How to Be a Travel Writer — Answers to Top 10 Questions

Below are the most common questions I am asked on social media.

I admit, it’s flattering to be asked about my career as a Luxury Travel Writer, though sometimes it’s not. You’ll see what I mean in the following Top 10 questions and answers.

I have struggled for years with number three, along with “I’d like to pick your brain.” Fortunately, there aren’t too many “brain-picking” inquiries lately, since I’ve created a few links to share on this topic.

Rovinj, Croatia

Yes, a travel writer’s virtual office can be at almost any destination in the world. But don’t believe those fake ads or “Influencers”  who claim they can make your career dreams come true overnight. As my friend’s dad regularly advised, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

It took me many years to establish my brand. I love my job, but I won’t lie — it’s a LOT of hard work. You will have to wear many different hats, and I give some tips within this article. Travel writing is quite challenging since social media changes so rapidly and there are so many people trying to take shortcuts.

So you want to be a Luxury Travel Writer?

10 Tips to help you on your journey. Now, on to the questions.

 

  1. Where do you live? 

My home base is Washington, D.C. This information is in my bio (see my TEDx talk).

The Future of Social Influence | Ann Tran | TEDxKoenigsallee

  1. What do you do? 

I am a travel writer. Again, read up on people. Perhaps it is only a conversation starter, but it’s best to research about individuals on their Web site. Most people have one these days.

Washington Union Station

How about a conversation starter that shows you put in some effort? Such as, “I loved the piece you did on Instagram-able Christmas in the DMV.”

  1. Can I have access to your contacts? 

Yes, people actually ask for my hotel and transportation contacts as they see me jet-setting in business class and staying at five-star hotels. I don’t understand how anyone can be so intrusive and presumptuous.

Why would I hand over my client contacts or potential client list?

  1. How are you engaging on your social pages? 

I’ve written so many tips on this subject matter. Just remember, it is not about you. It’s about the audience. You can absolutely share a picture of yourself, but don’t forget to share tips about the location.

More tips here: Social Media Strategy # 1 – It’s about the readers, Not You

  1. How do you pose for pictures? 

Have fun with the camera. If you are embarrassed in front of pedestrians, just remember you’ll most likely never see them again. Movement is best with photos. I still pose, but I find it boring because the environment will pull in the audience. Then they may read your caption. And if your caption is captivating, then they will engage with you.

  1. How do you take photos without the crowds? 

Fushimi Inari Taisha in Kyoto, Japan
Fushimi Inari Taisha in Kyoto, Japan

I saw a post where one individual was angry that it was super crowded when she went to Fushimi Inari Taisha in Kyoto, Japan’s ancient capital. She couldn’t get a picture without a mob of people. I confess, I was thinking “oh no, how am I going to get my picture?” It took a while to get these photos, but it can be done.

Fushimi Inari Taisha is packed with tourists, but if you are patient and wait at each bend, you will be able to get your photo op without the crowd. Allow for the ebb and flow of people to pass by, and be ready to pose and click quickly.

  1. How do you match your wardrobe and your setting? You always look so good.

I used to only wear black or neutral colors. Since then, my wardrobe has become more chromatic. Don’t get rid of your natural toned clothing.  Just add a scarf for a splash of color. I believe in re-purposing my closet with accessories. For all your black dresses, dress them up with hosiery or a scarf. You can also spice it up with fun heels or boots.

As for packing, this depends on your destination. On my recent trip to Arizona, I knew a red floral dress would be perfect against the desert landscape. Visualize your attire in your whereabouts. You can layer your outfits to create different looks and get them all to fit in a carry-on.

In this image, we had the best music from the 1960s era, and a cocktail will always add a fun element. Alexandria, Virginia

As for always looking so good … ahh, thanks … it is a lot of work! Not only do you have to scout your own photo shoot locations, you also need to plan your wardrobe. Sometimes a fun outfit will invite a conversation starter.

  1. Do you get jetlag?

British Airways A350

Yes, I do get jetlag. Normally, it does take me a while to reboot. I use the time to catch up with my social media following and writing.

However, I did not experience jetlag on my recent flight from Toronto to London with British Airways. You can read about my incredible experience here: Reasons to fly British Airways new Airbus A350.

Pro-Tip:

If you keep getting repetitive questions, create a post like this and you can direct the individual to your link. Most of my writing ideas come from my travels or what the public wishes to know.

  1. Who takes your photos? 

I don’t care for selfies since I don’t care for close-up shots. Plus, I like to be my own Director of Photography. Most of the time, I travel with someone or meet up with a local to assist. Sometimes, I will ask someone with a professional camera to take my photo, but I will compose the frame exactly to how I want the end result.

Pag, Croatia with Royal Croatian Tours

I suggest including a prop with your photo, or perhaps play music on your next shoot to help you relax and have fun with your photographer. Flowers are always a gift to the eyes. Include them in your images for visual stimulus. People love food, so include when you can. This one was challenging for me to stage. Typically, I don’t care to be too close to the camera and food must be photographed on a macro level.

 

When you do use a prop, do include a write-up. Anytime you post a photo, share something informative and fun so people can learn something new. I am always learning as I share my captions.

Pro-Tip:

Try to create a long, descriptive caption with your social media posts during the week. You can weave your write-up into an article once you have gathered enough images and context for a blog post.

  1. What it’s like to be a full-time travel writer?

This may be my most-often asked question. A real oldie but a goodie, I tell you. Here’s my answer: 5 Tips to live in the world as a Luxury Travel Writer – Ann-Tran. (Notice I follow my own advice from the Pro-Tip in number 8.)

Bonaire

Bonus Tip:

Have a professional edit your writing. This will separate you from all the noise.

I think that’s about it. Have I answered all your questions? Good! Now, get writing. We want to read your travel stories.

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