Do you stand in historic places and find yourself in awe? Can you visualize what happened there? If this describes you, then writing historical travel articles can be an excellent genre to pursue.
If you want to break into travel writing and enjoy visiting historic places, you can combine your interests and sell travel articles about historic places and events.
Right from the dawn of my travel writing career I’ve been writing history articles based on my travels around the world. My high school history teachers would be proud!
From classroom studies to watching the history channel and reading history books, I’ve inherited a love of historic places and events. As a result I’ve accumulated a reasonable working knowledge of this fascinating field.
A huge percentage of my travel articles have been about historic places. Of the 1,000 published articles I’ve had published, 225 have involved historic places or events. That’s a whopping 23% of my bylines!
You’ll be surprised at how many different types of historical travel stories you can write!
To show you the wide variety of stories you can write, here are some examples of articles I’ve had published about historic places and events:
Historic places are staple fodder on the tourist trail. Everyone wants to visit destinations where significant events took place. Here are some that I’ve written about:
Museums have provided me with deep insights into history as I’ve strolled through classic car museums, air & space museums, the missile museum at White Sands proving grounds, and a famous World War II English codebreaking centre. I’ve learned about mankind’s more bizarre history by gawking at erotic art museums and torture museums!
I’ve written a separate post about writing museum stories. Writing about museums is a good way for beginners to break into travel writing.
Weird Historic Places and Events
A Victorian operating theatre in London where Florence Nightingale tended to the sick and wounded; a famous aircraft storage “boneyard” in Arizona; and plenty of famous and not-so-famous cemeteries.
Writing historical travel articles are an easy sell. There’s an abundance of history and travel periodicals on the magazine racks. There are hundreds of magazines looking for historic destination pieces.
This is not an exaggeration!
On our recent trip to a Seattle Barnes & Noble bookstore, we pulled 53 history magazines off the magazine rack and photographed their covers. And if I look beyond this single bookstore, I could easily track down another 100 history magazines from Writer’s Market, the Internet, and at our local library.
But, don't limit your market to only history magazines! Standard travel magazines often buy historic travel pieces if your story angle is targeted towards their readers.
Here are a few regional and national travel publications that have purchased and published my historic travel yarns . . .
Specialty magazines have also purchased many of my historic travel pieces.
Military magazines have also provided fertile ground for publishing my historical travel stories. These include . . .
As you can see, there’s no shortage of publication possibilities if you’re creative. You should meet with success if you pitch history magazines, regional and national travel publications, specialty periodicals, and even military magazines, where appropriate.
It seems that few other writers have figured out that writing historical travel articles are easy sales. Instead of writing your next story about your Weekend In the Bahamas or your Top Ten Lists of Things to Do in Iceland, try your hand at writing a historical travel article.
This is an excellent opportunity for aspiring travel writers!
Like any freelance story, historic destination stories will not sell themselves. You still need to concoct a powerful query letter that sells your story angle about the historic places.
Writing historic travel articles has been one of the cornerstones of my freelance career. It remains one of the easiest travel writing fields to break into.
If you have interest in writing history travel articles, follow these steps:
Pay scales vary tremendously in the freelance writing world. Writing historical travel articles is no different. You can earn as little as $75/article in smaller magazines and as much as four-figure payouts in the larger national publications.
If you’re enterprising, you can resell your historic travel pieces repeatedly to other print and online publications. Reselling your articles is one of the best ways to increase your income with very little work.
If you're looking for a guide to help you write query letters to editors, I've written The Complete Guide to Query Letters for Travel Writers to help you. It includes everything you need to know about query letters, along with 20 sample query letters that you can use as templates for your own queries.
Roy Stevenson is a professional travel writer and the author of www.PitchTravelWrite.com. Over the past ten years, he’s had more than 1000 articles published in 200 magazines, trade and specialty journals, in-flights, on-boards, blogs and websites and has traveled on assignment around the U.S. and to dozens of international destinations.