Topics to help you write your first travel story

Are you starting out as a travel writer or blogger and need help with story ideas? I’ve helped hundreds of writers craft their stories over the years, and here are some great ways to kick writer’s block in the ass.

Write about the destination

Where did you go? What was it like there? Did you meet local people? Were they friendly?

Assume the reader knows nothing. Imagine nobody has been to this place before (no matter how over-touristed it may be). Give us every detail that stood out to you. After all, your personal voice is what will make your travel writing shine. Nobody has experienced what you felt, so tell us about it.

Give the reader a sense of the place by telling them about the sounds, smells and sights. Did it stink of garbage? Could you smell street food? Did you get swarmed by mosquitoes? Was it so humid you needed an outfit change? What language do the people speak there? Is music playing in the streets? Set the scene.

Here are some title ideas to get you writing about the destination:

  • How it felt to finally arrive in *destination*
  • Things I didn’t expect about *destination*
  • What I really thought about *destination*

Insert some facts along the way, tell the reader what you learnt being their first-hand.

If you’re still stuck – did you take great photos? If your writing isn’t there just yet, you could post a photo gallery supplemented with detailed image captions.

Write about what you did

This is really useful information for the reader, as they can replicate the trip themselves based off the things you’ve written about, and can make for great SEO content (more on that later).

It could be a hike, a kayaking trip, a road trip and where you stopped along the way. Give them all the details – distances, difficulty, what you packed, what you would do differently, where to park, where to go for food after, where to stay.

Here are some page title ideas:

  • How to spend 96 hours/3 days in *destination*
  • 48 hours in *destination*
  • How to hike *trail name*
  • Road tripping to *destination*
  • Best places to stay in *destination*
  • Fun tours we did in *destination*
  • Places to visit on the way to *destination*

Write about the food

Could food blogging be your niche? Recipes are popular on the internet, but people also love to search on Google for where to eat. You could write about all the wonderful places you had a meal, or maybe on your trip you learnt about the local food or traditional cooking methods?

  • The best meals we had in *destination*
  • Local markets to visit in *destination*
  • New recipes we learnt to cook in *destination*
  • Street food vendors you can trust in *destination*

Write about the people or culture

Tell us about the people you met while you were travelling. Bring their unique character to life. How did they make you feel, how did you meet, what did they teach you?

How does this person change your perspective or the stereotype you might have had in mind about the culture in this place you’re visiting?

Just remember, everyone has access to the internet. If you have nothing nice to say maybe don’t give the reader their real name. Or don’t say anything at all. This isn’t a Google review, this is a piece of travel writing.

Tell a story

Everyone has a story to tell. Surely something on the trip made you laugh, cry or scream. Set the scene and tell us your personal experience to really bring the place to life.

Here are some thought starters to get a story going:

  • What *someone* said to me that turned my day around
  • I overheard someone speaking about *something*, and it made me think differently about the place
  • Making new friends in *destination* and how it changed your experience (could be for better or for worse)
  • How *destination/person/event* changed my life/perspective
  • Emotional rollercoaster visiting *destination*
  • Things that made me cry in *destination*
  • What made me laugh in *destination*
  • Things that scared me in *destination*

Bring your story to life with quotes from people you met along the way.

Take notes as you go

Whenever I travel I start a new notepad file on my phone and jot things down along the way. Even while the tour guide is telling us a story you’ll see me hiding behind someone frantically taking notes.

It could be handy to ask the person you’re speaking with if it’s okay to take a voice recording for the purpose of listening back later. Of course, if they aren’t comfortable with this, just keep taking notes as you go.

I write all the details as I feel or see them. I take photos of signs along hiking trails, junctions in the road when we get to an unmarked street, photos of the random meal I’m eating. Not to necessarily post, but to prompt my memory when it comes to writing.

This is how I managed to write about South America 6 years after we travelled. Trust me, it can me done.

Need professional, one-on-one help?

Freelance editing

Once upon a time, I worked as a travel content producer and subeditor, and during this time my love for travel and writing grew tenfold. I have produced 10 travel guides and worked with hundreds of writers to help get their writing fit for web.

If you’re new to writing, SEO or blogging and need help, please message me via my Facebook page.

For longer posts or guides, we can discuss/negotiate pricing.

What are you waiting for? Let’s get started!

February 27, 2024

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