Featured image: Sadhu and God, Pushkar, 1995
Breadtag Sagas ©: Author Tony, 2 July 2017
19 Best Travel Blogs & Websites & Why
The true reason I chose to write about travel blogs was that I was embarrassed about my links page. I’d neglected it since shortly after setting up my blog. I thought that writing articles about the relevant categories was the way to make the links more relevant and useful to others.
When I first began BreadtagSagas, I used travel as a category to research for ideas about how to approach and to design the blog. I found 17 sites and analysed them in May 2015, included are some of my picks below and several others. The list I chose initially contained great blog names and banner statements.
Some of the sites were: Exile lifestyle, Writing through the fog, Uncornered market, Nerd’s eye view, Travelfish, Grantourismo, Atlas Obscura, Legal Nomads, Quite Alone, Phil in the Blank, Stories of Conflict and Love.
Some banners were: Writing through the fog; Travel wide, live deep; A camera, a passport, a ukelele, and a weird little dog; Everywhere is on the way to somewhere else; Telling stories through food; Freya Stark wrote: “To awaken quite alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world.”; Because life is short and the world is large; Part-time travel, full-time travel obsession.
Those that didn’t quite make the picks list but that I think are still worthy are listed below. However, my decisions are quite arbitrary and you may think I got it wrong.
Cheri Lucas Rowlands
Cheri Lucas Rowlands, previously called writing through the fog, is a writer whose blog also contains travel articles, mostly photography. The snapshot photography is fresh and interesting.
Uncornered Market: travel wide, live deep. Another travel nomad couple; contains good stories and photographs of out of the way places.
Nerd’s Eye View
Nerd’s Eye View: a camera, a passport, a ukelele, and a weird little dog. Pam Mandel is a professional writer who wants to earn money but she is upfront about this. Her travel stories and photography, including black and white, are excellent, different and quirky.
Legal Nomads: Telling stories through food. I’m a former lawyer who now eats soup for a living. Jodi Ettenberg writes quite entertaining guides to places and food with some photography.
Phil in the Blank
Phil in the Blank is an unusual travel blog by someone whose profession he claims is teaching people to draw camels. Phil’s blog is about travel and living in West Africa from a somewhat strange perspective.
Stories of Conflict and Love
Stories of Conflict and Love was begun by Roxanne when she was working as a humanitarian worker in conflict zones. She has continued with the title to remind her of its relevance. Most stories are personal and she showcases her travel with photographs. An unusual travel blog, but definitely worth a look.
I’ve have avoided fully commercial sites in these listings. Although, some do have commercial aspirations and fall into an intermediate zone. One in the grey area between the two is Archaeology Travel, which also represents the category of specialist travel sites and specialist travel tours. These are not represented here but are worth considering, as this has been a growing area for travel since the 1970s. We want something more than just tourism. Specialist travel and tours are the arena of our more affluent friends and professionals we know, who want a decent break from work on their holidays but don’t want vacuous tourism.
We are still firmly in the independent traveller camp, but have had leanings towards specialist tours as well. (Perhaps the basis for a future post.)
The Very Best Travel Blogs
My Five Picks
In no particular order (idiosyncratic rather than diverse).
1 Never Ending Voyage
Never Ending Voyage because life is short and the world is large. A nice site by two young techno-nomads Simon and Erin who sold everything they owned and left the UK in 2010. I find the stories Erin writes charming and the photographs well-chosen. This is a straight travel site full-of handy hints. The stories give excellent information on where Simon and Erin have been, what it cost (after my own heart) and the best way to go about it. Descriptions are clear and useful. I also just like keeping up on what Simon and Erin are doing. They are also friendly and easy to communicate with.
Simon and Erin also believe in slow travel.
Never Ending Voyage was the first blog site to inspire me, when Denise and I became homeless (by choice) for three years and travelled extensively.
2 On the Luce
On the Luce part-time travel, full-time travel obsession. Professional short articles about travel locations visited.
I am fond of Lucy’s travel blog because she’s found a niche that is unusual and writes really nice short articles about travel, with a strict formula and good photographs. She backpacked full-time in her 20s but is now a part-time traveller from a base in Cheltenham in the UK.
Lucy’s niche is geared partly to the professional young middle-class, who want to snatch a weekend or a week away from a busy schedule. She’s good at this and is still budget conscious, but with luxury as well. She writes about the type of travel one can do from Europe in particular but for any person in any city with accessible airlines for short trips away.
