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Where did all the travel bloggers go? Here are 10 great blogs to follow in 2019

 By Abigail King

Around a decade ago, travel blogging arrived in force. From Twitter to Facebook to mainstream newspapers and magazines, lists of the best travel blogs to follow came flying through the pixels. Then the landscape changed. Those lists slowed down.

Blogging itself had changed – and not all travel blogs weathered the storm. So where did all the travel blogs go? And which blogs are worth following in 2019?

People are reading less

People now read fewer books, fewer newspaper articles and fewer blog posts than ever before. In the US, The National Endowment for the Arts reported a drop in the number of adults regularly reading literature from 57% in 1982 to 43% in 2015. The picture is said to be similar in the UK.

This isn’t an issue about paper vs. Kindle or print vs. online. It’s about reading, wherever and however it is.

Instagram, Snapchat and the new visual world

Grandparents make phone calls, the middle aged send texts – and the younger generation now send a picture instead. Communication has become more and more visual as smartphones make it easier to share images and video, connection speeds increase and roaming charges fall.

More than 500 million people now use Instagram every day, with over 1 billion active accounts and counting. The introduction of stories, first on Snapchat, keeps people on these platforms for longer than ever before, turning storytelling into more and more of a visual art.

Blogs used to publish photo essays and quick updates. These now fit better on Instagram.

The rise of SEO

SEO (search engine optimisation) involves the practice of getting a website seen more prominently in search engine results. With more than 3.5 billion searches every day on Google alone, search traffic matters.

And while search engine algorithms evolve and improve, right now they still function as robots rather than real readers. That means that “10 Unusual Things to do in London” outperforms the more creative “The City That Taught Me Life and Love” or “Waterloo Sunset and Sunrise”.

It’s a fact that doesn’t help many narrative travel blogs.

Big business caught up

At the start of the internet revolution, big corporations were slow to realise things had changed. Travel bloggers, however, could move fast. They tended to be independent creatives driven by a passion for travel. They came from previous careers, often unrelated to publishing or marketing, and they cornered the market – accidentally, it would seem.

Then big business caught up. With budgets the average “content creator” could only dream of, big corporations can easily squeeze out the individual through advertising and outreach on social media.

And so did the next generation

Today, blogging and social media are core parts of any journalism curriculum. Twenty-somethings have grown up with this technology. They take it for granted. They understand it.

As a result, newer bloggers hit the ground running. They follow blueprints from day one with a highly efficient business plan behind them.

At the same time, some of the first generation of travel bloggers bowed out as their circumstances changed – parenthood, divorce, illness. Tragically, some died.

The novelty wore off

Leaving behind a well-established profession to travel the world, homeless, seemed shocking when it first appeared. Now the proliferation of nomadic working options mean it’s practically routine.

It’s also possible that seeing beautiful people leave wealthy jobs to travel became, after a while, depressing rather than inspiring.

Where we are now

Paradoxically, online discussions are moving to private groups, rather than public threads. Where travel influencers once debated topics on Twitter and in comment sections, today many gravitate towards invitation-only groups on WhatsApp and Facebook.

In spite of all this, many travel bloggers have achieved success and still post regularly. Some were never nomadic. Some adapted to the trends in social media or changes to their personal lives, and others have stayed exactly as they were. Many branched into becoming multi-author sites, more online magazine than personal travel blog.

Here are seven well-established travel bloggers still worth following, and three newer sites making a mark on the world.

Ten travel blogs worth following in 2019

Everything, Everywhere

Gary Arndt is a titan of the travel blogosphere, picking up a nod from TIME Magazine in 2010 and winning more major travel photography awards this decade in North America than any other travel photographer.

Recommended reading: 11 Best Things to do in Iceland Outside of the Golden Circle

yTravelBlog

Awash with sunshine and positive energy, yTravelBlog follows Caz and Craig Makepeace and their two daughters in a mission that is as much about finding a different way to live as it is to document their travels. They also cover mainstream destinations, which tend to be overlooked by many bloggers. Their work has earned them a coveted Green Card for their “extraordinary ability in the art of travel blogging”.

Recommended reading: How to do Universal Orlando Resort in One Day (And Love It)

Time Travel Turtle

Still on the road since switching from broadcasting, neither Michael Turtle’s patience nor talent has worn thin over time. His coverage of UNESCO World Heritage Sites brought him into a working partnership with UNESCO itself. And he still travels beyond the brochure.

Recommended reading: Kochi: Japan’s Friendliest City?

Uncornered Market

Audrey Scott and Daniel Noll tackle “complex, nuanced topics loaded with shades of grey” but their blog explodes with colour. They now bring their expertise to tourism development and marketing in some of the least explored corners of the world. For example, they worked as advisors on a USAID-funded Business Growth Initiative project in Kyrgyzstan.

Recommended reading: Volunteering and Voluntourism: The Good, The Bad, and The Questions You Should Ask

A Lady in London

“Yesterday was my last day of work at the hedge fund in San Francisco, and today is my first day as a lady of leisure. I woke up this morning at 7:30 and was a little disappointed that I couldn’t sleep in any later. I guess that will come with time.” So begins the blog of Julie Falconer in a style that has survived the ravages of a decade in travel. Now A Lady in London, Falconer runs training sessions on social media with The Guardian, while still keeping readers up to date with London and wherever else she goes.

Recommended reading: Lady’s Historical Taxi Tour of Tokyo

GeoTraveler’s Niche

Lola Akinmade’s travel blogging brings a fresh new perspective to familiar topics. She says of herself: “Born in Nigeria. Educated in the United States. Based in Sweden. My photography and travel writing are often characterised by vibrancy and hope.” She is also a professional photographer represented by National Geographic Creative.

Recommended reading: The Curious Tale of Sabbioneta

Adventurous Kate

“My name is Kate McCulley and I travel the world for a living.” Fearless and full of character and opinion, Kate’s blog documents more than a decade of wandering, heartbreak and insight into how travel really does change the way people see the world. Kate now bases herself in New York City where she challenges ideas she finds at home as well as those abroad – and those she holds herself.

Recommended reading: My Biggest Culture Shock of All Time

And these are the new kids on the block worth following …

Twins That Travel

Claire and Laura Jopson combine dreamy photography with lyrical writing as they travel the world, podcasting as they go. But their frank talk and helpful tips about dealing with mental health issues stand out in a world that still has much to learn.

Recommended reading: Tips for Travelling with Anxiety

Continent Hop

Lavina Dsouza likes to stir things up. Whether she’s standing up for tourists vs travellers or talking about communism, behind the pretty Instagram pics are plenty of ideas to make you stop and think.

Recommended reading: Neither white nor black: where are the “brown” travellers in travel media?

Atlas and Boots

Peter Watson and Kia Abdullah, the duo behind Atlas and Boots, take the outdoor world and make it look beautiful. But they also take time to think, asking questions about extinction tourism, sexism in travel and how to build a campfire step by step. Lonely Planet named them as one of their seven favourite travel blogs in the world – and it’s easy to see why.

Recommended reading: Polar bear death: has extinction tourism gone too far?

About the author

Abigail King is an award-winning writer and author who has worked with National Geographic Traveler, the BBC, UNESCO and more. She also runs Inside the Travel Lab, a luxury travel blog focusing on sustainable tourism, culture and food. Lonely Planet has called it one of the seven best travel blogs in the world.

 

 

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