Languages

10 tips for aspiring travel journalists

10 tips for aspiring travel journalists

Lindsay Kalter | October 12, 2011

Travel journalism is a tricky business to penetrate -- there is a surplus of willing writers and a dearth of employers willing to pay for the work.

The Guardian hosted a recent live web Q&A focused on the art of breaking into the field.

The panel of 12 experts included Mark Hodson of 101 Holidays; Jill Starley-Grainger, a freelance journalist specializing in ethical and luxury travel; Emily Mathieson, Word of Mouth editor at Conde Nast Traveller; Ben Hatch, author of Are We Nearly There Yet? A Family's 8,000 Miles Around Britain in a Vauxhall Astra; and Amanda Statham, travel editor of Cosmopolitan and You & Your Wedding magazines.

Here are IJNet's picks for tips to becoming a travel journalist.

  1. Blog, blog, blog: Illustrating writing skills and expertise on a personal blog is the best way to gain credibility and get recognized, says Hodson. Starley-Grainger suggests posting high-quality entries twice each week for about six months to show dedication and then pitching to editors.

  2. Find a niche: Many writers make the mistake of pitching broad ideas or city guides -- big no-no, says Starley-Grainger. Develop an area of expertise -- something quirky but appealing to a broad audience -- and editors to commission.

  3. Know the publication: Before pitching, familiarize yourself with the publication, said Mathieson. Pay attention to what types of stories they publish and in what sections. Demonstrating this knowledge at the beginning of a pitch increases the chances that it'll be read.

  4. Don't just be a traveler, be a journalist: Those without journalism education or experience should learn and understand how to uncover facts, develop trustworthy sources and dig out obscure information, said Starley-Grainger.

  5. Don't stress about degrees: It's important to have good writing and reporting skills, but editors won't pay much attention to your academic background, said Hatch, who has a degree in business studies. Once you have demonstrated your skills -- be it through a personal blog or published work -- your engineering degree won't matter.

  6. Stand out: Do what you can to be remembered -- reach out to the editor beforehand to express interest and ask about guidelines, and remind them of this correspondence when you send in your pitch, Mathieson said. Also, include a signature at the bottom of your email stating your name, location and specialty.

  7. Don't over-do a destination: There's a difference between writing an intriguing piece on a city with high tourism rates and "over-egging" a place, Mathieson said. If your interest lies in a popular location, seek out its underground appeal. Things like backpacking in Asia, as Hodson pointed out, have been done before.

  8. Tweet away: Twitter has become a valued resource for travel journalists, said Statham. It helps establish contacts and raises your profile and allows you to see what other travel writers are covering.

  9. Don't be afraid to be critical: People want to read whimsical descriptions of far-off places, but they also want honesty, says Hatch. Include the negative so that the readers who are planning trips can prepare.

  10. Contact travel guide publishers: Guide books are a good place to start for those who lack experience, said Richard Trillo, freelance author and editor, with agreement from panel members. Publishers like Fodor's, Lonely Planet and Rough Guides always need writers with up-to-date travel information.

You can view the Guardian's complete Q&A here.

Comments

Travel Writer Guide.

This is just the beginning of my success from writing healthscience to travel journalism.I believe with your guidance my stories will start seeing the light of day.

Masters in travel jornalism

Hi,

I would like to introduce myself as Ashish Goswami. I did my grads in engineering and worked for related fields past 3 years.
During the course of my travel from work and also of own interests, I want to pursue travelling and writing as career.

Please let me know how can I connect my paths and get into my areas of interest.

Regards

Ashish
8961673737
binnygoswami@gmail.com

Dont know what I want to do after school

After being an exchange student in Italy I have discovered my love for travel at a young age and combined with my ability in creative writing and essays I think this may be an option to delve into at the completion of my HSC
I am interested in applying for any scholarships or even being offered some work experience to assist me in this field
Any help would be greatly appreciated to kick start this passion and dream of mine!
I can be contacted via email
shev.123@hotmail.com

Awaiting a reply (from anyone!!)
Siobhan Rossenrode

Good Read

Thanks for the article! Very helpful -- exactly what I was looking for to answer some questions of mine.

xx

Hey Kalter! I am 18 and

Hey Kalter!
I am 18 and currently studying at a community college in my area. I find your article to be quite interesting, however I wish you included how each of those experienced writers were able to get where they are. I've been traveling since birth.. Europe, Canada and throughout the states. I understand it's extremely competitive to be a travel journalist. I just want to know in which direction I should head in for studies and if there are any recommended travel sites to explore. I will be checking up for some answers, thank you!

want to become a travel journalist

i am ram doing diploma in computer engineering i like to travel a lot learn a lot and earn
what are the steps to become a travel journalist

POST A COMMENT

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Twitter message links are opened in new windows and rel="nofollow" is added.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
Please log in or register in order to comment this post.