The secret is out that travel writing isn’t always as glamorous as it’s made out to be. Whether you’re writing about the lost islands of Thailand or the frozen fringes of the Arctic Circle, it can be challenging to do anything but fall back on stereotypes in an age where everything in the world feels known and chronicled.
Luckily, there are a variety of ways and means to make your content stand out. Take a look at our tips to help you sell that sense of place and make convincing travel copy about even the most storied of landmarks.
Make it narrative
Creating a sense of place is one thing, and you can certainly transport the reader to your chosen destination through some suitably evocative language. Yet the real key to it all is fostering empathy or creating a sense of personal connection.
Approach your travel writing from an emotional standpoint. How did you feel standing under the Eiffel Tower for the first time, and how would you translate that into what they’ll feel? What were you doing? Had you sought it specifically, or were you looking at it in a last minute detour on your way elsewhere?
Mark the high points of your journey with personality aplenty, and ensure you’ve got a story to lead your reader from one step to the next. People travel to feel something, after all, and a stark rundown of facts and figures will stymie that intention.
Make it unique
While that may seem easier said than done, keep in mind that your experiences with a destination, whether you’ve visited it or not, are a result of your own perceptions. Those, in turn, are different by their very nature from anyone else’s, allowing you to leverage your individuality to pull out details others might miss.
Any given destination is liable to have a hundred and one different reports already written about it. What makes yours stand out? What key cultural idiom or insider tip can you provide that lets you stand out in the crowd?
When giving that info away, how can you voice it so that it doesn’t come across as preaching? Give your prose some flair and use inspiring language, without sensationalising or overcomplicating your message.
Your travel writing is going to touch people from every corner of the world and, hopefully, engage their curiosity. While your duty is to explain the highlights of a given destination, it’s wise to do so while instilling a little spirit of adventure.
You can thread certain clues and signposts throughout your travel writing to lead your reader into planning their own journey. This could be as simple as saying that your Tenerife beach resort lolled in the swarthy shadow of Mount Teide, the volcano at the island’s heart.
You’ve already thereby set up the importance of Mount Teide and subconsciously invited your reader to follow your discourse further, looking for further elaboration and planning their own adventure.
That means that when you throw down your amazing and meticulously researched facts about Mount Teide, or the landmark of your choice, the reader has been pre-emptively set up to want to know what you have to say.
Just the facts
Which leads nicely to the final piece of advice, which is simply to check the facts, preferably with multiple sources. Remember, you’re writing a travel guide that’s going to potentially inspire people to travel hundreds of miles, so what you say has to be based on reliable sources and up-to-date.
At the same time, keeping a dry rundown of facts can make for unappetising copy, so ensure that the facts you promote are woven into the storyline we’ve discussed here.
A personal touch is a massive detail in all this, as we have emphasised. When was that cathedral built? Who were the historical figures inspiring its construction? What notable iconography or architectural quirks does it have, and how do those relate to those of its surrounding buildings? Fusing facts with personalities is often the way to go.
Travel guides inspire and inform in equal measure, and even if you’re dreading committing words to paper, it’s a good idea to have an overarching goal to thread your tale around. Keep it lighthearted and extol the virtues, by all means, but ensure that your readers feel like savants as soon as their planes touch down, and you’ll be nurturing an avid subscriber base before you know it.
We can help make that happen thanks to our experienced team of travel writers, each of whom have a huge range of destinations under their belts.
Get in touch with us today to see how we can help make your travel writing shine.
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