Travel Writing: Explore the World & Publish Your Stories!

Learn to write travel tales readers (and editors) will love. Sell your freelance writing to newspapers and magazines!
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652 students enrolled
Instructed by Dave Fox Lifestyle / Travel
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  • Lectures 32
  • Contents Video: 3.5 hours
    Other: 9 mins
  • Skill Level All Levels
  • Languages English
  • Includes Lifetime access
    30 day money back guarantee!
    Available on iOS and Android
    Certificate of Completion
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About This Course

Published 5/2014 English

Course Description

Taught by a bestselling author, professional writing coach,
and former editor for Rick Steves' Europe


Lots of people dream of becoming travel writers.

This course will help you fulfill that dream.

Discover how to write travel tales readers love,
and how to sell your stories to newspapers and magazines.


Hi! I’m Dave Fox. I’m a bestselling author and writing coach. I’ve worked in more than 50 countries as a freelance travel writer, workshop presenter, and international tour guide. I help people write amazing tales about their journeys.

If you have dreams of becoming a travel writer – whether it’s so you can publish your work professionally, create a popular personal travel blog, or just write about your travels for the fun of it – I can help you achieve your goals.

    Beginning travel writers: If travel writing is something you’ve wanted to break into, but you haven’t known how to get started, this course will teach you all you need to know to begin writing lively and exciting travel tales today.

    Intermediate travel writers: If you’ve done some travel writing before, but you want to create more polished, compelling stories – stories that stand out in the crowded arena of aspiring travel writers – this course will help you hone your skills, and it will give you a clear understanding of how to succeed in the writing business and get published.


Follow these lessons, and I guarantee you will see an immediate improvement in your writing. You'll learn skills you can start using right away – and skills that will evolve and get even better over time as you keep writing. You’ll gain a clear understanding of the techniques professional writers use to write captivating travel essays, and you’ll discover your own, unique writing voice.


Some of the topics we’ll cover include:

* Transforming your “rough-draft” travel diaries into compelling personal travel essays with attention-grabbing beginnings, streamlined middles, and meaningful endings – and why you must follow a very different writing style from your “on-the-road” journals when you write travel tales for others to read.

* Spotting and capturing the details that make a story sparkle and writing about them in ways that make readers feel like they’re right there with you.

* Bringing characters to life through quotes and vivid description, and navigating the ethical and legal issues that come with writing about other people.

* Avoiding stale clichés that weigh down potentially great writing and coming up with fresh, original alternatives.

* Getting started in travel blogging.

* Pitching and selling your articles to newspapers, magazines, and anthology books. (Thousands of newspapers and magazines pay freelance writers more for a single story than you'll pay for this workshop!)

* The most common beginners’ mistake that keeps many aspiring travel writers from getting published – and how to fix it.

* And tons of other easy-to-act-on writing tips.

If you want to be a great travel writer, there’s another thing you must also be able to do. You must know how to have big adventures – because those adventures will spark your boldest stories. So I’ll also share my tips on how to make exciting things happen when you travel – how to find richer cultural experiences and more meaningful personal encounters in the places you visit. (Even if you’re an introvert!)


This course is different from other travel writing courses. It doesn’t just offer tips on how you should write; it also explains how you shouldn’t write.

Lots of people try to break into travel writing. Those who don’t succeed usually blame it on not being talented enough – but that’s often not their real problem. Their real problem is they have adopted a set of habits that are weakening their writing.

Over the two decades I’ve been teaching travel writing workshops, I’ve identified a series of common mistakes beginning writers make. These mistakes weigh their writing down, and hold them back from writing to their full potential. These habits are easy to fix once you know how to spot them in your own work. This course teaches you how.

In addition to more than three hours of information-packed videos, this workshop also includes a series of writing exercises to help you practice what you’ve learned, and an online discussion forum where you can ask me questions whenever you like and talk about your writing our international community of writing students.


Q: True or False: Only a few lucky people get to become successful travel writers.

A: False! Being “lucky” has nothing to do with it!


Talent doesn’t really work that way.

If you’re smart enough to understand this webpage, you’ve got all the brain-cells you need to become a successful writer. Doing it on your own is tough, however. Success will come more quickly if you have a teacher, a mentor, to help guide the way.

I love engaging with my students, and answering their questions in our online forums. So ask me questions at an time! I’m here to help! (I also offer in-depth critiquing and one-on-one coaching for an additional fee – but we’re getting ahead of ourselves. If you’re just getting started, you’ll get the most value for your money if you begin with the basic course.)

I also believe that we learn faster when learning is fun. So I promise my lessons are lively, even a bit goofy at times, and never boring. (And if you don’t agree, if you don’t feel you have gotten your money’s worth after joining the course, Udemy offers a 30-day, no-questions-asked, money-back guarantee. You’ve got nothing to lose!)

