To sell travel stories to in-flight magazines (or any travel magazines, really) don’t feel like you have to write about undiscovered locations. Magazines need articles on the world’s most popular destinations. Yesterday, I sent you a technique for writing about those destinations by picking out one unique aspect about them and focusing on that. Read that issue here.
Today, freelance writer and editor Jennifer Stevens tells you more about how to sell travel stories by taking a unique angle on an overdone destination.
Have a great weekend,
Director, Great Escape Publishing
Sell Travel Stories: The Simple Key to Selling More Travel Articles
Editors know that articles about the world’s most popular vacation destinations attract readers. Huge numbers of families plan trips each year to the nation’s biggest theme parks, resorts, outdoor recreational areas… and to countries like England, France and Italy. These are “classic” vacation destinations — and folks planning their vacations are always looking for insights about them.
It’s your job as the writer to provide those insights. Only the thing is, you’ve got to look beyond the tried-and-true. Take Paris. An article about the Louvre, the Musee D’Orsay, and Notre Dame — that’s been done… a gazillion times. And anyway, readers can find that information on the tourist board’s website.
To sell travel stories, you have to find an angle that’s more out-of-the-ordinary. So think about what your destination is most well known for. And then focus, instead, on something that might surprise people. Did you know, for instance, that there’s a thriving community of bees in Paris? Bee keepers keep hives on the roof of the Palais Royale, in the Luxembourg Gardens, on the dome of the 19th-century Palais Garnier and on the roof of the Opera Bastille. The last weekend in September, you can buy the honey from the Luxembourg Garden harvest. What a great, quirky item for a fall Paris story.
Remember, you needn’t write about every last thing there is to see and do in a place. You can sell small ideas that give readers a new perspective on a “classic” destination.
** 1) Begin by thinking about your own town or someplace you’ve visited and try to identify the expectations tourists traditionally have about it. What sights or activities do people travel there for? Do annual festivals or other events draw tourists? Do visitors come primarily to shop… to visit a historical neighborhood or landmark… or to take in the scenic beauty of the surrounding countryside? Come up with a list of the main things that attract visitors to your destination.
** 2) Now, make a list of the “other” things a person could do there. What do travelers NOT associate with your destination? You’re looking for an idea that expands, or even defies, visitors’ expectations.
Consider this scenario: Say a family is traveling together. The kids have picked Cancun as their destination of choice. It’s affordable, and so the parents agree that’s where they’ll all go. But while the youngsters may be happy to spend a week lounging on the beach, the adults are looking for some greater distraction. What else is there to do? You could answer that question with a round-up article titled, Beyond the Beach: Getting Out of the Sun in Cancun. Or take a more narrow focus like, Sophisticated Sipping at Cancun’s Tequila Museum.
You can apply this idea to almost anything and anywhere:
**Nashville for People Who Don’t Love Country Music
**The Quieter Side of Mardi Gras: New Orleans for Families
**Wheelchair-Accessible Trails in the Great Smokey Mountains
**Quiet New York City: 3 Great Neighborhood Parks
**Las Vegas Beyond the Casinos
**Faux Rich: Bargain Shopping in Palm Springs, California
So when you’re on the road, make note of what surprises you — there’s probably a story in there somewhere.
[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.]