Travel writing is a dream job for many, and contrary to popular belief it’s a niche that has a lot more scope for freelance writers online than you might think.
There’s this whole preconception that travel writing work is extremely hard to come by, when actually there are opportunities everywhere.
Thousands of travel websites are screaming out for content.
How do I know?
Yes, because that’s how I make my living now. But even if I didn’t, in a past life I worked in the travel industry and as just one agent we dealt with a plethora of suppliers: airlines, tour operators, coach companies, cruise liners, car hire firms, hotel chains and so on. All of these companies had an online presence of some sort.
This says to me that there’s a lot of travel writing content out there just waiting to be written. What’s more, miscellaneous travel websites want reviews and descriptions, professional blog posts and other contributions. The list goes on and on.
Dispelling the myths of travel writing
After I tell people what I do for a living, they usually raise their eyebrows, look impressed and ask if it’s as amazing as it sounds. I always tell them the same thing:
Travel writing online is not particularly glamorous.
At least not in the sense most would-be travel writers imagine it to be. The travelling part is great, of course, but I don’t have national magazines beating down my door every day wanting to send me on all-expenses-paid trips to the Bahamas.
I’m getting more into writing for magazines this year, with my first national mag feature being printed in March, but I had to use all my initiative (along with a fair bit of blagging) in order to even get the gig. I then contacted the airlines myself and asked for free flights in exchange for a few lines in the factbox section of the article. To my amazement they said yes – but it was all of my own arranging.
It might just be my perception, but the glamorous world of travel writing that people conjure up has had its heyday.
In the good old days (if they existed at all) you’d sit by the roaring ocean with a pina colada watching the sun go down as you penned your masterpiece travel article. Upon your return, Condé Nast Traveller magazine would publish said article and you’d gain not just a princely sum for your words, but also the adoration and respect of your peers and legion of fans.
What you really need to be a good travel writer
If you like writing, you like travel and aren’t afraid to pitch your ideas, chase up leads and ask for handouts from airlines and tour companies (far easier than you’d think), you’re off to a good start.
Bear in mind that travel companies are hardly likely to offer freebies in exchange for a blog post here and there. However, writing online content for travel companies is a fantastic way to cut your teeth in the industry and help build your writing portfolio so you can go on to pitch for bigger and better things.
The truth is:
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If you’re just starting out on your voyage into this sort of writing, approach smaller companies to begin with. Start-up tour companies and websites that are still building their readership are ideal. (Do your due diligence before you commit to anything, of course.)
Check out their websites and then craft an email pitch to explain all the ways in which you can help them and their online brand.
There’s nothing to stop you approaching the big players of course – they need content just like everybody else, probably more so in fact – but you’ll find this is a good way to ease yourself into the niche and familiarise yourself with the different mediums and formats.
And, hey, if you can add a touch of glamour and sense of the exotic to this sort of travel writing then go right ahead.
After all, who am I to stop you?
If you’re really serious about changing your lifestyle and earning good money from your travels, find out exactly how to do it in my Amazon bestseller: How to Start a Travel Blog and Make Money.