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Travel Writing for
Pleasure and Profit
Continued from Part 1

travel writing

by Durant Imboden

Part 2:
How to write about travel

As I mentioned in Part 1 of this series, the subgenres of travel writing include guidebooks, magazine and newspaper articles, advertising and corporate work, and Web sites. Each subgenre has its own rules and techniques, which we'll explore in this article.


Guidebooks come in many different flavors. The classic Blue Guides focus on history and art, Michelin Green Guides emphasize sightseeing, and Cheap Sleeps deals almost exclusively with hotels. Let's Go is geared toward student travel, while mainstream guides such as Fodor's, Frommer, and Fielding try to strike a balance between sightseeing information and practical advice.

When writing a guidebook, you need to think about your target audience and the mission of your book. For example:

A family-oriented guidebook should emphasize theme parks, child-oriented museums, and informal restaurants. Chances are, you'll want to adopt a middle-of-the-road writing style.

A student guidebook needs to cover youth hostels, affordable restaurants, clubs, concerts, drinking ages, drug laws, and other topics of interest to the under-25 set. The style can be breezy and hip (or breezy and brash).

A history and sightseeing guide isn't likely to be updated as often as a "practical information" guide, so it should be written to avoid obsolescence. The style is likely to be straightforward, to reach the broadest possible audience.

TIP: Before planning your guidebook, read dozens of other guides. This will help you decide what kind of book you'd like to write, and it will identify market niches that haven't yet been exploited by competitors.
Travel narrative

Continued on page 2


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