Archive for the ‘Advice’ category

Profile: Ron Gluckman, a travel writer in Asia

May 4, 2007

Ron Gluckman is an American journalist who has been based in Asia for 16 years, working out of Hong Kong, Beijing and Bangkok. He’s travelled around Asia extensively and written for publications including Time, Newsweek and the Wall Street Journal. Ron’s break in travel writing came by accident when he was researching background for a book for his journalism fellowship at Oxford University back in 1990. He wound up in Hong Kong with no money, just the bag on his back, and he started working for Asian magazines. He never looked back.

Ron said: “When I was stuck in Hong Kong I sent faxes to half a dozen editors on a Friday, got a call on a Saturday and was covering stories by the Monday. I just got lucky and I’ve never looked back since.”

Ron feels that writing and travelling go hand in hand with each other, and he finds it hard to define himself as either without crossing over into the other field.

He said: “I’ve been a writer or journalist for a long time, and think one is just an extension of the other. My first real travel writing was done for newspapers. Reporters were always looking for some way to extend a road trip or get out of the office on an exotic excursion.

“I started traveling on my own as a teenager and was hooked. I pretty much made up my mind that writing was what I wanted to do about the same time. It was only a matter of time before the two came together and I was working as a travel writer. I don’t really consider myself a travel writer so much as a general reporter.”

“My usual routine is to arrange a story somewhere, like Mongolia or Vietnam, then I see what else is interesting. My approach to travel writing probably stems from this reporter background.

“I really hate all these identical stories about beaches or blah blah blah. When I read a story, I don’t want to read a travel story, I want to read a story, meaning I want to learn something interesting that I didn’t already know. The best travel writing unquestionably involves fantastic writing and interesting travel.”

The best thing about being a travel writer for Ron is the ability to travel here, there and everywhere. He hates the concept of a holiday, he’d much rather be working.

He said: “I absolutely hate holidays, meaning going somewhere to not work, where I have to pay for everything myself, get treated poorly and don’t learn anything. I much prefer going to exotic places with a purpose, where everyone wants to take me
to their favorite spot, the most secluded waterfall, or to visit some distant tribe, or to eat some incredibly tasty local dish, and then return to some luxurious resort and have a soak in a six-star spa under the stars – and get paid for it. Talk about a dream job!”

The current state of the media business is the most frustrating part of Ron’s job, he feels that editors just aren’t willing to commission exciting pieces anymore, they’d rather play it safe.

“For me, it’s a continual adjustment to new editors”, says Ron, “who are always dealing with their own preoccupations: the new design, new direction, new demographics.

“I find it such a world away from what I do, which is hanging out with monks in Mongolia or Bhutan, or trying to get on board new train routes to Tibet. But all the difficulties in the field are minor compared to the lack of editorial ambition; before magazines really took chances. Now they all want to play it safe, covering the same ground between Bali and Phuket. It’s hard to get them to push things.”

Ron finds it hard to put his finger on his top five destinations, but it’s Asia that dominates his list.

He said: “My motto is the weirder the better, so I look remote places where people wear funny things on their heads. It’s getting harder and harder to find really remote places these days, and I’m not a danger junkie, but I do like different.

“Hence, you cannot beat North Korea. It’s as out-there as you can get in an intellectual sense, and while there are definite
drawbacks in the access and being unable to travel freely, everything you see and do works well in terms of story telling.”

“Next, I’d say Bhutan, which is one of the nicest places I’ve ever been, still mostly unspoiled and inspiring. You feel privileged just to be there.

“Mongolia is still special, really one of the Last Great Places, as it’s been called. I like the endless space and complete contrast to the ways of the rest of the world.

“Here’s a funny observation: Everyone I’ve talked to who has been to Mongolia has either loved it or hated it – but always for the same reason. The last time I went, I got as sick as I’ve ever been in my life, totally destroyed for three weeks. But as soon as I got better, I was straight back on the train to Mongolia again.”

The next two of Ron’s picks are good places for first-timers in Asia to visit.

He said: “The two most accessible places are: Goa in India, which surprises everyone with its laid-back charm and old-world architecture.

“And, for ease of travel, and value for money, it would be hard to beat Thailand, my present home. We have great weather, great beaches, fantastic food, and wonderful people. Even with all the tourists, it’s still a wonderful place to visit.”

