Turn your travels into tales: Learn how to become a freelance writer

    Article by Megan Colborne

    Megan Colborne

    Posted: January 16, 2020

    You’ve done the travelling and now you want to know how to become a freelance writer. Or maybe you’ve already given writing a go but haven’t yet seen much success. 

    Why not learn to write better, make an impact with your words and turn your travels into tales by learning freelancer skills?

    How do you become a freelance travel writer?

    To get started in writing freelance travel content, you need to be equipped with certain skills. Otherwise, your career may never take off.

    Here are four of the skills you’ll need to be successful in the freelance travel writing industry.  


     1) Stand out from the crowd

    We live in a digital world where anyone with access to the internet has a platform to share their travel stories, good or bad. The volume of content floating around the web means it can be a challenge to make sure your writing reaches your desired audience.

    That’s where search engine optimisation, or SEO, becomes relevant. SEO is a tool that ensures your words won’t get lost in the flood of content online. 

    If a larger audience is what you’re looking for, then it’s important to understand this tool and how to use it effectively. If you have the skills to write using effective SEO, you can ensure a steady flow of readers. 


    2) Be adaptable

    Many freelance writers write for other brands, instead of only publishing their own content, Writing for different travel brands will almost always involve freelance writers taking on the tone and views of that brand. 

    This is so the words you have written sound like words that brand would ordinarily say, and it often involves having to make changes to content you were already happy with.

    Writing for various brands will test your adaptability and willingness to set aside your own tone and personality in place of the tone and personality of the brand.

    3) Show rather than tell

    When reading, people want to experience what you’ve written about as if they are living it themselves. So if you can transport your readers using your words, you will possess an important skill. 

    This skill becomes even more useful when we look at travel writing. Readers want to be able to picture themselves in whatever location you’re talking about. 

    They want to see themselves sipping cocktails along the beaches of Thailand, feel the sand between their toes and smell the tanning oil as if they were there.

    One of the best ways of doing this is to use all the senses to describe a place. What did you see, hear, smell, taste and feel during your travels? You’ll learn to think about these things and then carefully choose your words to show them. 


    4) Communicate effectively

    Just as in any successful career, effective communication is key.

    To convince editors to hire you, you need to be able to prove both your professionalism and writing abilities when you send them a pitch. 

    Communicating effectively to your readers is a vital skill. As a travel writer, you need to paint an accurate picture of your chosen travel destination. 

    You have a responsibility to avoid creating inaccurate or unrealistic expectations for readers who might choose to travel to a destination based on your writing. 

    How can you gain these skills?

    Freelance writing can be scary for beginners to jump into, but gaining skills such as these will give you the confidence you need to succeed during your freelance travel writing journey. 

    Online learning platforms are a great way to equip yourself with the tools needed to find your niche and be successful as a travel writer, while having the freedom to learn wherever you are.

    GVI’s professional development programs can provide you with the skills and knowledge needed to be a step ahead of the rest. Find out more about The GVI Writing Academy.

    Megan Colborne is an intern at the GVI Writing Academy. The Writing Academy is a skills-development program that pairs development editors with budding travel writers. Learn more about the program here.


    By Megan Colborne

    Megan Colborne is a content writer from South Africa with a passion for travel and adventure. Megan has an honours-level degree in Journalism specialising in writing and editing, as well as digital media. Before starting at GVI in 2019, she spent a year working in Spain, and travelling to other European countries like Amsterdam, Switzerland, Ireland and France. Megan is also an alum of the GVI Writing Academy.