By Holly Cave
Last year we gathered together our 25 favourite travel blogs. Now at the beginning of a new year we’ve found 15 new and inspiring travel blogs that we believe you should be following in 2012.
We looked for websites that are run by individuals who are out there seeing the world, not corporate blogs run by SEO departments. We think our list is bursting with independent spirit, personality, insight and humour.
Each of these blogs is different, with its own voice and personality. But what they’ve all got in common is that they’re inspiring, invigorating and enjoyable to read. We hope you enjoy following them – and if you have any suggestions of your own, please leave a comment below.
1. One Giant Step
What it is: Gillian and her partner Jason search for an ex-pat hang-out.
Why we like it: While Gillian has been blogging about their adventures since 2009, the couple are now thinking seriously about settling down. We’re looking forward to finding out where they finally decide to put down some roots and hearing about how they settle into the ex-pat lifestyle. In the meantime, enjoy the frank articles, focus on local culture, the been-there, done-that tips on planning a round-the-word trip and the tit-bit taster of a place captured in time in the Monday Moment series.
2. Further Bound
What it is: A new blog with bite, ‘adventurer-to-be’ Hannah is hitting the road for the long haul in 2012.
Why we like it: This is a genuinely brand new travel blog for 2012. So new, in fact, that Hannah and her boyfriend aren’t actually jetting off until September – a great opportunity to follow other travellers from the very beginning of their journey. Hannah puts her heart on her sleeve to write with refreshingly brutal honesty about everything from failed relationships to finances. Until they leave, enjoy regular blog updates featuring interviews with other bloggers, articles about preparing for life on the road and absorbing, often quite spiritual reminiscences about past adventures.
3. Sarah Somewhere
What it is: Flight attendant turned less formal traveller, this blogger has decided against settling down in the traditional way.
Why we like it: This clean and pretty site is an honest account from Sarah, who, having realised that getting married, buying into a mortgage and having babies isn’t for her, is embarking on a journey without an end date. Witty and personal, this blog charts Sarah’s inspirations, hopes, dreams and fears as she changes her life for the long-term. The house is sold, the bags are packed and 2012 is definitely going to be a big year for this travel blogger. We look forward to hearing about her adventures, beginning with South East Asia.
Read the blog: Sarah Somewhere.
4. Married with luggage
What it is: American couple Warren and Betsy are long-term travellers, working their way around the world.
Why we like it: These guys mean business. Ever thought you couldn’t possibly do your job whilst travelling? Well, Warren would disagree – he’s built websites whilst crossing the Atlantic and answered client questions all the way from Antarctica. And Betsy is building up her own business advising small companies on social media. With a constantly updated bucket list that gets scratched off each time something is achieved, this site is a real source of inspiration for anyone who’d always wanted to do something but has found a reason not to. Their admirable, can-do attitude and high quality of their travel advice is reflected in the fact that they’ve had a couple of books published.
5. Hotel Belle
What it is: A hotel-focussed blog from the perspective of a New Yorker.
Why we like it: According to her biography, Annie has always loved hotels – and it shows. We love that it’s not all high-end resorts and five star hotels. Annie also features B&B’s and bargain lodgings that she’s enjoyed staying in. She also writes about the places as well as the accommodation, making this a really rich blog to enjoy in 2012. And if you happen to be planning a trip to the Big Apple, drop that guidebook and read her top tips instead – she’s a licensed tour guide and resident, so you won’t go far wrong.
6. Never Ending Voyage
What it is: Self-styled ‘digital nomads’, Simon and Erin are making cash as they go to fund their endless adventure.
Why we like it: Erin’s fantastic photos always offer a slightly different perspective, and if you’ve ever got stuck over safe choices in a Vietnamese restaurant specialising in dog, then turn to their food section, where you’ll find advice for eating meat-free around the world. Not yet sure about their plans for 2012, Burma is on the list and we hope they make it there, as we’d love to get their perspective on this intriguing country.
7. The Fearful Adventurer
What it is: Proving you don’t have to be brave to travel the world.
Why we like it: Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “do one thing every day that scares you.” Well, being scared and doing it anyway is probably the most admirable thing anyone could do. Torre is open about her nervousness and this gives her blog a unique theme and perspective. She’s an engaging writer who knows how to be funny but doesn’t let humour detract from her point about the place she’s describing. With a book based on her adventures coming out soon, 2012 is going to be a landmark year for this particular travel blogger.
