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The ultimate guide to writing a travel article that resonates

Updated: Nov 30, 2023

Turn readers into customers with an expertly written article that transports them

to new places.

Writing about travel is a fundamental part of any travel or tourism business. This global, $9 trillion industry is built on experiences, on persuading travellers to part with their hard-earned money to explore and create memories - to enrich their lives but without anything tangible to show for it.

Your customers don’t end up with a product or anything physical to show for their investment in your business, so it is up to travel copywriters to inspire, persuade and drive action to show your target audience the real value of travel. It’s why many leading travel companies rely on the travel writing services of experienced copywriters, journalists, and even influencers to create content for their brands. Inspiring travel copy plays a key part in the sales funnel for any tourism-related business.

Great travel writing focuses on sensations, escorting readers to the clamour of an exotic marketplace, sharing the feeling of absolute desolation in expansive deserts and inspiring them to visit ornate temples where they are enfolded in the silence of contemplative prayer.

Those words have the power to inspire and drive action, to convince a reader to consider a new destination, a new airline, or a new hotel. It educates travellers, piques their interest, removes any barriers to purchase, and shows them why they should spend their hard-earned money on experiences, not products.

If you want to increase the content you produce to help your business rank in search engines and connect with your target audience, read on to :

Everything you need to know to write about travel

Establish your goal (and stick to it)

Of course, before you lift that pen (or open that fresh document), you must decide your true purpose and why you are writing. You might be selling tickets to an event, a new cruise itinerary or a package holiday not to be missed.

Perhaps you are trying to lend credibility to your brand and will be using real experiences and the art of travel quotes to inspire and connect. Maybe you are promoting a specific offer, need persuasive copywriting, or want to become the only place people come to for information about a specific destination and need an informative, immersive copy.

No matter your purpose, setting your ultimate goal and aligning the tone and structure of the article to fit in with it is crucial. Every line you write should be pushing toward your objective, and every word must convey your truth to the reader. You have limited words to spend and only a couple of lines to grab your reader’s attention. So knowing exactly why you are writing will allow you to focus.

Engage your audience

The first law of travel writing is to discover your story, the narrative you will play with to evoke emotions and heighten the passions of your reader. Will the story be one of romantic al fresco dinners and glasses of wine consumed below a sky studded with infinite stars? Perhaps, it's a story of sunsets shared on the colourful terraces of Greek tavernas and a leisurely stroll home through the winding cobblestone lanes of a village that time forgot.

Whatever the story is, your audience must believe it as fervently as you do. Setting the scene with an engaging header and first paragraph is key. Your audience must believe that they are in that marketplace and know why they are there. They must feel the heady scent of the strong incense, picture the vividly coloured fruits, and taste the juicy flesh of the mangoes.

If they don’t taste the succulent flavours of the freshly caught fish grilled over open charcoal stoves, feel the unrelenting heat of the sun, and see the intricate patterns of silk as the old woman manning the stalls holds them up with a hoarse shout, how will they believe anything else you say? We need them to want to stay in the market, to keep reading.

Set your scene, and introduce your narrative. Only then can your story begin.

Be vivid, be descriptive.

Evoking a feeling and developing an atmosphere will go further than a prosaic bullet-point list of tour highlights. There is no substitute for conjuring an emotion; this will create an imprint. If you are taking your readers on a journey to the peaks of the Himalayas, you need to describe the profound knowledge of the Sherpa, your guide, what you’ll learn along the way, and how this experience will enrich you.

Of course, we also have a purpose. To curate an entertaining and informative travel article, language must be manipulated and played with, but you must never forget that end goal. Keep your audience engaged so they want to become your client. Beautiful writing is one thing, but using standard flowery writing or clichés will only get you so far.

So while it’s important to evoke some emotion and describe the scene, the real priority is getting to the point and giving your audience the information they want. Yes, they want to know the sensation of exploring Bali rice paddies by bike, but are you telling them how they can do it as well? They may think it sounds lovely without that last part, but they won’t necessarily buy your tour.

Being specific will give you points if you want your reader to return when they need additional information.

- Show doesn't tell.

Instead of telling the audience that there’s a spa, describe the pure relaxation they’ll slip into with a full-body massage, the sweet fragrance of the ethically sourced essential oils and the soft, comforting feel of the fluffy white towels. Rather than commenting on the variety of dishes available, please describe how the experienced chef pays homage to his roots with a menu that blends traditional cuisine and modern gastronomic innovations, using only the freshest and most aromatic spices.

This doesn’t mean to imply that telling is never appropriate, just that learning to differentiate the two is critical. When writing a more immersive travel experience, perhaps for a blog, ‘telling’ can be a great way of moving the story forward and even signposting the direction so your readers aren’t confused.

A great travel article will keep switching between the detailed and dramatic descriptions of ‘showing’ and the more economical ‘telling’.

- Say it clearly

The ease with which someone can read your article is directly linked to whether they will remember it. Ultimately, your article should be enjoyable to read. The aim is inclusion versus exclusion - avoid esoteric language and superfluous adjectives.

Your message can lose strength if you are adjective-happy and the article is riddled with unusual, industry-related terms. And, remember – if you can describe something in a few words or several, always opt for fewer words. It’s stronger; a little goes a long way. Otherwise, people get bored, feel ignorant or disengage with their writing. And there are plenty of other distractions they can jump to, taking them away from your business.

- Tying it all together

The conclusion is where you leave a lasting impression. The strongest way to conclude is to return to where you started. Return to that message if you set the stage with India offering a symphony of culture or how Namibia is an ideal safari destination. Then, finish with a call to action, so your reader can make a booking right then and there.

- The takeaway

Know your goal, set your scene, be vivid and descriptive but direct, and show them. Research and read the best travel writing examples you can find for inspiration, and keep writing. Always.

Travel writing is an art hard to master

If it’s all a bit too much?, Contese has years of travel writing experience and knows that all this is easier said than done.

That’s why we offer expert travel writing services to businesses and travel brands struggling to find their voice and engage their audience. If you have a travel project that needs our storytellers’ magic touch, please reach out to our travel team led by Senior Travel Editor Sarah Gordon, and we’ll see how we can help.

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