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