Every vocation has its pros and cons. And this certainly applies to travel writing.
However, the pros for successful travel writers far outweigh any disadvantages. I had some fun writing down the shortcomings of travel writing and then dreaming up the benefits.
Here’s my take on the plusses and drawbacks of travel writing:
The Cons of Being a Travel Writer
- Forget about financial stability: You’ll find it difficult to make enough money to pay the bills when you’re starting out. No steady paychecks here.
- No medical benefits, health insurance, 401K, etc.
- You must be really good at marketing to continually sell your work.
- Apart from press trips and the occasional conference or workshop, you’re working alone.
- Some of your friends will be jealous of your successes and never-ending travel schedule
- People do not understand what you do. They’ll think you’re a goof off or some kind of nomadic hippie. One of my friends asked me to coach his daughter’s rowing team because he thought travel writing is like being retired.
- You’ll send out plenty of query letters and will only hear back from a few of the editors.
- Most editors don’t provide feedback on your writing, so it’s hard to know if your travel writing is up to snuff.
- When you’re successful, aspiring travel writers will ask you for free advice—tons of it!
The Pros of Being a Travel Writer
- Freedom! You control your own work hours. You can work when you want to. (The reality is that you’ll probably work longer hours than when you were an employee.)
- You are location independent: You can work from home or wherever you like. You can actually be one of those digital nomads.
- You can take vacations when you want to, and where you want to, for free.
- No boss! (except yourself)
- No commute
- A wide variety of daily work tasks
- Work that continually challenges and interests you.
- You’re doing something you love and will be highly motivated
- If you’re a creative, you’ll love freelancing
- You’ll always be traveling with a purpose. (But, it can be hard to relax completely when you’re traveling.)
- Seeing your stories in print & receiving the paychecks is a double reward for each published story
- When you’re traveling, you’ll discover places and nooks and crannies that few other travelers ever discover, because you’re sharply attuned to looking for those unique little places.
- You know a lot more about your destinations and foreign cultures than most people.
- Your job satisfaction rating is super high. What could be better than traveling the world for free (or low cost) and getting paid for it?
I think this Con is actually a Pro ;-)
“Apart from press trips and the occasional conference or workshop, you’re working alone.”
I have some extroverted writers amongst my close friends, and they do struggle with this aspect….a few love to go hang out in coffee shops (or other free wifi locations) just to be around people as they write, but of course that’s not possible right now and may not be for a while. However, I’m an introvert, so I totally agree with you – I LOVE the peace and solitude of working alone!!