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Issue #320: Do You Use These Seven Elements in Your Travel Stories?
August 31, 2020
Greetings Fellow Travel Writers!

. . . and WELCOME all new subscribers. Thanks for joining us.

Vietnam Update

We're still in lockdown but there's good news on the horizon.

Last week all the foreigners in Danang were tested for Covid-19. More than 3000 of us were tested and NO ONE TESTED POSITIVE. Waiting in the queue to be tested was the biggest social event we've attended for a couple months, so we thoroughly enjoyed it.

The other good news is that Danang cases have dropped to almost zero and we haven't had any new community outbreaks. If this continues, we hope to come out of lockdown in less than a week.

We can't wait! Linda's birthday is in early September, and if the restaurants aren't open by then I'll have to cook dinner for her. So I'm keeping my fingers crossed. (So is she.)

Editorial: The Seven Elements of Top Travel Stories

Books abound on what good travel writing should look like. And if you read them, you’ll notice certain recurring themes.

Here are seven vital elements that top travel writers (and most authors, for that matter) use in their stories. They don’t necessarily place ALL these elements in every piece of their work, but you’ll find most of them if you take the time to look.

Assuming that your writing already has excellent punctuation, grammar, spelling, and syntax – here’s what you need for a top travel story:
1. An enticing lede - and a conclusion that ties it all together or brings you back to your lede.

2. It’s written in active voice.

3. It creates a sense of place (without cliches.) It shows, rather than tells.

4. It flows and is easy to read.

5. It's written in your own voice.

6. It's interesting and informative.

7. It’s entertaining and/or exciting and uses humor when appropriate.

It’s easy to list these elements, but injecting them into your stories is far more difficult. Travel writing should always be considered a work in progress.

Even the top writers work hard to craft their words and continue to improve their work. I know of one top travel writer who said it took him a month to write a short, one-page article for Sunset magazine. Don’t assume words fly off the page for the top writers - they work hard at their craft.

Look at a story you’ve written and compare it against this list of seven elements. How does you travel writing measure up?

What do you need to work on to improve your story?

This Week's Featured Post

Writing About Festivals & Special Events: What Sells & What Doesn’t

As travel writers we’re always seeking out story ideas. Looking around our own hometown is a good place to start.

Every city worth its salt has a food & wine festival. Every town has a music festival and an arts & crafts festival. Many cities host film festivals, cultural festivals, boat shows, home & garden shows, and numerous other events.

Festivals and special events are a lot of fun, and every beginning travel writer thinks of pitching these stories editors. But most festivals and special events are a hard sell, especially to travel and lifestyle magazines. 

The acceptance rate for festival pitches is much lower than for general travel story pitches. 

Despite this, I’ve sold 21 festival features to 14 print magazines and four websites, and made a tidy income from them.

In this article I show you why these types of stories are hard sells, how you can recognize a winner, and some pitching advice to help you sell your festival articles . . .

READ THE ARTICLE: Writing about Festivals and Special Events


In a few days we’ll be releasing the registration details for our new program, The Group Coaching Mastermind Community. Enrollment is limited to 35 people and those on our coaching interest list will be the first ones allowed into the queue.

If you’d like to join an online community of travel writers and participate in our group coaching sessions and our Mastermind community, get your name on the interest list here:

Yes! Add my name to the Group Coaching Mastermind Interest List

Here’s what we’re planning for group coaching and our Mastermind community . . .

Are you tired of talking, thinking, and dreaming of breaking into travel writing?

Are you ready to start writing?

Many of you have asked when we’re going to offer group coaching. So, we're working on it. We’re planning to make it affordable, fun, and helpful and productive for you.

Everything will be done online with video training, a community of like-minded writers helping each other, a robust focus on the craft of writing and the art of selling, and lots of other resources at your fingertips.

Here are a few of the things we’ll be offering through our Group Coaching Mastermind program:

A group coaching place where . . .

- you’ll get helpful critiques of your story ideas
- you’ll learn how to write successful query letters
- you’ll get solid advice about pitching your stories
- you’ll get feedback on your articles
- you’ll get photography tips for preparing galleries for editors
- you’ll have an opportunity to showcase your articles & photos

A safe and helpful community where . . .

- you can ask questions and get the answers you need
- you can gain the confidence to leap over roadblocks
- you can gain insight, encouragement, and support
- you can tap into for help when you’re stuck with your writing
- you can give and receive solid advice about problems
- you can celebrate your writing successes
- you can ask for help with magazine leads to pitch your story ideas
- other members can help with“in-the-trenches” perspectives
- everyone exchanges thoughts on story ideas and what works

A mentoring and resource place where . . .

