By: Danielle Fahey
Getting paid to travel seems like nothing less than a dream job for any aspiring globetrotter, and travel writing is a package deal for anyone who loves to write about their experiences around the world. Think about it: wouldn’t it be great to surf in Fiji, window shop at the boutiques of Paris, or take a trek through the safaris of South Africa as a full-time job? Believe it or not, this is actually the case for a variety of travel bloggers, travel magazine editors, freelance writers, and photographers. But it’s not an easy job to get. There are very few job postings that ask for full-time travel writers, and the ones that do often require extensive experience. However, a great job like this is still possible, and I’m here to show you some tricks for breaking into the travel writing business. Even if you’re a high school or college student who is just hopping the freelance train, here are a couple great ways to get started.
The first step you want to take is to make a travel blog. It may seem obvious, but surprisingly, many travel writer wannabes dismiss the idea of making their own blog as a form of self-promotion. They might be confused as to where to start, they might think that it’s pointless to make since no one will see it anyway, or they might think that their website design is too amateur to show to professionals. But travel blogs are a fantastic way to kick off your travel writing career. After all, if you want to write about your travel experiences, why not just start writing about your travel experiences? A blog is an easy way to practice. Sure, it might start off slow, but once you make those posts and start gaining momentum on the site, you’ll find that you might have some great samples for your portfolio. You can then gain more opportunities to freelance and (eventually) work up to that full-time goal.
If you aren’t sure where to start website-wise, there are plenty of online applications like Wix or WordPress that you can utilize to create a website quickly and easily. Each of them have thousands of templates to choose from, and you can customize the features however you want. Premium versions of these websites often cost money, but you can still get an original, great-looking website with the free versions!
The second big step to take is pitching. Although it may seem intimidating to ask the editor of a top magazine to publish your article, this is something you’ll have to get used to in freelance. Most of the time, editors won’t ask you to publish a certain type of article unless you’re one of their contributing feature writers, and that only comes after enough experience.
This step really makes you think about what type of writing you want to do. Sure, you love to write, and you probably love to travel the world, but what exactly do you want to write about? What’s your focus? Do you love museums and culture, the cuisines, the luxury hotel experiences? This is what you’re going to want to write about. Next time you travel, see what type of interesting and well-written article, memoir, or story you can make from that trip. Do you want to let people know of the greatest museums in London? Or do you want to highlight an off-the-beaten-path day trip in the U.S.? Whatever your topic is, be sure to take notes while you’re on your trip, and figure out an interesting angle to sell your piece. Maybe you want to talk about the history of wine selling in Italy. Or you want to write a descriptive narrative of the Grand Canyon. There are so many ways to go about this, but you have to start writing.
Travel writing is, as you can imagine, very fun. It lets you travel the world and delve into your passion for writing, it allows you to think about an aspect of your travels that you may not have thought about before, and it allows you to show people how great traveling can be. With these points in mind, think about what you can do today to become a travel writing connoisseur. Bon voyage!