Writer's Digest


This article is printed here in its original form, as it was first published in 1989. —Ed.

If you’re a travel writer, sharing sojourns is your business. Placing readers on some mountaintop or beach is a prescription for making money from that Mexican vacation, African safari, or Greek island cruise you took last summer.

A successful travel article does more than conjure up unforgettable images and lead readers by the hand. It entertains, provides useful information, and tells the truth. If you fail to place your reader vicariously on that mountaintop or on that beach you’ve described, you will not sell your article in this competitive market.

Providing readers with a shared feeling for a destination is the essence of good travel writing. Even roundup pieces (such as “The 10 Best Romantic Hideaways”) and other informational features need spicing with the ambiance of a place. Tepid travelogues offering blow-by-blow accounts won’t do. Appeal to your readers’ senses and incite an emotional response. In doing so, you breathe possibility into your readers’ travel plans and make your destination come alive.

Here are four techniques I use to take my readers by the hand and show them how the places I visit really are.

Travel, after all, is about place.

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