In order to inspire your next trip, Wanderu asked our dedicated readers to nominate their favorite travel blogs. After a great deal of parsing and narrowing down, we have come down to a list of 25 most impressive, majestic, and overall best travel blogs for the past year. We peeled back the layers and judged each blog on its own particular merits using as a guide the unique inspirations behind each blog. So, in no particular order, Wanderu’s Best Travel Blogs of 2013.
***UPDATE: Also see Wanderu’s Best Travel Blogs of 2014***
Seth Kugel is the mastermind behind one of New York Time’s blogs, Frugal Traveler, in which he journeys with a tight budget and shares his tips and tricks with others. Kugel makes travel easier for his readers by “in addition to providing practical tips – what apps and sites to use, when to go where, etc., people also learn something from my travel style and adopt it, whether it’s consistently starting up conversations with strangers or avoiding touristy attractions.”
This Just In, a blog created by Budget Travel, prides itself on providing up to date information on destinations as well as interesting or important news that travelers should know. The blog “is full of travel-inspiring information about new travel technology or websites that can help our readers save money, new events or festivals, and tips for saving money during holidays or in popularly visited cities (how to do ____ on a budget, etc.)”
Fodor’s is a blog that specializes in travel news and inspiration. Fodor’s updates travelers on new and current travel information as well as provides an outlet for entertainment and worldviews. “We want the blog to inspire wanderlust in a big way. Reading about an amazing new restaurant or museum opening can inspire an entire trip, maybe to a place you’d never thought of going before. That’s the incredible power of an exciting travel story or slideshow: Readers can go from day-dreamy armchair travel to actively planning their next adventure all on their afternoon coffee break.”
Run by three travel writers; Beth Blair, Jennifer Miner and Kara Williams, The Vacation Gals is a blog that strives to provide the best information for its readership regarding “family trips, girlfriend getaways, and romantic escapades” according to their website. “The overall ethos of The Vacation Gals is that of empowerment. Giving women the inspiration to travel when they may feel that it’s too hard (logistically, economically, etc) to do so gives us at this blog great joy and satisfaction,” says Jennifer Miner.
Matt Long is your typical guy, he has a significant other, a mortgage and even three dogs. Despite all of that, he has found a way to make his passion for travel a profession. The driving force behind his blog landlopers.com is “to help people get out there and experience the best the world has to offer. I’m a normal guy who loves to travel, and I share the best ways to do that around the world.”
Jaunted is a Conde Nast Traveler blog that is dedicated to creating a current pop culture guide for every walk of life. “Our daily web magazine is a pop culture travel review for a generation that possesses a small attention span.”
The Everywhereist, created by Geraldine DeRuiter, is a hilarious travel blog about DeRuiter’s excursions with her husband after she was laid off from her job. She delivers helpful information about the destinations she sees with a quirky tone and laid-back attitude. “In the end, though, it’s just a very honest account of my journeys. I figure by being very transparent with my readers (i.e., sharing both the good and the bad), they’ll realize that everything doesn’t have to go right for a trip to be wonderful. Or that even if you have an absolutely rotten trip, it can still be a worthwhile and valuable experience in the long run,” says DeRuiter.
The Independent Traveler blog has grown considerably from its beginning 22 years ago as one of the first travel websites. The Independent Traveler’s blog “is a place for our editors to discuss up-to-the-minute travel trends, breaking news and the latest hot topics. We review and give away travel gear, dispense vital tips, and answer reader questions. It’s also where we can just have fun with posts like our weekly Friday Travel Puzzle and the latest humorous in-flight safety videos,” says senior editor, Sarah Schlichter.
Ashley Muir Bruhn’s blog, Hither and Thither, caters to a wide audience: what began as an exploration of the hidden gems in New York City turned into an adventure around the world with her growing family. Bruhn states that the coolest place she’s been to is Jodhpur, India. “I loved the bazaars in the old, walled-in portion of the city, where we found everyone to be so generous; the gorgeous Meherangarh Fort, made of sandstone, that towered above the city’s blue-hued homes; and the delicious saffron lassis—which we were drinking late one night when we happened upon a calf being birthed in the road!”
What originally focused on fashion, Megan Starr’s blog veered towards travel and living in another country when she realized travel was missing from her life. Since then she has moved to Norway and continues to travel. Through her blog, Megan Starr wants “to just inspire people to do what they love. I love traveling. That doesn’t mean that all people do…so I just hope that they get out there and do what makes them happiest!”
Marina Villatoro is an expat that, thirteen years ago, took a solo trip to Latin America, met her husband and started a family. From her excursions grew her blog Travel Experta, the place to find unique information for families looking to travel. Villatoro hopes “that every family that thinks and dreams of traveling with younger kids just does it. Yes, it’s challenging but the rewards are so much more than the complications.”
What began as offbeat tourist attractions, Roadside America’s blog run by Doug Kirby, Ken Smith, and Mike Wilkins, offers over 10,000 quirky, obscure and eccentric places. “We get to many interesting places in the course of our research — a nuclear missile silo “bachelor pad” in Texas; a rickety ladder at the top of the world’s largest cross in Illinois; a desert museum for retired strippers; a room filled with retired ventriloquist dummies in Kentucky; a school bus dangling off a 10-story building in Missouri,” says Doug Kirby.
