If you are interested in travel writing, there are a few tricks of the trade you need to know, to make a good story a great one.
Anchor Your Story
Have a point. You need to ask what you are writing about and why. What do you want the reader to know? Some trips will have a physical goal like walking from one end of England to the other, but most trips don’t. Travel is often about exploring a place and its history. Creating a personal goal is a good way to focus your story so the reader knows where you are going and why.
Make It Personal
Travel is an emotional experience. Most travel writers tell their stories from their own perspective because it gives the reader a more personal account. Travel writing works best when it is written in the first person, where you can weave together your own personal observations and facts. Writing your story in the present tense makes a lot of sense for travel writing- it is not a hard rule, but it can be an advantage as it places the reader in that moment.
Take People With You
Write about the things that people can do, where they can stay, and where they can go. Places to eat and drink. Be descriptive and use the senses to describe your experience- what did you see, hear, feel, and smell? Using sensory words creates an experience for the reader, and allows them to go on the journey with you.
A travel writer needs several tools- a notebook, a camera, and a voice recorder. A phone is useful because you can take pictures and use it to record interviews and sounds. Make a note of sights seen, the accommodation you stayed in, interesting places, and your impressions. It is also important to capture memorable incidents, particularly those involving people. Document everything whilst you are there, as you can forget things if you leave it too long.
Forget The Travel Brochure
Don’t use travel brochure language. In particular, avoid cliches and stereotypes, and watch for overused words like ‘Gem’, or ‘City of Contrasts.’ Be reflective of reality, and be honest. A good travel story will balance personal stories with useful information and facts. Try to use language specific to what you are describing, this allows the reader to create their own picture of the place.
Start In The Right Place
There are several ways you start a travel piece, but a good rule of thumb is to start in the middle of the action. This can be done through a strong personal impression or an anecdote,. Or it could be with an awkward or intriguing moment. Choose where you want to start, and make sure it surprises the reader. If you are unsure where to begin, quoting someone can be a good way to start. Most travel stories begin in the middle of the action, and backtrack to explain the situation. Don’t start with what happened first unless it is really interesting.