Travel writing is one of the most popular types of non-fiction.
And if you’re someone with a love of both literature and globetrotting, travel writing offers a fantastic opportunity to combine the two! Here, then, are a few top tips for budding travel writers to help get you started.
1. Read Other Travel Writing
The best starting point if you’re new to travel writing is to read other authors.
There are many types and styles of travel writing out there. So we suggest reading a little bit of everything, from blog posts to book-length travelogues, to find inspiration if you’re not already sure what to write.
2. Picking a Subject
To stand out from the crowd, your travel writing needs to offer something unique. Part of this will be your written voice, but what you are writing about is equally important, so you’ll want to pick a great destination to focus on.
Finding somewhere interesting that nobody has written about before is the dream, so you might want to look beyond the famous beaten track for strange or unusual attractions. Alternatively, if you are writing about a familiar place, look for an angle that nobody has used before.
3. Paint a Picture
Your writing should conjure an image of the places you describe, so use sensory language wherever possible. If you can communicate some of the views, sounds and smells you’ve experienced, your reader will feel more like they’ve been there. Rich, descriptive writing is therefore crucial.
Of course, a literal picture can help as well, so don’t forget to pack a camera!
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4. Tell a Story
Travel writing is about more than just facts. It’s about your experience of a place or journey. As such, you need to take your reader on a journey, too!
One tip in this respect is remembering that the best travel writing is more than just descriptive. It may also have:
Characters (e.g., people you meet along the way or travel companions)
Themes (e.g., issues or events that recur throughout your journey)
A plot (e.g., your goal, such as visiting every museum in Cumbria)
Keep in mind that travel writing is creative writing, even if it is non-fiction. You may even want to twist the facts to tell a better story. Or go full Hunter S. Thompson and blur the lines between fact and fiction entirely. We wouldn’t suggest taking as many drugs as he did, though.
5. The Benefits of Fact Checking
Assuming you’re not fictionalizing your journey too much, you may want to do some fact checking on things you’ve learned when you get home.
For instance, before repeating what that odd man in the plaza told you about Piacenza being founded by a champion chicken farmer as a luxury resort for poultry, get online and do some reading. You can still include the anecdote if it turns out to be untrue. You just don’t have to present it as a fact.
And if you handle the fact checking, we’ll be happy to help with the proofreading once you have a first draft ready!