Lonely Planet’s Tom Hall picks his top five destinations

May 4, 2007

Working for one of the world’s largest travel guide companies has its perks, and for Tom Hall, as an editor and spokesperson for sustainable and responsible travel, it’s allowed him to fulfil his travel dreams.

Tom first started working for Lonely Planet eight years ago, and he’s enjoyed the experience.

He said: “I’ve been working for Lonely Planet for eight years and been writing for them for around six years. They are a great company and I’m proud to be involved with producing all the guides. It’s nice to know we’re known as ‘the bible’ for some travellers.”

Tom’s first taste of travel came when his brother took him interrailing around Europe, after that he was hooked.

He said: “I’ve been travelling since a very young age, my first independent trip was at 16 with my brother, we went interrailing around Europe. That was an amazing experience and I’ve been a number of times since then.

“I’ve done a few round the world trips, visited too many countries to remember.”

Tom’s hard pushed to name his top five destinations, but eventually he arrives at a decision. It’s an eclectic mix.

1. New Zealand – It is as beautiful as everyone says and there is a real chance for adventures when you’re there.

2. Chile – When you travel North to South in Chile then you see such dramatic changes in the scenery, the people are extremely friendly.

3. Britain – holidays at home are very underrated, there are some stunning places on our own doorstep, the Lake District and the Highlands of Scotland in particular are great to visit.

4. Tanzania – if you want a varied place then you can’t get much better, the beaches of Zanzibar are everything you’ve dreamed about and then you can head in land to the Rift Valleys of Africa and go on safari.

5. Ethiopia – the place still feels very wild, it’s been unchanged for thousands of years, the people still live the same, there are some amazing natural beauty spots and if they weren’t in Ethiopia then they’d be heralded the world over but unfortunately the country has such a stereotype, of poverty and war.

Health advice for travellers

May 1, 2007

Claire Stringer, Travel Health Nurse Advisor
Offers advice to the medical industry on issues around travel health

How would the travel advice you give to a volunteer differ to from that you give to an ordinary traveller?

The circumstances can be very different and varied, we would give specialist advice to those who are volunteering. If they are based in rural areas and having close contact with the population then it is likely there will be more vaccinations recommended and it is very important to be careful with food and water.

How can you avoid getting ill while away?

Important to plan properly; seek advice from your practice nurse. Important to research the destination before you go, find out if there are medical facilities there and what your accommodation will be like. Practice good food and water hygiene; avoid ice in drinks and drinking bottled or boiled water. Avoid insect bites by having a mosquito net and using insect repellents when out and about.

Malaria?

There are different types of malaria tablets and it will be very different from person to person as to what types are recommended. It’s important to start the course of tablets before departure, continue them while there and most malaria tablets require them to be taken four weeks after you return home. This is a very important time to remember to keep taking them because malaria can take a long time to become active in the body. The symptoms of malaria are: flu like symptoms, high temperatures, shivers, shakes, aching and diarrhoea. If you develop these then you should seek medical advice immediately.

What should I pack in a first aid kit?

Basic requirements are: plasters, dressings, antiseptic, painkillers, triangular bandage for making slings, elasticated bandages for sprained ankles. You can get sterile kits which if going to remote places will include injection kits and sterilise equipment.

What should I do if I become ill while travelling?

If you’ve done your planning then you should be confident of what to do. Make sure when you arrive at your destination that you ask about a good doctor and pharmacy, most hotels will usually have a list of nearby medical facilities. If you become ill then seek medical advice, and phone your health insurance company as they should be able to advise you. You can also contact the embassy for your country as they will be able to offer advice.

Should I get travel insurance?

Definitely. Some countries are very expense to become unwell in, in particular countries like the United States which operate an entirely private healthcare system. I can’t stress enough how important it is to have health insurance, something like a broken leg could cost you up to £10,000 to have treated abroad.

How can I cope with diarrhoea?

It’s the most common problem for travellers to experience, can often be caused by the change in diet. For example in Asian countries there are not as many solids eaten, it’s mainly a rice diet and this can lead to diarrhoea. To cure it then make sure you increase your fluid intake, stick to a bland diet and avoid dairy products such as milk and cheese. Use rehydration sachets if possible, these stop you becoming dehydrated. If you have to keep travelling, for example you’re on a long bus or train journey then use some Imodium as this will keep you comfortable for around 24-48 hours.

