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Travel Abroad

The Travel Writing Guide

So you want be a travel writer? Or a more successful one than you are?

The section of this site aims to provide information and opinions from a variety of angles, with no chirpy promises about how you'll travel around the world for free, and no sugar-coated advice followed by lots of exclamation points. Travel writing can be fun and rewarding, but like most anything worthwhile, doing it well takes a lot of dedication, study, and hard work. And the actual earnings are the last thing you will want to write home about. You can absorb these resources in any order you'd like, perhaps letting experience be your guide. Those of us who been working as travel writers for more than 15 years wish we could have had this kind of insider information back when we started. It would have saved us a lot of trial and error mistakes. Make the most of it! —Tim Leffel

  Travel Writing Articles and Resources
Travel Writing by Travel Writers
"There's simply no way to write about travel with any kind of authority unless you get a basic sense for what life on the road is like. Also, it will help if you travel in a dynamic way—opening yourself up to the unknown and interacting with the local cultures. I also advise—for anyone who is really serious about travel writing or even just experiencing the world in a more vivid way—to work a few years in a foreign country (keep reading Transitions Abroad for information on how to do this). This kind of expatriate experience immerses you in a culture in a way that mere travel cannot. Plus, it conditions you to interact with folks, even if you don't fully understand their language or customs." —Rolf Potts
The Seven Myths of Being a Travel Writer
Tim Leffel, a long-time contributing editor to Transitions Abroad, author of essential travel books such as The World's Cheapest Destinations, his award-winning travel blog, and the useful Travel Writing 2.0 book and blog, provides a realistic assessment on the possibilities of making travel writing a career which pays the rent, or even covers travel expenses and living abroad. He provides background information and resources for the perseverant who wish to make it happen.
Advice to Travel Writers: Make Travel Itself Your First Priority
Rolf Potts, often called the "Jack Kerouac of the Internet Age" and author of the inspiring immediate classic Vagabonding (as well as Marco Polo Didn't Go There: Stories and Revelations from One Decade as a Postmodern Travel Writer), offers ten practical tips for those who seek to work as travel writers.
How to Be a Travel Writer
Rick Steves offers advice to would-be travel writers and suggests that travel writers be generous and passionate teachers of travel, not travel agents.
Travel Writing for Fun and Profit
David Farley, author and teacher, offers reasons to take legitimate courses to get into travel writing either as a creative channel or as a way to make a living. David also provides resources linking to some of the best courses available to prospective travel writers.
8 Ways to Become a Better Travel Writer: Great Storytellers are Perpetual Students
Jesse Voigts makes the link to show how greatest storytellers learn throughout their lives to hone their art.
How to Write the Perfect Travel Article
Travel writer Martin Li provides inside travel writing tips for those who wish to publish their work. His advice is particularly useful for those with narrative travel writing ambitions.
How to Work Abroad as a Travel Writer
Tim Leffel provides practical tips to help you combine travel and living overseas with your passion and talent for writing, and is doing so himself.
Three Steps to Breaking into Travel Writing
Kelby Hartson Carr offers a practical guide for those new to travel writing. The good news is that there are more ways get started as a freelance travel writer than ever.

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Interviews with Travel Writers on Travel Writing
"As a writer, my first break came in 1998, when my travel story about Las Vegas appeared in Salon.com. Seeing my name in print was addictive, and by the end of the year I'd written five more stories for Salon. But the real break came in 1999, when I wrote a story called "Storming 'The Beach'" (a gonzo piece about the filming of a Leonardo DiCaprio movie in Thailand), which appeared as a Salon cover story. By that time I was traveling full-time on money I'd earned as an English teacher in Korea, so Salon offered me a gig as biweekly travel columnist. It was a nice arrangement: I gave them inexpensive content, and they gave me great exposure. The column really raised my profile and allowed me to move on to print magazines and books. But of course none of this success would have been possible without four years of writing failure leading up to 1998." —Rolf Potts
Interview with Rick Steves
The founding Publisher and Editor of Transitions Abroad, Clay Hubbs, asks the prolific travel writer and contributing editor Rick Steves what has influenced and still motivates his tireless work teaching and writing the gospel of independent travel.
Rolf Potts on Long-Term Travel: An Interview
Rolf Potts tells Transitions Abroad what motivates his travel writing and ponders the self-imposed limitations which prevent many from taking the plunge. He describes how both his work at home and abroad has supported years of worldwide travel.
Interview with Joe Cummings on Guidebook Writing
Joshua Berman manages to catch up with Joe Cummings in Chiang Mai, Thailand, and talks with the prolific and multi-talented Mr. Guidebook about how he does it and why.
Interview with Jen Leo
Jen Leo discusses with Transitions Abroad the origin and metamorphosis of her humorous mode of travel writing while referring to the ever-growing list of books she has authored and edited.
Joshua Berman and Randy Wood: Travel Writers
These two returned Peace Corps volunteers discuss with author John Coyne how they have extended their experience though their continued international volunteer work while developing their successful travel writing careers.
Extensive Archive of Interviews with Travel Writers on RolfPotts.com
Rolf Potts has conducted a series of interviews over the years with many of the top travel writers who offer their own unique takes and stories.
Interviews with Writers and Editors on the TravelWriting 2.0 Blog
Tim Leffel's excellent blog is the source of many interviews with writers, editors, and other people associated with the field, as well as his own useful editorial posts. Check out his book as well.

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Travel Writers' Top Ten Travel Book Lists
"Good writers are, by nature, good readers. Travel writers are probably even better readers, since they spend so much time in transit. Travel involves plenty of time waiting for transportation and killing time while in motion, with ample opportunities to read. In this section, successful travel writers point to the books that inspired them, moved them, made them laugh, or made a place come alive. For most of the participants, picking only 10 books was like picking their ten favorite places in the world--an excruciating decision. And even the most dedicated reader can only get to a fraction of the great books that have been written. By gathering these lists and descriptions together, however, over time we hope to offer a collective view of great travel writing and great writing about travel. Anyone looking for good mentors to follow will find plenty of worthy choices." —Tim Leffel
Tim Leffel's Top Ten Travel Books
Rolf Potts' Top Ten Travel Books
Jim Benning's' Top Ten Travel Books
Michael Shapiro's Top Ten Travel Books
Rory MacLean's Top Ten Travel Books
Ron Mader's Top Ten Travel Books
Ayun Halliday's Top Ten Travel Books

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Book Reviews on Travel Writing by Travel Writers
"Anyone who wants to be excel at something needs to study their craft and their market. This section provides reviews of books on travel writing, with the reviews written by people with a strong publishing history. Whether you are a novice or are well-known, these books will provide valuable advice and inspiration." —Tim Leffel
Michael Shapiro reviews Travel Writing by Don George and Charlotte Hindle
Tim Leffel reviews A Sense of Place by Michael Shapiro
Transitions Abroad reviews the eBook Become a Published Travel Writer by Martin Li
Transitions Abroad reviews Travel Writing 2.0: Earning Money from your Travels in the New Media Landscape by Tim Leffel

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