How to become a travel writer

If you love to travel and you love to write, the idea of working as a travel writer could seem like a dream career. Although the reality may not be as fun or glamorous as your expectations, the life of a travel writer is certainly never boring. Here are some top tips to fulfil your dream...

1. Learn your trade

Just as a lawyer must spend years learning the law before they can land a law job, travel writers need to polish their skills and learn the ropes before they can expect to make money from their writing.

If you want to work for a guidebook or a travel publisher, you will need to be fluent in the local language of the country you wish to write about. If you're writing more personal, magazine style articles, fluency is not necessary. Some language skills are useful, however.

Either way, you will need first class writing and research skills - and the only way to get these is to practice.

2. Travel often

To be a good travel writer, you need to know which details and descriptions that travellers are looking for. Become a traveller yourself and you'll start to see the world from new eyes. Remember that readers of travel magazines and travel books are likely to be very well travelled themselves.

3. Be original

To get your work published, you'll need to grab the editor's attention. An article about teaching English in Japan or hiking Machu Picchu - exciting as that may be for you - is unlikely to cut it. You'll need to think of something original, something that hasn't been covered extensively before...

4. Build contacts

Often, what differentiates a successful travel writer from an unsuccessful travel writer is the contacts they have. You might be the best writer in the world, but if no one knows about you, no one will read your material. Make and maintain contact with commissioning editors, feature editors, book publishers and whoever else in the industry you can get speaking to.

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