In a separate post I asked “What makes a travel blog (good)?” I am looking for the best travel blogs, those that have interesting content (text and photos) from several trips, several countries and covering several years.
There are a few of them but they are not easy to find.
- There are meta sites offering more or less handpicked travel blogs. Travelblogs.com is one. Or one can look in the link sections of other blogs.
- The fact is that many blogs were set up and finished years ago. Many have, or are intended to have, diaries from a specific trip. That kind of blogs may be of interest when you are doing research for a specific trip.
- Many blogs still are merely featuring photos with no or few comments attached. Then I’d rather visit Flickr or Picasa.
- Some blogs, of which some of the most famous ones, are from time to time treading water. They are recirculating old content in a new post, a new context. Typically: “Photo of the week”. This is fair enough and contributes to uphold traffic to the site thereby generating a higher income from advertisers.
I won’t conclude that the blogs I’ve found are the best travel blogs, but they are definitely good travel blogs.
Albert Dock, Liverpool (England)
Here, in alphabetical order, is my recommended list from “out there”
2backpackers are Jason Castellani and Aracely Santos Castel (US and ex-Ecuador). Their blog is a little of this and a little of that, with no clear intention in my view. It has some nice photos, a bit too many with the authors in the middle. An interesting feature is that their diary is kept separate from their stories (travelogue). This blog also features guest entries which make better reading, and tips for the traveller.
Arctic Nomad: Jarmo from Finland has this introduction on his round the world blog: “I’m a nomad, an expat, wannabe minimalist, globetrotter, techie, vagabond and I have a passion for travel and photography in case you hadn’t figured it out yet.” I might add that this blog is basically a photo-blog with accompanying comments and some information about the trip.
Bacon is Magic is written by Ayngelina (Canada) who is in her mid-thirties. “I left an amazing job, boyfriend, apartment and friends to find inspiration in Latin America. I’m creating a new life choosing what I want instead of what other people think I should do.” This blog has some really nice pictures and a well written day-to-day narrative as well as “behind the scenes” stories from her journey.
Camels & Chocolate by Kristin Luna (US). She introduces herself as a journalist and travel writer, and has indeed written some interesting stories featured on her appealing blog. It is however also filled with lots of uninteresting photos of friends and especially herself here, there and everywhere without any decent comments about what she actually experienced. Many nice photos though. High OMG factor.
Drivers Touring Europe….and Beyond is written by Erin Driver (Germany) and features, well, mostly trips in Europe. But also Africa and recently the US. Nice, short, easy-going stories from many countries.
Nesebar house detail (Bulgaria)
Everything Everywhere: The American Gary Arndt has been travelling the world full time since 2007 visiting numerous places and countries. His accounts are very personal and concentrated on giving the reader his impressions of the visiting sites. He doesn’t spend much time giving the reader the inside story of the place, its history etc. Sometimes the harassments encountered are more dominating than the story of the actual place. Gary Arndt’s blog is full of lists of all kinds, and very good photographs, but the structure of the blog is a bit confusing.
Folie à deux with the subtitle “for the love of travel and food” is a delicate and inspiring blog by Jen Laceda, Canada. The pictures make you hungry and the accompanying text makes it an urge to go there yourself to find out more.
Gelli goes South-ish is the “tales from a wandering Welshman” born as Rich Perkins. Enjoyable blog featuring posts mostly from Africa.
Global Trekkers introduces their site with this: “The stories in Global Trekkers have been selected to give the reader firsthand knowledge about how people live, work and play in these often remote settings. Global Trekkers gives you real insight into each location, providing you with information on culture and points of interest while hopefully in a sense, giving you an insider’s view. We often avoid the typical tourist attractions that only scratch the surface.” Editor Christine Wynne (US) has in this “collection of travel stories and advice” created a nice and clean blog easy to navigate in, but does not quite live up to her ambitious goal. The short stories remind me of (sponsored?) tourist brochures, and the content is a bit too heavy on the US to suit my interests.
Astronomical Clock, Prague (Czech Republic)
Globaltrekkers is not the same as the blog above, and is subtitled “exploring the world with gentle footsteps”. Irene (writer) and Rick (photographer) Butler from Canada “feel gypsy blood runs deep in our ancestral veins, as when settled in one place for too long, an overwhelming urge to see yet another part of the world grips us”. This blog is full of well-written stories from all over the globe. And it is easy to navigate in.
Glynn’s travel blog written by Glynn Hammond (48) from New Zealand, is a project summing up all his travels back to the 1980’s. His short stories comment on a largely day-to-day basis his extensive travelling to many corners of the globe. He won’t be getting a prize as travel novelist nor journalist, but it is definitely interesting to see all these old pictures and hear about travelling in oh so many years ago.
Greg Wesson’s Esoteric Globe tells about his travels from the last decade. Greg’s a Canadian living in London and shares his impressions from mostly the Americas and Europe. Interesting reading and some quite alright pictures.
LLWorldTour is written by Lisa Lubin who left the US in 2006 to travel. And she really has done some travelling these years. Her texts vary between really long stories, and short ones. Quite a few of her pictures are exceptional, but I would prefer not having to click on the miniatures to get a full view of them.
