I am a pro comparison shopper.
OK, so technically I’m a professional writer, but if comparison shopping were a viable career, I could easily make a living at it. I spend hours looking for the best value, no matter what I’m buying – and by this, I mean “best value,” not cheapest.
I don’t buy cheap products because I know how to find the highest-quality item at the best possible price, and that goes for services as well as items. If I’m investing in professional development as a writer, you can bet that I’ll choose the course that gives me the most for my money.
It’s a pretty time-consuming venture, so I’ve made with a list of the five most valuable travel writing courses. I hope it will save you time and money, which are both valuable commodities for us freelancers.
Travel writing courses we recommend:
Course #1: The Ultimate Travel Journalism Course from Morris Journalism Academy
The Morris Journalism Academy is based in Australia and offers one of the most comprehensive and professionally legitimate travel writing courses. It takes about 12 to 24 weeks to complete, depending on your schedule.
What You Get
The Ultimate Travel Journalism Course includes a series of 12 tutorials. Unit titles include:
- How to Write Winning Stories
- Writing for Travel Books
- The Business of Becoming a Travel Journalist
- Marketing Your Work
When you successfully finish the course, you earn a Certificate of Completion. They don’t give these to just anyone, mind you. If the Examining Board feels that you haven’t reached the certificate level, you’ll have to keep studying.
The Ultimate Travel Journalism Course was created by multi-award-winning travel writer Daniel Scott. His resume includes guidebook work for Fodor’s, Time Out, and Inside Discovery, as well as live travel writing classes.
The course also features Marc Llewellyn, another multi-award-winning travel writer, as senior tutor and contributor to the course. Marc has 20 years of experience and has written 20 guidebooks for Australia including Frommer’s Australia and Time Out guides to Sydney.
The course costs AUD $1,095, which includes a $250 deposit. It’s costly, but Morris Journalism Academy offers several payment plans, all published in Australian dollars:
- Pay in full, up-front ($1,095 includes deposit)
- Pay $250 as a deposit and $845 seven days after the course begins
- Pay $250 upfront and $281.70 over three months
- Pay $250 upfront and $140.85 monthly for six months
If a prospective student can’t afford any of the pre-set payment plans, the Academy will collaborate on a more accessible option.
Morris Journalism Academy offers four separate guarantees with its travel writing course:
- If by the time you finish, you’re not ready for your certificate, you can keep learning at no charge. Should you repeat the course and still not be ready to receive the certification, you qualify for a refund, provided that you have completed the course and showed “reasonable effort.”
- You can explore the first tutorial free for 7 days. If you’re not satisfied, you can cancel.
- The school will assist you in getting published.
- If you so choose, the school will continue to work with you until you get your first payment.
Course #2: The online Travel Writing course from Gotham Writers
Gotham Writers is a New York-based writing school with a five-star review on Fiction Writing Success and four stars on Yelp. Its online travel writing course is a 10-week workshop-style program geared toward beginners in travel writing.
What You Get
Gotham’s Travel Writing course is a comprehensive introduction to the field. It covers all aspects of the travel writing process, from using detail in your work to navigating the business of travel writing.
Topics of focus include:
- Types of travel writing including destination articles, travel memoirs, and features
- Writing techniques including how to create vivid descriptions, choose effective words, and find your voice
- Research strategies
- How to sell your work and build relationships with publications
Classes are recorded rather than in real-time, so you can complete your lessons anywhere at any time. Gotham provides you with a written record of your progress through the course and hosts a once-a-weekly drop-in discussion where you can chat with classmates.
Gotham’s travel writing course includes lectures, structured writing exercises, and workshopping of student work. Each student may submit two pieces during the course.
The course is hosted on Gotham’s dynamic and multi-featured student portal, which centers on three primary tools:
- The Blackboard, where new lessons appear
- The Notebook, which students use to submit completed assignments
- The Booth, where students submit their work for critique, and can view and respond to others’ work
Students can read and respond to anyone else’s work but cannot respond to critiques of their personal work. The course instructor reviews all student submissions weekly.
The 10-week workshop costs $409, but returning students pay just $379. One-on-one instruction is available for $1,745 per student.
