Now, I’m not for one moment suggesting that I know everything there is to know about travel writing, and everyone has different taste when it comes to reading travel reviews, of course. But I have been travel writing professionally for over 15 years, I’ve been a travel editor for numerous publications, and I’m currently the Editor of a glossy travel magazine. I’ve also contributed a lot of freelance travel features. Basically, travel pays my mortgage. And I think the principles of good travel writing are the same, no matter what the style is.
So here are my top travel writing tips – and I’d love it if you would add your own:
1. No one is interested in HOW you got there, unless it’s particularly fascinating. Leave out the early start and the long car journey, the torturous transfer, and unless there’s a particularly funny incident or a mishap at security (for example, my bra underwire ALWAYS sets off the alarms, without fail, and I was once put inside the glass box at Orlando for closer inspection, no kidding) then leave out the airport bit too. Cut to the chase.
2. Give them the full five senses and really take your reader to the place. I like to use intros that pull you straight in – like this feature on Vietnam and Singapore and this one on Chicago. Conjure up the smells, the sounds, the sights, the tastes. Bring the place alive, transport your readers there through your writing.
3. If you’re giving a negative review, be fair. Don’t whinge because you didn’t get an upgrade (I have actually seen copy like this); or because you missed a flight because you got to the airport too late *looks at no one in particular*. Or because the sky was too blue. Put yourself in the mindset of your readers, consider their circumstances. Be honest, be truthful, but don’t just bitch for the sake of it. As an example, here’s a post I wrote about my experience of the No. 1 Traveller Lounge.
4. Writing something packed with lots of tips? Doesn’t mean it has to be dry. Anecdotes and humour are always welcome – here’s an example of a piece I wrote about visiting Disneyland Paris.
5. Take lot of photos and if you’re blogging, videos. I’m a bit of a late adopter to the vlogging craze but now I’ve started I love it. Room videos are very popular on You Tube – now I make them as soon as I’ve put my key in the lock (ie, before I’ve unpacked and made everything messy). Here’s one I made earlier (on board Liberty of the Seas).
Finally, I’d just add, if you’re spelling a place name, for goodness’ sake check you have the correct spelling.
So those are my top travel writing tips – what would you add?
*The Mum Blog has been shortlisted in the ‘travel’ category in the Brilliance in Blogging Awards. You can vote for me – if you want to, no pressure, obvs *cough* – here.