Traveling has long been one of my favorite pastimes. I, like many people, have always dreamed of being a travel writer. I think when you watch people like Anthony Bordain or Andrew Zimmern it is very easy to get bit by the travel bug and want to do what they do. Of course actually becoming a successful travel writer is not something that is easy and in fact the majority of professional travel writers really do not make that much money.
However they frequently make enough money to at least pay for the travels. This is something that I have found intriguing for a long time and it is something that I think most people can accomplish if they really put their mind to it.
The goal of a travel writer in general is not to write large books and try to sell them to the public via a mass distributor. Frankie speaking that is not realistic. There are simply too many variables that go into creating a best-selling book. Rather what most writers try to do is craft compelling articles that they can sell to tourism agencies, travel focused magazines, relevant businesses, and travel related websites.
A well-written travel article could be sold to a magazine like Travel And Leisure for $200 or more depending on how well it is written, whether it has relevant pictures, and things of that nature. Frequently good travel articles will be able to be sold fairly quickly to relevant websites for $25 or more. If you have ever sold a travel article then you begin to expand your horizons. This is where the perks of being a travel writer stuck again and where it gets really interesting.
A person who begins to actually sell travel articles, whether they do so to large publications or smaller venues, will begin to build credibility in the marketplace. You can then leverage this credibility to influence tourism agencies to fund your travels to their part of the world. For example I recently read a person who contacted the tourism agency of Malaysia and convince the agency to fly them out to Malaysia, pay for the hotel room, meals, and even their entertainment while they're in the country. The reason they could do this is because they were able to sales articles beforehand which gave the tourism agency the idea that they were a serious travel reporter.
Now it is not necessarily that easy to sell a travel article. There is a steep learning curve associated with how to craft a good travel article.
If this is something that really appeals to you and you think you might want to give it a try I would recommend getting a subscription to a travel magazine such as Travel and Leisure and actually read the articles. As you read these articles no down, make copies of, or actually cut out the articles that really resonate with you. You can then use these articles as a outline of how you should craft your articles.