Why Travel Writing is Ideal for Students Abroad

Extras, Staying Connected, Travel Writing, Working Abroad — By on April 4, 2011 at 12:00 pm

By Isabel B
Special to The Lost Girls

Students studying abroad often complain that they are on a tight budget. Especially with all the weekend trips that they want to take, cash is scarce. Many resort to teaching English or the occasional babysitting stint in order to make ends meet. But there is a way to take advantage of being abroad AND earn money at the same time: travel writing.

1. You are doing one part of it anyway: travelling

The minute you embark on an exchange program, you are travelling. Though you will most likely be attending classes in one particular location, further travels are bound to be part of your experience abroad. Travelling is an integral part of most study abroad programs, and even if your particular school does not offer academically subsidized trips, you will probably take your own initiative to do so sooner or later. So, that’s number one already covered.

2. Travel writing does not have to be a full-time job

In fact, many freelancers have to have a second job in order to support themselves. As a student, you can dedicate time to your studies and earn some cash on the side, as you probably would with any part-time job back home.

It won’t affect your visa and/or immigration status

When going abroad, many students are worried that they cannot accept a job in the foreign country because they don’t have a work permit. Even teaching English almost always needs to be paid under the table. Travel writing, on the other hand, can pay in dollars and directly to a Paypal account in the U.S. So no need to worry about visa hassle and getting a work permit.

4. You can do it when you want, where you want

Ever get irritated that your job at the university library back home had such specific timetables? With travel writing, you can be your own supervisor and manage your own times. Though deadlines will be set, you are the one who decides when you complete the article. Whether at 2 a.m. in your home stay or at noon at the corner cafe with wireless, you are your own boss.

5. Your writing will improve

As a student, you are bound to be doing some writing anyways and honing in on your language skills cannot hurt. Dedicate a little time to your travel writing and you may even come back home a better writer than before.

6. This way, you will remember the experience


Jotting down your impressions and taking beautiful pictures will leave you with memories for a lifetime. By then, your online article may be outdated, but you can still show it to your children.

Got you hooked? Now we come to some of the juicy—and more practical—details.

A few tips on how to get started as a Student Travel Writer

  • Be patient: Travel writing is a hard and competitive business; so don’t expect success, and millions of dollars, overnight. You may even have to put in some non-paid work first before the first payment comes in.
  • Be unique: As a student, you can cater to the student population. Explore your niche. It could be being a temporary omnivore in Paris or something completely different. Be creative.
  • Above all, be persistent: Travel writing requires dedication and though you should be careful not to annoy editors, polite perseverance will be rewarded in the end.

6 publications that target and publish student writing


1. Transitions Abroad

2. Verge Magazine

3. Matador Abroad

4. Student Traveler

5. Abroad View

6. Glimpse Magazine


In addition, be sure to check out English-speaking newspapers and magazines in your particular location. Just make sure that you aren’t spending all your time speaking and writing English; after all, part of the purpose of going abroad is learning the local language.

Lastly, inquire with your home university about writing and photo contests. These often have fewer participants than the ones in the web, and thus you stand a greater chance of winning. Good luck!