What Makes a Good Travel Text
How do you manage to inspire and enthuse a reader about a destination, leaving him wanting to pack his bags immediately? In this tutorial we deal with what makes a good travel text.
In Germany it’s grey and drizzling, and the thermometer keeps on falling. So who wouldn’t yearn for the sun, a beach, palm trees and the sparkling sea? These thoughts can get you reminiscing about your last vacation, and you can suddenly find yourself mentally in a deckchair on the beach, even hearing the gentle sound of the waves. Coming back to reality, you soon realise it is high time you planned your next trip. Where should you go this time? Many Germans research on travel portals and read reports on several travel blogs before they make this decision.
These are precisely the kind of texts clients request from Textbroker Self Service as well as our Managed Service. The aims of such travel texts are extremely diverse, ranging from customer loyalty through search engines optimisation, to building links. But regardless of whether they describe a beach vacation, cruise or desert safari, these texts have one thing common: they seek to give the reader itchy feet and awaken the desire to travel.
So just how do you manage to inspire and enthuse a reader about a destination, leaving him wanting to pack his bags immediately? In this author tutorial we deal with what makes a good travel text.
First, it’s important that you follow the instructions in the Order Description.
Is the content specified? Should it be written as an account of a city break trip in Hamburg, or is it a description of a luxury hotel in Bali? Does it state which aspects of the tour or resort should receive special mention? For some clients it’s the culinary features which count, for others, the sports activities are particularly important.
- Do you need to have visited the destination yourself, and how well must you know it?
- Are there links provided with background information about the trip or the resort to help you research?
- Are there any websites with sample texts? If so, your text should match the other articles on the page.
- Which target audience is the text aiming to attract? It makes a big difference whether you want to attract young backpackers or business executives. Align the tone and content of your text to match the requirements of each target group.
- How should the text be structured? How many paragraphs are required, and how many subheadings should your article contain?
- Should the text be written from a first person perspective, or is it a less subjective description, as found in many guidebooks?
- How is the reader to be addressed? Should you address the reader directly, and if so, what form should this take?
However, order descriptions often include only some of this information. Thus some clients simply require “a travelogue of your choice” to a given destination – so much the better, you can let your creativity run wild.
Regardless of the details in the briefing, the following tips will help in creating good travel articles and texts for travel blogs.
A good travel article provides guidance on planning your holiday and leaves you wanting more. And whether you want to describe a traditional holiday at one location, or a whole trip, you can’t go wrong with a text which entertains the reader and gives him useful information. Try to avoid promotional phrases, and use information and tips which are not easily searchable.
There are countless themes you can include in a travel article, for example:
- Getting there (flights, train, bus, car, boat)
- Accommodation options (e.g. low budget: Hostels, Camping; mid-range: Hotels, Apartments; high-end: Luxury Hotels)
- Geographical location and climate (e.g. hot desert, snow-capped peaks, Mediterranean climate)
- Vegetation (e.g. picturesque apricot blossoms)
- Routes (e.g. caravan, train, cycle trip)
- Sports and leisure activities (e.g. quad biking, surfing, health spa and fitness, culinary classes)
- Dining and Restaurants (common dishes, culinary specialities)
- Attractions and Museums (e.g. guided tours, famous exhibits)
- History (e.g. first settlers, ancient ruins, visiting times)
- Shopping (e.g. local shops, souvenirs, special opening times)
- Entertainment (e.g. traditional festivals, nightlife, club scene)
- Specific local information and rules of conduct (e.g. dress codes, eating out)
Bear in mind: Only concrete description of landscapes, observations and feelings will make your travel article unique and arouse the urge to travel. If you have you already visited the holiday location, remember to include your personal experience, and in addition, describe anything you have noticed – personal impressions and insider tips look authentic, and offer the reader added value.
The target group
If a target group is not specified in the briefing, put yourself in the position of various audiences. Think about different aspects of the destination for various groups, and make the trip attractive for them.
What appeals to a family with children, what would seem interesting to a young couple on their honeymoon? What does the destination offer budget travellers, or spa lovers? What will active holidaymakers and hikers get for their money? Why should a sport-loving adventure traveller make the trip, and what will appeal to a culture-loving academic?
Good research will help you understand the perspective of different target groups. Describe concrete examples of alternatives for different target groups.
Thus a paragraph about leisure facilities at a tourist destination might read:
Camel rides for children, spectacular diving amidst colourful coral gardens, or high-speed sand boarding in the desert: Egypt is a paradise for those who love amazing experiences beyond the everyday.
Of course, to what extent you can adjust the text to different audiences always depends on the destination. However, when it’s possible to give a comprehensive yet flexible overall impression of the resort, you will reach and enthuse different target groups about the destination.
The introduction will decide whether the reader ventures any further. You can draw readers into your text by working with opposites (in Germany it’s cold and grey, while on Ipanema beach….), make your introduction a scene or description, or start by mentioning what, in your view, is the most important highlight of the trip.
Break down the text into meaningful paragraphs and describe the most important aspects of the trip. Deal with one topic per paragraph, e.g. landscape, leisure, culture, cuisine. Insert several examples in each paragraph and (unless instructed otherwise) include alternatives for different target groups.
Select a meaningful sub-heading for each paragraph.
Language, style and tone
Language plays a vital role in all good travel articles and travel blogs. Of course, as with all good web texts, the language should also be informative, understandable and accurate. But if the text is to transport the reader to the destination, the writing must also be vivid and alive.
Provence is known for its beautiful lavender fields.
For the reader, this sentence does not have the same effect as if you were to write:
All along the narrow winding road unfolds an endless sea of swaying, blue-violet flowers, wrapped in a delicately bitter aroma.
In travel texts, use colourful language as much as possible, and insert plenty of adjectives.
This advice also applies to hotel descriptions; statements such as “The hotel is really great” are not particularly helpful. Instead, describe the picturesque location or the attention to detail, and how this becomes apparent to the traveller. Make your meaning clear: rather than “homely”, write for example “Bavarian country style”, which allows the reader to imagine something concrete.
Tone and style are dependent on the specific target group and the publication. If your text is about a low-budget train trip for young, adventurous readers, choose a more relaxed, youthful style. But if, on the other hand, it is a refined luxury cruise for the well-off enjoying their Golden Age, an elegant serious language-style is more appropriate.
Whether you address the reader as “you” depends on the target group and the site on which the text appears. If nothing is specified, address the reader as “you” quite sparingly, and only when it makes sense.
Personal impressions, valuable insider tips, and colourful descriptions: travel reviews and articles for travel blogs offer authors all sorts of creative freedom. We hope you found a few helpful suggestions for your travel texts in this tutorial. Put these into your work, then more people will soon be not just dreaming, but also reading about their next holiday.