Guy’s ‘Grand Theft Auto’ article in Which? Travel magazine won the Breaking Travel News award at the Travel Media Awards 2018. We sit down for a quick chat with the winner
What makes a good breaking travel news story?
I think it’s a combination of originality and depth of research. For my story about car hire damage, we knew that customers were being taken for a ride, but no-one had ever attempted to quantify just how much they were being ripped off by. When I asked independent garages to assess how much they would charge to make the repairs, I was staggered at how much cheaper their estimates were, compared to the prices that car hire companies had actually charged customers. It was the fact we were able to say that customers were being charged at least double the real cost of repair that gave the story its original hook.
What’s your favourite destination in the whole world and why?
Cuba. I visited as a student, and then again as a travel writer, and both times the island’s music, people and history left a lasting impression on me. The country had changed dramatically between my two visits, but I came away equally enthralled.
If you could travel back in time to anywhere, when and where would you choose to go?
Probably back to 2003 when I didn’t have a job and recklessly spent every last penny in my bank account on a trip to the Galápagos Islands. I’d love to relive swimming with penguins and snorkelling above huge manta rays.
What’s on your travel wish list for 2019?
I’ve become increasingly addicted to visiting islands, so hopefully I’ll finally make it to Spain’s Cies islands in Galicia — they’ve been on my wish list for ages. There are no hotels or cars and limited visitors, but the beaches and scenery look stunning.
What advice do you have for anyone wanting to get into travel writing?
Practice writing whenever you can, particularly to tight word counts. One of the hardest skills to master is fitting colour and personality into tight spaces on the page and making every single word count.