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Travel Writing Courses - A Review of MatadorU New Media School

Updated on September 5, 2012

A Career in Travel Writing

Are you just starting out as a writer? Are you an experienced professional writer looking for a new direction or inspiration in your career? If you love to travel and explore the world, even if that world is limited to your home region, taking a travel writing course can prepare you for a career that most people only dream about.

I began searching for writing courses because I needed to find a new direction in my writing career. Boredom was killing my creativity. I wanted to sharpen my skills as a writer. I wanted a program that could give me real skills, not just theory. I wanted to explore a new genre of writing. I was considered courses in everything from travel and memoir to romance and fiction.

I decided on travel and place based writing because it was like a childhood dream that I never tried to follow. As a mom of three, I knew I wouldn't be able to jet off to the South Pacific for weeks on end, but I also knew that I could write about my area of the world (New England) and possibly participate in a press trip or two to destinations in the US, Mexico or Canada.

I chose the travel writing course at Matador U - New Media School for Travelers after exploring every option I could find. Matador U offers two tracks (at the moment) - one for writers and one for travel photographers. I enrolled in the travel writing program and hope that upon completion I will have the time to give the photography course a try.

Being a travel writer is not always glamorous.
Being a travel writer is not always glamorous.

Comparing Travel Writing Courses

I took a look around at courses carefully before making a decision. I started with the Gotham Writer's Workshop, based in New York City. They offer traditional classroom courses as well as a few classes in an online format. Gotham has a fantasitc reputation and is a top choice for writers seeking to expand their skills and perfect their craft. At the time I was investigating classes (and when I checked recently) they were not offering their travel writing program online. Although I live in the New York area, I wanted a program that could be completed on my schedule. They are currently offering an online program for advanced trvel writing. The cost is $495. An outline of the offering can be found here. It is an 11 week course and includes critiques of two of your articles by a New York Times writer.

Travel Writing: From Press Trips to Punctured Tires isa 10 week class from which offers lessons and discussion online for $320. The above course doesn't include topics like developing your pitch, approaching editors or building and using social media to advance your career.

A quiet but sought after destination in Autumn:  Hudson, New York.
A quiet but sought after destination in Autumn: Hudson, New York. | Source

An Overview of the Matador U Program

Matador U Specializes in travel writing and photography. That's all they do and their team is lead by expierienced travel writers. All twelve assignments are reviewed and critiqued and feedback is given quickly.

They start with the basics of travel writing and techniques to make your writing more interesting, then move students through market research, pitching an editor, using social media, travel blogging and handling press trips.

You'll find a vibrant community of supportive writers in the forums, and they provide you with your own wordpress blog for getting started. When you complete the twelve chapter course, you have access to pro-modules, which are expanded upon regularly.

Matador's Market Blog offers students opportunities to get real travel writing wexpereince, sometimes being mentored through a press trip by an experiened writer, at no cost. Some of the exlusive opportunities that I have seen on the market blog include trips to Samoa, Belize, Mexico, Maine, California, China, and Laos.

The cost for this program is $350, but they allow you to test drive the program for a week to see if it is a good fit for you for $10. If it isn't what you wanted or hoped for, no problem. You can easily cancel.

Here is an example of one of my assignments, using techniques taught in the first few lessons of the course: Strawberry Fields Forever.

When you open your eyes and start looking around as a travel writer, you realize that there are stories everywhere. There are photos begging to be taken and subtle experiences asking to be written and explored. And often, where you are right now is a wonderful place to begin.

Want to take a closer look at the program? See Matador U Travel Writing Course.

Do you think an online program can prepare you for a career in travel writing?

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