We are each in this life for a finite amount of time. We owe it to ourselves to achieve our dreams during that time. If becoming a travel writer is one of your life dreams, I can help you make that dream a reality.

Ready to get started? Just click the blue “Take This Course” button at the top of this page (or the bottom of your screen if you're reading this on your phone) and begin your journey ... right now!


"(Dave is) the best writing teacher I have ever had. Talented, funny, approachable, and structured."

-- Leslie in Surrey, England


"Dave Fox is an amazing teacher who will give you online feedback as if you were sitting right next to him."

-- Joan in Bakersfield, California


Also check out my other writing courses on Udemy:

  • Globejotting: How to Write Extraordinary Travel Journals (and still have time to enjoy your trip!)
  • Professional Humor Tricks for Writers, Speakers, and Other Misfits
  • Write-Brained 1: Overcome Writer's Block and Write with Confidence! (The first in my new series of courses on the psychology of writing, this course explores how to cure writer's block, writer's overwhelm, and perfectionism so you write more, write better, and write more happily.)

What are the requirements?

  • The desire to become a better writer, and to share stories of your travels -- to places close to home or far away.
  • A love for writing ... even though it might drive you crazy sometimes.
  • A decent command of the English language. (But you don't have to be a native speaker, as long as you get what's going on!)

What am I going to get from this course?

  • Learn how to write professional-quality travel tales that readers (and editors) will love.
  • Master writing techniques that will hook readers right away, maintain their interest throughout the story, and leave them feeling fulfilled at the end.
  • Weave together the various elements that create a great travel tale — the setting, people, events, and unique emotions we encounter on the road.
  • Understand the critical differences between travel journaling and writing travel tales for others to read.
  • Travel with a writer's eye for stories.
  • Introduce colorful characters into your travel tales, and understand the rules and common practices for handling quotes and writing dialogue.
  • Write dialogue that sounds natural and believable.
  • Discover easy and comfortable ways to connect with people when you travel (even if you're an introvert) -- because doing so leads you into richer, "story-worthy" experiences.
  • Know what *not* to include in your stories, and pace your action to maintain reader interest throughout.
  • Obliterate travel writing clichés to create original tales that are truly your own.
  • Learn the two big mistakes that keep beginning freelance writers from getting published -- and discover easy ways to avoid those mistakes.
  • Understand the different methods for pitching stories to editors, and know what your best strategies are, even if you are just starting out.
  • Publish your travel tales in blogs, newspapers, magazines, and books.

What is the target audience?

  • Anyone who wants to break into freelance travel writing – beginning and intermediate travel writers, as well as advanced writers in other genres who want to expand their repertoire.
  • Bloggers
  • Storytellers
  • Aspiring authors
  • Local adventurers and world explorers

What you get with this course?

Not for you? No problem.
30 day money back guarantee.

Forever yours.
Lifetime access.

Learn on the go.
Desktop, iOS and Android.

Get rewarded.
Certificate of completion.

Curriculum

Section 1: Getting Started
11:50

Writing travel tales for an audience requires a very different approach and a different set of techniques from writing a personal travel diary. In our introductory lesson, we look at the key differences between travel journaling and travel writing for publication. We explore the reasons why the stories we accumulate when we travel can be so much more powerful than the ones we accumulate at home. And we take a peek at what's coming up in the rest of this workshop.

05:48

Signing up for a travel writing course will not make you a great travel writer. Learning how to absorb the material and practicing what you've learned will!

I want this course to make you a wildly successful writer -- in whatever way you choose to define wild success. So, before we go any further, here are some tips that will help you get the most out of this workshop, harness the lessons to their fullest, and ensure that the time and money you invest really pay off.

14:18

While writing travel tales for others to read requires a different approach from journaling for ourselves, travel journals are important travel writers' tools. They are where we collect the "raw material" we later polish into publishable stories.

In this lesson, we take a deeper look at the differences between the two, and we also discover how they go hand-in-hand. Then, we have a refresher course in which I share some of my top travel journaling tips.

My book, "Globejotting: How to Write Extraordinary Travel Journals," and my Udemy course by the same name (available at udemy.com/travel-journaling), offer an in-depth look at the art of personal travel journaling. This lesson is a review of the key points for everyone who has read the book or taken the workshop, and a crash course in the most important aspects of travel journaling, as they pertain to writing for publication, for anyone who hasn't.

Section One Exercises: Speed Journaling and Story Hunting
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Section 2: How to Capture and Write the Most Scintillating Details
13:23

How do you travel with a writer's eye? How do you capture the details that will help your readers feel like they're right there with you on your journeys? How do you weed out the extraneous details that can bog down otherwise great stories? And how do you bundle your unique voice into your travel tales, and find the stories only you can write?

