How to Edit Travel Videos

PART 2: Editing your film


You’ve embarked on a perilous journey to collect the coolest shots ever! Now it is time to edit your film. This is just as important as it was collecting the footage.

Choose the right music

This is the first (and possibly most important) step. I suggest choosing a song without words that is ~2-3 minutes long. If you spent a longer amount of time in a place and have a TON of footage, make a few short films focusing on each place that you go or cut to really short shots. Like I said in the first post, people have really short attention spans nowadays. I have found that songs with words detract from the content in the video, so I tend to choose songs that are simply instrumental. Another word of advice, give credit for the song in the description. On YouTube the admins add ads to videos made with songs that are copyrighted.

Set Videos to the song

Now when you throw in your footage, make sure it transitions well with the song. I always keep my clips pretty short, they paint a picture and allow you to put a ton of things in your video. I like to choose a specific sound to trigger my shot changes, such as a beat or a certain instrument. A lot of people won’t really notice it, but if you don’t keep it consistent it will seem off for some reason. People won’t be able to put their finger on ‘why’ it feels off, but it does make a difference. I like to keep most of my clips about the same length (around 3 seconds each). Make the shots jump around enough to where people stay interested and it holds their attention.



Give it a ‘Boring’ Name

I struggled with this part because I thought I needed to come up with the best name ever to describe my video, so I made the title ‘Greatest Trip Ever In Ibiza’.  After reading the Film Bible(How to Shoot Video That Doesn’t Suck) I realized that it looks far more professional if you just put necessary details in a title. I would have been better off naming it Ibiza, Spain or Ibiza Cliff Diving trip. Simply stick to a title such as Town, Country 2016 and put it in the beginning. You can compare it to a Powerpoint presentation. If you add too many transitions, clip art, and the weird thing that makes all the letters spin, it will not enhance it in any way. It just distracts from your story and makes it look unprofessional.


If You Use Music, Turn The Video’s Sound off


If you have music at full volume and random background noise also at full volume I will turn your video off immediately. Reasons to keep both on:
-Someone is talking and it is super important to hear what they’re saying to understand the clip, and you have turned down the background song down so you can understand it.
-You are narrating and have turned the background music down.
-Something funny has happened and people are laughing, but the sound of laughter doesn’t distract from everything else going on.
-It’s the beginning of the video and you’re transitioning the background sound (maybe of a plane taking off) into the start of the song.


Don’t include Everything!

Don’t show every bit of footage you took. People only want to see the good stuff. Even if you want to include something longer, split the shots up and include them in various places in your video. First off, it makes it seem like you did more on your trip. Secondly, it makes it more interesting to watch when the shots vary frequently. Use the contrast created by different types of shots with varying colors next to each other. You want to keep your preferred ‘story’ in mind as you edit. If you have shaky footage, don’t put it in. Use your travel video as a highlight reel! You want it to be entertaining and fun. That’s the part that makes other people want to watch it.

Use Fast/Slow Motion

Don’t use it for every shot, but slow motion and sped up footage can really enhance a shot. I prefer to do slow motion for panning across landscapes and some human movements. If I record driving down a road with particularly beautiful scenery, I speed it up a lot. The nice thing about sped up footage is the ability to include more in less time. The great thing about slow motion is that you can add more with less. I love both of these options and they can both be found in my own videos.

Color Grading and Correction

This may be a bit advanced for some editors, but it makes a huge difference in the colors. Think of it as an Instagram filter to match the feel of your film. If you are editing in iMovie (free!) my favorites are Hard Light for landscapes and Cinema for filming people. 99% of the time, those are what I’m using. They really make a film look more professional and people don’t exactly notice it. I like to do this as I add shots so that I’m not overwhelmed by 90 different shots to go back and do at the end.

Upload the Video!

Nobody will watch it if it isn’t online. Share it on various forums including your site and Facebook or Twitter (if you use it). Don’t add a million YouTube popup text bubbles that people have to X out of as they watch it. It’s the same principal as the bad Powerpoints!


Do you have any tips for editing videos that I may not have mentioned? Or do you have a favorite YouTube travel video? Please list them below in the comments!

About Author


World traveler. Health nut. Adrenaline Addict. Pilot. Scuba Diver. Surfer. Lover. "Life begins at the end of your comfort zone"


  1. Thanks for this post. Very useful. Specially the free editor.

  2. Mónica From Portugal Reply

    AMAZING tips and an AMAZING blog! It has helped me a LOT

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