Travel Writing: 4 Tips for Finding Your Story - article

For the travel writer, arriving at the destination is the easy part. Now, you’ve got to decide where your story begins. Is it at the airport? The downtown market? The place where you eat your first meal? Let’s consider four helpful tips for finding your story.

  1. Start by oriented yourself to your location. Review maps, take a sightseeing tour, ride around on public transportation. Get a feel for the place, talk to the locals, get a flavor for the energy the city emanates.
  2. Change your perspective. Take a ferry boat, helicopter, incline, whatever your destination city has to offer. If you’re in Chicago, ride the “L”; San Francisco, the cable cars; New York, the subway. Make an adventure out of it; absorb the energy that is the place you’re in.
  3. Take a walk. Get an intimate view of the people, activities, buildings, scenery etc. There is nothing like walking to make you feel at one with the local culture. Stop into a bodega. Watch kids play soccer in a park. Get a cup of coffee from a mom and pop coffee shop. Think local, act local, be a local.
  4. Pay attention to detail with all your senses. How do people dress? Does the place have a distinct aroma? Is the city clean like Chicago, or dirty like New Orleans? Take it all in. Become one with the place you are going to write about.

Remember, whether you’re recording it or just taking notes, get it all. Don’t rely on memory. Take pictures, record sounds and, if you’re low tech, jot down notes. And interact, interact, interact. Don’t be a statue, be a resident. Ask locals for help, for directions, for information, whatever. This gives you an insight as to the vibe of the city and its people. All of this has one purpose and one purpose alone- to help you find your story. And once you do, you will be surprised when you realize how easy it is to share. And, more importantly, you’ll see how much readers and publishers what to hear what you have to say.

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  • Hi Giddy, how was your trip to NZ ??? Im new here and just finding my way around. What a great idea you had. Your writing might help find solutions !!! Ana
  • Great Article!!! I just found this Article that has given me ideas on a new type of writing :) Travel Writing might be interesting and fun. A great new adventure !!!
  • I love this piece of writing because it's just what I need at the moment. I'm planning a trip to New Zealand in November, (from Australia,) and I want to write an article on travelling for the disabled... difficulties with wheelchairs, etc. I travel with a carer and the stress he also suffers because of some of the difficulties, among other things, could be of interest to other people, thanks very much, Giddy
  • like it!! i appreciate it...