Do you want to be paid to travel and have adventures? Then perhaps you should become a travel writer. In this article we provide 5 adventure travel writing tips to help get you started.
How to become a travel writer
In the old days you either studied journalism to get into the industry, or did something adventurous enough to write a book about. But these days almost anyone can be an adventure travel writer.
Although anyone can do it, making a living from travel writing is much tougher. This article isn’t about making money from your writing – that is a topic in itself – but we’ll cover it briefly.
Ways to make money travel writing
You can make money as an adventure travel writer in four ways. The first is to be employed by a publication, its good work but hard to get. The main downside is it provides a lot less freedom to travel than the other options below.
Second is to work freelance publishing your work wherever will pay you for it. You can go on adventures and pitch the written article afterwards. But more established writers tend to pitch the idea before they book the trip.
Third is to set up your own travel website/blog etc. It can be on a topic that interests you and offers you the freedom to do what you want. But it is hard to make money from a website at first, so it can be quite a risk.
Fourth is the old fashioned plan of doing something out of the ordinary and writing a book about it. But there is the chance that no-one will publish it. And if you self-publish that no one will read it. This option involves the most risk.
Adventure travel writing tips
If you are keen to give it a go then follow these adventure travel writing tips:
Write, write again, write more and keep writing
It’s not that surprising but the best tip to get into the travel writing industry is to write. Practice makes perfect and writing is no different. So even if you are just writing for yourself at this stage do it all the time.
But I would suggest setting up a simple blog on WordPress or another blogging platform. Then write about trips you have been on and get it out there for people to read. You will improve while starting to build up a portfolio.
You can learn a lot by getting an adventure travel copywriting service to edit your work. They will correct mistakes and make improvements to the readability. It is not cheap, however you can quickly learn from your mistakes if a professional points them out to you.
Travel. And travel the right way
You won’t become a travel writer if you don’t actually travel. So get out there and explore the world. And write about everything you experience (see tip #1!).
All travel is good and will help, but not all travel is equal. If you are going on a package holiday to the Costa Del Sol you are going to experience less to write about than independently travelling around South America.
So choose the type of travel that reflects the adventures you want to write about. And you don’t have to travel to exotic places. If, like me, you are based in the UK there is a lot to explore on your doorstep. And the same applies in every country.
And the most important adventure travel writing tip is to get adventuring. Without experiencing interesting, challenging and sometimes dangerous situations you won’t have anything adventurous to write about.
If you are into any action sports go on holiday to do them. I got into adventure travel writing by writing about snowboarding. You can read my first snowboarding holiday article here, it was not very good!
The activities you do can be the driving force behind a career as an adventure travel writer. And you don’t have to be an expert, there are plenty of articles by beginners documenting their progression as they learn something new.
Take good photos
A photo says 1000 words – this is as true now as ever before. Adding the right photos to your article makes a huge difference.
The good news is you don’t need an expensive camera, in fact most top end mobile phones are fine for online images. I take nearly all of my photos on a Samsung S8 which is waterproof and takes stunning pics. OK I can take better photos on my DSLR but its big, bulky and inconvenient.
For adventure travel writing you need photos of people doing activities. Yes a nice view, hotel room and food picture never goes amiss but what you really need are people doing what you are writing about.
Take a look at the images in this article about a Pyrenees adventure holiday. There are some nice photos in there but also some quite average ones. However, the average ones help to tell the story and help the reader appreciate the activities we tried.
There is no point illustrating an article about mountain biking without photos of someone actually riding. A pic of a bike on the top of a mountain, or of the trails are OK, but what a mountain biker wants to see is someone doing the sport.
The first of my adventure travel writing tips was to get writing, the last is to actually publish it. Because you are not a travel writer until your work is published.
Many people feel self-conscious about their writing and are almost afraid to share it. You need to get over this. The good news is that in today’s digital age you don’t need to write perfect articles you’d find in a paper or mag.
As mentioned above, setting up your own blog is a great way to start. You can just throw content out there without the need to meet other publications guidelines. If it reads well, is entertaining and/or informative plus it’s not littered with errors then get it out there.
Once you have some experience under your belt contact other websites to ask about writing for them. Most – ourselves included – are happy to accept high quality guest posts. Also most will provide feedback to help you improve.
It’s unlikely you will get paid in the early days. But the more content you get out there the bigger profile you will build and the more chance you’ll have of landing paid freelance gigs.
Become an adventure travel writer
There are plenty of travel writing courses out there, university degrees and systems to help you get a head start in the industry. However, to improve your writing by far the best thing to do is to write and learn as you go.
So book an adventurous trip, do lots of activities and then write about it. And don’t be afraid to publish your articles, everybody has to start somewhere and the more you publish the quicker you will improve and build a profile.
Take a look at these adventure holiday discounts as you could save a fortune on your next trip.