If you fancy having a go at writing then travel writing can be an enjoyable, rewarding way of doing it. As well as the opportunity to travel there’s even the possibility of getting free travel too! Here are some of my tips.
What could you write about ?
Travel readers need up to date information so it’s best to write about somewhere you’ve been recently – or maybe somewhere you’re planning to go this summer.
Bear in mind popular destinations like France and Spain are already well covered, so writing on the more off-the-beaten-track places stands a better chance of getting published. Don’t forget the UK is a big tourist destination so you could write a travel piece on somewhere quite local. Another good idea is to take a destination and then write a themed travel guide, e.g. one for history or food lovers, caravanners or for older travellers.
Travel writing is either narrative or journalistic. You can write either, but don’t mix them! Narrative travel tells the story of the writer’s own travels (for example, Bill Bryson style) and is meant to be entertaining. Journalistic travel writing is intended to be a guide and so should be informative.
Writing travel articles
Articles are the easiest kind of travel writing to get started with. They’re bought by national newspapers (most have big travel sections), general interest magazines (women’s magazines are big buyers) and specialised travel magazines. You could also offer articles to airline magazines, cruise magazines, magazines for walkers, hikers and campers and (as I do) overseas living magazines. There are also lots of travel websites who may be interested.
As with all article writing study the publication you want to write for first and make sure your piece fits in with the style and length of article they publish.
Writing travel books and guides
This needs a bit more thought as it will be much longer and more detailed. Plan it out carefully to make sure you know enough about the country/place concerned before you start.
Travel books and guides are produced by both general publishers and specialised travel publishers. Remember travel publishing is global so consider
approaching publishers worldwide – names like Fodor’s, Berlitz and Lonely Planet publish in many countries. A look round any large bookshop (or on Amazon) is a good way to track down publishers who might be interested.
I’d recommend you don’t write your book before you’ve found a publisher. First, ask your chosen publishers if they have contributors’ notes which explain what they’re looking for. (If your book is to be part of a series it will need to follow a house style.) Then, write an outline, chapter list and one sample chapter.
You could also consider self publishing your own travel guide on Amazon Kindle.
Travelling free as a travel writer
One of the exciting things about travel writing is that, as well as payment, you may be offered free travel! To do this, you’ll first need to have had a few things published. Then, as each new project comes in ask your publisher for a letter of introduction or accreditation. Send this to travel companies, tour operators and hotel chains and discreetly ask what help they might be able to offer. (You’ll be expected to write about them in a positive light if they provide you with free travel!)
Making money from travel photography
Nothing brings a travel article or guide to life like a photograph. Many travel publishers will pay extra – anything from a little to a lot – if you illustrate your piece. (Although if you’re not a photographer don’t worry, you don’t have to.)
As well as selling your photos to travel publishers also consider posting them to stock photography libraries like iStock (www.istockphoto.com) or Bigstock (www.bigstockphoto.com). With these anyone can buy your photos and you receive a royalty on every sale.
Mark Hempshell is a freelance writer with over 20 years experience. You can find more tips, ideas and articles on making money from writing plus details of Mark’s Travel Writing Course on his free website: Make Money Writing at www.make-money-writing.info
Mature Times is looking for good travel articles for their Mature Travel insurance website, so if you have a tale to tell and would like to share it with others perhaps you could send us your story.
If you have some high resolutions photographs to accompany this, it will be much appreciated and our readers will appreciate reading your memories and any recommendations you may have.
Send your piece of no more than 700 words with images to firstname.lastname@example.org.
by Mark Hempshell freelance writer