How did you become a travel writer? How can I be a travel writer too? Do you just travel the world and write about it?
These are some of the questions I get by email or social media every week. Yep, it sounds like I have the best job in the world and actually, I can’t complain. But it was not easy to get where I am today. You don’t just wake up one day and say: “I’m going to write about traveling and make a living doing it”. People ask me for advice all the time, so I thought it was time to share a few tips with you, to explain how I do it and what you need to do in order to become a travel writer. This is the truth.
How I started building my resumé and my own brand
It happened during my last year of college. I was an exchange student at San Diego State University and was finishing up a double degree in Journalism and Media Studies. I thought my location was ideal to offer myself as a correspondent for media outlets in my country of origin, Spain. Thankfully, I had already been writing in a small blog network for a couple of years, so I had some professional experience before graduating. This is really important and what I always tell people to do: start writing as soon as you can. You need to write in smaller publications or blogs for several years before you can make it into the big ones.
I sent my resumé to every single media outlet I could think of, until one of them finally gave me my first chance to be a correspondent and keep building my portfolio. I started building a social media presence back in 2010 and have been growing my numbers since then. From San Diego I moved to a bigger market, Los Angeles, thinking it would be good for my career. And it took me 5 years in LA to accomplish everything I was pursuing.
It’s really important to put your name out there. I worked really hard trying to get exclusive content for my clients, and I also started coming up with viral stories as soon as I saw their potential for impact.
HOW I STARTED WRITING ABOUT TRAVEL
A few years later, Condé Nast Traveler in Spain reached out to me asking for a travel piece related to the Oscars. I rolled up my sleeves and started creating stories about suites a normal person could never spend the night at (just for rich celebrities :|) and explained where celebrities hung out in Los Angeles before attending the Oscars.
Back then, I didn’t pay that much attention to this opportunity until I went to visit my sister in Malaysia. That super-needed trip changed my life. We traveled to dozens of cities in three countries in just over two weeks, got to experience places tourists didn’t seem to know about, climbed up volcanoes, rode horses… That trip helped me realize what I wanted to do with my career, and a few months later CNTraveler asked me to be a monthly contributor, so I started pitching my best stories and I haven’t stopped ever since.
I love having the opportunity to share my travel experiences with millions of readers every month. It’s a reward in itself.
HOW I FINANCE MY TRIPS
Most people think I get invited to trips all the time and I just travel the world enjoying life. Not true and I wish!
It is true that I have been invited to several trips planned by cities that are promoting tourism or hotels that want to show me their new luxury properties in places you might have not heard of. I have also traveled A LOT working as a tech journalist. But as a professional travel writer, I try to avoid conflicts of interest and I finance most of my trips. The trick here is to save money and plan ahead of time.
Travel during the low season (it’s super cheap to fly around the world in February-April / September-November). Make sure to research the best deals to add points with your favorite airlines (that’s how I get free flights) and same thing with hotels.
I still work full time and develop digital strategies for a few clients because I like to keep myself really busy. It’s true that I travel a lot, but when I’m home in LA, I work 10-12 hours a day and I love it. Period.
HOW YOU CAN BECOME A TRAVEL WRITER
Now it’s your turn. Create a beautiful website with an astonishing design and start writing about your travels. Don’t forget to take breathtaking photos to share with your pieces and on social media (a professional camera is a plus). If you don’t know anything about building a website or how to get started in social media, remember I’m a Digital Strategist and can do business with you, so reach out to me!