Traditional travel writing covers two fields: firsthand accounts of a trip and the more formal side of producing advertising brochures and guides for countries, cities and various attractions and hotels. Here are some unusual ideas that may prove successful if tweaked to match the area and situation.
Check Existing Brochures
Gather an armload of handouts from a tourist information center. Read through the brochures and look for spelling and grammar mistakes and obvious faults with the layout. These are fairly common with cheaper productions where the person compiling them is a businessman rather than a writer. The same situation occurs when the brochure has been put together by someone who does not speak English as a first language. Armed with suggestions, approach the company and quote them a fee for revamping the brochure.
Seek New Business
After seeing what advertising material is available, look round the area and see if there is a specialty restaurant or shop that would probably benefit from some extra exposure. Try and speak to the owner rather than a staff member and take along a few ideas of how the business could be promoted. This could be as simple as a one page flier or a threefold brochure.
Look for the Quirky
Many writers have latched onto one particular aspect of a country and produced a book about it. Think of topics like local slang and colloquialisms, unusual signs, whacky letter boxes or strange place names. This type of project requires excellent photography skills.
Don’t Forget the Normal
There is also space for guides that cover certain aspects of a country or area. These may include specialized areas such as accommodation, extreme sports, water sports, hiking trails and flora and fauna.
Build up a Portfolio
Potential customers often want to see examples of prior work. To get some experience, offer to compile an advertising write up for a friend in the retail or hospitality industry. Get quotes from several printers and ask for a sample run to compare quality and cost. Work published on the internet also counts for something so submit a series of travel articles to online magazines and print these out.
Consider Working with a Graphic Designer
Many writers enjoy photography and design work but for professional results, it may be worth working with someone who is experienced in graphic design. The results will be better and the project completed in half the time. Nearly all travel guides and brochures contain color and photographs.
Work While Playing
Look for opportunities when vacationing or even passing through an area or airport. Collect brochures and take them home to examine for future openings.
Travel writing is a widely varied field and with effort and persistence, even the most inexperienced writer can get a foot in the door. The important thing is to take the first step forward and get the process underway.