Camera, guidebook and laptop - 10 travel writing tips to improve travel stories

How To Be Really Good At Travel Writing In 2019

Do you want to improve your travel writing?

Travel writing might seem difficult. But with a few simple tips…

…you’ll be producing some amazing travel stories–in no time!

Read on to discover how to do compelling travel writing.

Camera, guidebook and laptop
A travel writer’s work set-up

1. Find Your Travel Niche

In an industry that gets more saturated every week—new travel blogs are started basically on a daily basis—it’s critical that you find a way to stand out from the pack.

How do you do this?

Find a niche.

travel photograph niche
In travel writing, it pays to find a niche!

Figure out your main angle. Ask yourself: What have I done? What have I liked doing in the past? This sets you up to become an expert in a field, whether it’s food travel, fashion travel, national parks travel, or budget travel. Destinations—cities, regions, even countries—are suitable niches as well.

The more you zoom in on a particular niche, the better. You can also combine fields and destinations: food in Italy is a topic you could spend a lifetime writing about. Another example is hiking in South America.

Just remember:

Be creative as you like. But always stick with your passion.

2. Write, Write, Write!

This tip is extremely simple. But it has to be said.

If you want to become an incredible travel blogger, you’ve got to practice!

It doesn’t matter if your first blog posts are garbage, or if no one publishes your initial articles.

You need to get those first learning experiences out of the way. They simply need to happen. So it’s best to start early.

dock on ocean
Make sure you practice writing as often as possible.

As you continue writing, it’ll become easier. You’ll discover what you like writing about most, and which types of stories just flow from your fingers.

3. Attend Conferences and Network

You can also learn a ton by reading other people’s work and attending travel writing conferences. Go to local meet-ups of writers, read books about best writing practices, and network with other (aspiring) writers online and offline.

Travel bloggers and writers should definitely try to attend a travel conference every so often. These events are jam-packed with talks by established writers, bloggers, photographers, and other creatives.

Travel conferences will teach you all about travel writing. And, more importantly, they’ll leave you feeling inspired.

Travel writing meet-up and networking
You can learn a lot from meeting other travel writers!

4. Have a Clear Topic/Story

Whenever you write a blog post or article, always keep the topic in mind.

This is just like choosing a niche:

The narrower the topic, the better.

Before you start writing, it’s important to know the purpose of the piece. What do you want the reader to learn? What do you want the reader to experience?

sign in foreign country
Know what you’re going to write about–in advance.

Once you’ve decided on a topic, I suggest you do a quick outline of the article.

It doesn’t have to be anything major. Just a brief list of the headings and main points.

5. Keep Notes During Your Travels

If you want to write amazing travel articles…

…you’ve got to take notes during your trips.

All experienced writers do it. Because it’s so easy to forget exactly what someone said–which can be the difference between a good story and a great story.

woman snorkeling
Take notes on your adventures!

Also, write down all thoughts you have, things you know you’ll want to remember, the way you feel/felt, and other information that might seem relevant.

It’ll come in handy later!

Related Article: How to make money while traveling

6. Include Conversations to Add Interest

A good travel story—or any story for that matter—includes numerous chunks of dialogue.

Why?

Conversation really livens up a story.

Consider the following sentences. Which one is more fun to read?

Rick and I rode our bikes down the steep hill.

Or:

“Oh man, this is freaking steep!” Rick yelled as we sped downhill.

When in doubt, use dialogue.

It always makes a story more interesting.

Related Article: Storytelling Photography tips

7. Use Detailed Descriptions to Create Compelling Stories

You’ve learned how dialogue can bring a story to life.

Vivid descriptions can, too.

Try to elaborate on a situation or scene by using more than just one adjective. Don’t describe a landscape simply as ‘breathtaking’, but tell the reader why it’s so remarkable.

What makes it unique? How did you feel when you first saw it? How was the weather?

beautiful landscape mountain scene
Describe the beauty of the scene!

Try to stay away from those overused words in travel writing nowadays, such as ‘incredible’, ‘stunning’, ‘hidden gem’ and ‘hustle and bustle.’

They’ve been used so much, they’ve basically lost all meaning.

Instead, carefully choose your words–and watch as your stories come to life.

8. Include a Captivating First Paragraph to Suck Readers In

In a day and age where people’s attention spans get increasingly shorter, it’s vital to capture your reader’s interest immediately.

Bottom line?

Writing a captivating first paragraph is the most important technical travel writing skill you can have.

Travel writer working on laptop
Spend some extra time perfecting the first paragraph

A good introduction, for example, would be one that introduces a problem but doesn’t solve it. Sometimes a funny conversation can draw in a reader, too.

A great travel story begins with a superb intro. It’s normal to want to get straight to the point of your story, but you should really spend some extra time fine tuning those first few sentences.

No one will read the rest of your awesome article if they’re not interested right away, after all.

9. Don’t Rush the Writing–or the Editing

This tip is tough to follow. But I urge you to try hard.

Don’t rush through your articles. Instead, take your time.

Give yourself a few days to finish the piece. Read it and reread it. In fact, editing is often more important than writing!

gondola and boats on river
Don’t rush the writing of your piece. Take your time.

It’s okay to get things down quickly, though. It’s an amazing feeling when you’re “in the flow” and the story just writes itself.

However, it’s essential that you give yourself some time and let the story sit. Write everything down and then forget about it for a few hours.

You’ll be able to look at things with a fresh eye later. And that’s when the editing should be done.

10. Maintain an Online Writing Portfolio

After you’ve been writing for a bit...

…you’ll have a number of articles that you’re proud of.

Keep them together on a website.

If you have a blog, you can create a page featuring your best posts. If you’re a freelance travel writer, you can set up a portfolio website with links to your published work.

That’s how you get new work, clients, and assignments, after all.

Which brings me to my final tip:

11. Always Keep Looking for Travel Writing Gigs

Making a decent income with travel writing may seem challenging.

However, you should be able to quickly improve your skills and build up your portfolio.

And throughout it all:

Always be looking for travel writing gigs. Whether it’s on online job sites, at websites of local tourist boards, or in travel magazines.

Because many publications work with freelancers–and they offer regular, consistent work.

For instance, Problogger.com lists all sorts of writing opportunities (including travel!).

shipnear iceberg
Look for travel writing opportunities wherever you go!

And landing a few of those travel writing gigs?

It’ll bring you much closer to a life of full-time writing.

Because it’ll boost your credibility as a travel writer–tremendously.

Producing Incredible Travel Writing: Next Steps

You know how to write inspiring travel articles.

You’ve discovered how to write compelling stories.

You’ve learned how to network and get gigs.

And you know how to improve, fast.

All you have to do now…

…is write!

Got any travel writing tips? Share them in the comments!

Download FREE Photography Lighting Cheat Sheet

Subscribe and get a free downloadable photography lighting cheat sheet

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.

About the author

Bram Reusen

Bram Reusen is a Belgian travel writer and photographer who’s based in Virginia, USA. From day hikes in national parks to long-distance cycling adventures, from short city breaks to multi-month trips, he has tried several travel styles over the years. So far, Bram has been to 26 countries on 4 continents, 28 national parks and 44 UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Send this to a friend