There are tons of websites where people can post photos and comments about their latest trip, for the intended audience of family and friends, and plenty of people who write reviews of destinations for sites like TripAdvisor or Yahoo Travel, and even quite a large number of people who blog about travel as a part-time endeavor. In almost all of these cases, these are “hobbyist” travel writers. Some may dream about becoming a professional (ie. paid) Travel Writer or Photojournalist, but few take the plunge to chase that dream.
Travel writing can be a great business — but it takes a great deal of work and perseverance to turn a hobby into a travel writing career.
If you’re thinking of pursuing a career in this industry, ask yourself the following questions:
- Why do I write about travel?
- Would I be satisfied if I kept writing just as a hobby?
- Do I want to take my writing to the next level?
- Am I willing to write for free if it’s necessary to get started?
If you’re ready to go to the next level as a freelance travel writer, then it’s time to put your “business cap” on and start thinking like a solopreneur!
Tips and Tricks
- If you don’t already have one, start a blog — this way you’ll be able to show off your writing.
- Make sure your blog presents a professional image, features your writing (NOT your personal diary), and includes a professional photograph of you and a biography;
- Choose a niche if you want to stand out from the many other travel writers and bloggers out there;
- Every article should be accompanied by relevant photographs;
- Make sure that your writing is the BEST it can be — if you need help, consider investing in a tool like WhiteSmoke;
- Research freelance writing rates, and bid on jobs posted on Online Job Sites;
- Send out inquiries to editors — at least 2 per month — include pictures!
- Make use of Article Marketing sites to get your (credited) writing out there;
- Join organizations for writers, like the IFWTWA, to find writing opportunities;
The biggest complaint from new writers is that they believe that they’re not getting paid what they’re worth. There are a great deal of freelance writers all competing for a limited amount of writing assignments, so it takes dedication, hard work, and persistance to build a successful career. That can — and sometimes does — mean that you may write for free, but our advice is to only write for free if it is for an online or offline publication that has a significant number of readers, ensures author credit (a byline) and links to your site, and offers the potential for paying assignments down the road (but not too far down!).
The bottom line is that you can be a successful travel writer. The choice is yours. But, you must change your mind set about it. Of course, you want to enjoy your travels and have the best experiences, but if you’re serious about becoming a professional travel writer you must ACT like it, otherwise people will not take you seriously. Have confidence in yourself and your writing. People can sense when a person is confident or not. Don’t be afraid to get aggressive in pursuing writing assignments. You never know what will be around the corner!
Do you treat your travel writing like a business or a hobby? Where do you want to take it?