff down while it’s fresh will result in the best article. And the process will be pleasant rather than tortuous. I have broken this rule too many times.
#3 – Take good photos
Most writers have to provide pictures themselves; an article can be as beautifully written as you like, but it won’t work without photos. Send the best photos from a trip with any pitch – they’ll be a deal breaker. Check out our guide to taking great travel photographs.
#4 – Tailor your pitch
Work out which publications or websites will suit your story, then work out where the piece could sit in each one. Tailor your pitch accordingly; a magazine isn’t going to change its style for your piece. Don’t say things like, ‘the story will be 2,000 words long’ – that’s not your decision! As an example, check out the Adventure Travel magazine contributor guide here.
#5 – Know the facts
Know the facts and get them right. As well as describing exactly how amazing a trek or sunset is, you’ll need to say where it is, how to get there, where to stay, where you can hire kit and anything else people who want to do what you did need to know. It’s often easiest to find this out while you’re there – not everywhere has a website you can go on when you get home. Double check all spellings of names and places, and if there’s more than one spelling for something, keep your spelling of it consistent.
#6 – And for a bonus tip
Don’t get Abu Dhabi muddled up with Aberdovey. Ahem…