I bet when you think travel writer, you think of a glamorous, adventurous, non-stop go-getting lifestyle. I’m sure you imagine months in Morocco, selfies with the Taj Mahal, perfect mountain vistas, white sandy beaches, and crumbling temples. But I’m here to tell you that you can make any place as exciting as the big-ticket destinations. No matter your budget, time, or fancy photography know-how, here are a few tips to make your own town as flashy and exciting as a tour around the globe. Let’s face it, when it comes to travel writers, few actually get paid the big bucks to travel the world. It’s mostly an industry built around happenstance. You happen to be going to Costa Rica, you write a book. You happen to live in one of the most beautiful corners of the world, you start an Instagram followed by thousands. You don’t have to have millions of dollars or a fancy camera to make your little slice of the world as drool worthy as a Paris getaway. All it takes is a little creativity.
- Find your Local
I decided to start my travel blog, Nerd of the North based on my experiences as a seasonal worker. I was seeing gorgeous vistas every day and I wanted a platform to share with my friends and family back home. I’m no longer in Alaska. I’m in small town Wisconsin. But that’s not stopping me. No matter where you are located, I guarantee you, there’s something unique to write about. Think about the places you visit time and time again. The little shops or restaurants. The parks and trails. The sports and recreational activities. The festivals and fairs. What puts your hometown or city on the map?
- Talk to People
It’s one thing to write about your community and promote its quirky stores and cafes. But talking to people, finding the stories that stand out and incorporating the personal touches in your writing will help make your blog authentic and marketable. Anyone can google the top ten coffee shops in Seattle, but you might have a story about the owners of your favorite coffee shop that will wow.
- Take Pictures. Even If You Don’t Have A fancy Camera
When I moved back home for the winter season, I was a little uninspired. I went from mountains, oceans, and forests to farm country USA. But you can make your backyard as enticing as an ocean view. A camera phone is all I had to take the pictures you see on this blog. Look for photo tips on Youtube to learn the basics of light and angles. Here are some examples of photos I took of my boring old local area. A good photo doesn’t have to mean fancy tech. It’s a building, view, or setting that you personally want to capture. You can spruce it up with a few editing touches, and voila, picture perfect and travel blog ready.
- Play the Tourist
It might seem silly to go around your local town and pretend to be a tourist, but to sell your local like a travel writer, thinking like a tourist is key. Is there a tour, museum or landmark that you’ve known about for ages but just never bothered to check out? Go! Take pictures, talk to people, if you find yourself with other tourists, what are they getting out of it? Instead of sitting around thinking there’s nothing to do while coveting travel blogs about gondola rides in Venice, or white water rafting in New Zealand, that pumpkin patch a county over has plenty to offer even if it seems blasé and uninteresting.
- Love the Day Trip
You might not have the time or money to hop on a plane and head to Japan for a few days. But you probably can take a day trip somewhere unexpected. The day trip is one of my favorite things to do. You still get the feel like you are a jet setting travel writer, heading to a new place, but without nearly as much hassle or cost. A road trip to nowhere in particular might lead you to the coolest little diner you didn’t even know existed, or the world’s oldest water park, or maybe a local vodka distillery in the middle of Wisconsin. All interesting touches that will add some oomph to any travel blog.
These are just five tips to help shape a local travel blog. You don’t need thousands of dollars or weeks of vacation time to be a travel writer. A few articles highlighting the unique places you love to visit with some pictures and a little creativity is all it takes.