by Catherine L. Tully
Good travel writing starts before you get to the destination. If you want to be a travel writer, you’ll need to get in the habit of doing some legwork on the front end of the trip. Here are three things to do before you go that will help you make the most of your time once you are there:
1. Research the destination on the web.
Take the time to do learn as much as you can about the place you are going. Hit sites like TripAdvisor or Yelp to get an idea of what people are saying about the city. Look at the chamber of commerce page to find local businesses. Scout out reastaurant menus and plan some meals. These days there is no excuse to go to a destination cold. Do some homework…
2. Look at a map of the area.
If you take the time to get the lay of the land it will be easier to get around once you arrive. Don’t ignore neighboring cities either…they may have something to offer. In addition, if you are able to get the main streets down (depending on how big the city is), you are less likely to get lost. If you already know places you want to visit, print out a map and mark them down ahead of time.
3. Find out what has already been written about the place.
This is an important point. If you want to go to Chicago and write about what there is to do at the lakefront, you may want to skip Navy Pier since tons of articles have already been written about it. Find something new, or look for a unique twist on something that is popular. Google the city name. Poke around and see what is out there already. This will help you define how your time is best spent.