If you are aiming to make a living out of travel writing; be under no illusions from the start - it is tough - very, very few people make a living from travel writing alone. Those that do will not share their secrets, or their contacts - it has been too hard a journey for them to do that willingly.
Still want to have a go? The first thing you need to do is read. Read all the travel magazines, and all the books, and all the papers that you can find. Analyze the style, analyze the content, analyzed the way in which they describe places, and analyze the destinations themselves; do they constantly visit the same city, when there is perhaps, another a couple of hundred miles away, which is unexplored and that you know to be ripe for discovery? Make notes and compare; read three different reviews of the same city; list the good points and the bad points of the way in which they have been presented, and note which authors you like best.
Once you have done that, try to find a unique angle. For example, the title of this piece made us think of a series of articles on the world's best art travel destinations - Florence, Paris, New York, London - now those cities are written about constantly. But, writing from the point of view of the art that is on the show in those cities, or even better some of the artists making it, would enable you to write a completely different type of article than the usual food and entertainment write up. This is a sound example of thinking outside the box, which is something that you really have to do if you want to break into this market.
Work out what you want to do with your travel writing. Do you want to to write books, do you want to write travel guides, do you want to write for magazines, do you want to write for airlines, cruise ship companies, or for travel agencies; or do you want to be entirely, editorially independent, and go your own way? This is quite possible now because of blogging. Anyone can cheaply and easily start a blog detailing their traveling experiences and adventures.
This is a great way of editors and other travel professionals becoming aware of you, your writing, your destinations, and your whole ethos.
Of course, writing a blog does not negate the expense of travel, unless you are lucky enough to have your blog followed by an airline or promoted in some way, in which case, it is possible to get free travel in exchange for a mention in a blog which is popular and well-read.
Allied to this is getting a noticeable online web presence via social media such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and others. Cross reference and link to each of these sites, and speak of the other platforms, so that overall it looks as though you are busy, even though the actual articles may closely mirror each other.
If you don't have reams of money to spend on a trip out to the Seychelles, or the Bahamas, don't fret; many people are in the same boat, and although it is nice to read about such destinations, many folks will simply want to know about the plainer and more affordable places available. This has the major advantage of being cheaper to research, and it may be something which other travel writers would be snobby about, and perhaps overlook. The thing is, not everybody is a millionaire jet-setter - and not everybody wants to be.
Aim to tell the story of the place and the people in it; nobody wants to know about your digestive problems, none wants to know about the other minor details of your own insecurities and hang-ups about the particular country, or people. What readers want to know is how they find the place, what they can do there, where they can eat, where they can comfortably hang out, and an overview of both the dangers and pleasures available locally.
Find some locals who are willing, and able, to take you behind the scenes and show you things that, as a tourist, you may not normally have access to. Think in terms of unusual occupations, somebody with a story, or an adventure to share. An unusual story about a native of the country you are visiting beats any amateur food critique of the local restaurants or services. Get some color into your writing, and you will be onto a winner.
Keep the articles short and sweet. Unless you are writing a book, a standard type of travel story in the US, is now about 500 words. The attention span of readers is becoming shorter - we tend to flick through things now, looking for the basic information, and then move on. Unless something is very well written, there will not be any advantage in it being too long.
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