Nomadic Chick: This site “chronicles my birth from corporate lackey to full blown traveler”, as the Canadian author Jeannie Mark remarks. She sold her earthly belongings in June 2010 and set out to see the world. And she continues: “Many travelogues emboldened my shaky will, but I couldn’t help noticing a scarcity of blogs devoted to someone like me, a single lady on the cusp of forty, ready to leave everything she’s known.” Jeannie’s entries are heavy on there and then stories, her personal development, but also quite interesting interviews with fellow travellers.
Mount Etna, Sicily (Italy)
Nomadic Matt is a full time globetrotter from the US. His blog features travel guides to a number of destinations, a lot of (good) tips about travelling concentrating on how easy it is, and also travelogues. I do have sympathy for this statement of his, but I’m constantly looking for the right balance: “Traveling to a destination doesn’t mean you need to visit place X, Y, or Z in order to have seen it. Sometimes it means closing the guidebook, skipping all the must see’s and do’s you read or were told about, and simply spending time folk dancing in a beer hall with a group of strangers.”
Old World Wandering “is a collection of travel stories from two journeys through the Old World, written by a South African couple who, after eight years travelling and living abroad, are now slowly making their way home”. Claire van den Heever and Iain Manley have travelled Asia, Africa and Europe. The stories are very well written and manage to combine being informative about the journey and the past and present of the places visited, with being personal about what the couple experience on and off the beaten track. The photographs are excellent but I do not agree with the idea of splitting text and pictures in two different parts of the blog. This is perhaps the best travel blog I’ve come across so far.
Ordinary Traveler is in fact two, Scott Calafiore and Christy Woodrow, “a couple of surfers in our early thirties currently residing in San Diego, CA. We started this blog to inspire ordinary people, like ourselves, to take life by the reins and fulfill their dreams of travel no matter what situation they are in.” Their aim is to “give our readers world travel tips, entertaining travel stories and tips on how to get the most out of your travel photography from people who have been practicing photography for over 15 years.” And they have succeeded!
Street view from Mdina, Malta
Sandalsand is my own blog. To be honest it is developing into an interesting site, featuring travels back to the 1980’s from most parts of the world. I used to write travel diaries for my own recollection, and they have been digitalized. My kind of diaries was formed backpacking the Far-East in 1985. I took notes and shared with fellow travellers all the practicalities necessary to a person travelling alone: Names and addresses of guest houses, bus numbers, restaurants and prices. This is reflected also today, as a kind of historic gesture but with the risk of overloading some of the entries.
Sending Postcards is a nice little blog by Alex and Mina from Canada. The design of the blog is good; some of the photographs are very good. Many of the pictures do however seem to be taken because of love and affection for each other rather than to tell a story of the places they’ve been to. I do miss more text from what must have been interesting travels to many countries.
The adventures of D documents Diana Edelman’s (US) “time abroad as she navigates her 30-Life-Crisis with humor, excitement and lessons learned about life … and living.” Here and there she does show us she has a good pen, and her blog looks appealing as well. I do wish there could be more actual content, and more photos.
Travel Photo Blogging is Marko from Slovenia. As the title indicates this blog is mainly photographs but with comments in few words. The photos are for a large part postcard-like, very nice indeed. This blog is fine to check out if you’re planning a trip to a southern European destination and want some inspiration on what to see.
Island outside Hvar city (Croatia)
VagabondJourney, or “World Geography, Culture, and Current Events Through the Lens of Travel” as the subtitle of the blog goes. It is run by Wade Shepard “and I’ve been traveling the world perpetually since 1999. Upon being kicked out of high school I hit the road, and I’ve been living the traveling life ever since. After 50 countries, 5 continents, multiple cross country hitchhiking trips, three long distance bicycle journeys, countless bus and train adventures, a wife, and a kid later, I’m still going.” This blog has everything, and it is very good!
Without baggage: The American behind this blog, Hank Leukart describes his ambition like this: “In Without Baggage, I write short, personal essays about the bizarre adventures and interesting people I encounter as I travel around the world. Sometimes the essays are funny, sometimes they’re sad, and sometimes I get distracted and write too much about eating blueberries and Belgian waffles. But, all of the stories are true.” I would like to add that his blog is not only filled with good stories, but also good photographs and even videos.
Monument on Siena city wall (Italy)
Travel sites with more general content
Gadling “is the world’s top travel blog, written and edited by passionate travelers and writers. Covering fun, interesting, and relevant travel, Gadling is the premiere source for everything from general travel news to highly specific travel tips, from budget travel to adventure travel — and for everything in between.” So they say. I don’t quite agree when comparing to the next two, but there’s much to be found.
World Hum “- the best travel stories on the Internet” is not really a blog, but a collection of travel stories. Call it rather an online travel magazine. You can easily spend hours here.
Matador “is a hub for travel culture worldwide. (…) Our network averages over 1.4 million unique monthly visitors, making us the most read independent travel site online.” I can’t vouch for their statistics, but the site does feature many high quality articles and videos all related to travelling. Very good.
And more of the same, not yet annotated:
Road Junky Travel
Reisemagazinet (In Norwegian)
UNESCO World Heritage List
Drying apricots on rooftop (Turkey)
Instead of revising this list in terms of deleting entries or adding a few more updates at a time, I set up another list of blogs I follow. My nominees for 2012 are…
Old Stavanger (Norway)