How to become a travel writer (guide and definition)
Updated 7 February 2023
Travel writers travel to destinations around the globe to create content. Travel writing is typically tourism-related but magazines, newspapers and trade publications may also hire travel writers. If you enjoy travelling and have strong written and communication skills, travel writing may be a suitable career. In this article, we explore how to become a travel writer and offer tips for travel writing.
What is a travel writer?
A travel writer extensively researches a destination and writes about their travel experience in the area. Travel writers may work on a freelance basis or work in-house for a company that requires regular travel writing. Types of content travel writers may produce include:
reviews of resorts/hotels
first-person travel features
practical travelling advice
social media posts
How to become a travel writer
If you enjoy writing and visiting different locales, you may want to know how to become a travel writer. As many people have a passion for travelling, travel writing is a highly competitive field. Steps to become a travel writer include:
1. Complete a relevant degree/course
Although it isn't an official requirement, completing a relevant course or degree that relates to travel writing may help to strengthen your written communication and journalism skills. Essay-based courses may help individuals who are considering a career as a travel writer learn about different writing styles and how to write to a deadline. Courses and degrees that may be relevant to travel writing include:
travel and tourism
Related: How to become a journalist
2. Start writing independently
As paid travel writing opportunities may not be immediately available, it's advisable to start writing independently. For example, you may wish to write a blog series of all the locations you've recently been to. Writing independently gives you the freedom to experiment with different types of travel writing and writing styles. You may also attach a link or print a physical copy of your writing when applying for jobs as you may use your independent writing to create a portfolio.
3. Apply for open positions
Use online job boards to look for open travel writer positions. It's beneficial to tailor your CV and cover letter to each job you apply for. This is to ensure you address all of the relevant job specifications in your CV and present yourself as a viable candidate. If there are no suitable travel writing opportunities available, consider applying for more general writing roles, such as a role as a copywriter or blog writer. This may help to build up your portfolio and experience for when a travel writing opportunity does arise.
4. Look for freelance opportunities
Instead of applying for in-house positions, some travel writers enjoy the freedom of working on a freelance basis. Online job boards can help aspiring writers find freelance opportunities. It may also be beneficial for an aspiring travel writer to create a freelance website or online profile to advertise their writing services.
5. Use social media
An effective way for writers to advertise their writing skills is to use social media. Social media is a useful way to build connections as a travel writer and showcase your skills to relevant brands and employers. For example, writers may create a travel writing social media account to post reviews of destinations and local recommendations.
6. Connect with other writers
Try to build connections with other travel writers by attending industry events. This may help to build a network of connections and help writers to find work opportunities. In addition to attending in-person events, writers may also utilise online networking sites to connect with other professionals.
7. Write guest posts
If you form connections with other travel writers, you could offer to guest post on each other's online channels. This may help you to build your audience and connect with individuals who may not have read your writing before. You could also offer to guest post on potential clients' websites to showcase your skills to them first-hand.
What are the different types of travel writers?
There are multiple types of businesses that may require a travel writer. Learning about the different types of travel writing is useful when deciding what type of role to pursue. Common types of travel writing include:
As a travel writer for a magazine, you typically write articles and reviews about destinations or hotels/resorts. Travel writers may pitch their ideas to different editors and have a strong understanding of what kind of content is popular with their readership. Some magazines may exclusively feature travel content or may have a travel section as one of the topics their magazine covers.
Whereas magazine travel writers and social media posts can rely heavily on images, travel writers for newspapers typically use their writing to create mental images for readers. For this reason, travel writers for newspapers benefit from being creative and succinct, as word limits for travel sections in newspapers may be small. It may be a requirement for travel writers for newspapers to review new locations on a weekly, monthly or daily basis and so has extensive travel requirements.
As a travel blogger, you may be responsible for coming up with your ideas, taking your photos and promoting your blog to help it grow. Travel bloggers may partner with brands or companies for sponsored posts. For example, a new resort may pay a travel blogger to stay at and review their new location. Only bloggers with a high readership typically receive paid blogging opportunities.
Tips for finding work as a travel journalist
Below are some tips for finding work as a travel journalist:
Do your research
Research popular travel writing publications and read their most popular content. This may help you understand what's currently in demand in the writing industry. You may also wish to subscribe to industry magazines and newsletters so you're aware of any new advancements in the travel sector.
While many newspapers and magazines may require a travel writer to adopt a standard/corporate writing style, independent publications and online readers typically prefer a writer with a unique voice. Find a writing style that suits your personality and aim to be unique with your content. Writers are more likely to trust an honest travel writer so ensure your reviews are unbiased and show both the pros and cons of a destination.
Take or use high-quality photos
As a travel writer, one of the best ways to make your work stand out is to accompany it with high-quality photos. Platforms such as social media are tailored towards visual content so using strong imagery is as important as the accompanying writing. If you're not confident in your photography skills, there are plenty of online tutorials and resources that can help you to improve. Alternatively, you may wish to partner with an aspiring travel photographer and swap resources with each other.
Where do travel writers travel to?
Where and how often a travel writer may travel depends on where their employer may send them or where they choose to travel independently. Travel writers who have specialist knowledge about certain cultures may be more likely to receive international jobs. For example, a travel writer who speaks French is more likely to be sent to review a hotel in Paris than a travel writer who has travelled extensively through Asia. Not all travel writing jobs are international and some travel writers may travel to different locations in their home country.
Travel writing example
Here's an example of some travel writing:
The best way to explore Amsterdam is by boat. Whether you're considering a weekend break here or a longer trip with your family, a canal cruise is a great activity. The city is home to multiple types of canal cruises, including cheese and wine tours, dining tours and family-friendly tours. During the peaceful cruise, you'll learn about the rich history of Amsterdam and the interesting culture that's palpable in the city.
After a canal cruise, it's a must to stop for a famous Dutch pancake. Forget everything you know about pancakes, Dutch pancakes are light, fluffy and as they're available in both savoury and sweet varieties, are suitable to be eaten at any time of day in Amsterdam. Accommodation in the city isn't known for being affordable but many of the smaller hotels offer rooms for families and couples at affordable rates. It's recommended to book hotels far in advance, as the popularity of the city typically means that hotels are fully booked months in advance.
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