Travel Writing Do’s and Don’ts

You say you took a great trip, and now you want to write about it?  Good for you!  That’s one of my favorite types of writing.  May I offer some Do’s and Don’ts I’ve learned from experience?

DO:

  • …use short words, short sentences, and short paragraphs.
  • …focus on what in your trip was interesting and different.
  • …keep all your senses open for things that will bring your readers along on your trip with you.  Things such as the aroma of Indian curry cooking, the sound of peacocks calling in the early morning, the taste of a fresh mango pulled from a tree.
  • …feel free to include interesting historical tidbits about the place. But be certain those facts are accurate. A detail may seem small and unimportant to you, but someone will know.
  • …read your writing over aloud.  Ask yourself, “If I hadn’t been there, would this writing make me want to go?”

DON’T:

  • …write in the first person.  Readers aren’t really interested in your thoughts and feelings.  They want to be carried away on their own vicarious trip.
  • …state the obvious.  If the waves roll up on the sand… if the rain soaks the ground… if the flowers bloom–guess what?  That’s what waves and rain and flowers do!
  • …use clichés. Hawaii is a paradise. You can read the residents like a book. India is a fabled land.
  • …overuse adjectives: an awesomely wondrous trip, an exhaustingly straight-up climb into the clouds, a fearsomely ferocious bear of an animal.
  • …try to impress your readers with your amazing vocabulary.  The waiter was audaciously impudent, impertinent and insolent.

One more DO:  Get started on your travel piece.  Armchair travelers are waiting!

“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.”

~St. Augustine”

 

 

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