What Makes a Good Travel Writer?

This is a guest post by Dave Tomlinson.
For me, the most obvious requirement of a good travel writer is that they write about real-life, true experiences. If people are reading fictional accounts of something that never happened written by someone who’s never been there it suddenly all becomes rather meaningless. My travel stories are completely true and related exactly as they happened; nothing has been contrived or exaggerated.
As the reader of a travel book, you want to feel that you’re taking the journey with the writer. In your mind’s eye, you want to see the sights and people being described, hear the sounds and even sense the smells. Words need to bring scenes and experiences vibrantly to life to leave the reader amused and amazed. Dull travel writing does nothing to inspire anyone!  
Writing about travel destinations or experiences is different to a fictional novel. A good travel writer will keep the story moving instead of losing the reader in superfluous detail. All the tales in my recent book have been related and edited to 500 words. This decision was made to keep readers engaged and captivated through each adventure and hopefully from cover to cover! Whether its an adventure to an iceland waterfall or a tropical beach, intelligent writing will keep readers hooked and make them feel closer to these locations they’ve never been to before.
Good travel writing should be informative. Aside from being entertaining, I want my readers to learn something about places they’ve never been. So aside from relating my exploits, I also include many relevant or quirky facts and historical information in my writing. This creates a more interesting and fulfilling reading experience while also leaving the reader more knowledgeable and enlightened.
Travel, in the true sense is not simply seeing things. It is a unique cultural experience that includes people, places, food and so much more. The best travel writing captures this diversity and offers it to the reader with energy and passion. It’s entertaining and stirs wanderlust. After reading a good travel story, you’ll probably sit back and think “wow, I’d love to go there and do that!”

Dave Tomlinson is originally from beautiful New Zealand and now lives in Brisbane, Australia. His passion for travel, outdoor adventure, and cultural understanding has seen him explore over 50 countries across 5 continents of the world. He’s used his love of travel to create a website and write two books. Travel Unravelled is a guidebook for traveling the world on a budget and Around the World in 80 Tales is a collection of his experiences doing exactly that! 


Do you agree? Disagree?