See yourself as a top travel writer? If you possess the following top 10 skills for travel writers, you are definitely on your way to writing an exciting future for yourself in travel journalism.
1. Being an active traveller
There is a big difference between visiting a place and experiencing it. As a travel writer, you need to throw in your full participation when travelling to a destination. The more activities you try, the more people you meet and the more you delve into the heart of an area, the more success you will have with your travel writing.
2. Good researcher
Top travel writers don’t leave home until they know their destination inside out. Researching allows you to hit the ground running and sneak beneath the tourist traps. Gathering information on the go, speaking to the locals and even picking up a newspaper is likely to give your story an edge as well as the potential for future leads.
3. Organised and disciplined
Travelling the wide open road with nothing but your rucksack and laptop stir up feelings of freedom and fun. And while travel writing definitely has these perks, it also requires you to be organised and disciplined. Not only will you have structure your schedule to the fullest, arrange interviews and be punctual with departures, you will also have to dedicate serious time to writing – without procrastinating.
4. Scene building
Your job as a travel journalist is to transport your reader. As they sit at their boring office desk, they can almost feel the squeaky, fine white sand between their toes as you describe an isolated beach off the coast of Tuscany. You are a storyteller and to do this well, you have be a great scene builder.
5. Use all your senses
Words have the ability to evoke feeling, spur on imagination and make our mouths water. Therefore, it is vital that top travel writers use all of their five senses when writing an article. By looking beyond mundane adjectives, a top travel writer brings the whole experience to life on paper by using all five senses and expressing emotional connections that will resonate with the reader.
6. Using anecdotes
You don’t have to travel far to unearth a unique story. Knowing your own area and its appeal will give you a long list of possible article ideas. This is perfect when you are just starting out and haven’t made the big bucks – yet.
7. Taking photos
This day and age, everyone really has the potential to be a first-hand photographer with smart technology revolutionising our photo-taking abilities. Documenting your trip with photos not only assists you when you come back to writing your article, but these days most editors assume that your travel story will be accompanied with some eye-catching snaps.
8. Good writing skills
It may sound obvious but top travel writers need to have good writing skills. Grammar, punctuation and spelling are important tools to have polished not only in your articles but in all communication with editors and publications.
A good travel writer is a good self-editor. It’s easy to go off on a tangent when you have been utterly inspired by a unique travel experience. Reigning this back and reviewing your own work will go a long way towards making friends with editors.
10. Communicating with editors
You have a winning piece of travel writing but nothing is going to get it noticed unless you know how to write a pitch to match. Understanding the publication you are writing for and the editor’s requirements will make your story a standout.
Sound like you? Well you’ve started the ground work, and we’d love to guide you on the rest of your journey to becoming a successful travel journalism professional. Contact the Morris Journalism Academy for more information about our Ultimate Travel Journalism Course.