Whether you're an independent travel agent seeking to stir some new business or an educator putting together an exciting study abroad program for your peers, it's important that you whet the appetites of your prospective clients and fellow travelers with a sneak peek at what kind of vistas and adventures await. A tri-fold brochure is one of the easiest and most economical ways to accomplish this. Here's how to get started.
Things You Will Need
Travel photos (preferably digital)
Photo editing software
Identify the objective of the brochure you are designing. If, for example, it's for a specific trip you are organizing, you'll need to include the tour dates, the cost per person, the itinerary, a listing of what's included (i.e., all meals, ground transportation, tickets to theater shows), and what interested participants need to do to secure a slot. If, in contrast, you are an independent travel agent who is giving an overview of the services your agency offers and an insider's look at "The Top 10 Destinations for Honeymoons," the purpose of the brochure is to let prospective clients know what you do and get them thinking about where they might like to spend their next vacation. Accordingly, this type of brochure is simply the hook to bring strangers through the door; the first brochure is a call to take specific action and is generally marketed to a group of individuals the organizer already knows (i.e., an alumni association). The layout instructions are basically the same for both types of brochures, but this article will focus on the independent organizer as opposed to a travel agency.
Identify the dates of travel and the destinations to be covered. If you have previously been to a particular locale, then you already have some ideas regarding what seasons lend themselves best to the activities you have in mind (i.e., whale watching) as well as how easy or hard it will be to get accommodations at a reasonable price. If you have never been to the destination before, you'll need to do your homework by doing research on the Internet, visiting travel blogs, and getting advice and recommendations from fellow travelers.
Determine who your target audience is for the trip. If, for example, it's a program that will appeal to teachers, you'll need to plan the agenda around summer vacations and semester breaks since it would otherwise be difficult for them to get away from their classrooms. If you are targeting families with young children, you'll be looking at destinations that will be fun for all ages and not take too big a bite out of the household budget. The more you know about the kind of travelers you want to attract, the better you can craft the overall design, images and vocabulary to appeal to them.
Assemble the photographs you want to use in your tri-fold brochure. Ideally, these will already be in a digital format and can be dropped into place easily among the text. If not, you'll need to take them to a print shop such as Kinkos and have them scanned to a disk or a flash drive so that you can work with them. It's also useful to have a photo editing software program such as Roxio Photo Suite so that you can crop the images as well as pump up the color.
Select the images that best fit your proposed itinerary. If, for example, the trip is going to involve nature hikes, you'll want to include landscape shots, photos of animals they're likely to see and flowers/trees indigenous to the area. If the trip involves stage productions and fine dining, you'll want to use photographs of the different theaters and pictures of elegant meals. Shopping excursions could feature glam closeups of shoes, jewelry and antiques.
Start writing your itinerary text so that you'll have an idea exactly how much space it will fill up. Ideally, your word count for each day's agenda should be the same for each day and be no more than a line or two about the venue or the planned activities.
Set up your brochure as a Word document and define the page layout as Landscape. Specify three columns. This will automatically generate the three sections into which you'll enter your text and your selected photos. You will also need to adjust your margins on all four sides to a half inch on the left and right and three quarters of an inch at the top and bottom. Enter some sample text in each of the three columns and print it out. Fold the page into thirds and make adjustments so that the text will be neatly centered in each column. Once it comes out perfect, save this document as a template so that you can use it to create the fronts and backs of future brochures.
Use the "Create Text Box" function in your word program to identify where each of the photos are going to go on the brochure. For instance, you'll want a large vertical photo (3 inches by 4 inches) on the front of the brochure along with the name of the tour and the dates. The interior photos are going to be smaller and can either be horizontal or vertical images that relate to the accompanying text. You may also want to use the Create Text Box function to identify where you want the descriptions to go; this may help you better control the placement on the page.
Proofread the content thoroughly after you have entered everything. Better yet, recruit extra pairs of eyes to catch errors you may have missed. Save the front and back of your brochure to a disk or flash drive and take it to a print shop for reproduction. Glossy paper always shows much better than matte, especially if you want your photographs to look their best.
Put your most striking image on the cover. Put all of the nuts and bolts about prices, deposits, restrictions and refunds on the back center panel where it will be read last. If you don't have any of your own travel photos you can use, there are plenty of websites such as Photo Everywhere (URL at end of article) that allow you to upload stock photos for free. If all of the placement issues are daunting, the good news is that you can resort to a shortcut like going to websites such as Vista Print, which has easy-to-use templates that will not only plop everything into the right configuration but can also deliver the finished product on glossy paper and already folded for you.
Resist the temptation to use a fancy font or even one that looks just like handwriting, otherwise it's going to be too difficult to read. Stick to basics such as Times New Roman, Courier, Bookman or Palatino and use the same font (albeit different sizes for emphasis) throughout. Don't go below a 10-point font; you don't want your readers to have to squint. Less is more in designing a travel brochure. If it looks too cluttered, the impression it is going to give a reader is that you're not focused enough to organize anything, much less a trip to a foreign country.