Tips for writing great travel articles

2012-06-29 13:26

Thinking of submitting your stories to GoTravel24? Here are a few guidelines to guarantee that we will use it.

But before we get started, let’s give you some background information about the site…

GoTravel24 is the travel section that makes up part of the Lifestyle offering of News24, South Africa’s largest online news site. We’re e-commerce enabled and provide you with a 360-degree experience of different destinations and properties, useful travel information as well as comparative price searches for hotels, flights or car rental.

But what exactly is it that we want? We want your first-hand, personal accounts, insights and useful recommendations – as only you our reader can share them.

Travel changes you – often for the better. It’s these perspectives and opinions that deserve a platform to inspire as well as enlighten our growing travel community, irrespective of your holiday style or choice.

Keep the following in mind and hopefully you’ll get the opportunity to do just that.

Have a storyline
Your ending might be your beginning, think QuentinTarantino, but having a storyline certainly will help you convey your experience better.

Know your writing style
Don’t try to be something you’re not. Know your writing voice. If you’re funny, it helps to exploit that. If you strain after effect, you are more than likely to burst a rhetorical blood vessel, if not yours then the editor’s.

Be concise
This is the internet. Consider that most of us are logging on during working hours and cannot devote an entire hour to reading your story.  

Aim to be contagious
Think about the types of stories you just had to share with your friends and family. These either made you happy, sad, inspired you or upset you because of the misfortune of an underdog for instance.  Instead of parrot-fashion accounts of your holiday or experience identify that one thing that touched a nerve or your heart, causing a profound change. Now share it with us, along with your solution or newly-found perspective.

Don’t be vain or brag
This boils down to having a storyline. Describe your experiences to the readers instead of telling them. Aim to entertain and use pictures or subheads that help guide the reader through your journey.

Be useful and relevant
You’re the one who has experienced the situation first-hand. Share insights only you could know. Packing in useful links, references and contact details all add value. Think about what you would want when researching your upcoming holiday and keep that in mind. You’ll succeeded in telling a really good story if you remind people to remember life is short, to make the most of it and that dreams do come true. Stories that enforce the ideas that each and every single person matters and things only change when we take some sort of action are sure to resonate with your fellow traveller.

Be original

Avoid adjectives and phrases that have been used over and over again. Aim to be different or simply show a fresh perspective on something.

Push boundaries

Don’t’ be afraid to challenge societal norms. Part of experiencing new cultures and environments means you encounter new ‘norms’ with which you will either agree or disagree with. Allow your adventure to spark that debate.

Read your work before submitting it

If you’re serious about your story, you’ll pay attention to typos and grammar. Otherwise, that’s what we’re here for. It’s best to keep articles under 1 000 words. Send through high-res images in j-peg format along with a corresponding caption and credit. You retain copyright of your work but give us subjective permission to publish. For more info please refer to the terms and conditions.

So with that, we’ll leave you with these words, by Henry Rollins both for the young and young at heart…

“I beg young people to travel. If you don’t have a passport, get one. Take a summer, get a backpack and go to Delhi, go to Saigon, go to Bangkok, go to Kenya. Have your mind blown. Eat interesting food. Dig some interesting people. Have an adventure. Be careful. Come back and you’re going to see your country differently, you’re going to see your president differently, no matter who it is. Music, culture, food, water. Your showers will become shorter. You’re going to get a sense of what globalization looks like. It’s not what Tom Friedman writes about; I’m sorry. You’re going to see that global climate change is very real. And that for some people, their day consists of walking 12 miles for four buckets of water. And so there are lessons that you can’t get out of a book that are waiting for you at the other end of that flight. A lot of people—Americans and Europeans—come back and go, Ohhhhh. And the light bulb goes on.”

What are you waiting for, we want to share your stories, so send your submissions to If you have any other questions then drop us a mail anyway.


Photo by Shutterstock

Read more on:    travel south africa  |  travel tips  |  travel international

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