The most exquisite resort on the planet won’t thrill a single tourist if no one knows it exists. That’s why travel writers will always be in demand. If you want to try your hand at travel writing, your imagination is one of your best resources. Here are some ways to use it in your travel and tourism articles:
Imagine the curious tourist
Your client won’t normally say much about their target demographic. It’s up to you to imagine the typical tourist who’s interested in a trip to London, a cruise, or a wine tour. Close your eyes and picture in your mind the family, couple, or single person to whom you want to direct your content and your call to action.
All sorts of people travel, so don’t be too specific when you hone in on the type of person you’re targeting, but do be sure your information is relevant to the intended audience. If you’re writing for family destinations, cover the things parents want to know, including kid-friendly activities, the availability of cribs, and whether or not a resort has on-site daycare. Single people want to know about the clubs and the nightlife in a city, while older couples want to know about accessibility and cost.
Use the internet to imagine you’re in the keyword
You may think it’s difficult to write about places you’ve never visited, but modern technology makes it easy to “travel” almost anywhere. When I’m directed to write descriptive paragraphs about a place I know nothing about, the first thing I do is find videos of the destination. A video, like a selfie, tells a thousand words and helps me see the place I’m writing about so I can give an accurate impression.
Google Street View is another excellent tool to get an idea of the overall spirit of a place. Take a short drive around the keyword area. Jot down your observations using descriptive words. Is the place full of trees or stately urban architecture? Are there a lot of cafes and bistros in the area? It’s so much easier to describe a place accurately when you’ve put yourself in the keyword location.
Let your imagination guide you to resources
Visualize all of the places where you might find additional information when you’re stumped for fresh original content. Some of these include:
- Blog posts from ex-pats and tourists
- Subreddits on various cities and nations
- Local tourism boards
- Local news sources from the keyword city or country
- Online maps
Hotel booking site reviews are a prime source for details about destinations. Travelers who have actually stayed in the keyword cities give their impressions and experiences. They’ll often include tidbits of information about local activities you might not have discovered. Just be careful to find recently updated reviews and verify any information you use.
Leave your imagination out of it when necessary
Some travel-related clients already have in mind exactly the content they want covered. I recently sold an article to a client who wanted nothing to do with my imagination. They broke down the article they wanted me to write into subheadings and provided the information they wanted highlighted.
In the past, I’ve embellished these pieces a bit to make them more interesting, only to get a revision request asking me to take out the unsolicited information. Now I know better.
These articles—which I call “pre-programmed travel pieces”—may be boring, but they are super easy to write because all of the info is provided for you. Stick to what the client asks for and you’ll avoid unnecessary rewrites.
Don’t imagine the worst unless you should
There’s a caveat when using tourists’ or locals’ complaints or negative reports. Take some of the reviews and posts with a grain of salt, since there are cases where people have agendas or simply personal issues. If the naked truth is expected in your content, confirm stories about local health concerns or hideous service before reporting them.
While we’re on the subject of negative details, do provide safety information in your piece if the client wants this included. In a series I did on European cities, the client expected tips on pickpockets and other tourism-related crimes. Other clients don’t want to post anything negative. Follow their guidelines rather than your own imagination when it comes to including the not-so-nice parts of keyword locations.
Whether you travel yourself or you only wish you could, travel writing is an enjoyable way to learn about the world and make a little money at the same time. Just remember to use your imagination, unless you’re one of those lucky folks who gets paid to globe trot. If you are, then “write what you know” is all the advice you need.
This article was written by one of our writers. The author’s views are entirely their own and may not reflect the views of WritersDomain.