Check out the following to learn what makes a good Travel Box great and to grab the attention of the miavia community. Inspire fellow travelers to enjoy (and buy!) your fab insider tips:

(1) Grab the users attention with your cover picture

Imagine walking through a bookstore with shelves and tables full of books. You’re browsing to find a great book to take on your next vacation.

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Which book will you pick up and leaf through? In 99.99% of all cases it’s going to be the with a catchy cover and an interesting title.
It’s kinda the same on miavia. Inspire your potential customers with a great picture; something that summarizes or is typical for your trip. A catchy photo that gives the reader an impression of what comes next.

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Here’s an example of a bad and a good photo – can you figure out which is which?

You don’t need photoshop or professional equipment; choose a picture that speaks for itself and that expresses your travel experience. Make sure that it is of great quality though. You might have the chance to be featured on the miavia landing page.
If you have no such picture, try to find one at a photo library like flickr.com or a meta search engine like search.creativecommons.org. Be sure to search for pictures that can be used for commercial purposes.

(2) Choose a meaningful title – Tell what your Travel Box is all about

Let’s move on to the second part of a cover – the title. Finding a good title can be a challenge. 40 characters; short and great at the same time! Try to avoid meaningless phrases like “great”, wonderful”, perfect”, etc. Don’t tell things that are mentioned on the cover anyway, like the duration of your trip. It’s a good idea to mention the destination: the city, country, or region that you visited.
An example: You went to France and want to create a Travel Box about your trip. Now think of a unique way to present “your” France to the readers. Think hard about the one thing that made your trip special; your angle of experiencing France. Use the following to find your angle:

  • the focus of your trip, e.g. Romantic Coat d’Azure, Wellness & Skiing in the Alps, Adventure tour in the Normandy, Paris for food lovers
  • the reason why you traveled there e.g. Relaxing spots in France, Scrumptious French cuisine, Discover the natural wonders of France, etc.
  • with whom you traveled e.g. alone, with kids, partner, friends
  • how you traveled e.g. bike, car, caravan
  • anything else you did e.g. Sailing around Corsica, Hiking in the French Alps, By train from Paris to Marseille

Don’t forget to take a look on at what other titles can be found on the marketplace – if there are several covering the same destination you might need to emphasize your special angle even more. Still not happy? Make use of the miavia pimp up-service and have your cover created by the miavia team based on the content of your travel box. This service is currently free and will be offered to you after publishing your Travel Box.

(3) The irresistible Travel Box – Get your intro right

You’ve got 650 characters for your introduction. The introduction is a teaser – you want to convince the user to read on. Start for example with a strong but brief anecdote or describe a scene that introduces the general feeling of your trip. Tell something that grabs the reader’s attention. Describe why the reader should go there in general and what he or she can expect. Tell what’s special, new or first about your Travel Box. Avoid writing a summary and telling the entire trip chronologically and don’t list the insider tips.

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(4) Get rid of the unnecessary – Write economically 

Let’s talk about your insider tips. Don’t waste words on sentences that can be condensed. For example:

Write “there was a…” not “it became apparent to me that in fact there existed a…”. 

Avoid unnecessary words and phrases that don’t give a lot of information. Drop terms like “this was amazing”, “it was beautiful”, “it was just fantastic”, “everything was great”. Try to avoid clichés and generalisations about people and their culture. Try to come up with original descriptions that mean really something and are useful to your reader.

(5) Your Travel Box should be personal but not telling too much about what affected you personally

Two common mistakes when creating a Travel Box are using phrases and words that you wouldn’t use in speech and telling about things that affected you personally but aren’t important for other travelers.
First, don’t try to be too clever or formal; the best writing sounds natural and has personality.
Avoid tales of personal mishaps – missed buses, diarrhea, rain – unless pertinent to the story. Focus on telling the reader something about places and an experiences the can be reproduced instead of singular happenings.

