I love travel writing, but the strangeness of the internet marketplace means that sometimes I have to write travel articles about places that I’ve never been to. I’ve now done several of these, and here’s what I have learned from the process.
As a writer you can make connections between what you have done and what you are writing about. Okay, so you may not have visited a water park in Tenerife, but you might have visited one in Disneyworld. You can use your memories of that experience to add local color and a bit of excitement to your writing about the new location. No matter where you go in the world, water parks, museums, parks and other places of interest have many of the same features, which you can use as a way of getting started.
It’s essential to do your research. Normally, I don’t recommend Wikipedia as a research resource, but I have found that their profiles of countries and cities are generally well researched, with verifiable sources. If you want a starting point for an overview of the history, climate, industry and main attractions, Wikipedia works well. I always double check the information there with information from the destination’s city or country guide site. These sites are also great places to find out about local amenities and annual events. A site that provides a good overview of these is Eventguide.com.
When it comes to describing the attractions and knowing what people really felt about them, you can’t do much better than TripAdvisor.com. You get a capsule description of the attraction and lots of great reviews. If 300 people found the same location amazing or awesome, then you are on firm ground when using those adjectives in your travel piece. You can usually find links to the attraction websites to get more information. This site also helps with nightlife, eating out and other aspects of a successful trip. Other resources I find useful are Yahoo Travel and the Lonely Planet site.
Once you have the right research resources, it’s relatively easy to put together a piece that will give readers information about the place of interest. I’ve travelled a lot, so I can use that experience to create some excitement for readers who are looking for information about a particular place. And since I love to travel, I am interested in learning about new places and excited about what they offer, so I don’t have to fake that fizz. I’ve also found some great new destinations as a result.