It’s been such a breath of fresh air to see more and more websites talking about six-figure freelance writing, and particularly six-figure travel writing, as a reality rather than a pipe dream, but I am still shocked by the various ways people who are not successful freelance writers deride the profession.
When I showed my book, The Six-Figure Travel Writing Road Map to someone who even works in travel—but not as a freelance writer—he took one look at the cover and said, “That’s ballsy.”
If people want to carry around these opinions for themselves—especially that travel writing doesn’t pay well—that’s great. Less competition for us. But bookmark this page for those times when you are traveling down your path to travel writing success and get sidelined by ones of these myths.
Because the only thing holding you back from your future as a successful freelance travel writer is not these worn out negative viewpoints, editors, clients, the economy, or anyone or anything else. You have complete control over your travel writing success.
Anyone Can Be a Travel Writer—It’s Just Going on Vacation
Anyone can be a travel writer. Right?
All you need to do is go on a trip somewhere, maybe take some pictures, and then sit down and write up what you did and what you saw.
So many people read something in The New York Times or National Geographic Traveler and think, “what’s the big deal? I could totally write this.”
But as a freelance travel writer, your job is not traveling, or even writing, though both of those things are of course fundamental. Your job is to run a business.
That is not what most people think they’ve signed up for when they think, “hey, I could write that.” And that’s great for all of us who are driven to learn those business skills to fulfill our fundamental need to travel and share our observations, experiences, and revelations with the world.
Travel Is Its Own Reward—You Can’t Earn Much Travel Writing
There is no fundamental misunderstanding about travel writing that pisses me off more than this.
Because travel writing seems like something anyone can do, so many people who need travel content think they can pay low rates for it, and they can. As long as they’re happy getting what they pay for.
No one can write great content and make a living writing $20 (or less!) travel blog posts, so this content is usually flat and filled with factual and grammatical errors. Some people have time to sort through all that chaff to get to the good stuff, but many don’t. They’re willing to pay to get it right away.
So, so many editors, website owners, and companies would rather pay a premium to have deliciously written, perfectly formatted travel content this week delivered to them without hand-holding and myriad rounds of edits. You just have to know where to find them.
Travel Writers Get to Go on Luxurious Free Trips All the Time
This is why we all do this job, right?
Isn’t the biggest perk of being of a travel writer regular invitations to sleep in the most luxurious hotel in Dubai or eat at Aspen’s top celebrity chef table or snorkel the Galapagos? All without paying a cent for the privilege?
Though these invitations certainly do roll in, most seasoned travel writers ignore the bulk of them. Because these trips are not really free. And they are certainly not vacations.
Replace your ideas of an island vacation with this vision: being scheduled from 8am to midnight every day frantically snapping photos, jotting down notes, and recording interviews on an itinerary you have no say in.
The people sponsoring these trips expect you to publish at least one article about your experience, and these days they often expect you to be constantly sharing on social media throughout.