She’s also good for female travellers wanting advice or braving it alone. In her about section she has a good array of travel blogs similar or complementary in nature to hers or that she just likes. She’s also got some suggestions that showcase women bloggers and travellers.
Lucy says of her travel site that she aims to inspire independent travellers to make the most of their time and that her style is ‘budget luxe’.
Travelfish is an independent travel guide for South East Asia. It is the brainchild of Samantha Brown and Stuart McDonald and is Australian based. Although it is quasi-commercial most of the content is free and you can join up free for the forums.
If you want to pay, they offer comprehensive guides and a travel planning service using their experience of the region to plan your holiday. They are also strict on not accepting freebies of any kind. Hence the independence.
They offer a different take on travel in South East Asia from the commercial guide books and they know what they are talking about. The Itineraries they offer, the free information and the travel forums are really excellent. I haven’t tried their paid guides or travel consultancy service but suspect they would also offer value for money.
We used the Travelfish site on our recent holiday to Burma and found it very helpful. There are not many travel guides that go beyond the ordinary for South East Asia.
4 Live Less Ordinary
Live Less Ordinary is another good mainly Asian Travel site is by Allan and Fanfan Wilson. They are trying to be slightly more commercial than Travelfish, but are also avoiding the worst because of negative experiences with sponsorship and the like. I discovered their site when writing my article on Khao Soy in Chiang Mai, which is probably my most visited post.
In general I’ve avoided good but strongly commercial travel sites because they don’t really need me to promote them.
5 Where to Next?
Where to Next? Riding in cars with dog is a travel blog about the travels of Peggy and John Bright. Unlike some of the younger travel and techno-nomads featured, Peggy and John are older travellers, but no less bold in where they go. Peggy is a friend of mine. They lived in various countries during diplomatic postings and are now retired.
I marvelled at their trans-Africa exploits by truck and their more recent travels, which we hear about at the gym, whenever they come home. Peggy is a professional writer and editor with an individual style. She completes some articles whilst travelling, which I admire. They are always interesting and full of heart. She has a large and devoted fan base and hardly needs the publicity. A long term blog well-written and photographed and well worth reading about some of the world’s most interesting places.
I searched many sites that claimed to deliver the best travel blogs but found the suggestions either commercial or uninspiring. Fathom’s article 24 Best Travel Blogs and Websites 2017 was the only one that excited me. I’ve chosen what I think are the best 8 of these 24 and I hope you agree. But, I’d also recommend that you browse the others too.
1 Off Assignment
Off Assignment’s About explains everything. This is a weird and wonderful site with good stories by professional writers about their experiences. A different slant on travel.
Three years ago, we asked our favourite writers a question: What’s your best untold story?
Anyone who has ever shared a drink with a journalist knows the truth: the most surprising, funny and life-changing part of the trip rarely makes it into the narrow confines of an article. As New York Times editor Damien Cave put it: “When you turn in a story, you feel like you’re only squeezing a third of the lemon.” Off Assignment wants to give you those last two-thirds.
Behind the feature: Gives you those two-thirds
Letter to A Stranger: A chance meeting creates something powerful. An answer to the question: Who haunts you.
What I didn’t say: Authors describe events that didn’t appear in the book.
2 Carnets de Traverse
Carnets de Traverse contains simple stories and beautiful photos. Many, but not only, road trip stories, focussing on the less obvious. Thorough and comprehensive. Good inspiration. The auto-Translate from French is not an issue.
3 Scandinavia Standard
Scandinavia Standard is everything about Scandinavia events, culture, design and cool. The calendar is excellent for spontaneous travellers.
Nice to see a country or group of countries so well showcased: a lesson to all tourist destinations. More countries need this cool and thoughtful approach to presenting their best.
An encyclopedia of trendy things to do.
4 Lost with Purpose
Lost with Purpose is out of the way places with the right attitude. Particularly Central Asia and Asia in general.
We’re two ordinary twenty-something year olds that sold all of their stuff, quit their jobs, and decided to travel the world for a while. Our lives fit into two backpacks, we are perpetually getting lost, and we both dream of one day filling an entire passport.
Really nice articles and photographs.
5 Roam Magazine
Roam Magazine has great photo essays and stories by writer and photographer sisters.
