Travel writing must easily number as one of the most fascinating professions in the world. The job description includes: Why not indeed? Get paid to travel the world and live a life of leisure. What could be more glamorous?
Before you fall for it, remember that it is also glamorous to be a rock star, a best-selling novelist, or a starter for the Lakers. The big difference is that when you do get to that upper echelon of travel writers, you’re still not making nearly as much money as the lowest-paid bench warmer in the NBA.
Writing tales about one’s travels is not going to make you a travel writer. Like any position where supply far exceeds demand, you’ll need to follow the right steps and then pay your dues. It’s not going to happen overnight. So before you get too enamored by the idea of travel writing as a lucrative and insanely interesting , have a look at the common misconceptions associated with travel writing.
Myths of travel writing unraveled:
Some people make a living as a travel writer. They are a very small minority. Most who manage it are either writing guidebooks or working steadily for one of the top travel magazines. Neither option, however, is particularly lucrative or dependable.
Editors are hungry for travel stories from new writers. For every article slot in a magazine, there are hundreds of writers trying to fill it. It’s like an audition for a movie part or tryouts for a pro sports team. Editors are up to their ears in material and much of what crosses their desk from new writers isn’t worth printing.
A destination is a story: Don’t assume just going somewhere is a reason to write an article. Even remote corners of the globe are visited by more writers than we need. Finding a good storyline is absolutely necessary. Wherever you are going, you need to think like a journalist and dig for something an editor will find refreshing.
Readers want to hear every detail about your personal experiences: self centred narratives are the least bit desirable by readers. Stories are nearly always carefully edited for interest and the spotlight is seldom shining on the narrator.
All your expenses will be covered
Ads for travel writing courses and workshops love to talk about “all expenses paid,” but this is a rare event for most freelance travel writers. If you have an assignment letter in hand for your great idea from a reputable travel magazine, a big newspaper, or a well-known travel website, you can likely swing some freebies. If you write for some obscure magazine nobody has heard of or you write for a travel blog that’s not recognized as hugely successful or highly influential in a relevant niche, then you’ll be paying for your own room at that fancy beach resort, thank you very much.