If you are thinking of getting started as a travel writer, or looking to start your own travel blog, then one of the things you might be worrying about is how to get enough content to write about if you don’t actually spend all your time travelling. Not everyone is able, or event wants, to live a totally nomadic lifestyle so it might sometimes seem that unless you are travelling a LOT, then you won’t be able to write regularly or successfully about travel. This is something even I have sometimes worried about and struggled with, but I am here to share with you what I have learned and how you can still be a regular and successful travel writer, even if you don’t travel all that often! Here are my five best tips on how to maximise your travels in order to build a portfolio of travel writing pieces, either for your own enjoyment, freelance writing or creating your own travel blog.
1 – Write About Your Home
The most obvious way to write about travel even if you are not going anywhere, is to write about where you live! It doesn’t matter where in the world you are, to someone, that place is an interesting and exotic destination. Shifting your mindset from only writing about places that YOU travel to, to writing about any destination that you know, is a great way to find content for travel writing. Not only that, but if you know the place well then you are able to position yourself as an authority on the destination. Local guides to destinations are always popular, because a lot of travellers want to know the best tips on good coffee, beaches or attractions that might not be in a regular guidebook. If you are just starting out with travel writing this is also a great way to build up a portfolio, you can review your favourite local restaurants, give readers tips on where the best hikes are or take people on a ‘day in the life’ of what you do in your own city, town or state.
2 – Get More Posts Out of Your Trips
Another tip that I use myself, is to make sure you get more posts out of your travels. Instead of writing one post or article about your visit to a certain destination, instead break up into smaller posts so that you can focus perhaps one on the accommodation, another about the food scene and/or another about one of the destinations you visited. As an example, a few months ago I spent one night in Luxembourg, yet I was able to write four separate posts about aspects of my trip. I wrote a detailed hotel review, a guide to one attraction (a castle) that I loved, a quirky story about the mystery I discovered in a little town and a round-up post of 3 castles that are a perfect day-trip from Luxembourg City. Readers don’t usually like to be overwhelmed with information but if you have broken down your travels into smaller articles then people won’t feel like they are getting too much at once. You could still do a major ‘guide’ to a specific destination but also include links to, for example, your more detailed reviews of the hotel you stayed at or one major attraction you visited. This also helps to build up your portfolio and show that you can write well on different aspects of the travel experience.
3 – Write About Travel-Related Topics
Another way to establish yourself as a travel writer even if you are not travelling often, is to write about travel-related topics. I have done this in the past during times when I am not travelling, posting about dealing with homesickness while travelling, what to do if you get lost while travelling and guides to books about travel. A good way to find ideas for travel-related topics is to look at forums such as Quora and see what questions people are asking. Then you know what sort of information people are looking for and can perhaps write a piece on surviving long-haul flights, apps for travel or packing tips. You could even write about your dream destinations that you want to travel to in the future, a round-up of inspiring travel quotes or rank the foreign accents you find sexiest. You’re only limited by your imagination!
4 – Find a Unique Spin
One great way to establish yourself as a travel writer even if you’re not travelling often, is to find a unique spin to put on your work. Concentrating on a unique niche within travel, or working to brand yourself in a way that is different to most travel writers, can open up more topics to write about than you might at first think. Perhaps you are obsessed with surfing and want to write about travel that is related to surfing. This means you would be able to write about surfing in general, different gear required, how to travel with a surfboard, the best places to go for surf or surfing culture, surf style and the list goes on. Or perhaps you have a very specific style of writing – maybe you joke a lot, or swear, or are really into girly glittery things. This means that you can take a topic or destination that may seem over-saturated but the way you write will make it fresh. Having a very clear niche or voice means that you are able to focus in and find topics specific to you, instead of wanting to just write about travel and having no idea where to start in the huge variety of things this topic can encompass.
5 – Find Inspiration
If you’re really getting stuck with what to write about, then go looking for inspiration! I mentioned Quora as a good website to start with, but you can just as easily look at other travel writers or travel blogs and perhaps do a round-up post on your favourites or see if you can interview someone about their travels. Another great way to find inspiration is to do a travel writing course or challenge, or find a competition to enter (the parameters of the contest should give you ideas). You can check out Eight Writing Prompts at Frayed Passport, Free Creative Writing Prompts #20: Travel or even browse Girl vs Globe’s awesome post 50 Travel Blog Post Ideas if you are really stuck. Of course, you could also get my FREE e-book, Travel Writing Bootcamp for seven days’ worth of travel writing tips, prompts and inspirations!
Do you have any other tips to add for people looking to be a travel writer even if they don’t travel very often? Please let us know in the comments, and sign up below for your free copy of Travel Writing Bootcamp if you are interested in starting your own travel writing journey!