Writing a travel article can be art and science combined. Travel writing is essentially part travel report, part blogging, and part giving travel advice. Travel writers make their craft with a host of various styles and methods but generally all stories share some common traits, especially: Clear writing style, devoid of affectation. Let’s discuss then some common pitfalls for travel articles.
Many magazines and newspapers, including most of mine, have a “Feature Story” or a story that a lot of people wait for. The feature story is usually a high quality content with useful information for the reader that makes the cut from all the rest. Unfortunately, many feature stories are poorly written and filled with grammatical errors. When I travel, I read every piece of writing in the magazines and newspapers before I publish my own, so I know which ones are good. Unfortunately, the same is not necessarily true for travel writers.
The Wall Street Journal has long been considered the gold standard of travel magazine. Their in-depth features on individual destinations and regions usually earn them the title. Unfortunately, the same is not true for travel articles. As a rule, a feature story is not worth much more than per article. They’re cheap and the quality is poor. And, when a magazine does use one of these articles, it’s often in a back page of the magazine with a tiny advertisement inserted.
Freelance travel writers are paid according to how much they write. This can be a bonus or a drawback for those who depend on their writing to earn an income while on the road. Because they are paid based on the quality of their work, the payment varies from magazine to magazine. For example, while I often charge less per article than many of the larger magazines, I generally have a much better clientele than most of the small magazines.
I recently completed a book entitled “The Biggest Secrets Book”, which aimed to educate the average traveler about everything there is to know about traveling. Over the years, I’ve developed several websites that focus on travel, as well as a number of solo books on the subject. One thing that really boosted my business was a marketing article I wrote for a travel website. In this article, I suggested ways to save money while traveling. This helped launch my career as a travel writer.
While I still occasionally receive payment for articles that I wrote for individual destination magazines, most of my travel writing is done for online publications. My clients range from small individual destinations to large international travel magazines. And I’ve even written a few books on the subject!
If you’re a new writer, I recommend checking out some of the newer writers who are creating travel stories through the use of blogs and websites. Many of these newer writers are sharing their experiences via blogs, and they are sharing the actual destinations they went to, instead of just publishing photos and descriptions of generic hotels and attractions. I also recommend subscribing to a number of the larger travel magazines, as well as any local newspapers in the destinations you intend to visit.
Finally, I always encourage my new clients to read travel magazine articles that tell about the places they will be visiting. If they like what they see, they’ll be more likely to pay for travel services, such as guided tours and travel packages. Reading travel articles allows you to have a general understanding of what destinations are like, as well as how you can prepare for them. For instance, if you’re interested in going to New York City, you should take a look at articles that highlight that fact. You may also want to follow up with a local tour agency, as some of them may have tours available for you to take, depending on your interests.