Can I trust the medical advice and medication in developing countries?

Most of the time you can but there can be a lot of counterfeit medicines on the market. A lot of countries don’t have the level of regulation that we do in the UK. Make sure that you use a doctor recommended to you by consulate staff if possible.

Top 5 travel health trips:

1.    Good preparation, seek advice before travelling and make sure you have any recommended vaccinations
2.    Be aware of your personal safety, a lot of health problems are people twisting ankles etc on bumpy pavements.
3.    Take care with food and drink
4.    Avoid insect bites
5.    Get medical insurance before you travel

David Browne: Stay safe while travelling

April 19, 2007

This article was written by David Browne:

1. How can you stay safe while out and about in the town while travelling?

Look like you belong in the area, blend in, don’t make it obvious
that you are lost, helpless and desperate, even if you are. Don’t go
round with a map in front of your nose all the time – that marks you
out as a stranger who doesn’t know the way. You will be pestered with
people offering to help you, some with good intentions but some with
not. Be streetwise and suspicious of anyone deliberately slowing you
down, offering you things, or trying to sell you things as you walk
along. Dress appropriately at all times. Not too flashy and bright,
but not too poor looking either. Take care of your back-pack in
towns, they are easy to steal from when they are on your back in a
crowded street. Jewelry, expensive-looking watches, cameras, i-pods,
all attract unwanted attention so keep them discreet nor you risk
becoming the victim of a street crime. Avoid crowds gathering for a
demonstration, they can get passionate and you could get caught up in
scuffles or conflict between groups and the police. Be on your guard
when local people approach you and strike up a conversation. It
sounds harsh to say this, but not all have good intentions and
westerners are presumed to be rich in many countries of the world, so
fair game for robbing or deceit. Be vigilant at all times, but don’t
be paranoid that there is an attacker round every corner. Walk
purposefully with your attention on what’s going on around you and
don’t linger to deal with tricky situations, get out of them.

2. Using public transport – should I?

It’s part of the cultural adventure to travel with locals on buses
and trains. Of course use public transport, but be sensible about
awareness of pick-pockets in close contact situations like local
buses. Keep wallets and purses close by you and not in the back
pockets of trousers or jeans – it’s so easy to steal from back
pockets. Travelling by metro or city bus lines is a great way to get
around cities like Berlin or Paris or Rome, and so much cheaper than
taxis. Crowded places like bus stations and train stations or
airports are favourite places for thieves and conmen to operate.
Beware of being distracted by a stranger while another person could
be robbing you by stealth. Night trains are the worst for incidents
of thieving, so keep you sleeping compartment locked while you are
inside. On the Belgrade to Budapest sleeper they used to give you an
iron bar to put across the inside of the door as extra protection.
The Serbs would say it was only needed as the train crossed Hungary,
and the Hungarians would warn you it was needed only in Serbia. I
never experienced any trouble myself on many journeys along the route.

3. How can I keep my mobile phone and wallet safe?

If you must carry them around, keep them out of sight until you
actually need to use them. Do you really need to carry a mobile phone
everywhere? If you do, keep it switched off while on the streets of
an unfamiliar town or city as you could easily be distracted and
attract thieves by phone going off as someone calls you – it’s better
to check for calls and messages when you get off the streets. Carry
two wallets – the one with your genuine local currency and credit
cards, and another stuffed with useless old foreign banknotes that
look good to a thief. Hand over the decoy wallet if you get mugged.
Don’t keep all your money in one place.

4. What should I do if my passport gets stolen or I lose it?

Report the loss or theft to the local police immediately and ask for
their help to call the nearest Consulate or Embassy for your country.
Of course you always keep a photocopy of your passport in a safe
place like a bag in your hotel or scanned into an email that you can
access from an Internet cafe… don’t you? This simple precaution can
speed up the preparation of a new temporary travel document as you
will be able to give the Consulate or Embassy the details of your
original passport. Don’t delay getting a replacement for a lost
passport, in many countries it is compulsory to carry i/d and for
British people with no national identity card, the passport is the
only form of i/d acceptable to the authorities. Take great care of
your passport, don’t leave it out on a table or desk and don’t hand
it to anyone except legitimate officials like customs, immigration or
police, and then wait until you get it back after inspection before
you go anywhere else. Passports are valuable items on the black
market and highly favoured by thieves as they can be concealed so
easily in a pocket after a theft.

