One of the largest and most competitive, the travel industry requires an abundance of quality content to satisfy the huge number of online platforms and magazines, which can be lucrative for the freelancer.
I love to travel. City breaks, beach holidays, adventurous tours, I love them all and I’m lucky to have travelled all over the world. Give me a packed suitcase, a box of Imodium, my passport and I’m Harriet the happy hamster.
People who actually travel the world all expenses paid are scarce, however, so how can freelance writers take advantage of this massive opportunity?
The first myth I need to dispel is the fact that you have to be a carbon copy of Alan Wicker to be a great travel writer. Yes, it helps if you’re familiar with the basics – airports, packing, weather etc – and obviously, if you’re writing a guidebook or airline review, a knowledge of the place or flight provider is preferable, but there are lots of opportunities out there that don’t require in-depth awareness. What they do require, though, is thorough research.
There are multiple thousands of hotels around the world. Most have websites, and/or a short description on online travel agency sites. This particular content deals with facts. You don’t need to have spent last year’s summer getaway at said residence, you just have to write how many rooms it has, how beautiful the gardens are, restaurant choices, how far it is from the airport/local attractions. Basically, a product description.
How to articles and listicles are another way to cash in on this marketplace.
- Ten ways to occupy your children if your flight is delayed
- Ten animals you are likely to see in India
- Five essential beach bag items
- Hangover cures! How to survive Ibiza nightlife
All these examples can be written without in-depth travel nous. It could be a flight to anywhere, you can find information about India on the internet, a beach is a beach and hangovers, well, they’re rife all over the world. Most of the travel comparison sites have blogs requiring SEO-rich content with travel tips and articles that don’t require the writer to have been around the world in eighty days.
Another trick is applying an experience you’ve had from one destination to another. A horse and carriage ride in Paris is exactly the same as a horse and carriage ride in Krakow (albeit a lot more expensive). Yes, the sights are different, but the feelings and emotions are the same. You understand the concept and can tailor the facts to your particular experience. Riding a camel in Tunisia is much the same as riding a camel in Morocco or Egypt. The scenery changes, but there are enough reviews out there that you can improvise.
Food and drink are another great way to write about travel, while not actually leaving your own country. Culinary delights from all over the world are now easily obtained in this country and, with some complimentary online research, it’s relatively easy to delve into the surrounding cultural, historical details of particular items. Of course, I know local delicacies taste better when in situ, and I’m not saying you can write about Thai street food without living the experience, but you could, however, write about:
- The History of the Saffron Trail
- The Persian Pistachio
- Ten Italian Fish Recipes
Finally, all travel writing is not about exotic locations. That old adage, ‘write about what you know’ can stand you in good stead here. The first travel article I had published was about my hometown and this is a brilliant place to start for the novice travel writer. What are the points of interest in your town/city, the best restaurants, museums etc? Is there an event that takes place there, and how often? Does the location have a nearby theme park, beach, or a country walk? The UK tourism industry is vast and requires quality content by freelance writers.
So, instead of packing your suitcase to make a living writing about the travel industry, pack your pen, laptop and imagination. Perhaps you can’t write an account of a trip down the Amazon, but writing about the top fish and chip shops in Scarborough can earn you just as much cash.
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