Guest Article by Lisa Truman
If you are planning a trip around the world for a gap year from college, or perhaps as a sabbatical from your regular career, then documenting your adventures is a good idea. Not only will it allow you to look back fondly on your trip in years to come, but it could also pay for the expedition.
But writing about your global trip won’t automatically mean you generate cash flow. For many who are new to writing professionally there are a number of things to think about. Fortunately, there are courses available which will help the uninitiated discover the techniques that help to monetize travel writing. After all, there are plenty of travel websites that are looking for inside knowledge of particular destinations that you could write for, so why not learn how to develop your skills for them? First hand experience of some regions of the globe can give a writer a competitive edge over regular blog sites which are sometimes poorly researched.
Nevertheless, the world trip writer is going to need more than a few jotted down notes while waiting for a flight to be a success. In order to make your travels work for a clued-up readership it is usually preferable to write whilst you are in the moment. But, what are the essentials you need to take with you on your travels?
Your Writing Kit
There’s nothing wrong with a notebook and a pencil, but for the writer who is serious about generating income from their travels you will need more. A laptop computer, or a tablet that you can write on, is likely to be an essential item. A good tip is to also take a camera that you can snap away on. Many sites that you might end up writing for will be more likely to offer you commissions if you have original images that can run alongside the copy – or text - that you produce. Access to the internet is going to be essential so you can send your writing to your editor or post it on your own travel blog. Of course, in many parts of the globe, especially those off the main tourist routes, power may be a problem. Ensure you have an international power adapter and a memory stick where you can save all of you images and copy. This will be invaluable if there is a power cut and could get you out of trouble if your expensive equipment is lost or stolen. Security mark any of your gear so that it can be traced to you should it go missing.
Public And Personal
Blogging about your trip, even if you have not yet found a customer who will pay for your writing, is a good idea. It gives potential web-editors a flavor of what you have to offer and can attract attention to you. Nowadays, many readers want opinions as well as facts so your blog should contain personal elements, but you can always keep a private journal as well as a public blog whilst overseas.
If you are providing copy for a web content copy production company, bear in mind that your writing may need to include specific things within the text. For instance, an article about the top things to do in Bangkok may specify that you mention travel insurance once or twice. Try to work these phrases in as naturally as possible and to keep the tone informative, yet conversational. Equally, avoid articles or blog entries that are devoid of personality. A dry list of facts about a place is never going to inspire the reader to continue to the end.
No one needs a writing qualification to make a good travel writer – anyone can do it. Nevertheless, there are some tips that journalists know which aspiring writers should be informed about. If you are writing for an American readership, check out the Associated Press style guide which helps with how to deal with numbers properly, for instance - a common problem for newbies. If you are writing for British readers, remember to say travelling or traveled rather than traveling or traveled. There are other similar style tips to know about if you have a UK based customer, but all of these are quite easy to research.
Once you have learned the basics of a journalistic writing style it is possible to break out and develop your own particular voice. When you return from your travels, use your newly found writer's voice to explore other avenues for your writing, whether that is blog entries, feature writing or, perhaps, something altogether more creative.
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