Love to write? Love to travel? It’s no wonder that the combination of these two passions makes a very inviting profession. Who wouldn’t want to become a freelance travel journalist – jet setting across the globe, experiencing the wonders of the world and actually getting paid to do it?
It is for this very reason that the travel writing industry is a highly competitive one… But if you have the talent, we have the top 10 tips for becoming a travel journalist.
1. Blog/portfolio website
In a world that is being lived online more and more each day, your presence on the web is vital. Showcasing your travel journalism work using a platform such as website or blog will put your writing ‘on the map’. Make sure you are as active as you want your passport to be – aim for 2 posts a week.
2. Develop a niche
The travel industry is vast. And finding your little niche in that market can go a long way to making your mark. Specialising in food, or specific destinations or an activity is a way to write a name for yourself as a travel journalist. Sometimes it pays to think small in a big world.
3. Know the publication
Want to know the golden rule? Research the publication you want to write for. Understanding their style and the articles they print will put you a foot in front of the rest. Read the publication’s writing guidelines and know the name of the travel editor so that you can send your pitch directly to them.
4. Find an angle
Retelling your holiday anecdotes aren’t going to cut it in this industry. There has to be a point to your story and to be a top travel journalist, you will really have to unearth the destination’s appeal. You are the storyteller and your audience is waiting for a punch or twist to grab their attention.
5. Avoid overused adjectives and clichés
Using flowery words like ‘breathtaking’ and ‘spectacular’ will have editors’ eyes rolling and your pitch getting a swift trip to a circular destination – the bin! So too, will ideas and pitches that include things like ‘hidden gem’ or ‘highlight of the trip’. To stand out as a travel writer, you have to dig deep.
6. Don’t forget your own backyard
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. Take photos
If you own a smartphone, you are already a budding travel photographer. Taking snaps to accompany your travel article is the perfect way to get the attention of an editor and offering package ready pieces will go a long way in getting your name remembered.
8. Get trained as a journalist
Signing up for a short course will provide you with fundamental skills and insider knowledge. While degrees aren’t necessary, knowing your stuff is and what better way to learn this from the industry professionals themselves. Courses such as the Morris Journalism Academy’s Ultimate Travel Writing Course will provide you with the knowhow to be a top travel journalist.
9. Understand the industry
You need to eat, sleep and breathe travel. Join travel websites, attend travel conferences, get cosy with your local tourism boards, and put feelers out to airlines, tour operators, museums and hotel groups. To be in the know, you need to have you a foot ready to step into any door.
10. Seek all possibilities
Travel journalism is not just big glossy features. Writing possibilities exist in travel guides, reviews and brochures – just to name a few. Always be on the lookout for avenues that could provide a travel spin.
If you think you have what it takes to be a travel journalist, find out more about how the Ultimate Travel Journalism Course can help you start your journey to a new career.