I’m a firm believer that one of the best ways to get into travel writing—or any writing, for that matter—is to find your niche.
Take something you love, something you know, or something you’re good at, and make it your niche.
My niche is India.
I spent a few months in my early 20s backpacking around the country, fell in love with the place, and promised myself I would be back for more. I landed a job in New Delhi a year later and ended up calling the country home for another five years.
While I was there, I immersed myself in the culture as much as I could, asking questions about everything, keeping up with the news and pop culture events, and even learning a fair bit of Hindi in the process.
This intimate knowledge helped land me multiple India guidebook-writing gigs, and these days I have editors approach me when they need articles on Indian destinations.
Now a lot of people get started with travel writing later in life, and may not have the opportunity to go live abroad for years.
But if you’ve lived in your current town or city for a while, or have had a career (or careers) in other fields besides travel writing, you’ve already got plenty of potential niches to choose from.
If you’ve lived in the same place for any stretch of time, you probably know that place pretty well. Your hometown could be your travel writing niche.
Perhaps you keep up to date on local events, or maybe you’re the person your friends call when they need a restaurant recommendation.
Remember: you don’t have to travel to be a travel writer, and your hometown is as good a place as any to start.
Another place to look for potential niches is in your former or current profession. A paramedic might want to write about medical tourism, while a former chef is a perfect fit to be a food writer. If you’ve had a career in marketing, you may want to consider copywriting for tourist boards who are eager to bring in new clients.
And don’t forget to consider your interests and hobbies. Are you a fan of European art? Consider writing pieces on museums or peg stories on your favorite Old Masters. Love getting outside? Regional magazines are always looking for stories on hiking and other outdoor recreational activities.
Most importantly, no matter what niche you choose to pursue, make sure that it’s one that you love. When you write about your passions, your enthusiasm will shine through, and this will make your stories more fun to read—and a lot more fun to write!
Next step: How to write a killer query letter…