The Average Day in the Life of a Travel Writer
During a lovely interview for the Great Escape Publishing podcast (I’ll share it with you as soon as it’s out), the host asked me one of the most difficult questions for travel writers:
What is your average day like?
I particularly struggle with this question as, to me, it’s counter to one of the main reasons I do this job: No two days are ever, ever alike (unless you really want them to be!).
But since we are extremely committed to sharing the nitty-gritty details about how travel writing really works, I want to share something on this topic here for those that are curious.
The two travel writer days below are both mine and excepted from The Six-Figure Travel Writing Road Map, which you can now get three chapters of to preview:
In Chapter 8 on the travel writer’s life, I include another of my mixed travel and writing “days” along with “days” from several other full-time travel writers along with tips for working on the road and making the most of your travel, writing, and pitching time.
Travel Writer’s Day #1
There are essentially two types of work days as a travel writer, meeting days and work days. There are also, of course, travel/exploration days, but those are tied to your itinerary.
I try to keep writing and meetings as separate as possible to maximize both productive time and resting time. I’m either working in a writing capacity and resting in a talking/socializing/interviewing capacity or visa versa.
This day log is from a week when I was traveling in Ireland and had 10 magazine articles to turn in:
- 10: up late after a 10-hour driving day touring the Ring of Kerry and Ring of Skellig and then returning to Dublin
- 10-12: checked and responded to emails, pulled up research for articles, and got ready to go out
- 12-12:15: walked through Trinity College to cafe to set up and work for the afternoon
- 12:15-12:45: started writing one column
- 12:45-2:50: started writing a two-article destination package
- 2:50-3:10: took a break from writing to try to plow through my overflowing inbox
- 3:10-3:50: finished one column
- 3:50-4:45: finished destination package
- 4:45-5: started another column
- 5-5:45: walked across town to another cafe, got a little lost, took pictures of and notes on an area I think would be good for a department in a magazine that I want to break into
- 5:45-7:55: plowed through email and cleaned out inbox, setting interview appointments for the following week and making hotel and Airbnb bookings for my destination for the next week
- 7:55-8:30: went back to hotel to drop off laptop and change before meeting a local journalist who took us on a pub crawl of iconic Dublin pubs
- 8:30-11:15: pub crawl and dinner
- 11:15-11:50: packed for flight the next day
- 11:50-12:30: set up photos from PRs and edited my own photos for the feature articles I still needed to write
- 12:30-1:30: outlined both features and started writing intros and a few sections
Travel Writer’s Day #2
- 8:30-10:30: up, responded to emails, got ready to go out, cooked some food for a dinner with friends and their kids in the evening, cleaned the house, set the table for dinner
- 10:45-12:30: tried to take train downtown to work from a cafe before some meetings, but was not running, so I hopped on the bus and did one interview while on the bus, then went through email to confirm rest of my appointments for the day
- 12:30-2:15: networking lunch with someone from Budget Travel; she ran late because of a snow storm in the morning, so I move my 2 p.m. call back
- 2:30-4:30: set up shop in a cafe nearby, did eight 15-minute interviews for upcoming stories, called several sources who no-showed in last two days to reset calls, caught up on email and set appointments for the following week
- 4:30-4:55: talked to an aspiring travel writer who has heard my phone calls and may be interested in coaching, then headed back towards my house
- 5:30-6:10: stopped in a cafe for one last espresso and a quick article outlining session
- 6:10-6:30: walked home
- 6:30-bed: dinner and board games with friends; informally interviewed friend about a destination for an upcoming article