The 7 Critical Elements of Top Travel Stories


Books abound on what good travel writing should look like.

And if you read them, you’ll notice certain recurring themes.

Here are seven vital elements that top travel writers use in their stories. They don’t necessarily place ALL these elements in every piece of their work, but you’ll find most of them if you take the time to look.

Assuming that your writing already has excellent punctuation, grammar, spelling, and syntax – here’s what you need for a top travel story:

Critical Elements of Top Travel Stories

  1. An enticing lede – and a conclusion that ties it all together or brings you back to your lede.
    Many readers never get past the first paragraph because there’s nothing to hook them into the story. Your first few sentences are very important. If they start out like a travel advertorial, as so many do, your readers will yawn and go elsewhere.
  2. It’s written in active voice.
    Novice writers tend to overuse passive sentences. Passive sentences infiltrate our writing because it’s easy. But it’s lazy travel writing and it doesn’t invigorate the reader. Reduce your passive voice to a minimum. ??

    Active writing is vigorous and strong. Writing with an active voice gives your story more “oomph.” ?

  3. It creates a sense of place. It shows, rather than tells.
    It’s important to describe your destination for the reader. But many beginning writers shovel heaps of adjectives and adverbs into a story, believing that too many descriptive words are better than too few.

    Constantly examine your writing for overdone, flowery phrases that confuse and distract us from the story. When in doubt, leave out.

  4. It flows and is easy to read.
    To make your story readable, each paragraph should deliver you to the next one effortlessly, like riding a wave on a surfboard.

    That means you need to pay attention to transitions from one paragraph to another. Your transitions should be seamless. Each thought should flow into the next thought.

  5. It’s written in your own voice.
    How you tell a story will be different than how someone else tells the same story. Your perspective is unique. Your travel writing craft will develop with practice, and your voice will develop too. Let some of your personality leak into your stories.
  6. It’s interesting and informative.
    The best way to develop and sell your story ideas is through solid research.
    It’s through the research process that you’ll uncover juicy facts about your story idea and see whether it has enough “jam” to actually write an engaging and interesting story.
  7. It’s entertaining and/or exciting and uses humor when appropriate.
    Travel articles are read for enjoyment, and as a travel writer your job is to entertain. You want people to read your article and say, “That was a fun read!”

It’s easy to list these elements, but injecting them into your stories is far more difficult. Your travel writing should be considered a work in progress. Even the top writers work hard to craft their words and continue to improve their work.

Our Travel Writing Resource Page includes information about topics that focus on the most important aspects of your travel writing craft. How you can improve your writing and increase your productivity – and get those articles out to editors. This portal page has several great articles that will help you take your travel writing to a whole new level.


About Roy Stevenson 59 Articles
Freelance travel writer Roy Stevenson has had more than 1,000 articles published in 200+ regional, national, and international magazines, newspapers, trade journals, custom publications, specialty magazines, in-flights, on-boards, and online travel magazines. He's considered one of the most prolific travel writers in the U.S.A. His free weekly newsletter for aspiring travel writers is considered one of the most informative e-zines in the travel writing business. (Subscribe here: Roy has published seven eBooks on selling and marketing freelance travel articles. ( You can read Roy's full bio and see some samples of his work at his writer's website,

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