I’m in 9th grade and people are already asking me about what career I’ll be choosing. I think I might be interested in becoming a travel journalist. Do you have any tips on how I can pursue this career?

It goes without saying that as a travel journalist you should have excellent writing skills and be articulate in communicating your thoughts. In addition, you should enjoy travelling to obscure places, meeting people and have a nose for a story based on facts.

A travel journalist tells a story involving people that are unique to that place and does so in a way that relays the facts. The authentication of facts is central to being a journalist.

You may find it difficult to land a full-time job as a travel writer as the majority of publications resort to freelance writers for their articles. They tend not to be on their payroll.

Having said that the advantage of being a freelance writer is that you could either make it a full-time profession or combine it with another job.

While the art of journalism and skill of writing is not innate to every person, it can be taught. A journalism degree will be useful. It will focus on the basic writing skills required of any freelance writer, and provides tuition for those wishing to write travel pieces. To become known and even before you embark on formal education it is prudent to start writing a blog on travel. Rather than writing about the most common and well-travelled cities and sights, try and carve a niche. If the material is already in a guidebook you are not adding anything of value.

Selection for a job or article will be less based on the degree you are pursuing but more on the articles and blogs you have written.

You also need to decide the type of journalism you would like to pursue such as newspapers, magazines, television, or online – each requires a different skill set.