14:11

Discovering how to take fantastic notes might not be as sexy of a topic as chasing down the stories and getting published, but knowing the right kind of notes to scribble as you travel, and knowing how to take them thoroughly and efficiently, will make a huge difference in both the quality of your stories and the ease of writing them.

03:33

If you've taken a writing course before, you've likely heard the adage, "Show. Don't tell." They're three simple words, but how do you put them into practice? Understanding the difference between telling and showing is critical if you want to get published. In this short lesson, I share examples and offer tips to help you supercharge the descriptions in your stories.

03:36

Knowing which details to exclude from a story is as important as knowing which details to include. Too much flowery description bogs down great storytelling and makes it tedious to read. In this lesson, we learn how to weed through all the great raw material we collect in our travel diaries to get to the heart of the story.

Section Two Exercises: Watching the Pros and a Rough Draft
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Section 3: Crafting the Story
08:18

So far, we've talked about how to gather the details you need for your stories, how to write about those details in original and compelling ways, and how to strip some of them away to keep your stories focused. Now, it's time to package it all together. How do you reel your readers in, maintain their interest, and leave them feeling satisfied at the end?

08:40

Writing a compelling opening paragraph or "lead" is critical. You've got to hook your readers right away. In this lesson, we learn how to do that, and we discover why sometimes, it's best not to begin at the beginning. We also uncover another common beginner's mistake that stops readers (and editors) from ever reading a story in the first place.

05:08

You've hooked your readers and lured them into traveling with you. Now, it's time to take them along on the journey. As your story unfolds, you need to keep hooking them again and again, and make every sentence count so they stay with you until the end.

04:14

When you write in your personal travel journal, you can write whatever you like. When you write for an audience, on the other hand, your job as a writer is to please your readers and leave them feeling satisfied. Concluding a travel tale in a meaningful way can be the most challenging part of writing the story. In this lesson, we explore different techniques for wrapping things up, and types of story endings that leave readers feeling like they've gotten something out of reading about your adventures.

Section Three Exercise: Write or Rewrite
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Section 4: Your Cast of Characters
07:28

Travel writing isn't just about places. It's also about the people we encounter along the way. Often, the characters we meet on our journeys lead us into our biggest, craziest adventures.

Bringing those characters into your stories will add depth and fresh voices to your writing. But doing so isn't always easy. In this lesson, we look at your cast of characters -- all the quirky people you meet as you explore, and techniques for weaving them into your tales.

12:27

Well-written dialogue will make your stories sparkle, but there are also important legal issues to be aware of if you want to publish what you write. In this lesson, we explore tricks for writing captivating dialogue, and also look at how and when to quote people without getting in trouble.

07:12

In order to be a successful travel writer, you don't only have to be a great storyteller. You also have to be a great "storyfinder." One of the best ways to find unique stories, stories that bring you deeper into experiences that are exciting for other people to read about, is to get out there and meet as many people as possible.

For some people, this comes naturally. For others, however, chatting up strangers can feel horribly intimidating. But it doesn't have to!

In this super-fun lesson (featuring a cameo appearance by Dave's travel mascot, Sven Wondermoose), Dave explains how he gets out and meets people when he's traveling -- even when he's feeling shy. This lesson won't just make you a better writer; it will also lead you into cooler travel adventures!

How's It Going?
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Section Four Exercises: Build Your Cast of Characters and Introduce Us
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Section 5: Editing Your Stories
11:16

Travel writing is dripping with clichés. If you want to stand out, you have to rise above the "Land of Contrasts" blather and come up with original material -- not just fresh ways of saying things, but unique story angles as well.

We begin this lesson with a journey to Cliché Island, where the poor but happy, friendly locals dwell. Oh, but Cliché Island is more than just quaint, little villages! It is also a place of bustling cities, must-see sights, and food that is "to die for."

We will go to Cliché Island once. We will see what a dreary, unoriginal place it is. And then, we will never, ever go there again.

05:47

When you write for printed publications, space on the page is limited. In the online world, attention spans are short. Knowing how to write as tightly as possible will make you a better writer, no matter what genre you write in. In this brief-and-to-the-point lesson, we discuss the importance of stripping away flabby verbiage, and being brief and to-the-point.

Section Five Exercise: Polish and Tighten
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Section 6: Travel Blogging
08:11

It's time to start flinging your tales into the world! And we begin with one of the easiest ways to do so: travel blogging. Starting a blog is quick and easy. In this lesson, we look at how to get a basic blog up and running, and we learn about ways your blog can help you build a following and lead to paying markets for your work.

05:06

If you build it, will they come? When it comes to blogging, the answer is yes! In this lesson, we learn about how search engines discover and index blogs. We also look at social media: How to choose platforms that work for you, and how to avoid getting sucked into the social media time-and-procrastination vortex. We also explore one of my favorite marketing tools: Twitter. When I first heard of Twitter, I thought it was the dumbest thing ever. But then, I learned how to use it to promote my writing, network with other travel writers and editors, and a lot more.

