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Writing Travel Articles

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October 2010
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In this post, I provide some suggestions on how to write a travel article. The following will be discussed:

  • Purpose of writing the travel article
  • Suggestions for writing a good travel article
  • Voice, tone, structure
  • Writing style for the travel article
  • A few tips on writing travel articles

What is the Purpose of Writing a Travel Article?

Your main purpose is to share your travel experiences. But this is not the only purpose. Your purpose is also to write a travel article that entertains and informs your readers. As well, you want to be able to transport the reader to the destination you have visited. Your purpose might also be to convince your readers to take a trip to the destination you are writing about. Your purpose will, in part, depend on the type of travel article you are writing.

What Makes for a Good Travel Article?

It has a theme or main idea. Perhaps you are writing about a golf trip, kayaking trip, or bike trip. Your article needs a theme.

A good travel article has a lead and ending. The lead captures the attention of the reader and encourages him/her to read your article. The ending makes a main point. It leaves the reader with one final quote, fact, impression to think about.

Include impressions, experiences, and commentary that support the theme of your article.

A good travel article tells a story about the trip. he story needs to relate to the travel theme. It needs to be interesting.

A good travel article includes factual information about the history, culture, geography, cuisine, language, and so forth. But these facts must relate to the story and theme of your travel article. These facts also need to be original. Omit information that is widely known.

Use the technique of scene-building. A good scene includes vivid descriptions of the place. It includes dialogue. It also includes action. You can reveal action through the use of anecdotes or storytelling.

Use sensory language. Describe the smells, tastes, sounds, and sights.

Use a light tone. One way to do this is by using humour. You might include irony or humorous experience.

Show, don’t tell your reader what happened or what you experienced. You can show your reader by using dialogue, vivid descriptions of the setting, and by describing the action of the experience.

For good examples of how good travel stories are written, visit www.worldhum.com or www.traveler.nationalgeographic.com .

Telling Your Travel Story

Create a visual postcard of the place. Show the reader what happened, don’t tell them. Use sensory language and vivid descriptions. While you are doing this, narrate your story, mix commentary, provide facts and impressions. Your details will tell your readers what the place looks like, the culture and language, how people live, and the mood of the place. The elements you include in your story will depend on the type of travel article you are writing. The facts you include should relate to your story and support it.

Writing Voice

Don’t write using the first person “I.” You aren’t writing a first-person travelogue, which is a chronological report of what you did on the trip. You are writing a travel story using an authoritative voice. You are telling the story as a narrator, describing your experiences and providing your impressions. Therefore, you will write using the second-person “you” or the third-person “he/she.” Narrate your story as if you are talking to a friend.

While narrating the story, you can use the devices of concrete and specific language, imagery, vivid details, similes and metaphors. You can use sentence variety, action verbs, and the active voice. You can use the fiction technique of “showing, not telling” the reader what happened on the trip.

Tone

The tone of your article refers to the attitude you have about the people, destination, and your readers. You need to be respectful of the people you write about. You also need to write honestly about the destination. If you had a bad experience that would be important and relevant to your readers, you might want to write about it. Share what you liked or enjoyed and what you disliked.

Structure

A good travel article has a structure. It begins with a lead that grabs the reader’s attention and concludes with an ending that leaves the reader with an important point. In the body, you shares details about the experience or event that takes place on the trip. The structure also includes these elements:

  • Where-Vivid description of the place
  • When- Season in which the trip takes place
  • Who- the writer is introduced
  • Why-the reason for the trip
  • How- the writer reveals his mode of travel
  • What-the writer uses storytelling, anecdotes, facts, quotations to write the travel article.

Writing Style

There are several books available that show you the best writing style to use for writing a travel article, including:

  • On Writing Well by William Zinsser
  • The Elements of Style by Strunk and White
  • The Chicago Manual of Style.

Read these reference books and master the rules and guidelines. Then incorporate them into your writing.

A Few Tips on Writing Travel Articles

Here are a few suggestions that will help you get started writing travel articles:

  1. Take a course on travel writing.
  2. Read travel books and magazines and articles on travel writing, and then analyze how they are written.
  3. Write a lot. You will only become a good writer if you write each day.
  4. Don’t quit your day job. Very few writer’s support themselves on the earnings from their travel writing.
  5. Learn to write well. You won’t get published unless you know how to write. So, master the rules and guidelines of The Elements of Style by Strunk and White, The Chicago Manual of Style, and On Writing Well.
  6. Research your trip. Before you take the trip, learn about the history, culture, customs, language, religion, and so forth of the destination.
  7. Travel a lot. The best way to write about a destination is to immerse yourself in the culture and way of life. To do this, you need to visit the destination you are writing about.
  8. Research travel writing on the Web. A good place to start is www.worldhum.com .
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1 Comment

  1. Ruchika says:

    Hi Dave,

    Indeed a detailed yet Crisp article with interesting headings.
    I loved it & found it to be really informative.
    Thanks for writing this.

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