Three ways to launch your freelance travel writing career on a tight budget

By David Hammond

Compared to most small businesses, the tools and supplies needed to break into travel writing are inexpensive and readily available.

And once you build a reputation, travel perks will likely come your way.

But until, then, how do you, as a newbie travel writer, get access to travel destinations?

For some, finding places to write about comes naturally. Such as...

  • Retirees who travel as a hobby or live abroad as expats
  • Teachers who hit the road in summer
  • Vacation home owners and house swappers 
  • People with friends and family living in interesting places they can visit 
  • And the spouses of executives, diplomats, or military personnel with changing posts 

But even if you don't already have a travel opportunity, never fear. Because following are three tried-and-true ways to break into travel writing on a tight budget.

Many travel writers get started
teaching English as a foreign language
1 - Get a job abroad  

If you’d like to go abroad to write, one proven method is getting a job that covers your living costs.

One of the most popular opportunities is teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL).

In many parts of the world, native English speakers trained to teach English as a foreign language are in high demand.

Many schools that hire English teachers provide onsite TEFL training. You can also find TEFL training courses online.

2 - Volunteer

Another way to offset travel costs is volunteering. Non-profit organizations throughout the world need helping hands. And many provide volunteers with room and board.

In addition to helping you cover living expenses or stretch out your dollars, the connections you make teaching English or volunteering can help you establish deeper connections and insights into a new place and its culture.

Some travel writers who teach English and volunteer move around. They’ll work in one place for a while, then move to another, adding to their knowledge of the world.

3 - Write about travel topics close to home 

The place you call home is likely a travel destination for others. So, consider writing about travel-related subjects close to where you live.

What’s close by that would interest travelers? What are the interesting things to see and do? Where are the unique places to stay and eat? What about convention facilities?

Starting out writing about your own backyard for the benefit of travelers enables you to get your travel writing career up and running...
  • Even on a tight budget
  • Even if you have a day job
  • And even if you have other responsibilities that need regular attention.