Top five travel writing tips

Always wanted to be a travel writer? The following are tips to help turn your dream into reality.

1: Know your audience: Think about who you want your article to appeal to e.g. adventurous types, solo travellers, food lovers, families etc. Your article then needs an angle – why did you go? What were you looking out for? What was the point of the trip? Consider the things that you have seen and done on your trip that will appeal to your audience and write your article accordingly.

2: The best travel writing sounds natural: Use simple language. Articles filled with clichés and meaningless words like ‘the waves were gently lapping on the beach’ are obvious and can put readers off as it doesn’t tell them anything new. Something like ‘With its powdery sand, warm turquoise seas and palm trees xxxxx Beach is an ideal place to unwind’ paints a picture in the reader’s mind and helps them decide if they want to visit.

3: It is all in the detail: People want interesting information and facts. They don’t really care that while you were on holiday you attended your cousin’s wedding and had a great time. They want tips on great places to stay and visit, want to hear about the café you discovered on a back street or a day trip you planned and put together that you really loved.

4: Don’t start at the beginning: This may sound a bit weird but a good article is all about structure. If you tell the reader the story of your visit but just relay it in chronological order, then that can make for a very dull article. All your pieces will always begin with your trip to the airport, train journey etc, not necessarily interesting! Instead try to think of an anecdote that happened on your journey as a way of setting the scene.

5: Successful writing: This is all about painting a picture and drawing the reader in. If you can give them a sense that you are letting them in on a secret, then you will have been a success. They will come back to your work if you make great recommendations, give lots of useful information and tips and tell an enticing story. But a word of warning, always be realistic and straightforward, readers are unlikely to forgive an author who cannot be trusted.


How to fall for Toronto

THEY SAID it was one of the best views I would get of Toronto and as my ferry pulled into the harbour I had to concede my friends were right.

My ferry took me from a fantastic day spent relaxing on the Toronto Islands back to the more hectic pace of city life. The collection of small islands is just a 10-15 minute ferry ride away from Toronto and it is worth getting a good seat for the return journey to take in the approaching city’s dramatic skyline in all its glory.

We are in the Canadian city on a five-day break and are keen to see as much of Toronto as possible without breaking the bank.

A day can be spent at the Toronto Islands for the price of a return ferry ticket. With its beaches, picnic areas and amusement park the islands are popular during the summer months.

You can hire bicycles to get around or stroll along the boardwalk which takes you on a delightful route, winding around the shoreline.

Toronto’s market culture

During our five-day stay I was a frequent visitor to the St Lawrence Market. There are a huge selection of stalls selling everything from fresh fish to bread and cheese and maple syrup and plenty brimming with pastries, bagels, and a huge range of produce and tempting snacks. Breakfast for me was often a quintessentially Canadian peameal bacon sandwich – a bun stuffed with thick slices of pork.

Getting about on foot is a great way to see the city and sample a bit of local life. The distillery district, was once the site of the dilapidated Gooderham and Worts Distillery but has now been transformed into cafes, restaurants, shops, galleries and hosts regular events.

Toronto has plenty of cheap eats with its diners and wide variety of ethic restaurants often offering great value. The city’s Chinatown district offers plenty of shops and restaurants.

Niagara Falls

Whether you are on a budget or not a visit to Niagara Falls is a must-see for many visitors. It is not hard to see why. The sheer power of the falls crashing down is pure spectacle.

Pulling on a waterproof cape and boarding the Maid of the Mist takes you astonishing close to its beauty and brute force. You will get wet but will find yourself unable to tear your eyes away as you jostle for the best viewing position from your historic boat.