Travel: Scouting Out The Good Stuff

Catherine L. Tullyby Catherine L. Tully

As you may know I just got back from a trip to Colorado. I plan to do some writing about places/things I saw there and thought I’d share some stuff with you about how I take a trip and gather info.

If you are going somewhere and you are not quite sure what you are going to write about there, here are some pointers for getting intel together that you can use later on:

+ Ask the locals. Try and avoid writing travel pieces about typical travel spots if possible. They’re generally done to death. If you are going to Philadelphia, don’t pen a piece on the Liberty Bell. Trekking to San Antonio? Pass on The Alamo. The locals know the cool stuff. Check with them.

+ Go brochure crazy. I confess to having a problem with this, but it comes in quite handy. Grab every brochure, booklet and pamphlet you can find. Keep them for later reference. You can find stuff this way that you wouldn’t be able to locate online. Plus–quick facts and figures are all right there for the taking. Makes the research easier.

Take a walk. You see so much more on foot than you do when riding on public transportation or in a car. Enough said there.

+ Be open minded. Try stuff that you wouldn’t normally do. Not a rodeo fan? Go anyway. Not too keen on checking out a sushi bar? At least nibble on a California roll. You don’t have to do things that you really hate, but if you are somewhere that is known for a particular thing, you may want to at least give it a shot. It could be article-worthy.

+ Carry a camera. Take pictures of everything. This is so handy! I snap photos of street signs rather than writing them down and jog my memory of a city with visuals. At my age–it’s really helpful. Plus, it helps you remember the “flavor” of a place so you can write about it more authoritatively than if you were relying on memory alone.