How to Write an Interesting Travel Story
Our travels are made up of great stories composed of new discoveries, frustration, serendipity, and even cultural misunderstandings. Even though there are many stories that have been written and known about the place you visited, there will always be something to write about it because your perspective on what you saw and experienced is a different story. People may have visited the same destination, but no one has traveled to that place at a certain time as you did, and had the exact thoughts and experiences.
Whether the reason for writing your travel story is to document your experiences, submit it to a publication, or join a travel writing contest, keep in mind that you have the task to educate your readers to help them decide whether they’d like to visit the destination or not. To draft an inspiring story that will also encourage others to travel, here are some guidelines you can use.
1. Identify your purpose
Before you write your travel story identify your purpose for writing it. Ask yourself whether you intend to inform, entertain people or both. This will serve as a guide in choosing what experiences to include and the manner it will be written in the story.
2. Write an interesting introduction
Start with a statement, an intriguing question or a strong but brief anecdote that will pull your readers right into the story. This will create curiosity among them thus would want to read on to know what will happen next. However, be sure that whatever question or intriguing scenario you have written in the beginning will be answered or continued at some point in your story.
3. Make sure it is unified
Having a central idea or theme will help in tying everything together in your story. It will be your narrative thread that will run throughout your tale, linking the beginning and end and the point you are making.
4. Choose small stories to include
A lot of things may have happened to you when you traveled, however, these series of events need shaping and organizing to make it into a story. To write a unified story, you must first identify your storyline then choose the experiences that fit in and smoothly connect them. Make sure that you only include the highlights of your experience that are related to your purpose and theme and omit the unnecessary detours.
5. Personalize it
One of the most obvious ways to personalize your travel story is to write it in a first-person (“I”, “me”) perspective. Aside from this, it is also important that you provide an insight into your own personal experience. You must also describe the places you visited and the experiences you’ve had using your own words and not just rewriting someone else travelogue to write your own story. This way you make people see the place, the culture, the people, and your authentic journey through your eyes and not someone else’s.
6. Be tactful in what you write
No matter how confused you are about a practice, a situation or a system in another culture, it is best to withhold your suggestions and be careful with the opinions that you will write. These people have their own reasons and history as to why they do what they do. If you have only stayed in a place for a limited time, then chances are you’ll not completely understand the historical and social context it has. Being tact and careful with what you say is a way of respecting other cultures.
7. Include dialogue and quotes
Take notes of what people say and how they say things since you can include these quotes and dialogues in your travel story. These expressions give personality to the people in your story, convey the real spoken details and bring life to the scenes in your story. Just make sure that you quote people accurately and identify who they are and where did you meet them.
8. Show and tell
Showing and telling are techniques that you can use to have a compelling travel story. Showing is providing a visual description and expressing what you heard, smelled, tasted, and felt. Meanwhile, telling is about moving the story along. When you write a travel story, you would need them both as you switch repeatedly between them.
9. Make it conversational sounding
Making your travel story conversational sounding is more engaging and entertaining to read. Have a friendly tone and craft it in the way you normally talk to people. Read your travel story aloud if you’re uncertain that it sounds natural and conversational and make the necessary adjustments if needed.
10. Use appropriate words
Tell your travel story in the simplest and most effective way to make it easy to read. People who would read your story would probably prefer an easy to understand travel story. It is best to avoid being too verbose and using hifalutin words or phrases that you wouldn’t use in normal speech. Also, instead of using cliches, use your own words, and come up with original descriptions to express what you’ve seen and experienced to make it relatable and sound like you.
11. Use transition statements
As readers travel through your story, it is important that you tell them where you’re going next. Also, with every paragraph you have, you can remind them of your ultimate goal. This allows your readers to see where the story is going and enables them to keep tagging along.
12. Make it easy to read
Your travel story must be interwoven with facts, descriptions, and observations. However, when you present these details, make sure that it is easy to comprehend. If your readers would have to work hard to get through your travel story, they might lose interest and stop reading. Travel stories are often read for entertainment, escapism or to learn more about a destination people are interested to visit, hence it is best to make it easy to understand. You can mention facts and figures to support your story, but overpopulating it with it doesn’t tell a story. It won’t engage the reader but only draw them away. An effective way to make the details presented in an interesting manner is by using creative writing as this will help you to put the events and details into a story.
13. End your travel story properly
It is important to properly set up your conclusion to prepare your readers that the story is about to end. Avoid adding engrossing details on this part since you would not be able to explain it further. Also, instead of saying ‘I had a nice trip’ or ‘I would just have to come back another time,’ be more inspiring when ending it. You may end it by writing about where you started, then reflect on the journey then sum up the experience.
14. Have an interesting title
After writing your travel story make sure that you come up with a descriptive and creative story title that perfectly captures the essence of your travel story.
Writing your own travel story is good as it helps you to enhance your observation skills and enables you to develop your ability to reflect on meaningful experiences. You also get to document your travel experience and be able to revisit it when you want to. Plus, you improve your general writing skills the more you do it.
Travel writing is more than just telling the events that happened to you. It requires creative writing to weave the events that happened to craft it into an interesting story. To hone your travel writing skills, it is best to read as much travel literature as you can and take Travel English and creative writing class to get some practice and feedback.
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