10 Travel Writing Clichés that Irritate your Readers

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38 websites.

That’s the average number of sites travellers check before booking a trip. And you can be sure that they’ll come across a bunch of annoying clichés on more than one of those travel websites.

The more travellers see these overused phrases in their pre-trip research phase, the more irritated they’ll get for not finding accurate information. And the faster they’ll click away from your cliché-filled website.

Is your website guilty of these ten buzzwords plaguing travel writing?

Best-kept secret

If you and every other travel writer or travel destination use it on their website, it’s not a secret anymore. And it’s definitely not best-kept. You shouldn’t even mention it, if you really want it to be a ‘best-kept secret’.

Friendly locals

When they depend on travel to survive, like the inhabitants of Lovina on the northern coast of Bali, then yes, they’ll be friendly all day long. Their kids’ dinner depends on it. But locals are not always friendly, either culturally or simply because they’re tired of the constant tourist crowds. Imagine Machu Picchu or Venezia, with friendly locals. Didn’t think so.

Oasis of tranquility

If you want to tell about a quiet place in a busy city, why not just make us feel how it is to be in that ‘oasis’? Describe it in detail, play with our senses and we’ll decide for ourselves if that’s an oasis or not. Unless you’re talking about the desert, stay away from the oases in your travel writing.

Exotic island

Is there an island on the whole wide web that is not described as exotic? And it’s all so subjective. For example the white-sand beaches of the Caribbean are exotic for Hungarian travellers, but commonplace for any Thai visitor. You’re better off describing what makes your island exotic, what parts of it are mysterious or fascinating for the unfamiliar traveller.

Picturesque

Such an over-used cliché denotes laziness, sorry. You could replace it with ‘attractive’, ‘scenic’ or ‘camera-ready’. A picturesque village, a picturesque tour, a picturesque sunset… Could it be more boring and lifeless? Show your reader the colors they will see, the architecture, the natural elements, and let them decide if it’s photo worthy. Show how it’s picturesque, don’t tell it just is.

Unique

Are you really selling unique – in the true sense of the word – experiences, or accommodation or tours? I guess not. Tourism websites using this word want to stand out from the crowd, want to brag telling they are the best, without doing so openly. But that can blow up in your face. It makes you less credible, because no travel-related service is unique nowadays.

Land of contrasts

Take any place in this world, and you’ll see a land of contrasts. What would a country or land without any contrasts even look like?! This cliché is right up there with ‘cultural melting pot’. Any travel-worthy place is a complex mix of its multiple historic cultures and customs. It’s not really exceptional that it’s full of contrasts.

Must-see place

Are you obliging your prospects to take the tour you believe to be mandatory? What if they don’t want to? Or would you add a place on your booklet of suggested activities and say it’s not really a must-see? Empty words generate a meh response, the last type of response you want.

Bustling markets / nightlife

Ah, the bustling markets of Turkey. The bustling nightlife of Vegas! What a resounding and vivid word. It fills your mouth while saying it, you already feel pushed and shoved in a noisy crowd of animated tourists. But synonyms like ‘active’ or ‘swarming’ stand in line waiting to be used as well. Don’t monopolize!

Authentic experience

The mother of all clichés, possibly used on every single travel website out there. Have you ever had a non-authentic experience while travelling? How does that feel like? Do tell.

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Is your website guilty of using these travel writing clichés? Make it a spring cleaning activity to polish up your travel content and avoid irritating your readers.  

 

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2 comments

  1. It’s good to read your post warning about clichés in travel writing. I guess many people simply don’t spend sufficient time being self-critical about their copy and looking for alternatives.

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