Course #3: Travel Writing: Explore the World & Publish Your Stories! from Udemy
There are multiple travel writing courses available through online education site Udemy, but this is the highest-rated and longest-running title.
Geared to beginner and intermediate travel writers, it has a rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars, and more than 800 reviews also ranked the course at No. 4 on Buzzfeed’s “23 of the coolest Udemy online classes.”
What You Get
This travel writing course from Udemy includes:
- 3 hours of on-demand video
- 9 articles
- 6 downloadable resources
- Full lifetime access to course content
The total course is 3 hours and 25 minutes long and is available on mobile, laptop, or TV. Students learn:
- How to write travel stories that readers and editors love
- The elements of an engaging travel story including setting, characters, events, and emotional connection
- How to get published in newspapers, magazines, books, and blogs
- How to make the personal connections that will enhance your work
Dave Fox is a travel author, writing coach, and professional travel and humor writer, as well as a former cruise ship lecturer and tour guide for Rick Steves’ Europe. He has written two bestselling books and published his work in places such as Lonely Planet, Travelers’ Tales, and the Rick Steves series. Here’s a free webinar from YouTube, which gives an idea of his presenting style:
On Udemy, Dave is rated 4.4 out of 5 stars and has more than 2,000 student reviews.
This course has a base price of $89.99, but Udemy is known for running regular promotions.
Course #4: Travel Writing by Writer’s Digest University
Writers’ Digest University hosts online writing courses for writers of all levels, from the total beginner to the professional. Its travel writing course is geared toward freelance and article writers who are considering entering the travel writing market, as well as non-professional writers who want to improve their travel writing skills.
What You Get
The course includes six units presented in six weeks. It walks you through the complete process of writing a travel article including:
- Available markets
- Developing an outline and introduction
- Writing the body of the article
- Conducting research and interviews
- Presenting query letters and sidebars
- Polishing your work
Students can access course content anytime from anywhere. Participation includes feedback from the teacher and fellow students.
Writers’ Digest University’s travel writing course is taught by Jack Adler, author of Make Steady Money as a Travel Writer — Without Traveling. His background is part of what makes this course unique.
Unlike most other travel writing programs, the Writers’ Digest course teaches you how to develop and pitch articles on topics like booking trips and hotels, how to find discounts, health considerations for travelers, and so forth. This can be a huge asset to writers who want to get started in travel writing but don’t have the money to travel a lot at first.
Writers can enroll in this course for $379.99.
Course #5: Ultimate Travel Writer’s Program from Great Escape Publishing
Great Escape’s Ultimate Travel Writer’s Program is a top pick in Dream of Travel Writing’s Top 3 Travel Writing Resources. This testimonial from “the six-figure travel writer” highlights the course’s content – more than 400 pages worth – and its ability to touch on all areas of travel writing.
What You Get
This course focuses on the “practical travel story,” as opposed to the more traditional long-form travel essay. Lessons include:
- How to find the right publication for your story
- How to write a pitch (with samples)
- What topics are trending now
- How to structure your articles (with templates)
- The techniques you need to write saleable travel articles
Students also receive bonus tips, such as how to save time and money while on the road.
Participating in the program gives students a personal connection to International Living Magazine, where program creator Jennifer Stevens serves as executive editor. All enrollees also qualify for a one-year 100% satisfaction guarantee.
The program has a base price of $399 but at the time of this article’s creation, the company is offering a discount that brings the cost down to $165 and includes three books as gifts.
Conclusion: A Final Word About Travel Writing
Travel writing has a much lower barrier to entry than it once did, thanks to the explosion of travel blogging and websites. It’s easier to make a living as a travel writer without a journalism degree, but you still need skills and training. I hope that the summaries above can help you to choose the right course for your experience level, interests, and budget.
Good luck with your travel writing career!
Laura is a full-time freelance writer with a background in playwriting, theater, and dance. She especially loves writing articles that help creatives and freelancers manage their time, talent, and money.
Bethany McKay is a multiplatform writer, editor, and social media manager. She has more than a decade of newspaper experience and subsequent work in publishing, editing and organizing a variety of publications, such as reports, college textbooks, and science, law, and business books.