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Talking Travel Writing

The inside track on everybody’s “dream Job”

The travel media is a mystical thing. For outsiders, it can often feel like a closed book, and even within the industry, there’s a frustrating amount of secrecy around who does what, who wants what and how things work. But we don’t think it should be this way. We want the travel writing industry to be a more open and collaborative space, so we’ve launched a weekly newsletter that creates just that.

Talking Travel Writing is a publication that demystifies the travel media. We explore timely topics, covering everything from ethics to how you make money in this profession; drill down into pitching and PR relationships; and decipher all those pesky acronyms this industry just loves to use. Whether you have bylines under your belt, or you’re an aspiring travel writer, Talking Travel Writing is an essential resource to keep you in business.

about us

Meet Lottie & Steph

We are Steph Dyson and Lottie Gross, the authors behind the Talking Travel Writing newsletter on Substack. The newsletter is a weekly publication with a monthly free version, offering insights into where and how to pitch, how the travel media works, and featuring interviews with experts and commissioning editors. Find out more about us individually below.

About Lottie Gross, Travel Writer & Editor

I’m a freelance travel writer, editor and digital content consultant with over a decade of experience in the travel media. I’ve worked for multinational publishers on guidebook brands and women’s mag websites, I launched a brand new, now successful travel website for small digital publisher, and have been freelancing since 2018 and contributed to national newspapers in the UK and US, travel magazines and consulted on content creation for major travel companies. I’ve also taught travel writing to hundreds of students, from second years at London College of Communications to final-year students at Reading University, and I ran the online travel writing course for from 2019-2021.

“How do you become a travel writer?” is a question I get asked a lot, and my answer is always quite unhelpful: there is no set way. For me, it was a relatively straightforward path. I knew from a very young age I wanted to be a journalist, and so when it came to studying I chose a multimedia journalism degree to hone my practical skills. I worked hard to tailor my output at university towards a career in travel journalism, travelling to Kenya to make my final project documentary, and just before I graduated, a new entry-level role came up at my favourite travel publisher, Rough Guides. I applied and out of 600 applicants, I got the job.

For many people, however, it’s far less simple and often much less linear. The travel media can feel like a very closed-book industry, where contacts and pitching guidelines are kept close to the bearer’s chest. I hate this kind of gatekeeping and, since the beginning of my career at Rough Guides I’ve strived to help others find their feet in this industry. That’s the reasoning behind our newsletter, Talking Travel Writing, and this website.

About Steph Dyson, Travel Writer, Guidebook Author & Blogger

I’m a travel writer, guidebook author and website owner who has been working as a travel writer for close to six years. My big break in the industry came from winning the Rough Guide’s annual Passport to Write competition, where I subsequently worked with my first editor: one Lottie Gross.

I’ve since worked on dozens of guidebooks and written stories for everyone from international news websites to some of the oldest British travel magazines. I’ve also founded my own website, Worldly Adventurer, which focuses on Latin American travel and receives close to two million page views every year.

A former secondary school teacher with a Master’s in Education, I’ve taught students and adults in classrooms across the UK and South America, delivering topics that run the gamut from English literature to socio-emotional learning – plus, more recently, travel writing to aspiring journalists closer to home.

Unlike Lottie, my entry into the industry was a confused, muddled mess, with my lack of understanding of exactly how the travel media worked – and, more importantly, how I could persuade editors to commission me – a reflection of how closed and impenetrable travel writing can seem. I’ve therefore experienced the challenges of finding my own path within the industry and have plenty of experience in overcoming them.

When Lottie asked me to embark on this new venture with her, I wanted to help others navigate the industry and open it up to new voices, new perspectives and new writers.