13 travel writing prompts to inspire you

Welcome! You’ve landed on Wanderlust’s travel writing prompts. Hopefully, you’re sat at your laptop (or have your pen in hand) and are ready to write.

Originally created for the Wanderlust Writing, these prompts are designed to help you flex your writing muscles. All of them will help you to explore past travels as something to write about and hopefully spark a few ideas for future stories, articles and journal entries.

Explore your senses

For your first prompt let’s open up the senses. Write no more than three sentences about one of your favorite destinations. Include all five senses in your description.

What can you see hear and smell. Was the sun shining, and did you smell crisp, clear fresh air, Were cars whizzing past in a bustling city center, or were by the wild roar of a lion on safari? What did you eat while you were there – how delicious (or not-so-delicious) did it taste? Did you touch anything – how did it feel?

Save your sentences in a safe place, like a Notes folder or a Word Doc, so you can refer back to them.

Describing people

Often our travels involve meeting kind strangers or quirky characters. Before you write about them, it might be easier to describe someone you know. Pick someone you’re close to – be it a travel companion a friend at home a family member etc – and write out 10 words you’d use to describe them.

Think about their personality the way they walk and talk their laugh not just their physical appearance. Now take two or three of those descriptors and use them in a line or two about the person.

A picture tells 1,000 words

Whether print or digital pull out your last (pre-lockdown) travel photo. Take a good long look at it – what’s happening in the shot.

Write a short account of that experience, just before and just after you snapped the photo. As much as you like, but a few lines is more than enough. What was it like? What were you doing? How do you feel about that experience looking back now.

Don’t worry about trying to make it sound ‘fancy’ – instead, imagine you’re recounting the experience to a friend or fellow traveller.

Sentence starter

As we’ve learned , an engaging first line and paragraph is important for hooking the reader’s attention. Especially when it comes to travel writing. So, here’s a sentence starter to get you going.

Conversations

When we’re travelling for ourselves we don’t often think to make a note of the conversations we have, though professional travel journalists and authors will often take a notebook and note conversations, times, dates and places.

For the latest prompt try to write up what you remember of an interaction with a local or a fellow traveller from any past adventure you’ve been on. Where were you: haggling in a market? Meeting at a restaurant? What do you remember them saying, exactly? Can you only remember the outline of what they said? If so jot it down.

What was it about? How did they describe things? Did you learn something from the conversation and if so how would get that across subtly in your writing without saying it outright? Imagine how you’d recall the conversation to a friend or colleague, and try to write it that way.

Write as much or as little as you like. Keep your writing somewhere safe, so you can refer back to it.

Read Previous

How to bring your travel experience to life

Read Next

7 of the best UK literary walks