It's a lot of peoples' dream: travelling the world and getting paid to do so. But because it's a lot of peoples' dream, it's often considered a difficult lifestyle to crack.
Sure, it might take some time before you're writing for the big guns like National Geographic and Lonely Planet, but there are hundreds of different paths to take if you're set on travel writing your way around the world.
A few of them take time to nurture the craft of writing and hone a variety of different skills but, if you can easily thread a sentence together, you should be ready to crack on in no time at all.
So, how can you write your way around the world?
1. Tap into local media
Almost every single destination in the world will have its own newspapers and magazines, online and offline. Plus, there will usually be one or two that need English speaking writers.
Before you head somewhere, research a selection of media outlets before you go and get in contact with the editors - put your name on their radar. Politely let them know that you'll be in the area for so-and-so dates and you'd like to put a piece together for them. It's best to stick to smaller publications to start with until you've built up an impressive looking portfolio.
Once there, seek out unusual stories and interesting anecdotes. You can always write up a selection of things to do in the city, but make sure there's an interesting spin on it - there are far too many 'top 10 things to do in...' articles already out there.
When you have a couple of ideas in mind, pitch two or three of your best article ideas to the editor. Some will take the bait, some won't. If you're unsuccessful, move onto the next one - quickly.
2. Blog with the best of them
Blogging has taken off so much in the last few years and it's easy to see why. It's a quick and easy entrance into the world of travel writing and you don't need any qualifications to start. The downside of this is that there is a lot of, well, noise out there. You don't want to add to the noise.
Find a niche that fits your travelling style (are you an art lover visiting European cities? Are you a travelling family flash-packing their way through Asia?) and create regular content that fits into this niche. It takes time to build a good blog that can earn you money, but if you have a look around the web you'll find some great examples of travellers that are doing it just right.
'How do you earn money from a blog?' you ask. Well, there are a number of ways.
Once you've established a good following by networking and creating great content, you can reach out to travel brands for them to advertise on your blog, enter into sponsorships, or simply use your blog as a springboard for getting writing work elsewhere.
3. Travel copywriting
Think of how many established and emerging travel brands there are out there, from international tour operators to smaller, localised guides and hotels. All of these will likely have websites, which means that they all need content in one form or another.
Set yourself up a simple website highlighting your skills and services and join a few freelancing sites and start pitching. It helps if you've had some writing experience in the past, but a lot look out for people who are living the travelling lifestyle.
Copywriting covers everything from crafting website homepages, destination guides, itineraries, and much, much more. Think of all the possibilities!
4. Get your guide on
What's the first thing you do before you travel somewhere? If it's researching things to do and places to stay then you are not alone. Millions of people search the internet daily for travel advice and sightseeing guides to various destinations and, with your travelling knowledge of places, you can offer them a solution.
I'm not suggesting you write full-on, Lonely Planet-style guides to every city and town you visit, but think of something specific and go from there. For example, if you're an art lover travelling around European cities, create easy-to-digest art guides to those cities and sell them online.
This method isn't easy to begin with, and it certainly helps if you've tried your hand at some of the above examples, too, but once you've got a collection of subject-specific guides under your belt you'll be able to reap the benefits.
5. Tackle the tourism boards
This is similar to the first point but, instead of local magazines and newspapers, it focuses on the tourism boards and DMOs (Destination Marketing Organisations) of the places you visit. For example, if you're heading to Florence, get in touch with the city's tourism board and let them know when you'll be there and what you plan on doing.
Many DMO and tourism sites are always looking for great content about their beloved destinations, so show them you can write and have a good idea and you'll have one foot in the door in no time. Again, it's easier to start small here. You might want to consider tackling smaller towns before going for the big guns like the Berlin tourism board or something similar.
These are just a few ways you can travel write your way around the world. There are, of course, hundreds - maybe even thousands - of ways people are weaving words whilst they gallivant around the globe so you just need to find something that works for you.
If you're looking for ways to hone your travel writing skills, check out my free downloadable guide to becoming a travelling storyteller.
Now tell me, do you want to write your way around the world? Or are you already doing it?