How to be a Tourist in Your Home Town
Share your local expertise with us!
When I first started travel writing, a very wise (and well published) travel writer told me to be a tourist in my home town. She told me to hunt down travel articles on my home town and write better ones - with honest information and helpful tips. It was the best advice I ever received.
If you've never been published before, getting your travel articles published can feel like a painful uphill battle. Editors want top notch writing and expertise and they want you to deliver what they want before they want it. Simple, right?
If you're willing to be a tourist in your home town and write about it, you may just be able to rise above the dreaded slush pile and get yourself noticed. After all, who knows the tourist traps and hidden gems better than someone who lives there? And the more you can write with confidence and authority on the subject matter, the more you can deliver content editors want.
Be a local expert on GoGirlfriend
Throughout the month of February, GoGirlfriend wants to share your local expertise with the world. Tell us about your hometown and why we should visit. You never know, a story on GoGirlfriend might just inspire another editor to take a chance on you. Use these tips to get started.
Share insider information
If you're writing about a favorite restaurant, share your insider tips on the best table to catch the sunset or view of the river. If the chef will customize based on dietary restrictions, tell us the tastiest combos you've tried. The more specific you can be, the more travelers will be willing to trust your advice.
Describe, don't embellish
Draw your readers in with rich, descriptive details of the hotel room, the food, the ambiance - but don't lie. Be honest if the rooms are cosy and intimate (which could mean small) but don't use words like rustic and homey to describe replace the correct words - rundown or tired. If the food was inspired, tell us specifically what you loved. After all, your definition of inspired isn't universal...let your reader be the judge.
Hours of operation, cost per person and any restrictions are must-haves for a travel article. If the ski resort you visited shuts down on Sunday evenings, your readers need to know. There's nothing worse than booking a 3-day family ski weekend into a Monday and spending Sunday evening with nothing to do.
Tell your story with pictures
Articles that are rich with your pictures will help tell your story. Don't' be bashful - take a picture of your main course, the entrance way or even a divinely decorated restroom. When I wrote for the Boston Globe, my pictures were used in the story online and in print - not stock photography. A writing credit turned into a picture credit as well, which looks great on your portfolio.
Share, share, share
Once your story's published, share it with everyone and anyone - be your own PR agency. Get out there on social media and let the world know where your amazing writing can be found. Tag the publication and venue's name in your posts on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc. Shameless self-promotion has its place in social media and it's up to you to use it to its full advantage.
Ready to be a tourist in your hometown and share your local expertise with the world? We're excited to help you share your travel writing brilliance. And who knows, it might be a short hop, skip and jump from writing for GoGirlfriend to writing for the New York Times.