Start Selling Your Travel Expertise

My next trip is Las Vegas. No complaints—I’m one of those sinners who enjoys Sin City. The trip is for an International Living conference where I’ll speak on Italy and its sweet life.

I’m not wearing my travel-writing hat for this conference, but I’ve visited Italy so many times—at least 20—I’ve gained a great insight into places unknown to the tourist hordes.

Places like the perfectly preserved medieval hill towns…villages set in tranquil countryside of vineyards and olive groves…and storybook lake towns that few except the Italians themselves know about. I still remember the taste of my first Italian ice-cream or gelato…my first sip of the lemon liquer they call limoncello.

Travel writing opens you up to these experiences and more. I’ve bathed in the thermal pools of Saturnia…dined on wild boar in Suverato…and washed it down with Morellino di Scansano wine. I love Italy and it’s fair to say I’ve become an expert in it over the years.

As a travel writer you become an “expert” and you can sell your own expertise in many ways. Even if you’ve never written a story before, you’re already an expert about something. Do you go camping? Travel with a pet? Take a cruise every year? If so, why not write about it—and get paid for your words.

This is how you get started and soon you’ll be jetting off to warm, palm-fringed beaches in Belize…culture-rich Paris…or craft markets in Ecuador. And someone else will be picking up the tab for your luxury hotel accommodation and the delicious food and wine served up to you.

You can also start writing about where you live now. I live in Ireland, so that’s one of my areas of expertise. And as I have a passion for the past, I can often string the two together. Holy wells…pilgrim places…monasteries sacked by the Vikings…architectural follies erected by the country’s former Georgian landowners.

Visit Ireland’s Blarney Castle and you’d probably hinge a story around the Blarney Stone. It’s said to give those who kiss it the gift of the gab. But a gardening magazine would be more interested in the Castle’s “Poison Garden.” It contains potentially toxic plants such as deadly nightshade and plants associated with witchcraft.

Ideas are everywhere. You just have to know how to use them.

Hathersage village in England’s Peak District is full of historic ale houses. (Pubs are another passion of mine.) As the village has a couple of wonderful old inns selling real ales, it would make an offbeat story for a beer magazine’s travel section. I really should get around to pitching that story before anyone else does!


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