I have written extensively about how to be location independent. There are lots of different routes you can take to achieve this. The one I chose and will be discussing here is that of freelance travel writer. Not only do I write articles for myself, but I also write for several other people – this means I have had a lot of opportunity to fine-tune my art.
For any aspiring travel writers out there, here are seven tips that will help you hone your skills and learn how to become a travel writer.
1. Be Descriptive
Travel writing is all about painting a word picture for the reader. They are probably reading your article because they want to learn more about a place. Telling them the beaches are beautiful is not enough. You need to tell them that the sand is pearly white, the water is a vibrant turquoise and there are coconut palms offering much-needed shade.
2. Avoid Making Generalizations
Saying the food in Thailand is amazing is not very helpful. There are some dishes in Thailand that are not amazing. Be specific when you write and this will add infinite value to your writing. You should also justify your statements. If you say Pad Thai in a certain restaurant is amazing, explain why – is it cheap, fragrant, plentiful? This type of detail is a crucial part of learning how to become a travel writer.
3. Go Into Detail Whenever You Can
Don’t tell me you went on a hike. Tell me exactly what that hike consisted of so I can decide whether I want to do it.
You need to go into detail so the reader can generate a fully-informed picture of what you are talking about. How long did the hike take? Was it difficult? How high was the summit? What were the views like? Encompassing these details takes your piece of writing from average to amazing.
4. Check Everything for Factual Accuracy
This is really, really important. Do not be another blogger disseminating fake news. If you want to tell me that Australia is the least densely populated country in the world, you better check that first. And, when you do, you will see that that title belongs to Mongolia. The second you include an incorrect fact, you lose all of your credibility – one of the most important elements when creating a successful blog.
5. Make Sure Your Content is Original
There is a lot of content floating around the Internet and it is becoming ever harder to produce original content. But, you must. Using software such as this plagiarism checker by PapersOwl will help you see whether you have unwittingly plagiarized from someone else’s work.
6. Know Your Audience
If you are writing content for 20-somethings then you need to tailor it to suit that demographic. Cut out long, fancy words and focus on activities, food, culture etc. Similarly, if your demographic is parents then you should include plenty of kid-friendly options in your content.
You should also keep the tone suitable. Swear words and slang is ok for millennials but less acceptable when writing for seniors.
7. Keep it Snappy
Long sentences are boring. Seriously. Don’t do it. Your readers will never make it to the end of the page if you use long sentences filled with commas. Instead, cap your sentences at 20 words and never let your paragraphs exceed 4-5 lines.
If you want to learn how to become a travel writer, it's imperative that you follow these seven rules. They're not just guidelines—they're gospel.