- you'll receive marketing tips about selling your travel stories
- you’ll find new resources to boost your freelance travel writing knowledge
- you’ll get advice on the craft of travel writing
- you’ll have opportunities to fine-tune your photography skills
- you’ll get a chance to share your articles & best shots

You’ll get a writing community, group coaching and resources and content so you can succeed in travel writing - and have fun with other travel writers while you’re doing it.

Registration will open in August. Get your name on the interest and you’ll be the first to hear when it opens. This Group coaching program will be limited to the first 35 registrants.

Click here to get on the Group Coaching Interest List

Upcoming Posts

Sep 7: Do Travel Writing Awards Help You Sell More Stories?
Sep 14: Simultaneous Submissions: Sell More, Do It Faster
Sep 21: Finding Travel Magazine Leads On Vendor Websites Success Stories

Rey Waters

“I enrolled in a travel writer’s course and published my first article in Travel Post Monthly.  

It was not long after, that I discovered Roy Stevenson’s travel writing books. 

His first book that I read was Get Published Now. It had a section that mentioned getting started in your own back yard. 

At the time we were living in a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia. My wife and I walked a two-mile hiking trail around a lake every day for our exercise.  

During these walks we met all types of very interesting people. I pitched a story idea to our local newspaper and I guess you can say the rest is history." 

Here’s Rey Waters’ remarkable and expanding travel writing success story, so far!

READ Rey Waters Travel Writing Story

Pitch Travel Write: Most Requested Links about Business Basics for Freelance Travel Writers

When you decide to become a travel writer, you need to make a decision: is it a hobby or is it a business?

Some people approach travel writing as a hobby and that’s fine. 

But, if you plan to earn income from your travel writing, you need to think of it as a business. It helps to know a few business basics.

What are the business basics you need to consider? 

Here are 21 of our PitchTravelWrite posts to cover all the business basics you’ll need to know:

Access to Business Basics Resource Page

Inspirational Travel Quote



Have you ever wondered how travel writers get their stories published in the top shelf travel magazines?

Our NEWEST book, Rock Star Travel Writers, reveals through a series of in-depth interviews the insider tips, tricks, and secrets that 10 leading travel journalists use to land assignments in the most prominent travel glossies, and be well paid for their efforts.

I wish I had this information when I started out on my travel writing journey!

If I’d known, early in my career, what the successful travel writers were doing to get published in top flight magazines, this knowledge would have sped up my entry into this competitive field.

This stellar lineup of highly respected travel journalists offers excellent practical advice and encouragement to help you move up the travel writing food chain.

See how Kimberley Lovato, Bill Fink, Mark Andrews, Irene Levine, Nick O’Connell, Allen Cox, Keith Lyons, James Ullrich, Pam & Gary Baker, Jessica Pickett, Chuck Warren, & Sandy Bornstein get their travel stories consistently published.


Live Workshops

People have been asking when our 2021 workshops in the U.S. are scheduled. They're scheduled in June, 2021, in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Here are the 2021 dates:
June 3-6, 2021, Travel Writing & Photography Retreat
June 8-10, 2021, Marketing Master Class for Travel Writers

We have had a lot of interest for these workshops already. You can sign up for our no-obligation interest list for these workshops and receive our substantial early bird discounts when we open registration:


Did You Know . . .

Our Complete Marketing Master Class for Travel Writers is ranked #1 on’s Top Ten Travel Writing Workshops.

You can access the list of the top ten travel writing workshops at the link below . . .

Travel Writers Exchange workshop list: #1 Marketing Master Class

At Your Service

Coaching and Consulting
Online Courses
Vietnam 1-1 Retreat & Consulting
Expat Consulting


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HERE., is our information-packed website for travel writers. This e-zine, a series of travel writing books and reference guides, coaching programs, and our workshops all work together to give you guidance in this field.

Our aim is to provide you with practical, nitty gritty information to help you gain entry the travel writing realm and all the enjoyment that comes with it, too. 

We're thrilled to announce that is on The Write Life’s 2020 list of 100 BEST WEBSITES FOR WRITERS! 

You can see the entire list by visiting their website - click on the graphic to view the list now.

Friend me on Facebook

My Facebook page is about freelance travel writing. I frequently post about:
• links to other well produced travel websites and blogs
• links to my travel articles
• magazine cover stories and back stories
• links to resource pages
• links to coaching and mentoring resources
. . .and plenty of other useful information to get you up to speed

Link to Roy's Personal Facebook page

That's all for now. Until next week - just keep pitching! Roy

Roy Stevenson
Pitch Travel Write

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