Section Six Exercise: Blog It!
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Section 7: How to Make Money as a Freelance Travel Writer
14:12

There are a few realities about the writing business many travel writing books and courses won't tell you. And I'm not talking about that picture they always show of the guy working on the sandy beach with his laptop and a mojito. (Have you ever tried sitting with your laptop in the sun? You can't see the screen!) In this simulated Q&A session, we discuss the realities and the myths that surround making money as a travel writer.

(And hey, got other questions? Remember, you can always post them in the Udemy discussion forums. I'm happy to answer them!)

12:16

Okay! It's time! Now that we've covered how to write phenomenal travel tales, and covered the realities of making money as a travel writer, let's see if we can work with those realities and start selling some stories!

In this lesson, we cover how to pitch articles to magazines and newspapers. We talk about the pros and cons of querying versus submitting on spec. (We also talk about what those words mean.) And we discuss strategies for breaking in to travel freelancing if you haven't yet developed a writer's portfolio.

10:52

Wanna write a book? Or part of a book? New technologies are making it easier than it ever has been, and e-publishers like Amazon are offering royalty percentages that were unheard of in the pre-digital age. Whether you want to contribute to travel anthologies, or blast out an entire volume of your own, this lesson will help you get started.

Section Seven Exercise: Polishing and Pitching Your Stories
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Section 8: Time to Go!
12:00

Woohoo! You've worked really hard in this course and you're almost at the end! Now, it's time to take a look back at the key points to make sure they stay fresh in your mind.

04:20

"How You Can Change the World as a Travel Writer!"

That isn't just a trite catch phrase meant to be a slick marketing ploy. Oh, okay, so I guess it is kind of gimmicky ... but I sincerely believe that travel writers change the world in positive ways. And I believe that you -- yes you! -- can change the world with your writing, no matter how you choose to share your work.

In our final farewell, I talk about how and why I feel this way, and I tell you how you can keep in touch with me if you want to keep on learning. This lesson also includes something I'm pretty sure you won't find in any other Udemy course. (Because most Udemy instructors aren't as weird as I am.)

Onward!
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Instructor Biography

Dave Fox, Bestselling Travel Author / Writing and Humor Coach

Dave Fox is on a mission to help people tell scintillating stories. He's a professional travel and humor writer, a writing and humor coach, a chronic storyteller, and the author of two bestselling books. Dave thrives on stepping outside of his cultural comfort zones in search of adventures and misadventures. He also makes really good sandwiches if you ask him nicely.

Originally from the United States, Dave started travel journaling at age seven when his family moved to England for a year. During that time, he developed an obsession with foreign cultures, which eventually morphed into his travel writing career. He also developed a British accent, which eventually morphed back to a mostly-American accent, but he respects your right to spell "humour" with that extra "U" if it makes you happy.

Dave's love for humo(u)r writing evolved in early adulthood when he discovered office memos didn't have to be boring. He fled nine-to-five life in 2001 on a mission to expand beyond office memos, and published his first book of travel-humor essays three years later after winning the Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop Book Proposal Contest. He has been teaching writing workshops for more than 20 years. He has been making sandwiches even longer.

Dave has worked as a Public Radio news anchor, a tour guide for Rick Steves' Europe, an international cruise ship lecturer, and an iguana groomer. (Okay, not really an iguana groomer. Iguanas get cranky when you try to groom them.) His work has been featured on the History Channel, Channel NewsAsia, and national radio broadcasts in the US and Australia. He has also been an opening speaker for Princess Märtha Louise of Norway. (True story: When the princess told Dave he spoke excellent Norwegian, Dave replied, "Thank you, Your Majesty. So do you.")

For 16 years, Dave guided tours around Europe for Rick Steves' travel company. He has lived in the US, England, Norway, and Turkey and Singapore. He currently lives in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, where he works as the Vietnam correspondent for TTG Asia and freelances for a variety of other publications including the Straits Times of Singapore, and Singapore Airlines' magazine and website. His work has also appeared in books by Rick Steves, Lonely Planet, Travelers' Tales, and the 2014 Moon Guide to Burma.

Dave's own books, Getting Lost: Mishaps of an Accidental Nomad, and Globejotting: How to Write Extraordinary Travel Journals (and still have time to enjoy your trip!), have both been Amazon travel bestsellers. He is currently working on a new book, The Ghosts of Bui Vien Street, about modern life in Ho Chi Minh City.

Dave shares his travel tales, humor essays, and writing advice on his website. (Please see below for the link.) He is available for one-on-one writing and travel coaching via Skype, e-mail, and in person.

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