I used to read a lot of travel blogs, but recently I counted near zero
It’s the holiday season and perhaps you’re looking for something new and good to read? Me too! And, it’s been difficult.
It’s been a long time coming. The day I stopped reading travel blogs that is. The reason it’s been so long is that I never thought the day would come. But it did, slowly.
I held on for as long as possible. But my 100 strong list of travel blogs was floundering in interest to me. So, I went on a mission to see if there were any new good ones to add to my “Good Reads” folder. Did I or rather they succeed?
First, a look at why my 100 strong list failed to interest me anymore.
Subconscious reasons behind losing interest in reading today’s travel blogs
Let’s keep in mind I’ve been reading travel related material my whole life, and been living the life of a traveler for many years now.
There’s certainly an element of having been there done that to my reading materials. Not to mention, seen that, and read that before in relation to much of the content out there.
Personally, I don’t find any interest in John & Jane setting off on their first Round the World trip and blogging about all the cool places they got drunk in.
Likewise I have no interest in someone doing a PR stunt similar to riding a Tuk Tuk from here to Timbuktu blindfolded, sponsored and all in the name of a Guinness book of records shot, not to mention their soon to be published follow-up book.
Ditto again for the host of commercially friendly PR travel blogs out there that are aiming to turn a profit by creating content suitable for tourist boards, travel, PR and marketing companies.
And to be clear, I mean no disrespect to people who write such travel blogs. Go for it by all means. It’s simply just a case that I, personally, don’t find that sort of content interesting.
I like factual blogs, and I really like a blog that tells the story of person on a quest. Simple as that. Got one? Great, let me know in the comments.
Here’s some I enjoy.
A sample of travel blogs I consider good reads:
Bike and Boots one man, and a motorbike. Brian Setzer’s last post was in 2010, but the blog is still a great read on a lazy Sunday afternoon.
Stories of Conflict & Love Roxanne is a conflict management professional living is places most wouldn’t want to. With a great talent at story telling, and making one think passionately about today’s issues, she offers up some great real life content.
Grrrltraveler I recently went through every page on Christine’s blog dating all the way back to 2008. A Hawaiian traveling on a shoestring, who ended up teaching in Korea. There’s some raw honest insight here you won’t find in many other travel blogs. A prime example includes her post about some cultural differences in Korea.
DigiDrift Jason’s done some epic traveling in his lifetime. Today he digs up memoirs and pieces together some well thought out articles that span the globe. Many people have tried to create online travel magazines, and failed. I don’t think Jason has tried to create an online travel magazine, but I liken his website to just that. It’s a great, varied, and interesting read on many levels.
There are several more listed under my favorites in my travel blog directory.
Don’t let my selections influence you though. There are plenty of other great travel blogs in my directory that might appeal to you personally or in niche areas.
Examples of travel blogs in niche areas
As the word travel blog inevitably becomes fractured from its original intent on being a web-based log of one’s journeys there is one area that’s been a bonus. Niche travel blogs.
Maybe you as a reader have a hobby that can be found in other countries?
A few examples here include Michael and Marly’s Easy Hiker a resourceful site simply about Easy hiking. Or, the single parent travel blogs Raising Miro and 1 Dad, 1 Kid (will these two families ever meet!).
Maybe you’re looking for some city specific niche travel blog like Leslie’s Downtown Traveler (New York)
And then perhaps there’s the epitome of living and working aboard as TravelFish.org‘s founder Stuart McDonald gives personal insights into running one of the worlds most popular travel sites from a base in Bali, Indonesia on Unwrapped Travel.
My RSS grading of travel blogs
So now you have a huge list of new reads! But there’s too many, how to choose?
For me, I run a sort of self graduation program culminating with my personal “good reads” RSS folder. It starts with the bottom rung of the ladder, and blogs work their way up.
Once a month I scan the headlines of them all. If something grabs my attention, I move it up to a generic folder to keep a closer eye on.
I scan this generic folder a little more often. If someone is publishing something really good I move it up to a travel folder.
This much smaller folder of travel hopefuls I scan every week. I don’t read everything, but I do scan old feeds and open new posts in hope of finding a story. If it’s really appealing, it then moves on up to “Good Reads”.
Once in my “good reads” folder I make sure to set about time to read every one of these blogs thoroughly, along with several other genre’s I find interesting.
I try to comment on things that really strike my interest, if the person needs help, or if I see they really put a huge effort into something. Or quite simply if I like their content and they reply back. Yes, I think replying back is important.
I also demote blogs. If for example a travel blogger starts writing about being a successful travel blogger too often, I simply lose interest. Or if they end up being too commercial or start writing about off topic things too much I simply delete the feed. The same goes for too many guest posts, and the true hate of mine: a post not written by them but by a company selling a product or a SEO text links. It’s hard to get back on my RSS reader too.
Then, there’s the list of unknown travel blogs … The ones with no Twitter handles, or Facebook pages … And these are the ones that bring hope to my weekly reading and discovery these days … The best places to find such real-life travel blogs are on travel sites like Travellerspoint.com. Once there simply click a country you’re interested in and you’ll find some everyday people writing about their experiences. A great way to get the truth about a place without wondering how much is written simply to attract readers.
Finding your own good reads
I don’t know how many readers here read other travel blogs. If you do, taking a look at my travel blog directory might give you some new reads over the holidays.
If you are a travel blogger, and want to be added, then just follow the instructions on the directory page.
If you are on Android or iPhone, check out the Taptu RSS reader application. I run a select travel blog list there too.
I also have a OPML list of all the A-Z travel blogs on my travel blog directory that could save you some time in adding them. It’s available to all email members here. Simply sign up, and you’ll get it with your welcome email.
Finally, if you find terminology like RSS / OPML etc new or confusing and want to learn more. Check out my brief guide on social media terminology which should answer a lot of your questions.
Good reading over the holidays
Hopefully all this will give you some new and interesting reading over the holidays.
Enjoy the good reads on my travel blog directory, and join me in 2012 when my own journey takes on a new twist from new heights.
This is an additional feature article
P.S. I’m up a mountain right now (new post on the 29th), so would appreciate it if you could comment here and spread this article around the social media world while I’m away!