While the memories of a trip are still fresh in your mind, it's important to jot down as many highlights as you can think of. A lot of leisure and business travellers keep a trip journal for that very purpose and use their notes to create informative reports for school, for work or for publication in a newspaper, magazine or guidebook. The insider tips and cultural advice imparted in a travel report can then help fellow travellers make smart decisions and get the most for their money and time.
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Other People Are Reading
Identify the target readership of your travel report and what topics will be the most interesting and relevant to the readers. If, for instance, you're writing a travel report for a school assignment, your instructor and classmates will want to hear anecdotes and observations about what you personally experienced. An essay for a travel publication will focus on elements such as reservations, directions and costs so that readers will know what to expect. A travel report that's related to your work makes the trip more of a fact-finding mission to articulate cultural mores, global interfacing and/or exploring the potential for holding future conferences or establishing new offices.
Start with a working outline and include categories for transportation, accommodations, meals, geography, history, climate, local customs, sightseeing attractions/excursions and "off the beaten path" recommendations. If the report is being prepared in the context of business, you'll want to include an additional section for meetings, interviews and presentations and which are relevant to the objective of the trip.
Write down as much as you can remember for each category. Keeping receipts, maps, postcards and brochures will help to jog your memory. If you're referencing restaurants in your report, many of them have websites from which you can extract information about their hours of operation and copies of menus. In addition, hotel websites often list nearby attractions for visitors.
Create an overview of your travel report, which will be the introduction to your material. The overview not only sets the tone of the report but provides readers with a few preview titbits that will make them excited to read it. In magazines, this is the "hook" that grabs a reader's attention and usually takes the form of an anecdote, a question or a little known fact about the location.
Supplement your travel report with references to books, documentaries and websites where readers can learn additional information.
Tips and warnings
- In creating the order of your report contents, think of what your target readers will want to hear about first. Most guidebooks, for example, follow the sequence of explaining why someone would want to go to a particular destination, how to get there, where to find accommodations, where to eat and what to see. A business travel report, in contrast, would shift all of these elements toward the second half of the material and devote the first half to discussing how and why things are done and their relevance to corporate events, mergers, outsourcing and downsizing.
- Photographs speak volumes in travel reports. Use them generously.
- If you sing a destination's praises or complain about the rotten time you had, it's critical to provide examples to support your opinion. Travel--just like anything else--is subjective and a matter of taste, but if you at least provide a frame of reference for your reader, she'll have a better handle on what you meant when you labelled your lodgings as fabulous or awful.
- Never assume knowledge on the part of the reader. If, for instance, you talk about taking the M16 to Thistleburn, someone who has never been there will have no idea if the M16 is a bus, a train or the name of a highway.
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