Travel StatShot: What Are We Travel Writing About?

Travel Stories: An unscientific, Onion-esque and completely arbitrary statistical look at travel

05.26.10 | 10:56 AM ET

Photo: iStockPhoto


23 Comments for Travel StatShot: What Are We Travel Writing About?

Caitlin 05.26.10 | 11:10 AM ET

LOL, I love it!

Mary D'Ambrosio 05.26.10 | 11:17 AM ET

Probably because travel writers meet mainly strangers and taxi drivers, get around by plane, and are forced to haul along too much gear (what with all the requisite multi-media’ing today). To me this says: more diversity needed!

c-mon 05.26.10 | 11:31 AM ET

so so so true (and funny). i had an old editor tell me once that interviewing your taxi driver is the laziest form of journalism there is. so i laugh every time i see it done. just makes me think, ‘dern it, get OUT of the car!’

John Keahey 05.26.10 | 12:11 PM ET

A lot of so-called travel writing is merely a few pghs of history, a tour of clubs and restaurants, comments, as noted, from taxi drivers, etc., etc. So few travel writers, under extreme deadline pressure and able to only spend a day or so—or a few hours—in a location, don’t even begin to scratch the cultural surface of a place. The whole travel-writing industry needs to reinvent itself.

Mary D'Ambrosio 05.26.10 | 12:30 PM ET

We should start by hiring writers on the ground. Who live there. Who may not deliver approved points of view, and who—true—may need significant editing.  That’s what I’m looking for: stories and ideas I haven’t heard a thousand times. Hardly anyone can pull that off by just blowing in for a couple of days.

Christopher Carr 05.26.10 | 12:43 PM ET

Don’t forget Japan is difficult to understand:

wandermom 05.26.10 | 12:54 PM ET

I’m from Dublin, where we say that taxi drivers know everything :)

Jennifer 05.26.10 | 12:58 PM ET

HA!  Big smile.

You forgot: “Hotels shouldn’t &%* charge for Wi-Fi (24%)” and

“My Home State is Pretty Great (16%)” —->

Tim L. 05.26.10 | 3:28 PM ET

11% - The place I went is so much better than where all those tourists go

Melanie 05.26.10 | 3:50 PM ET

Great infographic, World Hum! I’ve definitely written about #4 ( and #6 (

I do think that with blogs, smartphones, wifi, etc. the travel writing industry IS reinventing itself on a daily basis. I’m looking forward to seeing - and shaping - where it goes next.


Jenny 05.26.10 | 5:14 PM ET

I like reading Daisann McLane who writes a column for National Geographic Traveler and also has her own blog:
She seems to slip into the middle of the flow and writes about places from the inside out. She can write on the most mundane topics but still bring a smile to my face. The fascination of a place often lies in the smallest details.

BS 05.26.10 | 6:05 PM ET

haha - dead on. I almost wonder if you actually did the research to come up with these numbers.

Sean 05.26.10 | 9:28 PM ET


Vera Marie Badertscher 05.26.10 | 11:12 PM ET

I’m happy to learn that I have no competition. Assume that 1/2 of one-tenth of a precent write about good books to read before you travel.

Marilyn_Res 05.27.10 | 4:41 PM ET

Great list, but I think you forgot “The Ten Best Must-See Whatevers”  and “Insiders’ Secret Authentic 36-Hour Island Escapes You Can Afford.”

Heather Hapeta 05.27.10 | 6:45 PM ET

Goodness gracious me! The ( aka me) is writing about some of the those things too - LOL

Lauren Quinn 05.29.10 | 7:56 PM ET

Who wrote this? They need a big giant high five. 06.01.10 | 10:27 AM ET

What are we Travel Writing about?  1)  The airports and fees 30%; 2)  trying to communicate with the natives when you speak very little of their language 12%; 3)  hostels 15%; 4)  traveling solo 40%; 5)  wildcard %%

Thomasamada 06.01.10 | 3:38 PM ET

Why always reporting about the behavior of the Taxi Drivers.

Nancy D. Brown 06.03.10 | 1:45 PM ET

I’d read a post on “How to Stay Married to Your Spouse While You’re Travel Writing on the Road” or
“Mom Come Pick Me Up - Sorry Honey - I’m Out of the Country Right Now- Confessions of a Travel Writing Mom.”

axel g 06.05.10 | 2:23 PM ET

“The strangers I meet are so kind”

That’s so true!

Travelers are generally open to make friends, especially if they travel alone.

That makes traveling a truly amazing experience…

Caitlin 06.11.10 | 6:42 PM ET

@Mary I know what you are getting at but I completely disagree about getting locals to do travel writing.

I DO want more original stories. But I DO want great writing and great narrative as well so I’d take the accomplished writer from outside the place over the local who needs “significant editing” any time. Sometimes you might get a good writer writing about their home and that’s fine but if they are good, their work is not any lesser when they do travel.

Also, sometimes I want the outsider’s point of view. That’s what travel writing is about - it involves TRAVEL not just place. Sometimes the deeper understanding of a local can lead to interesting story ideas. Equally, if you live in a place you can lose perspective and fail to spot the story because you don’t think the idea is fresh.

Cheap Hotels Berlin 06.12.10 | 1:27 PM ET

Please share some more .....

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