Writing about travel as a career requires you to have a wicked sense of adventure, but it is also one of the most amazing, rewarding and incredible careers you can have. It’s one of the only professions that allows a freelancer to see the world and write about their adventures at the same time, while getting paid to do it. If you have an itch to travel and an ability to master your adventures in words, a freelance career in travel writing might just be for you. However, don’t pick up your backpack just yet. There is a little more to travel writing than wandering the English countryside with your laptop in hand.
1. Do Your Research First
If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Spend some time learning about successful freelance travel writers of today and years past. Learn what editors want. Read everything you can. Check out travel articles and take a lesson from the experts.
If you can find a mentor, that’s even better. Try contacting different travel writers and ask them about their travel writing experience, and ask for some tips on breaking into this highly-competitive industry.
2. Take a Class
While you don’t necessarily need a journalism degree to be a travel writer, a little education can take you further than natural talent alone. Investigate a few different writing courses until you find one that interests you. Brush up on your grammar, take a class on style or sit in on a lecture specific to writing for travel magazines. Taking a class in your weakest area will make trying to land a gig in the travel writing industry a little bit easier.
3. Pitching to Magazines and Writing for Blogs
After you have done your homework and taken a class or two, it’s time to get to work. Start following a few different travel magazines and blogs. Then, make your own blog, and include your own writing samples on it. To start, write about different places that you have been and use those as part of your online portfolio. Then, start contacting different editors with your samples, and query some new ideas.
Know that it won’t be easy. Don’t get down if you find yourself rejected the first few times you submit to a publisher. Try to remember that they are only rejecting your idea, they are not rejecting you, and that rejection is part of the writing business. However, if you find yourself being rejected more than accepted, it might be time to brush up your skills just a little bit more.
4. Plan Your Trips
The cardinal rule of any kind of writing is to “write what you know”. When it comes to freelance travel writing, plan a few trips with your laptop in tow. As you travel to your dream destinations, write about your experiences while you are still there. This makes your adventure a working vacation and can even help you write off some of your expenses as a business expense on your taxes. Once you are done with your adventure, submit that to different editors until you find someone interested in publishing your travels.
Focus on specific genres. For example, you could focus on frugal traveling, traveling to exotic destinations on a specific budget or even spontaneous traveling.
Lastly, it’s always important to remember that writing about travel for a living takes loads of passion, perseverance and wild sense of adventure. If you have those three things, you are already half way there.