Writing travel articles can be a wonderful experience, particularly if you love to travel anyway. The problem is that many people make mistakes when writing travel articles that end up in rejection, so follow these dos and don’ts.
Over-Accentuate the Obvious. If you aren’t careful, you’ll wind up writing for pages about a glorious sunset or a beautiful mountaintop village, which will take away from your entire article. Instead, comment on one detail, then move quickly on to the next.
Write in First Person. While you might be writing your travel article through your own eyes, your reader doesn’t need to know it. Always write in the third person and avoid throwing in your own observations and opinions. Your readers want to experience this destination for themselves rather than have the experience tainted by your personal observations.
Overdo Personification. One of the tendencies you might have when writing travel articles is to use personification for every place and thing. The waves don’t need to roar; the wind shouldn’t sing; and the Mexican food shouldn’t ever kick.
Insult the Locals. Just because the locals at your destination behave differently than they do back home, you shouldn’t comment on that fact. It’s easy to be condescending even when you don’t mean it, so try to keep everything objective. Pretend as though you have always lived in the place you are writing about.
Use Reverse Bigotry. I can’t tell you how many articles I’ve read in travel magazines where the inconsiderate author referred to the locals (of non-Caucasian descent) as polite, hygienic, interesting, articulate and well-spoken. You can’t assume that people of a different culture will be less than human, somehow, and you’ll offend quite a few people if you do.
Talk Trash. Unless you are writing a travel article that focuses on places you shouldn’t go, it should only focus on the positive aspects of your destination. This doesn’t mean that you can’t have a negative thing to say, but you shouldn’t go on for five paragraphs about the clogged sewer system or the uncharacteristic heat wave. Generally, people write travel articles in order to convince people to visit that place.
Focus on Little-Known Attractions. When you are writing travel articles, try to pick out the sights and attractions that others have yet to write about. For example, if you discover a quaint little bistro with the best Italian food you’ve ever eaten, mention it! This gives your writing something fresh that your editor can promote.
Give Concrete Details. Travel articles are meant to give readers a full overview of the destination, so when you’re writing a travel article, give concrete details that allow your readers to smell, taste, hear and feel the things you are experiencing. For example, rather than saying that the hotel “smelled bad”, try to describe what it smelled like.
Write in Chronological Order. While this isn’t a concrete rule of writing travel articles, it does make your job easier. Write about your travel experience starting with the time at which your flight landed at the airport. You can heave use time and date subheads to allow your readers to follow along.