How Travel Blogs Can Be Your Best Trip Planning Resource

Planning a trip without reading travel blogs is like forgetting to pack snacks in your picnic basket when heading to the park. While guidebooks and major media outlets publish glossy overviews of a destination, travel bloggers fill your basket with tidbits of smart, timely, and insightful advice.

Travel Blog Button

Don’t get me wrong… I love flipping through the pages of Lonely Planet, Rick Steves’, and the colorful DK Top 10 Travel Guides. I turn to them as my starting point, read one on the airplane or during a train ride, and pull them out when I need a reference point on the ground. (related post: Get the Vacation Ideas Flowing). They are just one piece of the vacation project plan.

As far as travel agents are concerned, do you need to rely on their advice when your friendly travel blogger is on the ground posting “I’m there right now” free advice? I would be remiss if I didn’t say that a trusted, expert travel agent can be essential for many types of trips.  I thoroughly enjoy planning my own travels but it is up to you!

Whether you use a travel agent or book independently, it pays to do your own trip research first. That way you get exactly what you vacation heart desires. Read on to learn how travel bloggers can be your personal guide to optimizing any trip in your own country or around the world.

Who Are Travel Bloggers?

The one commonality among travel bloggers is that they post articles on their own website about trips they are taking and have taken. Blogs commonly display posts in chronological date order, with the most recent travel experiences near the top.  Often you can browse past trips by destination or region of the world so you can find exactly what you want.

Each travel blogger offers their own perspective on trip style, destination, and activities. They are story tellers, taking you along on their journey.  Photos are almost always a central part of every post as when it comes to travel, a picture does tell an even better story.

Travel Blogger Example Photos and Posts

Travel Blog example courtesy of Sidewalk Safari

A few lucky travel bloggers make a living traveling around the world. They tend to run the most popular travel blogs with huge numbers of people following them via email subscription and on social media. Their advice may get syndicated on travel planning and online magazine sites around the Web.

However the reality is that the majority of travel blogs are written by people who work for a living, often in full-time jobs. In some cases they are hoping to break free someday to become full-time travelers. Maybe that is just a pipe dream. In the meantime they share their travel lifestyle stories online for your work-life-vacation balance benefit.

Regardless of which type of travel blogger you discover online, they are an essential source for trip planning facts and opinions. The only warning comes when a travel blogger was given a free (sponsored) trip or otherwise paid to write about a destination, hotel, tour, or vacation activity. In those cases a clear disclaimer should be included in those posts in case the write-up shows any sign of bias.

How To Search Travel Blogs

Finding vacation advice and trip ideas from travel blogs is as easy as searching your favorite search engine. Travel blog articles, officially called posts, are fully indexed by all search engines. They will appear in search result pages that same as news, articles, reviews (almost always TripAdvisor), and vacation booking sites. If you search for the matching keywords, the most relevant and highly rated blog posts will appear.

Travel blog search tip: Try adding the word “blog” to the search terms to weed out results from other type of websites.

Google Blog Search for Trip Advice from Travel Bloggers

Search engines like Google take into account blog popularity in a number of ways. Travel blogs that are well-regarded and whose posts are shared and commented upon will appear higher up in the search rankings. That way you are able to jump directly to what others consider to be the most trusted travel content.

> Notice how professional travel bloggers often have a personal photo that appears alongside their lists. This means they have taken the extra step to have their author identity (authorship) verified. But don’t let popularity be your only guiding factor.  UPDATE: Google, as it does so often, changed their search algorithm and no longer displays photos in these results.

Many newer travel blogs and lesser known bloggers (your next door neighbor or co-worker down the hall could have a casual travel blog) offer incredibly useful trip planning information too. So while it pays to read the most popular and “professional” blogs first, don’t forget to dig deeper into the search results. It won’t take long to find travel bloggers that match your vacation and time-off point of view.

One more travel blog search tip… Google also offers a way to search within blogs only and exclude all other type of results. It is a bit hidden (it used to be in the “More” drop down list but no longer) but you can go to this page:

http://www.google.com/blogsearch

To improve your search results further, include more specific keywords for the exact advice you are seeking. For example instead of typing in “Paris museums” try “Visit Paris best museums”, “Visit Paris art museums on foot” or even “List of Paris museums with the best gift shops” to uncover the most relevant and useful posts.

