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Job Description and Salary of a Travel Writer

Job Description and Salary of a Travel Writer
A travel writer writes a detailed description about the different places he has visited and publishes his works in journals, magazines, and other sources. CareerStint explains the job description and salary of a travel writer.
Buzzle Staff
Quick Tips
A good travel article must:
  • Have a striking beginning
  • Incorporate a personalized writing style
  • Specify relevant incidents
Travel writing is a wonderfully creative profession. It involves writing articles and travel guides of various places, as well as travel scripts and documentaries. Inadvertently, it conjures up an image of soothing landscapes and other exotic locales and a person with a camera and notebook, penning down details of the incredible location. Yes, I know you are probably imagining yourself to be Elizabeth Gilbert, but let me remind you, it's not a bed of roses. It is a common delusion that the profession involves fun and frolic and freedom (to an extent, it does), however, if you think the job is all hunky-dory, you might have to reconstruct your views and understand clearly what a travel writer does.
Certain guidelines are required to be followed by travel writers in general. Though these are mostly set by authorized travel writers' associations, it is better for every writer to comply with these conditions:
No content must be plagiarized - nothing (literally nothing) should be copied or taken from any other source or published in one's name when the content is owned by someone else.
◆ When traveling with recommendations and contacts, the writer must maintain a strong professional demeanor. He should not do anything to spoil the relationship between his host and his boss.
◆ The content must be authentic, accurate, and authorized. On no account should any false information be written.
◆ A writer may cause permanent damage to his reputation and the company's image and is likely to be penalized and blacklisted if he is caught attempting to publish a well-written, but untruthful article in exchange of a handsome incentive.
Job Profile
  • In a nutshell, a travel writer writes about the places he has traveled to.
  • At the threshold of his career, he is likely to write about local destinations and then advance to better projects.
  • Another point - he does not have to write solely for magazines and other publications, he also has to write guides and brochures. Therefore, he should know the format and pattern of different documents.
Research-based Writing
  • This type of travel writing encompasses a wide variety of topics.
  • Research-based writing involves writing from a critical point of view, i.e., from a third-person perspective.
  • You have to travel to the best resorts, hotels, different tourist spots, famous attractions, etc., and write a review about them.
  • Please remember, your personal opinion does not matter in this case.
  • You are expected to write a review of what the place is about, its history, famous slangs (if any), local cuisine, festivals, any special event that distinguishes the town from other places, etc.
  • This article may be a part of travel magazines, online magazines, websites, and any other publication you work for.
  • As a writer, you will need to be ingrained with a thirst of gathering as much knowledge as possible. Therefore, you need to transform yourself into a travel journalist.
  • Interviewing local people, restaurant owners, local guides, store owners, etc., is a regular part of the job.
  • You will need to make quick notes and verify the information obtained, from multiple sources.
  • You will need to write your article based on the research obtained for the day, and update the same until your stay there.
  • You might very well find out some new information about some place you visited the earlier day. For all you know, what you obtain the next day may be authentic.
  • After you are done with your research, you will need to combine all your notes, edit, and write the final piece, possibly on a deadline.
  • Another important tip is to search for some information that has not been written before. If you are given a tourist spot that has already been written about in several media, your article may or may not garner the required readership. Therefore, delve deeper until you find something that makes your article unique.
  • Many new writers venture into research-based travel writing. Guidebooks and travel brochures are a part of this domain.
Travel Reviews
  • This is the section of travel writing that involves a personal touch.
  • Aspirants opting for review writing have to develop a fine critical reasoning ability combined with a genuine appreciation technique.
  • For writing reviews, you have to have a personal experience of the place, i.e., you do not have to write only about the specialties of the locale, but what you experienced as well.
  • Therefore, you have to interview people again, make notes, remember a truckload of information, combined with an opinion of your own.
  • This may be particularly difficult, since everyone has their own perspective and is entitled to their opinion, which is why it would be preferable to opt for a neutral view or a tone that elaborates on the pros and cons.
  • Do not be under the misconception that the reader is longing to know about every little detail of your journey. The competition is tough, keep your stories engaging and crisp, rather than elaborately long ones.
  • Travel reviews are mostly written for magazines, though exceptions are made for guidebooks and travel portals.
  • You may be required to mention everything about your travels, in the most concise way possible. Review-writing combines the skill of giving details about the place, and experiencing it on your own. This gives a more personal touch to the article, and the reader is assured that the place is good enough to visit.
