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!
28 Replies to “Where have all the good travel blogs gone: my travel blog directory”
Interesting methadology. It is so interesting to me to see how quickly travel blogs go up and down. Right now in my google reader I have just a travel blog folder, but I think I need a active and inactive subfolder.
I think by their nature traditional travel blogs have a beginning and an end. I tune out when they end and they keep going into the make money area.
Though there are exceptions like the one’s mention above!
Thanks so much for the shout! I’m honored to be included, especially considering the company. You’ve listed some of my faves, like Easy Hiker, and others I have never heard of. I’m clicking through now and following them on Facebook… appreciate the tips!
No worries Leslie, just back from trekking and catching up. Glad you got to see some new sites!
I like quest blogs more than travel blogs. I’ve read a few bicycle around the world and walk around the world blogs and agree that those with an end goal are best.
There’s a difference between writing about travel, and writing about a goal that involved travel. It might be that extra heartbeat, but it works for me.
Good points Mina. That extra heartbeat is sometime all it takes!
I think there’s only so much travel blogs one can read, especially if you’re not travelling. I got bored with other blogs – too many adjectives getting thrown around. That said, I also got bored writing my own blog.
But I continue to enjoy reading this blog, and Travelfish’s blogs – please keep up the good reading both of you. :)
The other travel related blog that I used to follow avidly is http://www.backpackfoodie.com/ The writer Daniel Roy takes a great deal of care in the sculpting of his posts, and it’s clearly about quality and not quantity. He’s recently started a new blog that’s kinda travel related in http://www.mangoblue.ca/
Thanks Andy, I’ll check out those two site you suggested.
Yes there’s certainly only so much travel related info one can consume online. Hence I often get bored with sites pandering to SEO, ratings or such like. I think that’s why I mentioned quest blogs or specific niche blogs.
Thanks for the mention, Dave. (And for seconding the motion, Leslie). I’ve not had much time to read as many blogs as I should and want to due to work commitment (both to put bread on the table for the family and for my own blog). Returning the compliment now: yours is one of the handful of blogs I subscribe to read and enjoy reading most times. We are keeping an eye on you! Cheers.
Thanks Michael, just back from my own hike.
There’s something to be said for blogs like yours which have a strong reality base. Not everyone wants to climb the biggest mountain, or earn a million from a blog. So reading yours and passing on your valuable insight is simply something that’s good to do for many people!
I hope people who are interested in Easy Hikes et al take the time to go through your experience and advise!
Thanks for that reading list. I’ll have a wander through it over the holidays. Always on the looks out for some inspiration.
Thank you Dave so much for the mention! Talon, from 1Dad1Kid.com and I are planning on meeting at some point. We’re both single parent long term travelers, both in Latin America and both lovers of carrot cake for breakfast! Think we’ll have a great time sharing stories.. Sending you much love and light for the year ahead and as always, much gratitude for your support.
No worries Lainie, keep up the good work with Miro and a life on the road!
I know exactly what you mean! I hate it when the so-called travel bloggers start putting in advertisements that mask the original experience of traveling. Too commercialized!
I’m still on the fence as to whether our site, Green Global Travel, is more a travel blog or an online travel magazine. (Since I come from a background of 18 years in the print world, I tend to think of it as the latter, but others probably consider us bloggers since our site tends to be personal.) Regardless, I definitely think we’re doing something different, focusing on ecotourism and issues related to the conservation of nature, wildlife and indigenous cultures around the world. These are the things we travel to experience, and our stories tend to convey our quest to preserve and protect them for future generations.
I am not a pure travel writer, but I started a travel writing series on my blog to get write-ups from local business travelers with a goal to collecting genuine tales of short business trips to all the African capitals.
Mahalos for the shout out and mention, Dave. I’m truly honored to be in fine company. =-)
Thanks for the RSS tip. I haven’t considered it until now & I think guidelines are helpful and necessary.
The travel blogging field is so expansive and ever-growing, with new SEO saavy travelers and their different angles. I find it a bit overwhelming and hard to keep track of, sometimes. There’s only a few bloggers, I’ve subscribe to via email & you’re actually one of them.
Travel forums are my first go-to for travel tips (over travel blogs). Travellers Point– love it! For some reason, this site popped to mind when I subscribed to your site. I love that your posts are down-to-earth, but for practicality purposes, I’m always looking for helpful pre-trip insights into a country (moreso, than adventure/sightseeing ideas, though those are nice also). Your site offers a nice balance and awesome resource!
Wishing you a Happy Holidays in your Home away from Home!
No worries, and thanks for the kind words. Just back from trekking and trying to catch up a bit.
I really don’t like the SEO “travel blog rock star” blogs out there, hence I mention quest or niche blogs. And why I broke my RSS up into sub-sections. It took a while, but once I did it make things better.
Like wise with twitter, I removed a lot of the RT stuff out there and stuck with actual people. Again, it’s really improved my enjoyment of twitter.
I’ll be the first to admit I might have skipped over your blog a year or so. My bad. I’ve really enjoyed reading over all your posts recently. Something about your titles, and grasp of reality within the content really makes it a rarity out there! I hope others see this too!
Enjoy 2012 I’ll be reading along!
Thank you very much for your kindness, Dave. I love the content you have been curating on this site and I am excited to read your reflections in the new year.
It’s a pleasure Roxanne, I can say little other than thank you in return. Just back from trekking so a big “What is home” post later in the week.
That’s a great list of travel blogs. I am going to take a look at them because I am curious about travelling. I started my world tour in November 2009…. I hope that one day my blog will be good enough to be here too
Hello Tunimaal, welcome on board. I’ve been away trekking so just catching up. Be sure to add your site on the directory page http://www.thelongestwayhome.com/travel-blog-directory.html I’ll be updating it in a few days.
Great article Dave, especially since I was searching the web for some good travel blogs to read. I guess a good travel blog is like a good book in many ways, it had to keep the reader entertained and wanting to read what happened next. The quest type of travel blog fits this perfectly. While it’s not a blog that I keep updated, I hope you’ll pardon me if I mention http://HighRoadToTibet.com – it describes my overland travels across China, Tibet, Nepala and India. I believe you’re in the Annapurnas at the moment so these photos might give others an idea of the majestic scenery you’re enjoying http://www.highroadtotibet.com/photo-gallery/annapurnas/
Thanks John, and no worries. I’m always glad to see new content from overland or quest type blogs. Will be happy to add it to the directory too.
I’m working on its identity still and I don’t often write about practical information (perhaps I should – it’s always useful) but let me know your thoughts on my own ramblings. I rather like yours. lauralovesit.wordpress.com
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