Satisfy your wanderlust and share it with the world to earn some money along the way. That’s the dream destination for travel writers and here’s how you can get there.
For a writing role that most idolise, there are a surprising number of challenges and hurdles along the way – it’s not all describing sunsets and testing out the local cuisine! There’s a great deal of skill that goes into the writing of travel books and our helpful pointers will help guide you through the journey… literally and physically!
Consider the bigger picture
Do your research before and after you travel to ensure that, even if you haven’t travelled the length and breadth of a destination and experienced everything, you have a fair idea of what else there is to see and do and what others’ thoughts and feelings on them are. Don’t get too hung up on review sites like TripAdvisor (these naturally tend to angle things negatively), but read all you can on a place and its attractions. Social media makes this easier than ever, so you can really see it through someone else’s eyes and not come across as either overly romanticising or overly unfavourable.
Keep it personal
Describe things the way you found them, and the way they made you feel. This keeps your writing feeling genuine and will help the reader identify with a destination even if they’ve never been (and may never go). Moments that are entirely personal to you such as losing possessions, missing travel connections, or sickness, may be a step too far to include in your book, but your impressions and feelings on somewhere you have visited are valid – as they are your thoughts and opinions.
Don’t overcompensate for a place with language
There are often quite a few stereotypes and clichés in travel books, and these are usually formed by the over-use of descriptive language. How many times have you read about “azure seas”, “golden beaches”, “a smorgasbord of…” or “hearty fare”? No doubt, a lot. Avoid these by trying to come up with descriptive and emotive language that’s original and matches your own experiences – using too much language that the reader has seen several times before will result in them skimming across the text and not engaging in the way you’d like them to.
Ensure the travel stays central
If you’re including a story or plot, don’t lose sight of your destination amongst it. The location should remain key, and however fictional your characters or adventures, the place and sense of journey should stay central. Think of writing your travel book as a journey in all senses, and this will help you map out the direction you’d like it to take and keep track of your progress throughout the book.
Travel writing isn’t all plain sailing, but the results are worth every second – and the experiences you get to have will be memory-making, for you and your readers!