Tips of the Trade: Travel Journalism

Press Gazette talks to leading travel writers about getting a one-way ticket to the top in travel journalism

Lyn Hughes, editor of Wanderlust magazine

Travel journalism is seen as very glamorous, so we get swamped with applications, but like any magazine the day-to-day work tends to be more prosaic – editing and fact checking. People wanting to be travel journalists must have good research skills, accuracy and thoroughness, as well as an understanding of what motivates the reader – people plan and book their dream trips as a result of what they have read in our magazine and we need to always be conscious of that. I would say to anyone wanting to be a travel journalist – know the market and make sure you have an angle, it’s not enough to say: “I’m off to Peru for two weeks and thought I could do you a piece.”

Tom Chesshyre, travel news editor, Saturday Times

A good travel writer is someone who is a colourful writer, someone who can engage the reader. You’ve also got to be able to talk to all kinds of people. I would say to anyone who wants to be a travel journalist, take lots of notes when you go away. Lots of people have great trips in their minds, but when they sit down to write about it, they realise that they can’t because they haven’t got any detail. Travel journalism is just like all other journalism, it’s not for amateur writers. It’s very difficult to get into, but if you really want to, I would suggest sending stories in on spec to various publications and make sure you’ve got a hook, something to grab their attention – like you would if you submitted a feature idea.

Katie Reich, Travel writer, ABTA Travel magazine

A good travel writer is someone who has actually been to the places they write about. It’s important to know your audience as well – what you’re writing has got to be relevant to them. A travel writer needs to be versatile. You’ve got to show real interest – want to do it for more than the perks. You must also know your publications – if you’re going for an interview or pitching an idea, you’ve got to know the readership because there are loads of different publications.

Gary Broadhurst, series producer, BBC Holiday Programme

A good travel writer is someone who can grab the imagination of the reader. They’ve got to have a passion for travel which you can feel. People who want to be travel journalists, whether it be for broadcast or print, must demonstrate their enthusiasm for travel and take every opportunity they can to see new places and absorb. It’s good to keep a journal wherever you go. You can submit ideas to travel programmes or editors via a show reel or article, that’s the best way of getting in.

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