Life As A Travel Writer

Unlimited Upside For Fun

I have been a travel writer, editor, and publisher for more than 24 years.

But I wasn’t always a travel writer. For 10 months, straight out of college, I was a computer tech writer.

It was a short-lived career, for I realized quickly that computer tech writing came with little upside for fun.

Travel writing, on the other hand, carries unlimited upside for fun, adventure, and, of course, travel.

If you have any wanderlust in your soul…and if you like to tell stories…travel writing can seem like a dream come true. I’ve been all over the world as a travel writer…from Uruguay to Hong Kong…from the Cayman Islands to Macau…from Madeira in the Med to China, the British Isles, Mexico…

And much of my travel, especially in the beginning, has been as someone’s guest–a government ministry of tourism, for example, or a PR agency for a cruise line.

My husband and I enjoyed a two-week, all-expenses-paid cruise, for example, from the coast of Spain to Gibraltar and the north coast of Africa…including several starry, sultry nights in Tangiers and Casablanca…

I’ve also cruised the Caribbean and the Yucatan coast of Mexico…I’ve been the VIP guest of hoteliers around the world from the Ritz in London to the Clifton Inn at Monticello Charlottesville, Virginia (a personal favorite). I’ve dined with the restaurateur’s compliments from Manhattan to the Latin Quarter…

Not only does travel writing allow you to travel more, but it also adds new dimensions to your travel. It can bring a financial element to your wanderings, of course, for you can, indeed, make a good living as a travel writer, but it does more than that.

Traveling as a travel writer helps to focus your attention. You pay more attention. You notice more. You ask more questions, so you learn more. Your travel experience is enriched. You get more out of every trip you take, because you’re able to penetrate quickly the tourist shell of a place. For you are not a tourist.

With your travel writer credentials, you gain access to places regular travelers can’t go. You receive invitations typical tourists never hear about.

The truth is, I didn’t realize I was landing a gig as a travel writer when I went to work for Agora Publishing nearly a quarter-century ago. I was young and eager for a change, so I jumped at a chance that turned out to be the most fortunate accident of my career…an accident that, literally, put the whole world within my reach.

I addressed a group of 35 aspiring travel writers a few nights ago here in Panama City. How do you become a published, paid, professional travel writer, they wanted to know.

First, like anything in life, I explained, you decide it’s something you want. You focus your sights and make some commitment.

Then you start writing. You can sit down at a laptop all on your own and bash out a story about your recent South American adventure, for example. And, if you keep at it and aren’t in any hurry to see your byline in print, maybe, eventually, you’ll be published.

But here’s a better idea: Get in touch with the group that put on the Lucrative Traveler conference here in Panama this past weekend. In addition to these writing seminars around the world, they also produce The Ultimate Travel Writer’s Program, a self-study guide put together by one of the best travel writers I’ve had the pleasure to know, Jennifer Stevens.

Years ago, Jen worked for me. She and I sat together, in the same office, side-by-side, editing copy and mentoring up-and-coming travel writers. Jen has packaged all her years of writing and editing experience into a program that shares techniques and secrets for getting your travel writing published.

Maybe you want only to write for yourself…to keep a travel journal as you move around the world.


But if you’d like to write for a wider audience and enjoy the benefits, advantages, perks, and upsides that can come with the travel writing life, this is the best way I know to get started.

Kathleen Peddicord