What Is a Travel Journalist? (With How-to Steps and Types)
By Indeed Editorial Team
Published November 6, 2022
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
You can pursue a career as a journalist and choose a writing niche according to your interests. If you have an interest in travelling and possess writing and reporting skills, you can consider a career in travel journalism. Learning about the various types of jobs in this field and the skills relevant to success in this area can help you decide if it's a suitable career choice. In this article, we define a travel journalist, discuss types of travel journalism, outline steps for pursuing this career path, and highlight useful skills for such professionals.
What is a travel journalist?
A travel journalist focuses on creating content involving travelling or the tourism industry. These professionals may write about people, destinations, cultures, history, or events related to a particular location. They inform their audience of places they visit for diverse reasons and interesting activities they take part in when they visit these places. A travel correspondent or journalist generally works for media companies or large publications or as a freelancer. An editor may ask these professionals to cover specific regions or topics or they may choose what they want to write about. The responsibilities of a travel correspondent include:
featuring breaking news that's happening at a location and filing reports for live broadcasting
researching locations and events to feature in future assignments
conducting interviews with experts from various fields, including government officials and travel industry representatives
writing pieces that describe a destination's events, culture, and history
contacting and interviewing sources who can give information about local attractions and events
analyzing videos and photographs other journalists take to determine which image may be suitable for broadcast
creating digital programs for various audiences, including businesses, families, or senior travellers
conducting phone interviews with researchers and writers who aren't physically present
Types of travel journalism
The following are some travel journalism types to consider:
Freelance travel journalism
Freelance travel journalism involves working with several publications and building sustainable relationships with editors. Many travel correspondents work as freelancers and pay for their travel expenses. Their work may feature in various forms on websites, in publications, and in periodicals. These forms can include travel guides, reviews, or articles. A freelance travel correspondent sells their stories to publication houses for a stipulated amount. A client typically assigns them to cover a particular location or event.
Staff travel journalism
A publication may recruit a journalist with expertise and several years of experience to work as an in-house writer. The employers cover these professionals' travel expenses. A company editor typically assigns topics or regions for these professionals to cover. A staff travel correspondent may also work for media houses and deliver standard content. Their content represents various categories, such as features, news, columns, and reviews. They also attend events, seminars, and conferences.
Trade travel journalism
This type of journalism focuses on the tourism and travel industries. A trade travel correspondent publishes work for public relations staff at hospitality venues, such as cruise lines, hotels, and resorts. They also work toward featuring on tourism boards. As tourism is typically a large international industry, these professionals may get access to a wide range of audiences with diverse backgrounds.
A travel author writes books about travel and tourism spots in different regions. These professionals may also write travel guides and journals. The books and guides they write typically require updates, as there are constant changes around the regions they write about. This creates ample opportunities for travel authors and editors.
This form of travel journalism provides a story of a region's experiences, events, and culture through a first-person narrative. A travel blogger provides a recount of their travel experiences to readers. This form of travel journalism typically requires honesty and transparency, as readers can get an idea of what to expect when they visit these places.
How to be a travel correspondent
Here are five steps you can follow to start a career as a travel correspondent:
1. Complete your education
While an undergraduate qualification may not be a requirement to work as a travel correspondent, you can complete a relevant degree or diploma program to develop your knowledge and skills and gain a competitive advantage in the field. If you intend to work full-time at a publication or media house, you can consider taking courses, such as mass communication or journalism. This can help create more opportunities for you in this sector.
2. Start an internship
A strategy for gaining practical experience in journalism is to start an internship at a publication or media house. An internship program enables you to develop your skills and expertise by shadowing experts in the field. You can also leverage an internship opportunity to build a network or get a mentor that can help your career advancement in the sector. They may also inform you of unposted upcoming positions for which you may apply. You can also seek an internship independently. For example, you may contact an editor at a publication directly and offer to intern for a set period.
3. Choose a type of journalism to practice
As there are different types of travel journalism, you can choose one that suits your career objectives. After gaining relevant experience and skills through an internship program, you may decide to work as a freelancer who collaborates with several publications. Alternatively, you may apply to be a staff travel correspondent at the publication you interned. Depending on your preferences, skills, and goals, you may also consider working as a travel author or with magazine and television companies.
4. Build a network
Developing a network of other travel writers, publishers, and editors may aid your career advancement. You can achieve this by attending writing conferences or workshops where you can interact and connect with other professionals in the field. As you learn from these professionals, you can improve your writing and get access to unadvertised opportunities in journalism.
5. Promote story ideas
You can keep a list of ideas and topics you want to discuss and regularly send proposals to editors. Focus on crafting timely articles with a compelling introduction and follow up with the editor after sending your proposal. You might do research to discover the type of articles they publish and the content they don't publish. Write an article or piece that fits the publication's content and contact the editor. You can also consider visiting job boards to find other opportunities.
Skills of a travel correspondent
Here's a list of skills travel correspondents can leverage to perform their various duties:
Travel correspondents typically research locations, transportation, activities, and accommodation to ensure they gather relevant information to write an engaging and detailed piece. These professionals may also research background stories, barriers, cultural diversity, and environmental factors of the regions they write about to ensure they provide context and important details for readers. They possess effective research skills that enable them to gather relevant information for their audience and add value to their story.
As working as a journalist typically requires effective writing skills, travel correspondents are proficient at recounting their experiences and that of others. These professionals can write in various tones and styles and can explain information in a way an audience may understand. Travel correspondents also possess extensive editing skills that enable them to identify grammatical and typographical inconsistencies that may disrupt a story's flow.
Travel correspondents typically possess effective time management skills to meet deadlines and complete their tasks on time. They leverage time management skills to ensure they prioritize their tasks and prevent delays. As these professionals may work on several projects simultaneously, managing their time well helps ensure they submit quality tasks.
Travel journalism typically involves gathering information from different sources and interviewing experts in various fields. With practical communication skills, travel correspondents can interact with several sources and gather the information necessary to write a piece. These professionals ask open-ended questions during these interviews to encourage the interviewee to provide adequate information on the topic. They also possess active listening skills that allow them to listen and understand the information the interviewee shares with them. With excellent communication skills, a travel correspondent can craft an engaging piece that an audience can understand.
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