Travel writing is something that has always appealed to me, as I\u2019m sure it has to billions of others. Being paid to just fly away and experience a new culture, city or population and sharing it with others through the written word is no doubt etched into the minds of many before they go to sleep at night.\r\n\r\nBut taking on the role of travel writer takes more than a love of travelling \u2013 it involves a lot of hard work and competition, and can, at times, be extremely frustrating. Behind the romanticised idea of the travel writer lie the same nuisances that regular travellers experience \u2013 such as language barriers, airline fees, lost passports or baggage, along with the added stress of meeting deadline, pitching editors or finding a story that will sell.\r\n\r\nThe career of a travel writer is often seen as unattainable - Writer's Edit reveals how you can get your foot in the door... Image Credit: Martinak15 via Flickr Creative Commons.\r\n\r\nMost travel writers operate on a freelance basis and very few enjoy the luxury of free travel and accommodation. Despite the setbacks, many would say they do it out of love and the instinctive curiosity to explore new cultures, places and people, and for the rewards gained at the end of it all. So how can you become the best travel writer you can be?\r\nWriting Style\r\nIt has been said that no genre is more prone to clich\u00e9, boring writing than travel journalism. Writers can fall into the trap of crafting their article like a brochure, using words such as \u2018sparkling lakes\u2019 and \u2018pristine beaches\u2019. Good travel writing is a blend of journalism and creative writing. Articles must include information and observations without sounding dull. Show, don\u2019t tell the reader about an experience \u2013 make sure they feel moved by your description. Recreate the moment so that the reader is in your shoes, visiting the places you did, meeting the people you met, and feeling the things you felt. Make them feel inspired\u00a0to fly away too.\r\n[Writers] assume the reader will be as interested in their travels as they are. Second, they stick too hard to chronology, without ever telling a story. All the worst stories are just a bland recounting of events. While travel writing should never be fictional, it should emulate the best techniques of fiction, such as character, action, plot, foreshadowing, dialogue and payoff. Character and dialogue are especially important, since they bring the story to life,' says author and journalist, Rolf Potter.\r\nDon\u2019t write like a fact-checker or in report style without any sense of engagement. Great writing is fresh, with personal observations, and incorporates simile and metaphor.\r\n\r\nAccording to Don George, author of Lonely Planet\u2019s \u2018Guide to Travel Writing\u2019, travel pieces need to have a warm voice.\r\nYou are undertaking a fundamentally human adventure \u2013 encountering new people and a new culture. Your humanity should be one of the fundamental strengths of your story."\r\nAdditional Tips:\r\n\r\n\tWrite in the first person, past tense.\r\n\tYou need to be observant; it\u2019s often the details that bring a story, and the place you\u2019re writing about, to life.\r\n\tGive the locals a voice! Quotes from people you met can\u00a0give a piece so much more depth!\r\n\tInclude where you were, what you were doing there, and why.\r\n\tStart your story with a strong anecdote that introduces the general feeling, tone and point of the article. Something that grabs the reader\u2019s attention and makes them want to read on.\r\n\r\n\r\nFinding and Focusing Your Story\r\nFinding the right subject is vital to the success of an article or travel guide. According to Lonely Planet\u2019s \u2018Guide to Travel Writing\u2019 a good topic is usually a marriage of passion and practicality:\r\nAs a writer, you want to choose a subject that will allow you to infuse your story with a sense of connection and conviction; at the same time, you need to write about a topic that will capture an editor\u2019s attention and will fit well with the publication you\u2019ve targeted."\r\nKnow the market. Study the publications\/websites you\u2019d like to write for. Analyse the focus, tone, approach and length of the articles they publish, but at the same time, focus on the subjects\/places that interest you.\r\nAdditional Tips:\r\n\r\n\tMake sure your article\/guidebook has a point. What do you want the reader to learn from the article?\r\n\r\n\r\nInspiring the Audience\r\nTravel journalism is about bringing the people, places and cultures you experience to an audience. Inspire them. Make them want to be where you are. There\u2019s nothing more appealing than an article or guidebook written by an author who is excited about the trip and who want to spark a sense of adventure in their reader. Focus on telling the reader about an experience that they might have if they were to repeat your trip.\r\n\r\nBe a passionate storyteller and active observer. Leave your comfort zone; make sure you notice everything \u2013 even the little things, because those are often where the best stories are. But most importantly, excite yourself. Find the story or adventure in even the most dire situations. The reader cannot be inspired unless you are.\r\nAdditional Tips:\r\n\r\n\tBe completely open to new countries\/ideas.\r\n\tDon\u2019t be bias.\r\n\tUse your voice to express opinion\/judgment. Readers and editors are relying on your expertise to steer them away from scams or disappointment.\r\n\r\nWe delve into what it takes to be a successful travel writer. Image Credit: Ian Iott via Flickr Creative Commons.