10 Travel Writing Clichés you should never use again

abbey road

There’s certainly no shortage of travel writers out there at the moment. From one-man band bloggers who’ve ‘escaped the cubicle’ in search of a life on the road, to published writers in critically acclaimed travel guides, there’s one thing almost all of them have in common. They just don’t seem to be able to resist these textbook travel writing clichés…

1. “Quintessentially…”

Was this word created specifically for travel writing? Typically…just say typically.

2. “Best kept secret”

So secret it’s being written about in a travel guide? I’m pretty confident that the little café you found after taking a wrong turn down a side street in Naples truly isn’t Italy’s best-kept secret. At least not anymore you big spoil sport. They serve Carling now for fuck’s sake!

3. “Snow capped mountains”

There’s got to be another way to describe this?! Brushed, topped, tickled, tipped, teased, dashed. Lets mix it up a bit, yeh?

4. “The real…”

Just because you’ve found a bustly square lined with vintage boutiques and quirky little coffee shops that coincided with your pre conceived notions, that doesn’t make the street round the corner with a bookies and a McDonalds any less real. Quite the contrary.

5. “Where East meets West”

I literally have no idea what this means. Did they get on? They do say opposites attract…

6. “You won’t find in the guidebooks”

You can just feel the smugness oozing through the page with this one (I won’t even mention the contradictory bit).

7. “I’ll be back…”

More of a threat than an endorsement. At least as far as the locals are concerned. Who do you think you are, Terminator?

8. “Untouched”

I just saw a sheep shitting in the stream over there. It’s been touched, okay?

9. “Authentic”

Now used largely to convey unfounded opinion as opposed to undisputed origin. The word is ironically losing its authenticity, one lazy article at a time.

10. “Nestled”

The fact that the dictionary definition uses the example “picturesque villages nestled in the wooded hills” says it all. Yawn!

Admittedly, my gripe with these clichés is perhaps more of an occupational hazard than a considered observation (I read countless travel blogs on a daily basis). Needless to say, I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s repeatedly come across them. And there’s plenty more where that came from. Let me know in the comments if you can think of any that I’ve missed…

odwyer mused
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