Becoming a Travel Journalist and what to Consider before Choosing to be one.
Travel Journalist: It is a dream of a lot of people to travel the world. But have you ever wondered what it would be like when you get paid to travel? You must be thinking about what could be a better job than this.
However, the reality is not that foolproof. You can actually get this as a travel journalist. A travel journalist is someone who travels to different places, explores them, studies about their culture and then writes about it.
The field of Travel Journalism has its own challenges. If you have a passion to travel and are ready to compromise on financial stability, then you can break into this career.
There are a lot of things which you will have to plan before signing your job letter. This will allow you to travel. In this article, you shall learn more about travel journalism. This is to guide you as you make your decision of being one. But first, who is a journalist?
Who is a Journalist?
A journalist is a person who collects, writes, photographs, processes, edits or comments on news or other topical information to the public. A journalist’s work is called journalism. Also, a journalist is a reporter.
Also, depending on context, the term journalist may include various types of editors, editorial-writers, columnists, and visual journalists, such as photojournalists (journalists who use the medium of photography).
Things to Consider Before you choose to be a Travel Journalist
To help you make an informed decision, listen. We have put down a list of conditions you must consider before you sign in for the travel journalist job:
Get ready for a lot of exertion
If you go out on a trip once every few months, you enjoy it a lot because it acts as a break from your regular schedule. However, when you start working as a travel journalist there is no schedule because all you do is travel.
Also, it is mentally tiring too. Many times you will be shifting from place to place continuously which will restrict you from any kind of rest or comfort.
Also, you should be able to easily adapt to the changes in the environment and should be mentally prepared to get out of your comfort zone.
You may not make a lot of money
It is a myth that travel journalists are paid a lot and all their travel expenses are covered by the company they work for.
The field of Travel Journalism doesn’t guarantee a lot of money especially at the start of the career and you can’t expect much pay because there will be thousands of people out there who would do your work for free.
Also, there is no stability in your income as well as your job. Many times companies need stories and the travel to inspire those stories is free of cost but you don’t get paid for your efforts. And the budget for the trip is usually tight and you may have to incur the cost of a lot of expenses made on the road.
You may start feeling alone
Travel journalism is considered as a ‘lonely profession’ because it is not always necessary that you travel with a team.
Also, you will have to travel alone, eat alone, stay in the hotel room alone and wander cities alone. You may start finding your job a bit boring after a while. Even when you are not traveling you usually work alone, generally from home.
You don’t get much time for your loved ones
Since you keep on traveling, you don’t get much time to spend with your friends and family. There is a probability that you don’t even get a chance to go home for months. Hence, you need a supportive family if you really want to get into the profession of Travel Journalism.
Also, you can’t take your loved ones along because traveling is a part of your job and not a vacation. Additionally, after some time you may get frustrated because you start missing your friends, family and some important events.
It is time-consuming
Travel journalists don’t just have to write a story, there are a lot of other works involved in the whole process.
Also, as a freelancer you will have to search for a good place, research about the destination, calculate the budget, plan ways to travel, click photographs, know about the culture and then will have to promote your work to reach masses.
The whole process requires a lot of effort as well as time.
You don’t always get the work you want
It takes a lot of effort to pitch an idea to the editor and even if your idea is brilliant, it may get rejected.
There could be multiple reasons like- the organization does not have a big budget, your idea does not match the magazine’s theme, the destination is unusual and the target audience would not be interested to know about it, etc.
Also, you could be sent to a place you don’t really want to go and you will have to do a lot of activities which you don’t really enjoy.
Additionally, many times you will not even get a chance to travel, you will just be asked to research the destinations from the office and write about them as the organization demands.
Some Tips to Becoming a Travel Journalist
Below are some tips to becoming a travel journalist:
Choose the right course of study
You can go for a four-year general journalism degree at a top journalism school, which will certainly open doors.
OR (to save a boatload of money) consider an online writing course specifically for travel journalism (as well as travel photography) such as How to Become a Travel Writer, which can open the RIGHT doors.
A degree is NOT necessary
If you’re looking for a steady-paycheck type of job, it can make a difference, as typically when a job opening is announced, often the majority of applicants are those with journalism degrees and many years of experience that qualifies them.
Consider an internship
Sometimes the best way into a staff job at a media outlet is to start as an intern. And although interns are often selected from an applicant pool filled with journalism or communications students, it’s not always the case.
Sometimes those with good writing skills, a passion for the job, and a positive and enthusiastic mindset will get the internship. It’s a great way to learn the ropes and build a network (see below) of industry contacts.
Also, sometimes you have to create your own internships. Thus, if a travel writing internship isn’t advertised, call an Editor at a publication (online or offline) that you’d like to work for and offer to be an intern.
Decide the type of travel journalism
Decide the type of travel journalism you would like to pursue. Such as newspapers, magazines, television, or online — each has a different style and requires different skills.
Start small, with your local paper
Start small. And do this with your local paper. Or a local magazine – read enough back issues to see what types of stories and articles they generally published, and what they’ve not published lately – if you can provide them with something that fits, contact the editor and pitch your idea.
Other Tips to Becoming a Travel Journalist are:
Develop a network of other travel writers, editors, and publishers. The best way to do this is to attend writing workshops and writers conferences. This is where you can continue your education, learn to improve your writing, and make new professional contacts.
Also, consider a mentoring relationship like the one offered by Roy Stevenson. He offers both group and one-on-one coaching. But be sure to scroll down to view his requirements. This is not a writing course but a coaching class for working writers.
The above are guides on how to become a travel journalist.
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