Saturday 21 March 2015

Bon Voyage: Writing a Travel Article is Part Craft, Part Art

"Writing a travel article is part craft, part art" says travel writer Martin Lee (  Such a piece is classified as a feature, but it uses some of the traditional elements of a news story.  Martin suggests that you include two-thirds to three quarters of colourful description along with one-third to one-quarter facts.  It should answer the following questions early in the story: where, when, who, why, what and how.  At the same time, you want to give the piece a light and lively tone.

Martin Lee recommends that you adopt a clear writing style without affectation.  The reader should get a strong sense of your personality.  Set the scene by detailing the season, climate and topography of your destination.  Share your personal experiences and anecdotes using vivid reporting.  Provide meaty, practical, accurate information.  Include quotes from the locals.  Edit your work for high literary quality:  your grammar and syntax should be correct.

Examine the travel article from a fresh viewpoint.  Move from the familiar to the unfamaliar or foreign as you write.  Incorporate humour in your piece.  Share your mishaps which could serve as potential comic material.  Surprise your reader with unusual activities that you partake in or new people you meet.  Think like a reader.  What are your reader's travel aspirations?  What is on his or her bucket list?

Don't forget the big picture:  focus on a central theme which you introduce at the beginning and remind the reader about again at the end.

Courtney Carpenter ( recommends the following tips for a beginner travel writer:

1.  seek out travel publications
2.  no one starts at the top; find your own level and work your way up
3.  start with local newspapers & magazines, regional travel magazines & small publications
4.  don't give your work away for free;  if no fee is forthcoming, ask for a free subscription, free advertising or free print services

For more information, read Travel Writing:  See the World, Sell the Story (Peat O'Neil).

How to write travel article

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