Writing Travel Articles – A Case Study


Writing Travel Articles That Get Published

To write a successful travel article that has a good chance of being published you need to do a number of things over and above writing the piece. You must above all else consider how the angles you take with it may be affected by the publications to which you’d like to pitch it, and who their target market may be.

The Travel Article Concept

Here is my idea for an 800-1500 word travel feature

I propose an 800 – 1500 word feature article on extension destinations when traveling to Bali. An ‘advice feature’ defining various add-on locations to a holiday in Bali. Destinations would include Lombok Island, Nusa Lembongan Island and The Gilis Islands group.

For each destination, discuss – is this a day-trip or extended stay? What does the location offer travelers – activities, accommodation types, dining options, transport options, spa and wellness facilities? What are the specific points of interest for each location? Look at Fishing, diving & snorkeling, nature parks, eco-excursions, water-sports etc for each island option.

Discuss cultural aspects of the destinations and briefly address any items of historical significance. Briefly address the ecological aspects of the various islands – the impact of tourism. Advise on getting to each destination – options available by sea or air, costs and time frames for travel.

Sidebars and breakout-boxes for the article would include:

  1. Best accommodation options in budget, medium and luxury categories for each destination.
  2. Tours and activities available at each location.
  3. Dining and nightlife activities for each destination.

The Purpose

Travel articles fulfil two main purposes. The first one is that they provide useful and practical information to the reader. People read travel articles because they want to know whether they should visit a destination.

The main questions (amongst hundreds) they want answered are: Why should I go there? What are the attractions; nature, shopping, sports, culture, etc? How do I get there? What are the people like? Where should I stay? When should I go? How much is it going to cost me?

No matter where the destination – whether it’s one hour’s drive from where you live, or across the other side of the globe – all of these questions can and should be answered in a travel article about that destination.

Writing Travel Articles – The Angle

Bali is a great destination for people who are looking for a n exotic and tropical getaway. The best angle and audience for this story would be to target it a group of people with special interests, such as couples, retirees or families, etc. as you have done.

Carefully consider the publications you will target for your article – when you are targeting an audience, you should always think about people who know nothing of the subject.

Help The Reader Escape

The second purpose of a travel article is to help people ‘escape’ to the destination you are writing about. Quite often, people who have no intention of going anywhere read travel writing purely for the purpose of being transported somewhere for ten minutes. Great travel writing should take the reader somewhere just for the cover price of the newspaper or magazine.

This means that the most important aspect of your writing in a travel article is to ‘show’ the reader what they could expect.

What Can The Reader Expect

It’s important when to describe everything about what it is like to travel to Bali, visit the different parts of the island, swim at the beaches, go diving, tour the countryside, visit the nature parks, visit the historical attractions of the areas, shop in the markets, stay in the resorts, visit the spas, eat in the cafes and restaurants, stay in the accommodation, meet the locals, do the things and see the attractions that make the destination unique – the sights, sounds, smells, etc.

If your writing contains these descriptions and plenty of useful information for the prospective traveller then, when combined with quality photographs, your travel feature will come alive, and be a very attractive purchase for an editor.

Here is what I think will make good photographic illustrations

Photos for the article would primarily illustrate the scenic aesthetics of each destination – beaches, coral reefs etc. Other photos might include – accommodation, activities and tours (water-sports, diving etc), local people, cultural images and dining (food).

I don’t believe this article would necessarily have any more interest to a publication with specialised readership. In saying that, there is potential interest for specialized publications addressing features on island-style travel, Asian holiday destinations, or regional destinations for Australian travelers. I believe the article would have general interest and not be categorised as regional interest only.

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