Home / Digital Nomad Lifestyle / Creating Your Dream Job: How to Become a Travel Writer Part 1

Creating Your Dream Job: How to Become a Travel Writer Part 1

If you enjoy writing and love to travel, the life of a freelance travel writer is an absolute dream. Imagine travelling all over the world and having amazing experiences, while getting paid to express them in words and share them with others. As a travel writer you will often get lots of sweet perks, such as free hotel stays, exclusive opportunities for activities and much more. You get to make their own schedule, choose what you want to write about, and be your own boss. There is no thrill like seeing your article featured on a popular blog or seeing your name in print in your favorite travel magazine. It’s true, being a travel writer is one super cool bad-ass career.

Do you dream about being a travel writer? If this sounds like your ideal lifestyle, it just might be the career for you. However, you had better…

Dog Sledding

Get Ready to Work Like a Dog

Getting into the freelance writing business is not for the lazy, as you must first work your butt off to earn the privileges described above. When you see an article by a freelance writer in a big name magazine and newspaper, chances are that it is not the first piece they have ever written. They will have had likely had to work their way up in the freelance world by working hard, continuously improving themselves, and perhaps taking on projects were not exactly their passion. They will have earned their respected status and perfected their writing until it was at a standard to be featured in a prestigious publication. It is important to remember that this doesn’t happen overnight and that it takes dedication and hard work.

In the beginning, you will have to do all kinds of articles, even the ones that are not very good pay or not really about a subject you are interested in. Do them gladly and do your very best on each one. They are what will prove your worth as a writer. The more you do, the better assignments you will get, until you are writing about things which inspire you all day long.

If you are going into travel writing just to make money, don’t bother. You will become frustrated with the amount of work it takes to establish yourself in the industry and you will give up long before it becomes worth it. If you go into a career like this for any other reason than a true and honest passion for travel and writing, you are bound to fail. It is only when you love what you do that you will succeed.

If you are still here and reading this, it means that are following your passion and you are not scared of taking on a challenge and working hard to achieve your dreams. Good for you! To learn more, read on.

Could this be your office someday?
Could this be your office someday?

Making Money as a Travel Writer

Several Streams of Income

Working as a writer is much more complicated than having an hourly job. When you go to a 9-5 you are compensated at an hourly rate for the time you spend doing your job. However, a freelance travel writer might have a dozen or more small sources of income on the go at the same time, each paying them money in a different way. You can think of each of these little sources of money as small streams which come together to form a steady flowing river of cash.

There are actually advantages to having this type of career, and one of the biggest is that it can be more secure. If you have one full time job, that is the only “river” which is flowing into your bank account. If you get fired, your company goes bankrupt, or something goes wrong, your cash flow dries up immediately and you are facing drought. However, when you have 10 different streams flowing in, one of them can dry up with very little impact on your cash flow, and you can live on 90% of your income until you find another small stream to replace it.

However, this freelance style of working is difficult because it is also unpredictable and constantly fluctuates. A freelance travel writer can never predict which writing contracts they will get in advance, and that makes it hard to plan. Freelancing can be feast or famine, a shortage of work can leave you existing on nothing but beans and toast for a week, but the next week could bring a lucrative new writing contract and have you rolling in cash.

Being able to work with this type of income requires:

– Excellent time management skills so that you can get everything done.
– The ability to control your own weaknesses for procrastination!
– The initiative to seek out your own opportunities.
– Fantastic money management skills to be able to live with a fluctuating income.
– Attention to detail: You will need to be your own accountant and will have to put together invoices, make a budget, etc.

If you think you can handle all this, our next article “How to Become a Travel Writer Part 2” will cover the different ways that travel writers make money and how you can get started.

Part 2

About Kelly Dunning

A Canadian freelance writer with a love of art, culture, literature and adventure, Kelly loves exploring foreign lands and expressing her experiences through the power of the written word.


  1. Thank you for posting this. I always thought of travel writing as a dream job, but there really is no manual out there on how to get started. I think about the book, ‘Eat Pray Love,’ and how the author basically got an advance for writing that book and expenses paid for her travel to Italy, India, and Indonesia. I can see how many writers would want to do the same, but never know how to get started. So this is a valuable blog post for sure.

  2. Getting wealthy is not my goal for becoming a travel freelance writer, it’s the adventure or hunt that I seek out. Part 1 was very informative. I assumed like anything else, hard work and going the distance will enhance my success. I’m not afraid if hard work, you have to work hard to get ahead. Hopefully soon I’ll be rolling up my sleeves and writing away.

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