One experienced travel writer found 14 different ways to write a travel article. Try them!
This type of article is usually written in the first-person. However, editors tend to reject personal experience pieces from novice writers because they have a tendency to be boring. Readers are only interested in what happened to you if it might affect them. Write your personal experience article for a specific readership. For example, popular personal experience stories are written about women travelling alone or parents travelling with children.
Advice can be presented in the first-person but is usually written in the third-person. There are multiple themes: How to get the most from your travel dollar; 20 tips for a hassle-free holiday; Doing business in Tokyo; Where to find relaxing oases in a big city.Advice can deal with food, weather, accommodation, sightseeing and much more. Travel advice can be general. Eg: How to pack for your trip; find best value accommodation; budget; stay healthy; look after your digital camera gear.Travel advice can also be directed at a more specific readership. Eg: The best boat ramps on the Coromandel coast; Taupo’s best lunch spots with a view; Health hints for aged travellers.
Humour is hard to write and hard to sell. If you want to write and sell travel humour it must be good. Humour is subjective..Will your story be REALLY amusing to readers who weren’t there?Travel humour often stems from mix-ups, unforeseen difficulties, and the other tribulations associated with travel. These are usually not so funny at the time, but often humorous in retrospect.
This is written for an audience who has an interest in a particular type of travel destination or travel activity. For example, golfers, hitchhikers or cathedral-addicts.
These articles focus on the way you get there: the transportation.You might describe a honeymoon cruise for retired couples or swinging singles. More extreme examples, a whitewater rafting expedition, a journey on horseback or elephant; a hot-air balloon ride.
Think what your reader might be doing at a travel destination. For example, eating is always a popular pursuit. The what feature might describe a guide to Nelson’s seafood restaurants.This style of feature provides information in a specific area. Eg: what you can buy/do/see. You might include detailed destination information on shopping, sporting activities, cultural or religious festivals.
The possibilities are almost endless. For example, A roundup of NZ ski resorts; A guide to Henderson Valley vineyards; Cheap Australian hostels.Roundup features can also provide specifics. For example, A guide to flea-markets; vacations within 100 kilometres of Dunedin. Celebrity opinions are good. For example, My Dream Holiday (a roundup of a dozen celebrity opinions); Travel Reading(a roundup of celebrity thoughts on travel reading material); The Most Important Travel Accessory (a roundup of celebrity ideas on the most important accessory to take on a trip. Readers are always interested in celebrity opinions.Roundup features also appeal to readers if there is advice about saving money. Eg: 7-day vacations under $1000; travel bargains; A guide to Taupo’s best little motels.
The Historical Piece:
Stated simply, this is the history of the country or the region. It could even be the history of a hotel. For example, Ned Kelly once slept here.The historical piece can certainly explore contemporary aspects of the travel destination but its main focus and emphasis is the history.
The Here and Now:
These features rely on something happening at the destination right now. This should be something which has already caught the attention of editors and readers alike.For example, a Haiti feature would become particularly relevant when ex-president Jimmy Carter emerged triumphant with a peace plan in place. Eg: In Haiti today, peace has broken out. As former president Jimmy Carter left the…Your article could then describe the charms or otherwise of a Haitian holiday. Your feature becomes especially relevant because you’ve used the “Here and Now” approach.These features are sometimes the easiest of all to write. You can often make a basic story topically relevant by adding a paragraph of current news to start your story.
The Colour Piece:
A colour piece takes your reader on the journey You need to create an atmosphere that helps the reader to think he or she is right there, sniffing the smells, feeling the sand between their toes, hearing the sounds.These articles can be written for the armchair traveller as well as the person who might be contemplating the same journey as you. These articles are not the easiest to write. You have to “evoke” the emotion of the journey/destination. Read how others write this way before you try.
Explore a specific angle or small segment of a larger travel subject.Eg: Birds Of Cape Kidnappers. Hawkes Bay is the actual tourist destination but you discover more than 50 species of birds there. This is your narrow focus.Another
This is the travel article where you tell it all. You’ll include some history and discuss the economy, the people, the culture, climate, accommodation, geography, shopping and sightseeing. The definitive destination piece also attempts to capture “meaning” in a place.It is difficult to sell. This article must be tightly structured and jampacked with information. The length will mean rejection from many editors. And if you miss something, readers will write in: “Why didn’t you include the XYZ?”.
What are local people doing?Eg: Former Fortex worker now champion bone carver.Human interest stories often explore overcoming adversity. Eg: the experiences of a single-handed sailor. More than any other articles, human interest stories are assisted by good photos.
You can write about any aspect of travel, including unusual sights. Eg: articles on overcoming jet lag, handy travel accessories or choosing a compatible travel companion. You might also write about confusing signs.