How to Become a Travel Writer

By Nomadic Matt | Published September 11th, 2009

writingWhen I started this website last year, my original goal was the be a travel writer. This website was just going to be the vehicle to get me book deals, guidebook work, and magazine articles. I was going to be the next Bill Bryson or at least the young traveler’s Rick Steves. To get my name out there, I figured I should start with some online work. That is what people do these days. I guest-posted everywhere, and I tried to submit to sites like World Hum, Jaunted, and Gadling. But my writing needed work, and I knew that. I needed a place that would accept me and help me get better at writing. That’s where the Matador Network came in.

Matador accepts new writers and, unlike many places, even paid you for your articles. To people who had good stories but were little fish in a big pond, Matador gave them a chance. So after sending many e-mails to the editors, I pitched a few ideas and after a few drafts, they put a couple up. They went well and I wrote for them more. I frequently wrote in their nightlife section and two posts – top ten best parties and best hostels – went viral on the web.

Writing for them was a boon. The editors there took time out to give me a variety suggestions and tips on how to become a better travel writer. They were patient. Matador takes in lots and lots of aspiring writers, giving them a place to share their stories and tips when most other places turn them away. I am a much better writer today because of them. And my writing has allowed me to grow this website into what it is today.

It’s no surprise then that the Matador Crew have leveraged their great skills to design a travel writing course to help aspiring writers improve their writing and make industry contacts. Many of the editors of Matador write for Fodor’s, National Geographic, World Hum, NPR, San Fransisco Chronicler, the Washington Post, have book deals, or have Pulitzer grants. In fact, they write for so many publications, it would be too long to list them here.

These experienced editors have designed an excellent course to help you with your writing. I took a look through it, and it gives you a lot of information on helping you become a better writer. The school is broken up into twelve sessions, and there are assignments in every section. You write, they give you feedback, you rewrite, and the cycle continues. There is even a forum for course members to help each other, get feedback to questions, and get support. They take you through all the steps you need, give you good advice, teach you how to approach editors, market yourself, learn a bit about how to run a blog to showcase your work, and of course, teach you amazing writing skills. They improved my writing and will improve yours.

The MatadorU Travel Writing Course costs $350 USD for the program, but it is a small price to pay to launch your career as a travel writer. The folks at Matador know what they are doing and are excellent writers. You will walk away knowing and writing better than when you started. And to even sweeten the pot, they have a PDF of 15 magazines who will look at your work, and if they like it, will pay you to write for them. After all, we are doing this to start a career in travel and out of the gate, we know no one. They help change that with their contact list.

For anyone out there looking to become a writer in the travel industry, this course would be for you. You’ll learn great skills and make excellent contacts. Whatever path you choose, you need writing skills and, at the very least, you will get that here. Matador knows a lot of people, and while $350 may seem like a lot money it’s cheaper than any other writing class you might find elsewhere, whether online or at a university. If you are serious about becoming a travel writer and getting paid to travel or just improving your writing, then you should sign up for this course. You won’t regret it.

So go. Sign Up for the MatadorU Travel Writing Course. Learn to write. Let me see your name in the New York Times.

comments 21 Comments

I absolutely love the Matador Network, and it was through them that I initially found your site. I’m definitely planning on submitting my work to them in the near future, and everything I’ve heard about Matador U sounds amazing. They are definitely a very positive force in this industry.

I’ll have to check out Indy Travel Podcast magazine, too. Looks great, and I love that there’s a digital version (would get the print version, but I’m trying to go paperless). I’ve been following most of the writers’ stuff independently for a while, so it will be nice to see everyone’s work all in one place.

The Matador guys are great. I’d def consider them if you are looking to improve your writing.

Indeed, as a long time reader, I’ve noticed an improvement in your writing! Keep up the good work. And more importantly, keep inspiring others to pack a bag and go explore.

Just reading through their coarse, looks pretty good. I like the fact that they help your writing become discovered with their contacts. Unfortunately I’m dirt broke at the mo, but once the funds are replenished I think I might look into this. I’m a huge fan of Matador, seems like a good way to dropkick into the travel writing scene. Agree with Foxy as well, ur writing has evolved quite a bit. I think the thing I notice most about your writing is that you’re really gung-ho about making this you’re livelihood. Tip of the hat for that.

I have written a couple of articles for Matador and they were very helpful and considerate. They offer suggestions for topics on their site as well or you can submit your own. Another great thing about Matador is that they get a lot of traffic and offer you a link to your blog driving traffic your way. I am hoping to do a lot of these types of articles once we leave in a month in a half. Thanks for the other great links and information I will check them out!


How To Become A Travel Writer:

1) Travel
2) Write about it

i have always been impressed with matador – great review, matt!

Nice work, Matt. I’ve heard the Matador Crew are great to work with. This confirms it.


I would love to enroll in this course! Matador really has authority to produce such a course. It’s quite timely since I’m finding ways to be a travel writer. I’ll definitely save up for it!

Hi Matt – I recently posted some additional tips on becoming a travel writer. Seems we were both on the right path by both discussing MatadorU. I’ve recently started working with them and just want to reconfirm that they are great to work with.

Travel Is The New Black

Getting paid to do something you love. That’s it!


Matt: is there like a spanish version of Matador?


Not that I know of.

The Photo Huntress

Hi Matt,

This is a great post. I also visit the Matador site when the craving for travel hits me. By the way, I really enjoy your website Thanks for the info!

{San Fransisco Chronicler or San Francisco Chronicle? … lol}

Hi Matt,

I’m new to this world, and find your site/ writing quite friendly and engaging. Thanks!

Have you heard of Matador’s new program, where they are teaming up with international tourism boards to send some of their former students on long-term assignments abroad? This year it is Belize! Sounds like such a brilliant way to change the face of tourism marketing into something more authentic. Cheers to them!

Truly inspiring! I’ve actually just recently set up a travel blog early this year but I think I need more technical training and I’ve heard so much good things about Matador Network University on their travel writing course. Did you also have any experience with their photography course? I’m contemplating if I should just get one or both since they offer a $125 discount when enrolling in more than one course.



Hi Matt,

Great recommendation. Just wondering if you know a good online travel writing course. I am starting a travel site myself, and would love to hone my skills. I’m currently residing in the Philippines so enrolling in Matador U is currently not a choice for me.



this is the only website which i could find something for my school speech pro for speech night i am gonna say u are my inspiration :)

Sarah Ariffin

Hi Matt,

Sarah from Malaysia here. I’m totally a newbie in travel writing or even writing for that matter. Can a newbie like me join in the course?

Do you think forking out USD350 is worth it since that would be the last of my savings. I’ve been traveling locally as I’ve found that traveling is like therapy to me (after going through some life changes events in the end cost me everything) and I want to do it right the first blogging about my travel journey.

Appreciate your feedback on this. I mean yeah my comment is personal but hopefully your answers could help me to make the right decision for myself. Thanks

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