5. What safety precautions should I take before I go?

Do your homework about the places you are visiting. Find out where
the nearest hospitals are along your route and make sure you have
health insurance for your touring. Know where you are going when you
first arrive at each stop-off by planning ahead how to get to your
first location, usually a hotel or guest house. Photocopy and scan
your passport and visas, tickets and travel insurance and send them
by email to yourself, so you can access them from an Internet cafe.
Prepare a detailed travel plan, so people at home know you should be
each day. Pack small and light. Big bags can slow you down and hinder
your progress if you need to move out of a difficult situation
quickly, and big bags mark you out as a tourist, ripe for scams,
sharks and downright thieves. Make sure your mobile phone is topped
up with a reasonable amount of credit before you leave the country,
and arrange to have access to sums of money through credit cards and
bank machines, then you don’t have to carry large amounts of cash
which would increase your chances of being robbed.

6. What should I do when I first arrive in a new place, should I register somewhere?

Get to your hotel or hostel first of all. Spend some time getting
orientated, talk to the hotel staff and get clear directions for your
first venture on to the streets. In most countries you need to
register with the local police, but this is usually done through the
hotel recording details of your passport. They may hold your passport
for a while, but make an excuse that you are going out somewhere and
will need to produce it for identification and don’t leave your
passport with anyone – even hotel staff – overnight. It’s safer in
your own pocket.

7. People keep looking at me weirdly, why is that?

Perhaps because you are weird in the circumstances, such as pink or
white in a tropical country where you look like an albino amongst the
locals. Perhaps because your clothes are so casual and revealing that
to local people it looks like you are going round in just your
underwear. Then again, it may simply be that you are a woman
travelling alone which is very unusual in some countries and
cultures. Sometimes a weird look is a sign of curiosity rather than
anything sinister, so carry on with what you were doing, but alert to
the fact that you have become an attraction, and avoid becoming the
target of unwanted attention. Move on briskly if people start to
interfere with you. In some cultures, a single woman in a public
place is automatically thought to be available as a prostitute. Sad
but true, and best dealt with by a cold reaction rather than a
conversation, no matter how brief.

8. Is there any way to avoid getting ill from eating local food?

Be sensible about food hygiene wherever you go. Keep you own hands
scrupulously clean when eating food with your fingers (carry
alcohol-based hand cleansing gel for this purpose as you may not
always have access to clean water and soap). Beware of uncooked food
like salads in hot countries as the leaves and raw vegetables are not
always washed in the cleanest water. Fruit that you peel yourself is
generally safe, and hot food should be piping hot and freshly cooked,
not left for a long time in a warm bulky serving container. Watch out
when the serving spoon used by the food seller on the street in kept
or dipped in a water pot – the water can harbor a lot of nasty
bacteria that get passed on through contact with the food. And when
it comes to drinking water, it’s best to drink bottled water even if
guidebooks tell you the local tap water is safe. It may be safe but
still contain small amounts of bugs that are unfamiliar to you
digestive system. And best of all, drink fizzy, sparkling, carbonated
water in preference to still bottled water – the gas makes the water
slightly acid and less prone to bacteria contamination. Don’t drink
from public fountains in streets or market squares, even if the
locals do. And in a bar, don’t accept drinks from strangers chatting
you up as the new face in town, unless you see the drink poured by
the barman and delivered directly to you. Some people will do
anything to spike a drink with a drug potion to relax you even
further than the alcohol.

How to be a travel writer

April 16, 2007

David Browne
Travel journalist

1. How long have you been a travel journalist?

Nine years so far. I was previously a staff journalist at the BBC and
left on a redundancy/early retirement deal, to pursue my travel
interests as a freelance.

2. How did you start out as a travel journalist?

I started by doing research projects, updating guide book entries.
This is very tedious work and involves a lot of phoning and emails,
from home. The original writers do the travelling. It is possible to
be a travelling contributor if you contact a big publisher like the
AA or Thomas Cook Publishing, as many country guide books are put
together by a loose team coordinated by a staff project manager. I
then went on to write about travel industry current affairs for a
specialist travel news bulletin, and I write occasionally for
newspapers and magazines. I have also contributed chapters to a book
on adventure travel.

