Before I became a travel writer, I remember wistfully looking at the international departure screens at the airport wondering what it was like to fly to those places. At the time, I was working 40+ hours a week with limited vacation time. Between traveling to visit family and beach trips with my kids, there weren’t enough vacation days available for international travel. I didn’t even have a passport at the time. Boy has my life changed!
Now I’ve been to 30 countries across five continents. My adventures have been nothing short of amazing. Watching the Northern Lights paint the sky in the Swedish Lapland, cruising in a restored Viking boat in Norway, road-tripping through Germany, and hiking in the Swiss Alps represent just a few of my experiences.
Although I dreamed about becoming a travel writer for a long time, it took me several years before I actually started writing. Like any new venture, the hardest part is taking the first step. If you’re thinking about becoming a travel writer but haven’t taken that first step yet, what’s holding you back?
For me, there were three things that kept me from starting my travel-writing career sooner. Let me give you a little nudge by sharing some of my fears and the solutions I’ve discovered over the years.
How Would I Find Stories if I didn’t have Time to Travel?
With a full-time career that only provided two weeks of vacation time, I had no idea how I would find enough stories to write. The solution was starting local. Living in Palm Beach at the time, I started writing about day trips to nearby towns, parks, beaches, and resorts. I pitched my ideas to the editor of a local magazine and she not only published the articles, she gave me a monthly travel column that I still write today.
How Would I Find a Niche?
From the courses I took through Great Escape Publishing, I knew that finding a niche would help me when pitching editors. But, as a new writer, I had no idea what my niche should be. Yet, over time as I began to write, I saw trends emerging. Those trends and topics became my niche—and I now have more than one which is absolutely fine. By starting local, Florida became one of my niches. Even though I now live in New York, editors still approach me to write articles about Florida. Chocolate, road trips, multi-generational travel, and New York City round out my niche list. Interestingly enough, these five niches have something in common; they are all things I love. And that’s why they work. They define me.
How Would I Manage Rejection?
Rejection is inevitable. Not every query you send to an editor will be accepted, no matter how successful you become. Yes, it’s frustrating when you spend time researching a publication and crafting the perfect query only to get a “no thanks” as a response… or even worse, no response at all. The key to managing the sting that comes with rejection is to not take it personally. There are so many factors that go into what an editor will accept. When the answer is no, rewrite the query for another publication and move on. It’s a numbers game and eventually someone somewhere is going to want your story.
You’ll never be a successful travel writer if you don’t take that first step. So face your fears and get started today!