As an editor, I know it’s impossible to find truly original places to write about. Heck, Yankee would have run into trouble a long time ago if we didn’t go back to Cape Cod or Maine’s Bar Harbor region every few years. What an editor craves is a different perspective on a familiar place. Here’s how to do that and get your travel story published…
1. Make it fresh
One of my absolute favorite travel stories we’ve recently done was a piece about the Cape Cod National Seashore walking trails.
Instead of doing an expected overview of the area, however, the writer asked the park’s rangers what trails they explore on their downtime.
It was a surprising approach to an area of New England our readers know well and it cracked our story lineup the moment we read the pitch.
We did the same sort of thing several years ago when we asked a few B&Bs owners what inns they go to when they’re on vacation. The story packed expertise and original insight to a topic—New England lodging—that is well-worn ground for us. We still get asked about it.
2. Bring in the local flavor
Strive for quotes. Don’t just describe the bookshop or café scene. Inject your writing with real life by folding in snippets of conversation that capture the essence of the place. Is the owner a good interview? Let’s hear from them in their own words.
It’s one thing for you to tell readers a place is worth visiting. It’s something quite richer if you can let a scene or someone’s voice do it for you.
Quick tip: Ditch the adjectives. Or, at least, most of them. Instead of saying a sunset is gorgeous, go for something more subtle and enduring like, “I parked my car on the side of the road to watch the burning oranges and fiery reds inflame the sky.” Your end goal is the same, but here you’re painting the picture for the reader rather than just telling them about it.
3. Find the real story
Step back from simply recommending all the good places a particular destination may feature and ruminate on what’s always drawn people to the area.
Is there a common thread that’s always drawn people to the town or region you’re reading about? Explore a place’s lore, maybe its legends.
If you do, your story will go deeper and pack more meat on the bone, because you’ll be capturing the true spirit of the place.
For example, the call to a region known for its mountain may be more than just those tall peaks. Perhaps it’s about a certain sense of freedom that comes with being so up-close to nature.
Who were the early visitors? What brought them there? History can be your friend. Use it smartly and it can take your piece to a whole new level.
[Editor’s Note: Learn more about how you can fund your travels and make an extra income with photography, travel writing, blogging, and more in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel. Sign up here today and we’ll send you a new report, Profit From Your Photos: A Quick-Start Guide, completely FREE.]