  • Like all other articles, you are required to photograph your experience. Select good pictures of every spot and publish them in the articles. Visuals always entertain.
  • You can write about your experiences regarding the cuisine, music, art, culture, shopping, adventure, museums, and other places of attraction.
  • It is not necessary to write a personal experience for everything, i.e., you may or may not visit all the places. You have to consider your expense account as well. But wherever you visit, you are expected to carve out a personal story and publish your experiences.
  • This is the latest and perhaps, the most lucrative form of travel writing.
  • With the advent of the internet, print media seems to have slowly gone downhill.
  • Most of the new writers, experienced writers, and freelancers prefer using the online platform to showcase their talent.
  • Travel blogs are more accessible than magazines, newspapers, and brochures.
  • Many budding writers have their own travel blog, where they publish their own articles, mostly personal experiences, with attractive photographs and videos.
  • Many own travel websites, which encourage writers to write guidebooks and articles for the site.
  • Most of the travel companies have their own website as well.
  • As a travel blogger, you may either be an independent freelancer or may work under a travel company website.
  • You may travel to places and enrich the blog with your experiences, or will be required to write articles and reviews and informative snippets about the place.
  • You may also contribute to travel scripts and documentaries and travelogues.
  • However, do remember that this is equally hectic, just because your articles are published online does not signify any less of work. Your research will remain the same, perhaps more, since online media attracts more readers.
  • You may also be required to write about political events, surveys, and other related snippets about the place you visit. Take care to verify the authenticity and see to it that your writings do not hurt anyone's sentiments.
  • To begin with, you must have a flair for traveling. This primarily involves you to be inquisitive about new places, the eagerness to learn about other cultures, habits, people, cuisine, details of how to get there - in short, you must have an interest to know everything about a particular location.
  • You must enjoy writing. There are innumerable people who wish to become travel writers; if you want your piece to stand out, you have to give your writing a different flavor.
  • Next, consider the education. You will require a bachelor's degree in communications, travel and tourism, journalism, etc. There are a number of certificate and diploma courses in travel and tourism as well.
  • The degree will help you get a fair start, though it is advisable to find related part-time work in between, to enhance your portfolio.
  • The median salary of a travel writer varies heavily with experience, employers, and projects.
  • When we talk about high salaries for travel writers, it clearly indicates a bracket of USD 45,000 to USD 90,000.
  • That said, this figure comes with experience. No newcomer is likely to earn this much even if he is hired by the best company.
  • No mincing words - you will be paid very less in the initial days. You may begin your career with small contributions to local newspapers; however, print media is practically on the verge of decline, and you are paid less anyway, around USD 100 to USD 200 per piece.
  • You will have more expenses with bigger articles, and despite being paid a decent amount, say around USD 1000 to USD 2000, you may not benefit completely.
  • Freelancers may earn more or less than regular writers; the figure largely depends on your content - established writers with sufficient contacts earn a lot, say around USD 90,000 annually, while some may slog it out initially, with a range of USD 40,000 - USD 50,000.
  • A median state-wise salary can be classified according to varying salary ranges. For example, states like Idaho and Hawaii have a salary range between USD 40,000 to USD 50,000 for travel writers.
  • A salary range of USD 50,000 to USD 60,000 may be expected in the states like Colorado, Arizona, Vermont, Wyoming, Nevada, and Utah.
  • Furthermore, a broader category can be considered between the range USD 60,000 and USD 80,000. This includes states like Washington, New York Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, North Carolina, etc.
  • However, do keep in mind that these figures are very much subject to change, given the varying factors of consideration.
Job Outlook
  • It is difficult to predict any kind of statistics for this profession, due to the variety of job options, i.e., you can work for a travel company, a travel magazine, television channel, freelance, etc.
  • The BLS predicts a comparatively slower job growth rate, i.e., around 3% for this profession, within 2012 to 2022.
  • Despite the slow growth, the competition in this field is surprisingly intense.
  • The job involves extensive traveling, since you will need to visit the places personally to write about them and give your personal views.
  • There is very well a chance that your company may or may not sponsor you for the entire trip in the beginning of the career, and you might face a few stumbling blocks. Eventually though, you will be able to establish yourself.
  • That said, you will have more responsibility with experience. As creative as it is, you will need to adhere to certain guidelines.
Every profession has a few pitfalls in the beginning; however, that does not mean you have to give up. If travel writing (or any job for that matter) intrigues you, you must pursue it with complete dedication. With the passage of time, you will be able to define your own style, and nothing can stop you from being a success.