36 hours in an alternative story form

One of my favorite features in The New York Times is the “36 Hours In…” series. Each week, a travel writer recounts a destination and describes how to spend a day and half there.

It’s travel writing in an alternative story form: introductory text followed by a timeline. That consistent format, unlike a traditional narrative, allows readers to easily skim the story if they choose. It also breaks up the text into more digestible sizes. Yet those bite sizes add up to something nutritious.

Should all travel writing be done this way? No. Long-form narratives and first-person essays still have their places in the genre.

But the “36 Hours” series is an example of how to approach a story in a different way. And yes, it works online. In fact, I have never read these stories in print, just on the NYT site.

Look for your favorite destination on the map, or search the entire series. Happy travels!