I don’t know about you but when I flip through a magazine like Travel and Leisure or Conde Nast Traveler, I usually skip right over the ads.
I go straight to the articles. And when I read one that I really like about a place, I add that destination to my travel wish list. And I’m not alone.
In a travel survey I sent out earlier this year, 51.5% of the 700 people who responded said they pick their vacation destinations after reading an article about it and then deciding to go.
This is in comparison to only 30% who said they pick their vacation destinations based on a friend’s or relative’s recommendation. And 28% who said they pick one after seeing something on TV about that place. (Note: The percentages add up to over 100% because respondents could choose more than one answer.)
This is a good reminder about why the world needs travel writers. And why hotels, resorts, and restaurants roll out the red carpet for an opportunity to be mentioned in a travel story.
If you like to travel and you’re intrigued by the prospect of doing it in style, then travel writing is for you.
Plus, it’s easier to get started — and get established — than most people think.
It doesn’t take years of journalism school, an English degree, or even a background in writing. All you need is an opinion, a willingness to tell others about the things you see and do, and a sense of adventure.
You don’t even have to take a course from us to get started. You can start this week or this weekend.
Pick a place… any place… close to where you are now and go check it out. Walk in and put your travel writing hat on.
If it’s a restaurant, take note of who the clientele is, what they serve, what you smell, what you like to order (and why), and what their prices are in comparison to other restaurants in the area.
Take a picture of the menu with your phone so you can refer back to it later. And notice the ambiance and the scene around you.
One of my favorite tips from travel writer and editor Jennifer Stevens is to walk into a place and think like a spy. From corner to corner, state quietly to yourself everything you see.
Note even the smallest thing — it may be the one little nugget that pushes the reader of your published piece to come and check the place out for himself.