\r\n\r\nTraits of a Good Travel Writer\r\nSo what, exactly, does it take to be considered a \u2018good\u2019 travel writer?\r\n\r\nCuriosity \u2013 about the world and its people \u2013 is a given. Don\u2019t make assumptions about a place you know nothing about. You need to research and investigate. Be very wary of how your first perceptions of a country, culture, or community and be prepared and willing to have your world view changed \u2013 not just once, but often.\r\n\r\nIn this day and age, writing alone may not cut it. Having the ability to take photos \u2013 and good ones at that\u2013 is what will add colour and depth to your story.\r\n\r\nAustralian-based travel writer, Andrew Bain, maintains the importance of photos to accompany a story:\r\nPhotos are crucial. If editors are choosing between a story that requires photos from a library, and a story presented with good photos, they\u2019re likely to go for the complete package, especially for writers new to them.'\r\nAdditional Tips:\r\n\r\n\tKeep your eyes and ears open to potential story angles and ideas that might impress editors.\r\n\tFact checkingis a vital part of every type of writing. Talk to people, read books or do other research. Make sure you use reliable sources and double-check they are correct.\r\n\tA common mistake that inexperienced travel writers make is to put too much of themselves into a piece; your job as a writer is to be the reader\u2019s portal into a deeper understanding of the place and of the experience of being a traveler there.\r\n\r\n\r\nSeparating Yourself from the Crowd\r\nTravel writing is a fiercely competitive industry, and with good reason. With thousands of aspiring travel writers around the globe, it\u2019s important to separate yourself from the crowd. To be able to do this, you must find your niche \u2013 choose a destination, activity or subject that impassions you and make it yours. Sharpen your expertise and share that knowledge. Get to know the locals, and uncover the more off-the-beaten-track places to eat, drink or visit. Don\u2019t rely merely on the conventional information you\u2019ve found on a place \u2013 talk to people and discover the best kept secrets of your destination.\r\nTo make a decent living as a travel writer, you need to be able to turn your hand to a variety of travel articles. However, it can be very much to your advantage to find the niche that best fits your expertise as a writer," says Don George.\r\nOnce you\u2019ve found your subject, find a way to make it unique. You may not have been the first person to conquer the Inca Trail, but you do have the ability to put a fresh spin on the experience. Reveal a new or different side to a destination or experience. Cultivate a unique voice and personality. Your writing should add to what is already found in the existent guidebooks and websites. Andrew Bain\u2019s advice to those starting out in the freelance travel writing industry is to choose destinations that aren\u2019t already clogging the pages of travel sections and magazines:\r\nLook for lesser-known places with appealing quirks. But if you must stick to the blue-chip destinations, find a different way to look at them. Develop a specialty \u2013 food, spas, outdoor adventure \u2013 that will gain you a niche market, then supplement it with general stories."\r\n\r\nPitching to Editors and Making a Name for Yourself\r\nIt is essential to create at least a portfolio website\/blog. It is a digital billboard where you can present your biography, past and upcoming travels, and social media feeds, and where you can showcase your articles, photos and videos. When it comes to pitching to editors, be concise, to the point and familiar with your topic. Make sure your article caters to the style of the publication\/website you are pitching to, and that is a fresh take on what has previously been covered.\r\nNo editor wants to be contacted with vague proposals that haven\u2019t been thought through. If you\u2019re going away, think of a few angles or ways to treat a story that would suit the publication you\u2019re targeting," says Don George.\r\n\r\nLast Words\r\nTravel writing is a competitive, hard industry, but that doesn\u2019t mean it isn\u2019t rewarding or out of reach. To be the best travel writer you can be, ask yourself: what sparks your passion?\u00a0What\u2019s the first story that comes to mind? Focus on the story that guides your intuition, because that\u2019s what will entice and inspire readers everywhere. Become a travel writer to inspire \u2013 to satisfy that itch. Do it for love, because you will meet people and see places that will stay with you forever, and change you forever.\r\nTravel writing is one of the globe\u2019s dream jobs. That doesn\u2019t mean it\u2019s beyond your reach. The world of travel writing is open to everyone; if you love to travel and you love to write, it\u2019s a natural. No one can guarantee you\u2019ll be successful, but it is guaranteed that you\u2019ll never be successful if you don\u2019t try.\u201d \u2013 Don George.\r\n\r\nResources and Further Reading:\r\n\r\n\tMatador Network is an online travel resource website. For travel writing articles click here.\r\n\r\n\r\n\tTo extend your knowledge on the craft of travel writing, consider these courses from the Australian Writers\u2019 Centre.\r\n\r\n\r\n\tFor further travel tips visit these sites:\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\tIndependent Traveler\r\n\tJourney Woman\r\n\tWanderlust\r\n\r\n\r\n \r\nReferences:\r\nGeorge, Don 2013. Lonely Planet\u2019s Guide to Travel Writing - Expert Advice from the World\u2019s Leading Travel Publisher, 3rd Edition, Lonely Planet Publications.