Interview with Elizabeth Hansen: Travel Editor and Online Publisher

Travel Writing Tips: Interview with Travel Writer Elizabeth Harryman“Travel has been the focus of my life for as long as I can remember,” says Elizabeth Hansen, a California-based travel editor and publisher. Travel is also the focus of Elizabeth’s career.

She is the travel editor at Ranch & Coast, and the publisher of three travel-related sites: “Staying Healthy on the Road,” “Authentic Luxury Travel” (which won Best of Show, Excellence in Journalism Award in 2012 from the San Diego Press Club ) and “La Jolla (San Diego) Travel Information.”

Travel Writing

Elizabeth started Authentic Luxury Travel because she has a passion for people-to-people travel connections.

“I think that connections made while traveling can be life changing,” she says. “In fact, I believe that travelers who have real contact with another culture can help build a safer, more peaceful global community.”

Elizabeth taught travel writing at UCSD for more than a decade, and she is one of the instructors at our upcoming travel writing workshop in California. We recently caught up with Elizabeth to ask about her work as a travel editor and publisher.

Travel writer Elizabeth Hansen
Travel writer Elizabeth Hansen

TWOL: How did you get into travel writing?

EH: I was a traveler first and that continues to inform my writing. After college, I taught elementary school in San Diego and used the long school vacation periods to hit the road. I also traveled during two year-long leaves of absence. I spent one of these in Germany and traveled around the South Pacific, Southeast Asia, and Asia during the other.

I almost always traveled alone and relied on travel guide books and magazine article for advice. At some point – I think I was in Australia – I was reading back over some entries in my journal and the thought occurred to me that what I had written didn’t sound half bad. The seed was planted that maybe I could be a travel writer – but it took a while for it to grow,

TWOL: Why did you decide to publish your own travel websites?

EH: When I travel for Ranch & Coast, I always spend much more time in a destination than I need to and come home with enough material for lots of articles but I can only write one of two for the magazine.

It really bothered me not to share more of what I’d experienced – and the sites are a way for me to do that. I also feel like they are a safety net in case the bottom ever falls completely out of print publications.

TWOL: What has been your biggest challenge as an online travel publisher?

EH: The biggest challenge is finding the time to do it all. My first responsibility is to Ranch & Coast where I do a monthly travel feature (story/photo package). The three sites get whatever time I have after that. Looking back on it, I probably should have only started one…but then, you know what they say about hindsight.

TWOL: What is the biggest benefit or reward of being your own publisher?

EH: The biggest reward is instant gratification. I think of a topic; I write it; I publish it. Love that lead time!

TWOL: How long does it take to really establish a site like one of yours?

EH: If you only have one site and you aren’t doing anything else and you already have a backlog of travel experiences and you already have an extensive social media network and you are very comfortable around computers, you could be pretty well established in a year.

Unfortunately, that wasn’t my case. I had researched lots of destinations, but that’s about it. I spent a ton of time getting comfortable online and establishing the social media network that I use to promote the sites.

TWOL: What should travel writers keep in mind when considering their own travel website?

EH: Travel writers who are considering starting a website should know that it’s really fun but that there’s a lot of competition. It’s best to establish a niche. It’s also very important that the site is set up optimally in the first place.

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Janna Graber

Janna Graber is an award-winning American travel journalist and current editor of Go World Travel Magazine. Since moving to Austria at age 19 for college, she's been in love with world travel, and has covered destinations around the globe for more than 55 newspapers, magazines and websites. She's the author of three travel anthology books, including "A Pink Suitecase: 22 Tales of Women's Travel".
Janna Graber
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