The opportunities for writing a whole book are rare, as publishers
give such projects to already-known writers who have time to live or
travel through a country over a period of 6 months to a year. You
also need to identify the travel and tourism potential of a country
to be able to submit an original idea for a new book, and bear in
mind that the days are gone where you could submit an idea for a
really obscure country (as the concept of Lonely Planet guides
started out) – the publishers will want to be sure that the book
would sell to a mass audience, in order to make money.

3. What’s the best way to start out as a travel journalist?

Submit your work. Write articles on places you have been and submit
them “on spec” to newspapers, magazines, online bulletins. Don’t
expect to be commissioned until you have built  a track record of
published material. But take great care to research the style and
range of coverage of the journal you are submitting to. Length is
important, few newspapers would want more than 1500 on average. Some
want specific recommendations about places to stay, how to get there
and so on, sometimes as a separate “box”, as opposed to being part of
the narrative of the article. A good way to start is to imagine how
to spend a productive 48 hours in a place, then write an article
around that. It’s a good discipline to get into, wherever you go. One
word of the blindingly obvious: don’t try to get away with writing
about places you have not been to, just because you have read about
them on the Internet. And do not rely on the Internet for updating
facts like telephone numbers and opening times. Many establishments
don’t update their web sites sufficiently for them to be reliable.
Sad but true.

4. Should you be a freelance travel journalist or a staff-travel journalist?

If you want a regular income, then go for the salaried staff
position. But it will be mainly office-based with occasional trips
abroad. If you want travel and adventure, then you must go freelance.
You will need to be disciplined about costs as your expenses will
often come out of a fixed project fee, so the more economical you
are, then the more money you make overall. And you must be good at
keeping accounts as you will need to do your own income tax return,
and you will be taxed on your profit, not the whole fee, and will
need to justify the difference to the Income Tax people. But don’t
expect to claim the costs of a holiday as a business expense. Travel
writing is work, with relaxation in unusual places thrown in. Travel
writing is not well paid, and this shows in the quality of work in
some popular guide books. It’s obvious that the writers have used
cheap and cheerful accommodation and glamorized it in their writing
of a review. Then again, you don’t put adverse comments about a
down-market flea-bitten hotel in a guide book do you? You just leave it out.

5. Is travel journalism dangerous?

About as dangerous as crossing a busy road in London. How do you
measure danger? All travel has its risks, but some risks are more
acceptable than others. You must take sensible precautions wherever
you travel and be respectful of local cultures, especially when it
comes to dress. Women particularly are vulnerable to danger and
unwanted attention if they wear skimpy tops and short skirts in some
countries. But men too should dress casually according to the
environment. Do not take valuables like jewelry with you unless you
are prepared to lose it. Bright jewelry attracts the attention of
potential thieves and it is not just the loss of value but the trauma
of being attacked that is hard to bear. Lock the doors in sleeping
compartments on trains and don’t get in situations where you must
rely on strangers to watch your bags. Travel light and wash clothes
as you travel. I could go on for many pages of advice about staying
safe when travelling. Get good travel insurance, but make sure you
are covered for business if you intend to write about the trip for
payment. It is business, after all. One specific tip – carry an extra
wallet or purse with a little money in it, such as a bundle of
useless old foreign notes, and expired credit cards. If you are
mugged, hand over this ‘false’ wallet and safeguard your real money.
On a plane, check where your nearest emergency exit is, and how to
reach it in the dark. A personal experience article about surviving
an air crash could make your career in journalism, remember that!

6. What’s the best part about being a travel journalist?

The travel opportunities, such as going to boring conferences held in
great places. I’ve been to Qatar, Delhi, Washington DC, Madrid,
Frankfurt, Oslo, Hong Kong and many other places to report speeches
at a conference, then spent a day or two exploring the city in my
free time, gathering material for future feature articles. Don’t try
and write just about your own holiday – you have to write to entice
other people to the location and give them reason to go there, and
pack your article with factual information, not just colourful poetic
words that spring from the heart as you bask in an ecstasy of delight
in a remote corner of a foreign land. Tell people how to get there
and what to do, warts and all.

