After three years and nearly 200 published articles, I have learned a thing or two about freelance travel writing. One being the importance of an alternative perspective.
The travel writing market is flooded with straightforward destination pieces, so standing out is vital. But how can you make your articles stand out?
Wherever you are, make the most of the opportunities that come your way
If you are on the road, take an abundance of notes and photographs. You never know when those materials will come in handy. It may be that you will write an article right away or in six months’ time. If you’re in your hometown, consider local places of interest or events that you might want to write about either now or in the future. Some of my best articles have been inspired by my own backyard.
Think about seasonal subjects of interest. If you are in Mexico for the Day of the Dead festival, use the notes and photos you have for an article the following year.
Publications usually require submissions several months in advance. If there is a major event taking place, think about how you can incorporate it into a travel article.
For example, when Prince Harry and Meghan Markle married and received the titles, Duke and Duchess of Sussex, I had a Sussex travel guide published. Try and tie things together to make them work for you.
Find interesting people
Even if you have never thought that interviewing people is relevant to travel writing, it can add another dimension to articles. If you have the opportunity, talk to the locals, experts, adventurers, local celebrities, and anyone who can offer an insider’s perspective. Talking to people in the know adds a personal viewpoint, authority, and often some gems of wisdom.
Don’t stick to one format of writing
I mainly write guides, but if I have had an interesting travel experience myself, I use my personal perspective to produce a unique story that nobody else could have written. Your travel companions can also offer a different facet, too.
Sometimes even trips that go wrong can be a travel writer’s dream fodder! Adventurous, humorous or entertaining personal experiences often make good stories that sell well. Likewise, writing from the angle of a minority can be of interest to specific websites or magazines.
Open up your pitching options
If you are writing about biking around the temples of Myanmar, not only can you consider travel websites and magazines, but cycling publications, too. If you have been to any of the holy cities in India, send a pitch to a spiritual-based publication.
Seek subjects that are quirky, eccentric, and off the beaten track
Mainstream travel articles have been done time and time again. Editors are always on the lookout for something fresh and new.
I once wrote an article about being desperately lost in the labyrinth of alleyways while trying to find my guesthouse on the Ganges in Varanasi, India. I eventually found my way by following some mourners carrying a body. Another article was about a hair-raising 24-hour bus journey through the Himalayas when everything went wrong that possibly could.
By thinking beyond the ordinary and jumping on any opportunity that comes your way, you will be well on your way to travel-writing success.