Breaking into Travel and Food Writing: Tips and Techniques for Aspiring Magazine Writers
by Writing Workshops Staff
A month ago
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Are you a wanderlust-filled foodie with a way with words? Writing about travel and food for magazines might be the perfect fit for you. Whether you're looking to write about your adventures abroad or the latest culinary hot spots in your hometown, there are plenty of opportunities to share your stories with the world.
Travel writing should be descriptive, evocative, and engaging. Some essential qualities that make for excellent travel writing include:
- A strong sense of place - Transport the reader, helping them visualize the place's sights, sounds, and smells.
- A personal perspective - Travel writing is more interesting when the writer shares their own experiences and insights rather than simply describing the facts.
- A compelling narrative - A good travel story should have a clear beginning, middle, and end, with a narrative arc that keeps the reader engaged.
- Cultural sensitivity - It's important to respect the cultures and traditions of the places you visit. Avoid being judgmental or ethnocentric, and strive to give an authentic and nuanced portrayal of the people and places you encounter.
- Attention to detail - Include sensory details that help the reader feel like they are experiencing the place themselves.
By incorporating these qualities, travel writers can create engaging and immersive stories that transport readers to far-off lands and inspire them to explore the world for themselves. Here are some examples of authors that do this well:
- Bill Bryson - Bryson is a popular travel writer known for his humorous and anecdotal writing style. Some of his most famous travel books include "A Walk in the Woods" and "Notes from a Small Island."
- Paul Theroux - Theroux is a well-respected travel writer with a career spanning over 50 years. His books, which often focus on his travels in developing countries, include "The Great Railway Bazaar" and "Dark Star Safari."
- Elizabeth Gilbert - Gilbert is a bestselling author best known for her memoir "Eat, Pray, Love," which chronicled her travels through Italy, India, and Indonesia. Gilbert's writing is emotional and introspective, and her books often explore themes of self-discovery and personal growth.
- Rolf Potts - Potts is a travel writer and journalist known for his unconventional travel stories. His books, which include "Vagabonding" and "Marco Polo Didn't Go There," encourage readers to step out of their comfort zones and embrace the unknown.
- Pico Iyer - Iyer is a British-born travel writer and essayist known for his cultural and political insights. Some of his notable books include "The Global Soul" and "The Art of Stillness," which explore the intersection of travel and spirituality.
- Edwidge Danticat - Danticat is a Haitian-American author and travel writer whose books often explore themes of immigration, identity, and family. Her travel writing includes the book "Create Dangerously: The Immigrant Artist at Work," which chronicles her travels to Haiti and other countries.
- Ravi Howard - Howard is a travel writer and journalist who has written for outlets such as Afar and National Geographic. His book "Driving the King" is a travel memoir that explores the American South and its civil rights history.
- Darnell Moore - Moore is a writer, activist, and journalist whose work focuses on social justice issues. His book "No Ashes in the Fire" is a travel memoir that explores race, sexuality, and masculinity through the lens of his travels in the United States and abroad.
There are many more talented writers in the field, each with their own unique style and perspective. You can read some of the best travel writing ever published with this selective list (with links).
Here's how to break into the field:
- Start by building your writing portfolio. This can include travel and food articles that you've written for your own blog or website, as well as any pieces that you've had published in other outlets. Having a strong portfolio will help you stand out to editors and demonstrate your writing ability.
- Consider getting a degree in journalism or creative writing. While a degree isn't necessarily required to break into the field, it can be helpful in learning the skills and techniques needed to succeed as a writer. Plus, many publications prefer to hire writers with a formal education in writing or journalism.
- Research and pitch ideas to relevant magazines. Look for magazines that cover travel and food topics, and start brainstorming ideas for articles that would fit their editorial focus. Create a pitch that outlines your idea, why it's relevant and timely, and how it would benefit the magazine's readers. Be sure to follow the magazine's submission guidelines when submitting your pitch.
- Network with other writers and industry professionals. Attend writing conferences and workshops, join writing groups or organizations, and make connections with other writers and editors in the travel and food writing industry. These connections can help you learn about potential writing opportunities and get your foot in the door with publications.
- Don't be discouraged if you don't land a writing gig right away. Breaking into any new field can be challenging, and it can take time to build your portfolio and make a name for yourself. Keep writing and pitching, and be open to feedback and critiques from editors. With persistence and hard work, you'll eventually land your dream writing job.
Here is a list of well-respected magazines that publish travel writing:
- National Geographic Traveler - This magazine is known for its stunning photography and in-depth articles about destinations around the world.
- Travel + Leisure - This magazine covers a wide range of travel topics, including luxury vacations, budget travel, and adventure travel.
- Afar - Afar focuses on experiential travel and cultural immersion, with a focus on off-the-beaten-path destinations.
- Condé Nast Traveler - This magazine features a mix of travel news, destination guides, and personal essays from notable writers and celebrities.
- Lonely Planet Traveller - This magazine, published by the well-known travel guidebook company, features destination guides and travel inspiration from around the world.
- The New York Times Travel Section - The New York Times' travel section publishes a mix of news articles, destination guides, and personal essays from writers around the globe.
- Sunset - This magazine, which covers the Western United States and Pacific Rim, features articles about outdoor adventures, road trips, and regional travel.
- The Guardian Travel - The Guardian's travel section features a wide range of articles, including destination guides, travel news, and personal essays.
- Budget Travel - As the name suggests, this magazine focuses on budget-friendly travel options, with a mix of destination guides and practical travel advice.
- Food & Wine - While not strictly a travel magazine, Food & Wine frequently publishes articles about culinary travel destinations and food-focused vacations.
This is just a small sampling of the many magazines that publish travel writing. Do some research to find the publications that best fit your writing style and interests. Good luck on your journey to becoming a travel and food writer!
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