Travel. Write. Like chocolate and peanut butter, it's two great things that go great together. So how can you become a professional, and what kind of travel writer jobs are available? To begin with, know that the competition for positions is stiff. Many excellent writers compete for articles and travel writer jobs. Most of the work available will be freelance and commissioned pieces, rather than a salaried position, so you will need to sell yourself for each piece. By developing your unique voice as a writer, you can differentiate yourself from the competition for writing jobs.
To that end, one of the most effective tools is a good website. Having a website with your work on it, together with photos you've taken if available, is an excellent showcase for your portfolio. Although there are professional travel writing courses available, and they can help you refine your style, the most successful way to get more writing jobs is to do more writing. Demonstrating your talents is essential.
Your online portfolio should have several diverse articles on it, with a definite voice. A regularly updated blog is an asset to any site. Consider your strengths and how they can be emphasized in the writing. For example, if you are a chef or a foodie, sometimes an article comparing the cuisine in two neighbouring countries (or the north and the south of a single country) can highlight how discerning you are. There is a large demand for adventure writing, so if you have participated in any daredevil expeditions, it is a good idea to include an article on them.
When you have established your portfolio, begin researching places to sell your work. Newspapers, books, magazines and online sources are all target markets for a travel writer. Most book work is reserved for established authors, so those new to the field should concentrate on the other areas. Online magazines publish the most work from unknown writers and can raise your name in searches. Research those sources that publish general travel writing, and also those with a niche: in the previous example of a chef travel writer comparing cuisines, a food-focused magazine would be a good target. Keep clear, detailed records of when and to whatever you've pitched your work at each source. You should have a clear angle that you are suggesting to the editor and be confident that you have the time and resources to follow through.
Most travel publications will not advance money for expenses, so be prepared to support yourself while you conduct the research. With time and experience, a successful career in travel writing is possible.