The pros and cons of being a freelance travel writer

    Article by Zaytoen Domingo

    Zaytoen Domingo

    Posted: June 5, 2019

    Do you dream of travelling the world and writing about it? Consider these highs and lows of being a freelance travel writer.

    Imagine having a workplace right next to the beach, flexible hours, and unlimited holidays throughout the year. This is what life as a freelance travel writer can be like.

    It’s not all sunshine and strolls on the beach, though. Travel writing is still a job and requires plenty of dedication. To figure out whether the freelance writing world is for you, start by weighing up these pros and cons.


    Freelance writing and travel have similar appeals – they both give you freedom and a renewed sense of curiosity. Put them together, and you have the ultimate career choice for anyone craving a flexible and adventurous lifestyle.

    1) You can work from anywhere


    Obviously, for travel writers, one of the greatest benefits of going freelance is that you can work from anywhere there is an internet connection. This means you can work and travel simultaneously, seeing the world while you establish your career.

    2) You’ll have a flexible work schedule


    As a freelance travel writer, you can escape the nine to five grind. No commute, no wilted office lunches, no watching the clock tick down to 17:00. You get to choose your own hours and work whenever suits you.  Choosing your own hours means you can strike a better work-life balance.

    3) You can choose the projects you work on

    The beauty of freelance travel writing opportunities is that you can pick and choose which assignments you would like to work on.

    Your freelance travel writing career can be a way to express your most passionate views. It’s also your chance to populate the online content world with stories that promote responsible travel, break down stereotypes, and challenge narratives that alienate or trivialise cultures.

    Pitch stories that will make an impact, or align yourself with brands you believe in. Choose to write for online travel publications that resonate with you, such as ethical volunteering organisations, or responsible travel companies.


    4) You get to combine your passions

    Why do you want to be a writer? Probably because you love creativity and working with words. Why travel writing, in particular? Probably because you love the subject of visiting different places.  Working as a freelance travel writer lets you satisfy your wanderlust while still maintaining a creative career.

    The old adage “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life” applies to travel writing. It can be a hard slog at times, but, motivated by a passion for both writing and travel, you’ll always love what you do.

    5 ) You’ll develop a solid set of transferable skills


    Freelance writing isn’t just a ticket to remote work and world travel. It’s a way to build your career in almost any field.

    As well as honing your written communication skills, travel writing opportunities will help you develop time management, organisation, and client management skills. You’ll also be able to clearly demonstrate your independence and self-motivation to future employers.


    When you’re trying to figure out how to be a freelance writer, you rarely spend time thinking about the downsides of this career path. However, there are certain more challenging aspects of the freelance travel writing world that are helpful to consider.

    1) Finding freelance travel writing opportunities can be tough


    If you’re wondering how to get a job as a travel writer, the answer is patience and persistence.

    Being a freelance travel writer is a dream job for many people, so there is stiff competition for most writing gigs. You could end up sending dozens of pitches without getting a single reply.

    In order to stand out from the crowd, you need to have sharp writing skills and real-life travel experience in the destinations you write about.

    Having qualifications or credentials from an online writing course to back up your skills – such as a completion certificate and testimonial from the GVI Writing Academy – can help bolster your application when you apply for travel writing opportunities.

    2) Building your portfolio can take time

    Because finding freelance travel writing jobs can be difficult, it can take a while to build a portfolio. It’s a “chicken and egg” situation, where having a portfolio can help you land jobs, but you won’t build a portfolio unless you land jobs.

    One of the major benefits of joining an online writing course, such as GVI’s Writing Academy, is that at the end of it you could have several solid portfolio pieces published on the website of a reputable international brand.

    Once you have your name on a few pieces of published work, you’ll find it much easier to break into travel writing.

    3) Travel and work don’t always go well together


    Sometimes, working and travelling at the same time can mean you don’t do either well. Working hard on your writing jobs can mean missing out on sightseeing time, while moving around frequently can make it hard to settle into a work mode. Being on the road is constant fuel for procrastination.

    To help you stay motivated and nail your deadlines, while still enjoying your travels, you might want to embrace slow travel.

    Or, work toward establishing a schedule for yourself, ideally around working in your most productive periods of the day. Set yourself break times as well, just as you would if you were working in an office environment.

    For example, you could rise early to get in two hours of work, before going out for coffee, then returning to finish off a few articles before taking the rest of the afternoon off to explore.

    4) Travel writing jobs can be lonely


    If you want to be a writer, especially a freelance travel writer, you should enjoy your own company.

    Travelling abroad and working while on the road can be lonely. Not only are you far from your family and friends, but your writing commitments mean you often have to dedicate time to working when other travellers might be going out to do fun activities.

    Spending time with your laptop alone can feel isolating and frustrating.

    Plus, when you’re moving around a lot it can be hard to build meaningful relationships. You’ll meet amazing people from all around the world, but within a short space of time, you’ll need to say goodbye. After a while, these goodbyes can wear you down.

    Slow travel and having a set routine can help with feeling more secure.

    Travel writing internships are the perfect way to learn more about how to overcome the challenges and reap the benefits of freelance travel writing jobs. Apply now to take GVI’s travel writing course online and discover how to get started as a freelance writer.

    Article by Zaytoen Domingo

    By Zaytoen Domingo

    Zaytoen Domingo is a content writer and editor based in Cape Town, South Africa. She is currently enrolled in the Masters program in English at the University of the Western Cape. After graduating with an Honours Degree in English and Creative Writing, Zaytoen completed a skills-development program for writers and became an alum of the GVI Writing Academy.