8. Four Jandals
What it is: The ‘Kiwi adventure couple’ take us flying by the seat of our pants on their round-the-world trip.
Why we like it: With as much energy and enthusiasm as two puppies let off the lead, Cole and Adela started their travel and blogging life with a 18,000km road trip across North America. And in case you were wondering, jandals are what Kiwis call the humble flip-flop. Heading out on different trips from their Scotland base, these guys always have something different on offer, and we love their insightful posts and musings on everything from the Arab Spring to how to kill time in an airport.
9. GQ Trippin
What it is: A cute site that charts Gerard and Kieu’s holiday time outside their home of San Francisco.
Why we like it: Their lifestyle goes to show that you can love where you live as well as appreciate the sights the rest of the world has to offer. Fans of adventure sports and eating out, there’s lots of great little snippets – some including videos – of what they get up to in their spare time. Knowing all their trips are done as part of a holiday rather than a long-term trip makes the site really accessible and offers up loads of undaunting ideas for having fun in the short-term. Having said that, 2012 will see Gerard and Kieu head off on an 8-month, Asia-focussed voyage. Good luck guys!
10. Hecktic Travels
What it is: Canadian-born storytellers Dalene and Peter describe a life without possessions as they travel for the long haul.
Why we like it: This couple describe themselves as storytellers and we’d say they’ve got it bang-on. With a different approach to some of the other long-term travellers features in this list, Peter and Dalene like spending longer in one place, usually by house-sitting, to really get to know it. So when you read their opinions and comments on their well-designed site, you’ll know they truly come from experience. The catchy blog titles will hook you in, and the evocative writing will keep you dangling on the line. Enjoy!
11. Captain and Clark
What it is: A kooky adventure tale with some twists and turns along the way.
Why we like it: The site itself is beautiful and with a steampunk twist, it’s really rather cool. Reading their eclectic and descriptive meanderings around the globe is like delving into an old classic novel. Alongside their day-to-day travels, the underlying theme of the site is The Maverick Expedition – a mission to take 22 letters from the whisky barrel on the Galapagos that’s acted as an informal post office since the time of the whalers and hand deliver them. This is a quirky blog that will keep on giving.
12. So Many Places
What it is: Kim and husband Brian are saving like mad to head off for a very long holiday.
Why we like it: Another great blog to follow from the outset, the couple heading up So Many Places are set to leave for their round-the-word trip in June 2012, making this a pretty big year for them. Until they leave, get lots of inside information about how they’ve gone about packing up their life and their bags, and take the time to read about their outdoor experiences in their idyllic home county of Oregon.
13. Nomadic Samuel
What it is: A newbie to the travel blogging scene, Samuel’s shot into ‘most read’ lists from day 1.
Why we like it: What’s not to like? Samuel is a true multimedia man and throughout his blog, you’ll find gorgeous photography, films and writing to keep you gazing, watching and reading for hours. It’s obvious to anyone how much work he puts into his blog and that helps make it addictive. We love admiring his range of headgear, the quips and self-deprecating humour of his Quirky Travel Tales and his tips on taking better travel photos.
14. Camels and Chocolate
What it is: One-time journo and celebrity interviewer, chocoholic Kristin has become a professional travel writer.
Why we like it: Having ‘made it’ as a full-time travel writer, Kristin spends seven months a year overseas on work trips. This blog makes it all sound like play rather than work, though. She’s visited a massive array of places and it’ll be stories about her and her life you’ll find here, rather than descriptions of the places she’s been. This marks it out as a bit different and, peppered with Kristin’s trademark dry humour, very readable. Her scoop on getting the best shots from your camera is useful, and
15. Delicious Baby
What it is: An eye-opening, hugely popular travel blog for all things baby and child-related.
Why we like it: Not all of us are still independent, with only ourselves to worry about when we throw ourselves off a bungee launch or pick the next destination with the throw of a dice. Debbie is rocking it for all the mums and dads out there who still want to travel and don’t see why having young kids needs to get in the way. This incredibly popular site manages to maintain its independent roots and personal approach and because of that, it’s pretty unbeatable for parents looking for travel inspiration.