Do You Write Tourist, Traveler or Adventure Stories?

It’s helpful to know what travel mode your stories fit into because it determines what types of magazines you’re going to pitch.

Versatile travel writers flip back and forth between tourist, traveler, and adventurer modes, if they want to sell their stories to a variety of magazines.

Tourist Writers

For travel writers, sometimes operating in tourist mode is necessary. If you’re exhausted and jet-lagged and just want to lounge around an upscale resort all day, or spend the day taking a hop-on-hop-off bus tour, you’re a “tourist writer”. 

Tourist writers are content to relax in spas, or sit back on guided tours and take in the sights. I’ve written many of these go-with-the-flow tourist travel stories gleaned from luxury resorts, lodges, and spas, or guided tours, and they’ve sold well. Typical tourist stories are roundup articles or have Top Ten themes, and they’re often published on travel blogs and luxury travel websites.

To get published in — and paid by — a variety of publications, it’s important to master all three modes.


If you’re fit and love exploring and immersing yourself in the local food and culture, then you’re more of a “traveler writer”. Travelers seek out new experiences at every opportunity. These articles go beyond describing the tourist attractions at a given destination.

I’ve written plenty of articles from these perspectives and they’ve also sold well. These travel stories are published in print regional and national travel and lifestyle magazines and top shelf glossies and in-flights.


And then there are the “adventure writers”. They’re the “Indiana Jones” types that seek out rough, rugged and inhospitable places and undergo all sorts of hardships to get there.

I have plenty of adventure-travel friends, including an Australian couple I met in Singapore. They’ve been kidnapped by rebels at gunpoint and witnessed an authentic witch doctor’s ritual. They’ve slept in the no-man’s land between the borders of two third world countries on the median strip of a road. They’ve endured long days of kayaking up rivers in blazing heat and hiked through all sorts of forbidding terrain including steamy jungles fending off slithering snakes—and enjoyed every minute of it.

At the extreme edge of travel writing, they think, “Who needs air conditioning and luxury spas? I’d rather sleep on the bamboo floor of a Borneo longhouse or in a stretcher hanging over the side of the Eiger in sub-zero temperatures.” Adventurer’s stories make exciting reading. You’ll find their stories in magazines like Outside, Men’s Adventure, Alpinist, Backcountry, Outdoor Life, Maxim, Go, Backpacker and other similar publications.

The fact is, if we want to see our stories published in a variety of magazines, and get paid for them, we must swing back and forth between these three modes. 

Here’s how and why you should become proficient in writing in many types of travel topics.


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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