Ayngelina Brogan has a blog titled Bacon is Magic; a travel blog that is centered on discovering a place through its food and local culture. “I left an amazing job, boyfriend, apartment, and friends to find inspiration in Latin America. Today I share stories about the people and places behind the meals I enjoy around the world.”
The blog, A Dangerous Business, by Amanda Williams is about a small town girl who decided, on a whim and love of “Lord of the Rings,” to travel to New Zealand and has been traveling ever since. Williams wants “to prove to people that you don’t have to be rich or self-employed or single to follow your travel dreams. You can fit travel into a more ‘normal’ lifestyle, and [aims] to show [her] readers that.”
Kristina Luna, author of the blog Camels and Chocolate, is an avid travel writer who has visited over 80 countries and proves that people can still travel while having a house, a dog, a spouse and a career. “My blog used to be predominantly international travel, but since moving back to the South two years ago, I’ve started blogging frequently about my hometown (Nashville) and other under-the-radar Southern destinations. I feel like domestic travel often doesn’t get enough love from travel bloggers and some of my favorite trips of late have not been ones that require a passport but rather are exploration of the quirks and charm of small-town America.”
Lisa Lubin’s blog LL World Tour is a documentation of her decision to leave everything behind in order to pursue “a new life based less on money and more on travel, laughs, and tasty food.” Through her Lubin’s blog, she says “I am able to show [my readers] beautiful places through my photography, videos, and words. Plus I can offer specific tips on things to see and eat, ways to travel solo, meet people, and do it all for less money!”
Caroline and Josh Eaton were tired of the daily 9 to 5 grind when they decided to take a career break to travel the world, garnering the best education through their experiences, and telling the world about their experiences in their blog Traveling 9 to 5. “Last year we spent a month driving ourselves and camping through Botswana and Namibia, Africa. Neither of us had any idea what to do around wild animals or had camped for more than a few nights. The days were spent on adrenaline, adventuring through the bush in search of the big 5, while our nights were spent cooking over the fire and staring up at the stars. I have never seen a more beautiful sky than the Botswana sky!”
Perceptive Travel was started in 2007 and is run by Tim Leffel as a monthly narrative webzine and daily blog. The key to Perceptive Travel is found in its writers who dig deeper to discover intriguing people, place, and stories. Perceptive Travel’s goal is “to inspire and entertain open-minded, curious travelers who want to go beyond “top-10 beaches” and “best of” shallow travel articles. We follow our curiosity and connect with perceptive travelers.”
In December of 2008, Michael Hodson left to travel the world and hasn’t stopped traveling since, as can be seen by his blog Go See Write. “When the site began, my mission was to focus on overland travel and the sort of adventures that go hand in hand with it, to show people that it’s possible to leave corporate America.”
Traveling with MJ, created by Mary Jo Manzanares, is a publisher, writer, flight attendant and travel writer all in one, taking you on her excursions all over the world. “Originally [the mission] was to share information about what to do on layovers or quick getaways with other flight attendants. From there it expanded to [those] looking for the same value and price as flight attendants often do. We want luxury at an affordable discount, and carefully choose what we splurge and cut corners on to save. This eventually became the concept I now refer to as value luxury, the cornerstone of the type of content you’ll see on Traveling with MJ.”
The name for the blog Vagobond, which started in 2000 came from editor Vago Damitio who wished to share his experiences with others in the pursuit of what mysteries lie beyond. Vagabond used to mean someone who wandered with little to no budget, but the difference here is in the “go.” Vagobond’s mission is “to travel in luxury without a luxury budget.”
Candace Rardon first fell in love five years ago, not with “the one,” but the world. Since then the travel writer/sketch artist has been writing about her journey on The Great Affair. “The phrase (the great affair is to move) seemed to speak of the spirit behind the movement. The great affair of opening yourself up to the world and the adventure it offers. I want to inspire my readers to fall in love with the world. To push past their fears, take risks, and explore life outside their comfort zone. To experience the incredible beauty the world has to offer and to bring that beauty back to their everyday world.
In 2011, Larissa and Michael Milne, authors of Changes in Longitude, sold their house and left Philadelphia for a year-long trip around the world and are still embracing the travel lifestyle today. “Our message is that it’s never too late to pursue your travel dreams, be they traveling the world or roaming around America. It’s easy to put up barriers but we found out that it’s even easier to overcome them. As we say on our blog at Changes in Longitude, just go already!”
Smarter Travel is a travel blog that provides vast quantities of unbiased travel news, deals, and tips from professionals. “Our experienced editors spend hundreds of hours each week researching the latest and best travel deals, compiling travel guides for destinations worldwide, and offering money-saving tips for travelers.”
Gary Ardnt has been traveling the world since March of 2007. Part of what has allowed him to travel so much is his acclaimed site everything-everywhere.com. “Since I started traveling, I have probably done and seen more than I have in the rest of my life combined,” says Arndt on the About Me page of his blog.