7. What’s the worst part about being a travel journalist?

Without doubt, the low pay. When you measure how much time has been
taken up with a project and checked it against the pay received, you
are way below the minimum wage. Once you have a track record of
published articles, you will find that you may get invited on
Familiarity trips (Fam trips) or press tours, where you are hosted by
a company or a national tourism board. Then you get to stay in smart
hotels and eat good food at someone else’s expense, so it has its
compensations. But fam trips are hard work as you have a punishing
schedule of travel and meetings and briefings from various
stakeholders in the country’s tourism sector. The next worse part
about being a travel journalist is the travel. I mean hours of boring
travel – couped up in planes, economy class, or on trains through
miles of barren countryside, or worse on coaches whizzing along
motorways where reading and writing make you feel queasy and travel
sick. Be prepared for the boring bits by reading ahead your research
material so that when you arrive at a destination your hit the ground
running and don’t waste time looking for a place to stay. Prepare
your journey well and use the limited time in a destination to the
best advantage, and that means a lot of homework before you leave.
Your articles will be better informed for having read about the place
ahead of time. Boring but true.

8. What would you say are the qualities needed to be a travel journalist?

Number one is to be a good journalist. Travel is just a speciality.
All the skills of observation, note-taking, story-telling,
self-editing (prioritising), looking for the human interest angle and
the news peg are  just as important in travel as in business or
sports journalism. Being able to keep a good note of what people say
to you is important, and keeping a thorough journal of your own will
help later when you get home, because you will see and hear so many
things on a trip that one day will blend into another in your crowded
memory. Keep good files with up to date materials such as leaflets
from attractions and museums for later use. Remember one trip can
produce several articles, one on how to have a holiday stay, one on
regional food and wine, another on mountain walks, and another could
be a review of one hotel that you stayed in, and all these could
appear in specialist journals long after you return home.

Travel advice: Travel writing

March 20, 2007

Rolf Potts, adventurer, explorer and travel writer, offers advice on how to break into travel writing. Example of question:

 

Although I’ve assembled plenty of advice for aspiring travel writers on my websites over the years, I still get a steady stream of queries – often from college students – asking about how to land a travel writing gig. A recent inquiry comes from Maggie in Minnesota:

I am an aspiring travel journalist and freshman in college. I have decided to pursue travel journalism as my career. I am only 19 years old, but I have already been on numerous international travels. I have found that one of the great loves of my life is traveling and writing about those experiences. One of the greatest thrills of my life is interacting with people of other cultures, hearing their stories, living their way of life, etc.

Mr. Potts, what I am trying to get at is that I am very passionate about travel and writing. I know many people my age dream of being a travel journalist, and I know many of them may be better writers than I. What can I do to make my writing stand apart from all others? How can I be a successful travel journalist? What do magazines look for when they hire a travel journalist? What can I be doing now to prepare me for my future as a travel journalist?

This is what I told Maggie:

My best advice for you is to find an area of expertise. An area of expertise might be a physical area, such as Southeast Asia or Scandinavia, or the Rocky Mountains; or it may be a travel specialty, such as extreme sports, or golf, or low-budget travel, or spa travel. Keep in mind it will take you a long time to accumulate expertise — but you’ll have fun doing it. With enough expertise, you may be able to write for (or create your own) guidebooks, and you can do lots of freelancing on the side.

Interestingly, getting “hired” by a magazine or newspaper as a travel journalist is a mixed bag. It makes for a stable job, but ironically you won’t be able to travel much in a free-spirited manner — since publications rely on freelancers for their actual travel features, and they themselves often stick to travel news that can be reported from an office. And, even more ironically, those staffers who do get to travel usually earn this privilege not by accumulating experience as travelers, but by accumulating experience as normal, office-bound writers and editors. So if you really want a staff job, aim for magazine/newspaper internships while you’re still in school.

I didn’t do this: I took the freelance route, which is more fun, but a lot less stable and remunerative. I traveled, taught English, traveled some more, worked odd jobs, and traveled some more. I didn’t sell a travel article for money until I was 28 — and, while I am a full-time travel writer now with books under my belt, I still don’t make much money as a freelancer. Few people do.

So only get into travel journalism if you really love to travel and write. If you think it’s a good pretext for getting to travel, think again: you can travel just as much by saving up money from another, better-paying job, and just taking off to go vagabonding. So only pursue travel writing because you love to write as well. If that admonition hasn’t scared you off, I’ll advise you to write as much as possible, work on your narrative voice (because a vivid or funny voice can make all the difference), do some publication internships, get out there and work on your travel expertise, and — most of all — have fun! Even if your travels don’t lead to a full-time career, they are a reward in and of themselves.