More examples of keyword-rich searches include “traveling with kids to Naples for the best pizza”, “how to hike the Machu Picchu trail and avoid crowds”, “Hostels near temples while backpacking in Thailand”, “How to celebrate New Year’s on a budget in NYC”, “First time in Tokyo top foods to try”, and “3 day weekend itinerary in Porto Portugal to taste port”

Ways Travel Blogs Help You Plan the Perfect Trip

The kinds of travel stories and advice to be found on travel blogs is all over the map, no pun intended! For popular destinations, you’ll find endless travel blog posts taking you on their journey from multiple angles and perspectives. There are far fewer posts about less popular destinations and your travel search results will reflect that.

You’ll probably get the best inspiration and advice from travel bloggers that match your lifestyle and travel wishes.

Travel bloggers offer trip inspiration

Overall you will uncover the following types of valuable travel advice, all available for free.

  • Sample itineraries including walking tours, day trips, and multi-day treks.
  • Reviews of places to see, stay, eat, be entertained, meet local people, and explore.
  • Ideas for off-the-beaten-path places, neighborhoods, and markets to visit.
  • Getting around on foot and by trains, buses, and the more unusual forms of public transportation.
  • Up to date information on news and events when timeliness is key.
  • Lessons learned or things that were not mentioned in the guidebook.
  • Opinions from a real person on what is worth and not worth visiting (and why).
  • Unique, funny, exhilarating, and even touching stories and photos to inspire you to travel.
  • Tips for your type of traveler be it family, couple, solo, luxury, budget, or adventure.
  • A way to ask the blogger community for further advice by posting comments.
  • Inspiration to start booking a trip to a place on your wish list (or one you never heard of).

Travel Blogger Directory

VacationCounts plans to introduce a resource guide to the best in the world travel blogs, so sign up to our newsletter and follow us on Facebook, Google+, and Twitter to stay informed. In the meantime if you have a favorite travel blog to recommend (including your own), add a comment below to share it. Please include the name of the blog and why you feel that it is an essential vacation inspiration and planning resource.

 

Leave a Comment:

Online Vacation Planner says May 19, 2014

A well written travel definitely can be a good source of informative traveling related content. Most of the travel bloggers, now a days are writing blog about their personal traveling experiences. So it is always better to believe on personally experienced thoughts rather than some imaginary concepts.
You have provided really useful content about this topic and links which you have incorporated within your text are also much informative. Thanks for the post.

Reply
Wanderlust Marriage (@WndlustMarriage) says February 25, 2014

Very in-depth post explaining who we all are, what we do and how we can benefit the travel community. We’d definitely like to add our blog in the mix 🙂

http://wanderlustmarriage.com

We think it belongs because we’re travelling expats (6 years living in Europe between Amsterdam and Dublin) who like to have a good time and review things from high end to budget. We attend travel trade fairs and critique the industry and provide compelling content- as we recently interviewed 2 time Irish Journalist of the Year Conor O’Clery about life as a foreign correspondent globe trotting the world through tumultuous times.

Cheers and thanks for writing this! 🙂

Reply
Dr J (@SidewalkSafari) says February 25, 2014

Thanks for the shout out, VacationCounts!

I’m an American expat currently living in Dublin, Ireland. You can find me at http://www.sidewalksafari.com.

I love to walk and started Sidewalk Safari in January 2009 to document and photograph the interesting, unusual, or just plain amusing sights and events I encountered in San Francisco. I’ve since branched out to cover the different cities where I’ve lived (San Francisco, Dublin) and visited (New York, Toronto, Denver, LA, San Diego, Sydney, and more). Get ideas for walks, things to do, and places to eat. My goal is to cover more than 1000 miles per year on foot and share the very best of what I encounter along the way.

Oh…and for those of you outside of the U.S., ‘Sidewalk’ = ‘Footpath’ ;-)

Reply
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