It’s no secret that travel has boomed in past few years. With the meteoric rise of social media, travel has become interesting to many souls who wish to experience what they see online. I have to admit, when you see spectacular photos of waterfalls, white-sand beaches or otherworldly terrains, it’s difficult not to get an instant case of itchy-feet. Travelling across the world to destinations not typical of your annual holiday spot, are not solely for the independent traveller anymore too. Many all-kind destinations now lure more couples and groups who want a bit of the travel bug life, and even families are getting on board with adventure travel.
What I mean by ‘travelling’ though is all aspects of travel and even more importantly choosing unorthodox, less western facilitated destinations. Not only that, but travelling few and far between, normally embracing local culture and seeing things typical tour companies and hotel resorts wouldn’t tell you about. Going to places where a little more edgy and even present more risk for safety. For me, this is travel. And travel was never meant to be easy.
However you go about your travels, if you love what travel is, it’s possible you may have thought about becoming a travel writer. Becoming and being a travel writer or blogger can be seen as ‘living the dream’. The preconception by many is that travel writers get to work and travel, whilst also writing about what they love, travel! They’ll get sent to tropical destinations to ‘work’ either reporting, reviewing or writing about a destination or specific activity in exchange for $ or the trip itself. That is true with some, whilst others can be travel writers by writing about their past experiences, content write for publications or a more modern way of travel writing, heavily researching a place and writing about it, despite never having visited themselves.
‘Some people want to appear as a travel writer, rather than actually be one’
Despite all of this, in the modern day, it’s very easy for someone to say “I’m a travel writer”. Many people can blog nowadays due to the accessibility of computers, laptops, smartphones and the Internet. But how many want to actually have a voice, be a travel advocate, are interested in the craft of writing and seek to enjoy the work? Some people want to appear as a travel writer, rather than actually be one. Whatever floats your boat, or shall I say ‘each to their own’, but if you’re thinking about the possibility of entering the travel industry as a writer or a blogger as a job and getting paid, make note of these realities first.
Everything Is All On You
It’s up to you to start up everything. This is your responsibility to make it work. You have to have the confidence to write, be able to write, create a website, engage via social media, pitch publications, invoice, network and most of all travel! Over and over, everything is all on you.
Strong Social Media Is Key
Being any form of writer nowadays, social media is key and even more so in travel writing. Otherwise, who is going to know about you? Who will read your work? You’ll need to create or push for a following, through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and LinkedIn . You may not need all of them depending on your work, but these platforms certainly help.
You Work Most Days
If you think being a travel writer is about partying and exploring like you did on your first trip to Southeast Asia then you’re wrong. You should stop reading his article right now. Being a travel writer is essentially working for yourself. You’re working in self-employment or classed as a one-man-band. Managing your own time is key, and that could mean on a Saturday night of Wednesday lunchtime. You need to put the hours in to see any sort of reward. I can tell you; right now I’m sat on a 3rd class passenger train in Thailand writing this!
Travelling Becomes A JOB
Following on from the last point, travelling essentially becomes your job. If you love travelling too much to think of it being any kind of ‘work’ or a job, then maybe travelling writing isn’t for you. If you work within travel, you’ll see the good side, the bad side and the honest side of travel. This will depend on your whole involvement in the industry, from researching to writing, to reading to travelling. It isn’t all fun and games!
Getting $$ Isn’t Easy
So you may think you’ve written a good article or finished a project and now its time to get paid. You may even be waiting for to pay your affiliates wage or sponsorship rate from your blog. Well, you have to chase this up yourself more times than not. Invoicing companies can be a hassle, for any freelancer. Cash flow becomes a problem because you’re always waiting on money. You might invoice someone, but then that gets passed to the accounts team who may have a monthly cycle of payment runs. It might be months before you get paid for a job you were assigned several months earlier!
Find A Niche
Finding a niche really depends on you. If you’re writing a simple blog your destinations and experiences are ok for that. If you want to make some money and freelance, it depends who you’re pitching and writing for. My advice is if you have it in you, and the interest lies there, travel to the off-beaten places. I’m talking Central Asia, Africa, and parts of South America like Venezuela or Guyana. These will add to your travel portfolio and niche. Publications and companies also want fresh, interesting and unique content. If you’re writing for a new start up company, they may need the basic content about places in Thailand, Australia and most of Europe.
If you’re going to work with other companies on a freelance basis, writing on their website and they are going to pay you, it’s important to put yourself into business mode. That means pitching, selling yourself, following up and proposing options and deals. There is no point waiting around for work these days, unless you’re big and experienced in the game; you have to find work first. Not all travel bloggers are able to think with a business head on. Can you?
Rejection Happens A Lot
Working in a industry that is getting more and more popular makes competition fierce. If you’re dealing with editors and content marketing managers their workload will be insane, so there may not be time to be nice. You’ll be ignored, or in some cases told where you went wrong. It’s happened to me before, as it has many writers. Rejection happens, if you can’t take it or you’re ego is too big, this may not be for you.
Like I’ve already touched on, the travel writing market or just travel industry is incredibly saturated. Everyone and anyone wants a taste of travel because it depicts happiness and freedom. I was talking to an editor of a prominent travel company, internationally recognised and he told me out right, 80% of the work out there is bad. It’s difficult to get into, but if you have the travel experiences, the will and the want, time will tell.
Can You Write?
You can effectively teach yourself to write, and a lot of travel writing is dependent on the experience and the substance of the story. We all have our own styles to write and tell a story, that’s what makes us unique. My style is my style, using my northern tone but in long sentences and at a fast pace. Does every company I’ve pitched before like it? No. Do I get enough work to be full time? Yes. You don’t have to be a Shakespearian writer to be a travel writer; a lot of is down to your experiences, your ideas, social media reach and approach. Writing in English helps, as there are more companies who write in English such as North America, UK and many parts of Australasia.
These adventure guides below were written by two of the leading travel bloggers today!