When you first try travel writing you may not be able to travel to destinations far from home. But that doesn’t mean you can’t find interesting things to write about. Quite the contrary, most of the travel stories I get published are within an easy drive of my home in New York.
Here are seven ideas for interesting travel articles you can start this afternoon:
- Chocolate. Just about every city, town or village has a chocolate shop. I live in New York, where you can even take chocolate tours. But the advantage to small town chocolate shops is that they often come with an interesting story. Take Chubby Chipmunks Chocolates in Deadwood, South Dakota for instance. Located in an old Sinclair gas station turned chocolate shop, Chubby Chipmunks’ owner had such an interesting story about how she started out that I featured her for an article in my local newspaper. Her chocolate truffles are so good, they were put in the gift bags for the Grammy’s this year.
- Cemeteries. Maybe you wouldn’t normally visit a cemetery when traveling, but do a little research and you may unearth an interesting story. Take, for instance, the Spring Hill Cemetery in Charleston, West Virginia, where you will find the Thayer family monument made from pure zinc. The monument was built with a shelf behind a sliding door used to hide liquor during prohibition. Or there is the Stump family who took their name literally — and built a family monument replicating a tree stump.
- Small or Unusual Museums. The trick with museums is to find something unusual. I recently published an article about three unusual museums in New York: the Transit Museum in Brooklyn, the Tenement Museum and the Museum of Sex — an educational experience for grown-ups!
- Strange Roadside Attractions. Road-tripping through the US, I have found many quirky roadside attractions. Houston, Texas has the Beer Can House made entirely from used beer cans by an overzealous recycler. Mitchell, South Dakota is home to the Corn Palace. Recently, while driving through Nebraska in the tiny town of Alliance, I happened upon Carhenge. A collection of old junk cars arranged for reasons no one can explain to replicate Stonehenge. Do you have some unusual attractions near you?
- Festivals. Almost all communities have some type of festival. I grew up in Plant City, Florida — the Winter Strawberry Capital of the World. Every March, the Strawberry Festival comes to town with parades, diaper derby races, piglet races and all types of events. I’ve been to Cornbread Festivals, Peanut Festivals and Watermelon Festivals over the years. What festivals do you have in your area?
- Hikes. Whether it’s an urban hike through a city or a stroll through the woods, there are places to explore on foot everywhere. Take for instance the “Rails to Trails” initiative responsible for converting abandoned railroads to walking and biking trails all over the country. A little research about trails in your area could lead to an interesting travel article.
- Freebies. These days, articles about free or inexpensive activities are always in demand. I recently published an article about free and budget-friendly things to do in New York. Everyone knows about the big tourist attractions here, but not everyone knows you can walk the Brooklyn Bridge for free, enjoying views of the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building and the iconic Chrysler Building. Grand Central Terminal is celebrating its 100th birthday this year. You can learn about its history and some of the “secrets of Grand Central” by downloading an app for a self-guided tour for just $5.00. And the Statute of Liberty can be seen very well from the free Staten Island Ferry.
Every hometown has something to offer. Who better to write about it than an insider who knows all its secrets — you!
[Editor’s Note: Learn more about opportunities to profit from your travels (and even from your own home) in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel.]