THE STATIC TRAVEL WRITER

With a place to stand and a long enough lever, Archimedes claimed he could move the world.

Stay right where you are! You can move the world using the written word as leverage.
World travel is fine for the unfettered freelance writer who can pack at the drop of an airline ticket. But those of us who are necessarily more grounded can be travel writers simply by staying put.

Let your readers do the travelling – to your neck of the woods. It may be home to you, but to the rest of the world it's "abroad". You don't need to drink coffee in the States and write about being sleepless in Seattle. For far less effort you can tell overseas readers how to get legless in Luton.

Your Homework
Tourist boards, local newspapers and local councils all have an interest in promoting your area. Perhaps your regional newspaper has a summer holiday supplement. Some one has to write it. If the paper doesn't have the staff to cover it, why shouldn't that some one be you?

Does your local tourist board have its own publication? Find out if they use freelances. It doesn't hurt to ask.

When studying the travel writing market, learn to distinguish between travellers and tourists. Many publications cater for the one but not the other. But that doesn't mean you can't write about the same topic for both markets. Just give the same idea a different bias geared to each publication.

A Sideways Look at Travel
Think laterally: women's magazines, county magazines, general interest and "lifestyle" publications may all find space for a tourism article. I once wrote a busman's holiday article about my home county for The Smallholder. A review of local farming attractions, it was aimed at the small farmer.

Perhaps your local shopping area is the best for miles around. It may boast a particular type of shop, such as local crafts or antiques. A specialist magazine might be prepared to use a travel article if it's geared to its readers' particular interest.

There may be an influx of visitors to your area at certain times of the year. Perhaps you live near the sea. In that case you're better qualified than most to write about bucket-and-spade seaside holidays.
 
Flights of Fancy
If you live anywhere near an international airport, you must be close to a destination for at least one major airline. Check out the in-flight magazines of these companies then offer them an article about your area.

Let the Train Take the Strain
Do you live within easy reach of a railway station? Then source a cheap ticket and write about the journey.  It doesn’t take much imagination to come up with some interesting day trips which include a linear journey.


Take the Strain off the Train
Motoring or bus and coach travel will be of interest to many visitors to your region, especially if you live in an area of great scenic beauty. Take your reader along the scenic route. Do you have magnificent hills, beaches, forests or even gardens in best-kept villages? So write about them. Photograph them too.

The Great Outdoors
Maybe you live near a health spa or outdoor centre, or the area is famous for some healthy outdoor activity. You're probably in a good position to write about dangling from a rope or about hill walking on a shoestring. Tell your readers the best place to hire a bike or to stop for refreshments.

If you live near the coast or on a river, articles on messing about in boats can readily be given a travel angle.

Happy Campers
Perhaps you're a family orientated writer and have experiences you can share on caravanning or camping with the kids. There are lots of magazines aimed at this market keen to hear about personal experiences.


Memory Lane
The "mature" market might well be interested by a "then and now" article using old and new photographs of the same area. Old postcards can provide the "then" aspect. If you don't have any of your own, a local collector may be prepared to loan items from his collection. Just don't lose them – I hate to see a grown man cry.

Have Wheelchair – Will Travel
Does your area have a reputation for treating people with disabilities sympathetically? If so try your luck with an article covering the facilities for the disabled at local attractions.


Museum Piece
Ask yourself: Who lived here? Or, better still, who died here? Did they leave their ghosts to weep and wail and wring out blood-soaked clothing?

Is there a museum where you live? Try paying it a visit. You may find out something you didn't know before about your home territory. Use your newfound knowledge as a springboard for articles.

The Pub Crawl
Does your area boast historic or beautiful pubs or haunted hostelries? Does your local pub host an annual beer festival, folk festival or other event of a vaguely cultural nature?

Try going on a pub-crawl – strictly in the name of research, of course. In the absence of any cultural activity, you can always write a critique of the local ales and let prospective visitors benefit from your experiences.

Cheers!

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Article by wordmate

Mary Cook is a freelance writer and former newspaper reporter. Her short stories, poems and articles have appeared in numerous publications, both in print and online. Her main writing interests are humour, horror, and the craft and business of writing.
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