Travel blogging is a descendent of the travel writing genre and, like its ancestor, it has a multitude of sub-genres branching from it. For example, travel bloggers are often interested in writing service-oriented and experiential posts, each category having its own style and language. In this article, Molly Sears-Piccavey shares with Travel Writing World some tips in capturing a sense of place in travel blogging, irrespective of what branch of travel blogging you’re interested in.
As a travel blogger and avid reader of travel content, I often wonder when I’m reading travel blogs how much time the writer actually spent in the destination. Do they really know the place in-depth, or were they just passing through? The larger question is if a travel blogger has only spent 48 hours in a destination, can they really produce information that is useful for another traveler?
Travel bloggers often create helpful content like listicles that promise to share information like, for example, “the best restaurants in London.” But, to be able to comment on what the “best restaurants” are in a location, a traveler must have dined in most of them or, at least, spent more time than a week in the city. The real title of the post should be “the 10 restaurants I visited on a long weekend in London,” unless, that is, the writer lives in London and has invested time in curating the top-ten restaurants.
Posts like these, which resemble a more subjective travelogue, sometimes include anecdotes or other details that may or may not be helpful to the reader. This is not necessarily a bad thing; this writing style often shares unique insights into the local lifestyle and culture.
“To set yourselves apart from the multitude of listicle and travelogue blogs, travel bloggers should aim to capture the unique atmosphere and spirit of the destination.”
But to set yourselves apart from the multitude of listicle and travelogue blogs, travel bloggers should aim to capture the unique atmosphere and spirit of the destination. Knowing a destination well helps with this, of course, but there are some tricks to help you do this better.
- Take detailed notes while you’re traveling and look them over as you’re writing.
- Pay attention to your senses and make notes of what you see, hear, taste, feel, and smell.
- Talk to the locals as much as you can. Ask them questions.
- Do your research. What types of stories on a destination have been covered to death? Can you write a better article with a different angle or approach?
- Think about what makes a location different from others in terms of culture, people, tastes, sights, sounds, etc.
Sharing your experience
It is important to remember that if you are sharing your own experience rather than a hard and fast travel guide, sharing your story or anecdotes is one option that is hard to argue against. It’s your personal perspective on a trip.
If you choose to share your personal account of travel, the blog post will be based on your own experiences – your own sensations and reflections – more than easily-googleable facts about the destination. Your experience of a city is unique to you and the time you visited. If you are sharing information as an expert on the location or travel experience, then it is important to know the destination extremely well.
Do you have any tips on capturing a sense of place in your blog posts and articles? Let us know by leaving a comment below.
By Molly Sears-Piccavey
Last Updated on 23 September 2020 by Travel Writing World