A 4-Step Guide to Travel Writing

This guest post was written by Ankita Kulkarni.

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page” - St.Augustine, circa 397, Letter 43.

Seeking new places with new eyes - with a renewed sense of curiosity and a thirst for knowledge - has led us humans as explorers on thousands of voyages over the years. From Christopher Columbus’s discovery of America, to Vasco De Gama’s discovery of India, to Thomas Cook’s first conducted tour of Switzerland, we finally arrive at the contemporary booming industry of travel and tourism. With the ever-blossoming travel industry, more and more people feel the need to share their wonderful journeys and experiences. Each person, each journey, each adventure is different; it is the sharing of these different stories that motivates other travellers to explore even the remotest parts of the world.

A travel writer is no one but a traveler searching for the right words to express his thoughts. You don’t need to be an expert writer with any kind of a journalist background to be able to reach out to other aspiring travellers. Travel writing can range from travelogues, memoirs, and guidebooks to simple travel blogs describing the specialty of a particular place and why others must visit it.

Here is a very simple four-step guide to help you write about your amazing travels:

1. Take a Trip!

The first and the most exciting step to writing a travelogue is traveling. It doesn’t matter if you travel ten miles or thousands of miles - what matters is the journey. Keep a small notebook with you all throughout the trip and note down every detail, small or big, and any unique or interesting fact or incidents that happen. These small details and interesting incidents will make a considerable difference to your travelogue. Take as many photos as you can, as this will later help you create a more realistic effect in your writing through describing the accurate details of that place.

2. Penning Down Your Journey

Putting your thoughts into words is not an easy task, but that does not mean that you should not be able to share them with your eager readers. Start by creating a simple structure of your travelogue. You might divide your writing into three distinct parts, i.e. ‘Introduction’, ‘Main Body’, and ‘Conclusion’. Under each of these main points, write down the sub-points which you would like to include in each section. This will help you structure and categorise your thoughts as well as help you create an outline for your travel writing.

3. Making it Interesting

Your journey will be filled with many exciting events. But how do you decide which details to include in your travelogue? It is not necessary to describe every leg of your journey. You can make your piece more interesting by mixing up the personal experiences with the specific details about the place such as the location, historical facts, weather etc. You can start off your piece by describing a particularly exciting scenario and slowly move it into the helpful details, such as how you reached that place (means of travel). This will help capture your reader’s attention at the beginning itself and the intertwined chemistry of personal experience with helpful information will create a perfect balance in your story, thus making it relatable as well as informative for your readers.

4. Narration

The most important part of your travelogue is the narrative technique. A first-person narrative is always the most effective while writing a travelogue. It is important that your readers follow your journey through your own eyes rather than a third person narrative. You can help your readers feel connected to your journey by describing the exhilaration you felt when you were looking down in the valley or swimming in the vast sea. Even though there are no strict rules to writing - as it stems from the creative part of your brain - it is always advisable to have a structured narrative where all the events are described in proper chronological order. It is also important to keep the language as simple and straightforward as possible. All of this will help your readers to follow your story and keep them engaged.

I wish you the best with your travel writing! As referenced by St. Augustine in the quote above, there are many pages left to explore!