ROAM is a creative outlet for travellers, writers and photographers: to inspire readers to create and capture through words and photographs; to adventure and explore Mother Nature’s rich landscapes; to communicate and understand the vast variety of cultures that make the world so diverse, interesting and beautiful. Ask questions, take photos, write down your random thoughts at 3am. Read books, listen to people, to songs, to nature. Be curious and roam wild and free.
Varies, but again a different approach to out of the way travel.
6 Jungles in Paris
Jungles in Paris is mini documentaries that are like art pieces, telling inspiring stories of craftsmanship, character, tradition, and extreme natural environments. (Fathom)
Jungles in Paris tells stories about nature and culture. We use a range of media to explore planet Earth in all its multi-colored diversity, with a special focus on roots and place. Spotlighting craft, culture, geography and wildlife, we aim to celebrate subjects—human and non-human alike—that are often at risk of extinction in a globalized, growth-driven 21st century.
We prioritize the local, the endemic, the time-honored, and the meaningful. Rather than pure advocacy, we practice purpose-driven media. We aim in our work to restore a sense of enchantment around the things that matter, employing creative nonfiction methods to propose a more enlightened way of engaging with the ecosystems and cultural possibilities around us.
Suberb photographs, strong stories and professional short videos. Different stories about odd corners of the world. Compelling. Go to Jungles in Paris Archives.
7 Tiny Atlas Quarterly
Tiny Atlas Quarterly is a photography-led lifestyle travel brand and social community that brings personal travel to life: in our magazine, through events and products and on immersive adventures.
The photography led stories and the design style combined with the quarterly nature make it refreshing and laid back compared to other frenetic travel magazines.
8 Our Wild Abandon
Our Wild Abandon: On the road since 2013. Beautiful photos and short personal stories, make us yearn to get away. Kyla and Jill are something else. These two are out there. They do things that the rest of us only dream of; and photograph and write about it brilliantly. They are unique.
Fathom gives great ideas about travel and has great stories and articles but I found the site itself irritating to navigate and much better when one goes straight to an article from a search. The article 24 Best Travel Blogs and Websites 2017 I found excellent. They selected their recommendations by asking previous winners to nominate their favourites. I chose 8 or one third of these to add to my list (or 9 if you include TravelFish which was on my list already).
Fathom celebrates all the reasons why we pack our bags, get on a plane, hitch a ride, and explore beyond our backyards.
Fathom is the travel website reinvented — through inspiring stories, practical advice, and useful tools and products. Fathom is where world-curious travelers indulge their passion for travel — whether they’re getting on a plane tomorrow or staying at their laptop.
This list isn’t definitive or comprehensive but it does showcase really good travel sites.
Posted from Obi Obi Valley, Queensland
Key Words: Best Travel blogs, Best Travel Websites, Cheri Lucas Rowlands, Uncornered market, Nerd’s eye view, Legal Nomads, Phil in the Blank, Stories of Conflict and Love, Never Ending Voyage, On the Luce, Travelfish, Live Less Ordinary, Where to Next?, Off Assignment, Carnets de Traverse, Scandinavia Standard, Lost with Purpose, Roam Magazine, Jungles in Paris, Tiny Atlas Quarterly, Our Wild Abandon
Wow, Tony, I never expected to be included in your list. What an honour. Now I need to check out some new sites from among your other choices.
Your blog deserves it Peggy and as you know you have a huge number of loyal followers who care. I hope you do have a look at the list because I think it is a snapshot of the best of the web. Although there are many other travel sites of equal merit I am sure, there are also hundreds of not so good ones.
There are some lovely blogs there.
Thanks Stuart. I’ve been away a lot in 2017. Sorry for the slow reply. Tony
Travelfish was always my go to place when I was travelling around Asia and then came to settle in Thailand. I found their taste and opinions more into my way of thinking as opposed to the old favourite Lonely Planet.To be honest my knowledge of other sites mentioned is pretty much zero as is travelling in my declining years.i have just been asked to write a blog on Chiang Mai as a retirement option.Most blogs I have read are so far off the mark I wonder just how many hours/days the writer spent here
I agree Mike. Travelfish has much more to offer these days than Lonely Planet. Although I was a huge fan of Lonely Planet in its early days. There is a problem when you grow too big and powerful.