Good travel writing will entertain and inform the reader. Great travel writing puts the reader in the story, their toes in the sand, the cup of coffee at the sidewalk café in their hands. The reader can feel the adventure and yearn to join the author.
But how do you, the author, transport the reader to see the world through your eyes.
Writers and travel lovers from Essays Scholaradvisor listed 10 writing tips that will make you a better travel blogger.
“Read everything–trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it. Then write. If it is good, you’ll find out.” – William Faulkner
Pick up every travel book you can find. Read books about locations you want to visit and see whether the author dulls or enhances your dream. When you read you become a sponge, picking up techniques and words along the way. The words you read begin to shape the words you write.
Chances are you became a travel writer because you love to travel.
Every place you visit has a story to tell. Search out and explore, whether it’s a quaint neighboring town or on the other side of the ocean. Let the places inspire you. Journal while you are there, capture the smells and the sounds. Be still and let the world happen around you. Jot it down in the midst of experiencing it or at the earliest opportunity.
- Know the Destination
Depending on how you travel you may or may not know your destination. The same can be true of writing. Sometimes writing begins with no clear destination. For a first draft this is fine, but by the second draft you should have a clear image of where you are headed. What is the point you are trying to share with the reader?
“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” – Henry Miller
- Know Your Why
How did you arrive in this location? What was it that brought you to this particular place on the map? What is it about traveling that has captivated you and inspired you to share it with the reader?
Know why you write and why you travel. Capture that urgency and passion in your storytelling.
- Write What You Know
Share your experiences with the reader. Don’t elaborate with details of places you did not visit. Perhaps you viewed the Alamo sitting on the bench across the street because you were exhausted from the August Texas heat and the Riverwalk. Describe what you saw and how you felt, not what you had intended. Don’t rely on the accounts of others to fill in details, share your experiences.
- Be You
There is only one you. You have a sense of style and taste unlike anyone else. Your stories are unlike anyone else’s. Embrace who you are and share from your heart. The past that has brought you to this moment in time has uniquely shaped you, and only you, to tell this story. Don’t hold back.
- Fact Check
Memory can play tricks on us. We might think that the café across the street was where we had the perfect croissant when really it was the one just down the road. Keep detailed records and double check facts. Make sure you have spelled the names of places correctly and doubled checked prices, dates, and any other pertinent information to your story.
- Don’t Toss It
First drafts are rarely works of art. Terrible first efforts evolve into good writing with a great deal of effort. Don’t give up. Every first draft holds a structure, a story worth exploring, an idea that just needs reshaping.
- Read your work out loud
Good travel writing should flow. It should feel and sound like a conversation. Read your piece out loud, or have someone read it to you. How does it sound? How do the words feel in your mouth? Does the sound of the words resonate with the atmosphere of the place you are describing or do they contradict?
- Edit, edit, edit
Take each sentence, every word, and comb through it carefully. Seek out mistakes in grammar and spelling. Look for a new way to say an old cliché. Rework descriptions until the place comes to life on the page. Have a fellow writer look over your work when available.
Writing is a craft that can always improve. While it is important to edit do not allow yourself to become a perfectionist to the point that you never publish or submit. With careful attention and patience each piece you write will improve. Always continue to seek out mentors.