How To Become A Travel Writer
Career Video: Travel Writer
Do you want to travel? Do you like to write? If the answer to both these questions is yes, then you can combine both interests in a career as a travel writer. In this profession, you’ll get the chance to travel extensively to various destinations both locally and abroad. You’ll stay in various kinds of accommodations, visit historical sites and ride different kinds of transportation—with the intended purpose of producing unbiased reviews about them. In addition to these topics, you could also cover things like the culture of a particular place, their gastronomic delicacies, adventure destinations and festivals and celebrations. While each travel assignment is bound to be exciting, you are expected to conduct interviews, do research and get all the necessary information to be able to come up with a cohesive and well-written piece.
Most travel writers work freelance. Thus, part of the job involves pitching ideas to publications, both online and in print, in order to get an assignment. You may be awarded a contract to write a travel guide or be a contributor to magazines and other print publications. You may even secure work as a regular columnist to a newspaper or a travel-focused website.
As in any freelancing job, travel writers need to possess diligence and the ability to work independently. You should be self-organized and disciplined to meet your editor’s deadlines even while you are having fun exploring new places or participating in cool events. Building your credibility is crucial because this is how you establish yourself in this field and get work. As such, you should be objective in your writing and not be bribed in exchange for a favorable review. You should still remain a gracious guest of any hotel when you are sent on assignment. Like any writer, you should never own work that isn’t your own and properly attribute sources so that you don’t commit plagiarism.
Why Become A Travel Writer
Not everyone can work as a travel writer but for those who have the skills and aptitude for the job, this career is definitely very fulfilling. The chance to go on an all-expense paid travel assignment to different places on a regular basis is something that not everyone can do. Meanwhile, these are regular features of the job of travel writers. Another reason to pursue this career is the fact that it enables you to make a decent living while doing freelance work. Thus, you have control of your hours for as long as you are able to meet the deadlines set forth by your editors. Travel writers also meet new people, sample new food and experience different adventures on a regular basis.
Travel Writer Work Environment
Just like other freelance writers, travel writers can work anywhere for as long as they have their computers. If the job entails uploading content to a travel website, an Internet connection would be necessary. Unlike storybook authors or technical writers, travel writers are not confined to writing their work inside offices or their homes. Most of the time, they’ll be doing the story while in their hotel rooms or en route to another destination.
Since travel writers need to go from one place to another constantly riding all available forms of transportation, they need to be physically fit and healthy. They should not be prone to motion sickness as they will be using various land, sea and air vehicles to get to a particular destination. They should also be ready to face the dangers that may arise during their frequent travels.
Travel Writer Salary
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics does not gather salary data specifically for travel writers. However, it does have data for salaried writers and authors. In May 2013, the mean annual wage of writers and authors was $69,250. This may not be reflective of how much travel writers actually make because most of them work freelance. They are paid per assignment so those writers who are fast and can juggle multiple assignments with ease can earn good wages in this occupation. Take note, however, that freelance travel writers may be asked to pay for some of their own travel expenses so this can reduce whatever earnings they may have.
Travel Writer Career Outlook
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics does not gather the job outlook for travel writers specifically. However, slow growth is expected for writers in general. For the ten-year period covering 2012 to 2022, the employment rate of writers is expected to grow only 3 percent, a rate that is slower than the average for all job types. However, there will be demand from online publications so that those who have experience with online media will have a good chance of getting hired. Competition will still remain fierce, particularly in the print publishing segment because as a whole, employment in this industry is expected to slow. That being said, freelance travel writers do have more avenues of getting their work published because of the growing popularity of self-publishing and the fast acceptance of e-books.
Travel Writer Degree
For salaried travel writers, the entry point of the job is a bachelor’s degree in English, journalism or communications. This will prepare the aspiring writer technically for the job as flawless grammar and the ability to write well is a must to attain credibility and succeed in this profession. Bachelor’s degree holders are also preferred by prospective employers.
That being said, there are no strict educational requirements for travel writers working freelance. Those who have maintained their own blogs and produce good quality articles describing their personal travels even if they haven’t finished their degree yet may be contracted by potential employees to work for them.
Those who are intent on becoming travel writers can prepare as early as high school. In addition to paying attention to their English classes, they can also work in the school paper so that they can hone their skills as budding journalists. They can also read travel books and watch travel shows to get a feel for what this kind of career is like.