(6) The great insider tip – Give your readers something they don’t know and cannot find out about on websites or in guidebooks

Your insider tips should add to the wealth of information already out there in guidebooks and on websites. Mention off-the-beaten-track places to eat, drink, and visit – the places locals might frequent. Tell about things to do that enriched your personal travel experience. “Revealing a new or different side to a destination will give your story a richness that you won’t get with a description of a visit to the tourist café on the main square,” travel editor Isabel Choat explains. Don’t forget to choose the right category. If possible search for the place so that miavia can fill in the details and mark the spot on the map.

(7) Show and tell – How to describe insider tips

Use as much visual description as possible for your insider tips. Be aware that your readers don’t know what you’ve seen. Therefore you have to explain your experiences as vividly as possible. Mike Carter, author of “One Man and his Bike” put it like this: “Readers want to feel as if they’re eavesdropping on a conversation, or being shown something secret and magical.”
A good technique is to describe things as if you are explaining them to a total newbie. Assume you want to describe a coffee shop you’ve been to. Tell about the atmosphere, what the shop looks like, the crowd, are there a lot of locals, what was offered, on what street is it, overlooking what view, etc. An example could look like this:

“The TRIBECA which is very Italian-style with 20ties furniture, was quite crowded and we had to wait a 5min to get a free table. It seemed that a lot of locals are going to this place. The staff was very kind and informed us about special daily offers which where not on the menu. If you have the chance try to get a table around the corner: From there you could watch the kitchen staff through a big glass window. We had two café latte and a turkey sandwich served with fries, celery and carrot strips and yoghurt dip. We were blown away when we got it: A super-size portion and one could smell the quality food. And al this for only 5 USD each. Don’t miss to go to the toilet here which is an insider tip itself.”

Another valuable technique to bring your insider tip to live is using quotes. Give the locals a voice, but be sure to quote people accurately and identify them. Who are they, where did you meet them?

(8) Take along your readers on your trip, with eye-catching pictures

Even more important than a great description are eye-catching pictures. Good pictures can say more than a 1000 words. You can upload up to 10 pictures for each insider tip – make use of it. Give the reader a chance to get to know and feel the place.
If you don’t have a picture you can try to find one using flickr.com or any other photo library where you can find pictures subject to the creative common license. If you can’t find a photo for your tip, it will be displayed as an “information” or “others”-tip.

(9) Make it possible for others to follow your foot prints

A Travel Box is supposed to give inspiration and input for travel planning – but is also a story and a package that other travelers can follow. The itinerary in your Travel Box doesn’t have to match your travels in real life. This is especially the case when you are living in the place you want to tell about, or you have been at a destination for a longer period of time to work or to study. In this case, think hard how a meaningful day-by-day plan could look like. Provide common tips at the beginning at the end, don’t forget about tips that are important on an everyday-basis like accommodation, transportation or food. If you recommend some days to do nothing and just relax in the same place, go ahead and say so.
To structure your Travel Box, miavia provides the flexibility you need. Some start with setting up a day structure and adding insider tips afterwards, others start with the insider tips right away.

(10) Check, check and check

Last but not least check the content of your Travel Box over and over again until you think it’s perfect and then have it checked by a friend! Although the miavia team is checking the quality of every Travel Box, they may not find every mistake. So make sure your Travel Box looks really great when it’s published on the marketplace. It’s definitely worth the hassle – once you get your first review from a reader, you’ll know why. Everybody loves a great product!
Like on any marketplace for digital goods, like the Apple itunes store, you only have one chance to build up a good reputation.
First, check your facts! It’s good to work in some interesting nuggets of information, perhaps things you’ve learned from talking to people, or in books or other research, but use reliable sources and double-check that they are correct.
Second, check your spelling and grammar. Write simple and short sentences.
Third, take the input you will get from the miavia team after they checked your box. You may want to change some minor stuff.

And then you’re all set! Good luck and may the travel force be with you!

All the best, your miavia team