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?