Travel blogging has evolved into something more useful and important to how I spent my vacation. One reason is obvious. The internet has become more important in our lives each day. New gadgets have made the internet more accessible. Ipad, I-phone, and the expansion of wi-fi have made the internet mobile, and we can now get online almost anywhere. Then there are the social networking platforms like twitter, facebook, digg, and stumbleupon to name a few, which make it incredibly easy to pass along good information.
This is only part of the story. The internet, wordpress, and social networking have made it easier for bloggers to share their story, but it does fully explain why we have gained more of an audience.
In my opinion, the biggest reason for the increase in growth in travel blogs is due to a general fatigue in the alternative. It seems that in the past travel writing can be categorized in two extremes. On one extreme are writers who write for newspapers or magazines and fluff up a destination in order to promote. They write about gems, and diamonds in the rough, and paradises. This is not to put down that type of writing as there is a need and will always be a need for good writers to promote travel and inspire people to move about.
Then the other alternative is the negative side of travel. These are usually disaster reports from the media like tsunamis, riots, and murders. As Don Henley once said: “it is interesting when people die, we need dirty laundry.” News stories concerning travel usually only come to light when somebody dies. Millions of people travel and enjoy the stunning scenery from Halong Bay, Vietnam; however, many only hear about it when 12 tourists die there. Again, these types of reports are necessary because the public needs to be informed about events in order to learn and know about travel dangers.
Travel writers from Marco Polo to Bill Bryson and Paul Theroux have always been around and have provided an alternative, but they write books. When someone wants to really know what it is like to travel Africa they may not want to read a five hundred page book by Theroux called Dark Star Safari, although they should.
Travel bloggers have filled the void in knowledge of what it is really like to travel to a place and have created a center ground from the two extremes discussed above. Many who travel now want research before they go and attempt to get a feel of what a place is really like. Traditional travel writers that wax eloquent about a place might inspire one to go, but they do not get down to the crux of what it is like to experience a destination.
Travel bloggers have evolved to fill the niche. Blogs used to be a firsthand account of my vacation, but now there are some really savvy writers out there that expertly interweave their experiences with useful information on what a place is like and how to get there. They are like narrative Lonely Planet guides.
I get asked all the time for information on places I have never been to. I always advise people to read travel blogs. If I know of a blogger who covers the area I will pass that blog on. I had a friend travel to Colorado and was looking for some spots to camp. I gave him some tips of places I have been, but also pointed him to Jasons Travels. Another good source I recommend is Traveldudes, which is a database full of tips categorized by continent.
Anyone stumbling upon this post via twitter, SU, or facebook check out my travel blog remote control and change the channel to one of my favorite bloggers.
The goal of Traveling Ted TV is to inspire people to outdoor adventure travel and then provide tips on where and how to go. If you liked this post then enter your email in the box to get email notifications for each new entry. Daily travel photos are excluded from your email in order to not flood you with posts. There is no spam and email information will not be shared. Other e-follow options include Facebook (click on the like box to the right) or twitter (click on the pretty bird on the rainbow above).
Great perspective Ted! Yes, I think travel bloggers bring a real life perspective to those who want to visit places because they get their hands dirty and give real accounts with no agenda whatsoever. I think all of us are seeing is that our brand is being noticed and courted by advertisers because it is real information in the hands of travelers and it’s attractive to people.
Jeremy B recently posted..Win a home exchange membership with Luxe Home Swap!
Charles Higgins recently posted..Vegas pool parties in full swingalmost
i like to share my experience to other.. perhaps some photo of mine or food as well
nikel recently posted..St Patricks Festival @ Frangipani- Changkat Bukit Bintang
Totally agree, I find travel bloggers more trustworthy than mainstream media and even travel guides. A very recent example was a restaurant in Shanghai recommended by Lonely Planet, not just mentioned, it was a proper “Editor’s pick”. I went and it was a disaster. Very likely a travel blogger would have honestly written that the restaurant was cheap and not exactly worth a pick from LP.
I myself check travel blogs first when I plan my trips and I’m gradually leaving guidebooks out.
Angela recently posted..Shopping in Shanghai- or the art of bargaining
Great perspective and I agree with you that us travel bloggers certainly do fill that void – but one problem I see is people less familiar with blogging/the internet cant find this information because they simply dont know its there, or know where to look. Hopefully as social networking continues to grow and the web becomes more and more accessible this will change.
Thanks for the article!
Wonderful post! When researching about a place, I make sure to look for blog posts about it too 🙂
Aleah recently posted..Puerto Galera in One Day
It was a good read!! Travel Blogs are now becoming the main source of travel tips for most travelers.
I think Angela made a good point, sort of. It’s not that travel bloggers are more trustworthy, if they were there recently, they are more up-to-date than any travel guide out there. But, do they know food? Are they the same kind of traveler you are? Are they addressing the things you’d want to see in that place? These things all need to be weighed.
lIt may have been a great restaurant when the editor ate there- the chef could have changed, the owners may be different or maybe, everyone just got tired- it happens. Travel guides are obsolete the moment they come off the press if not before.
Bloggers like us (Santa Fe Travelers), who specialize in a specific area and live there are one of the best sources- if we do our jobs correctly. We hope we do. We do our best to keep up with the Santa Fe travel scene.
Sometimes a newspaper or magazine article comes out and the restaurant they are touting is no longer open. Hard to plan travel that way. Or, someone visits Santa Fe and writes about it and they missed some of the real highlights. Someone could read then and plan a trip based on their experience, which may not work for you.
I think travel blogging has a strong future and I couldn’t be happier. I LOVE what I do.
Great article, Ted.
santafetraveler recently posted..Photo of the week- bird enjoying the ocean on beautiful spring day in Big Sur
So true! Travel blogs are a great source of info. They are always up to date; unlike a travel guide, which takes years to get to print from the time a writer visits a location. Also, travel bloggers are accessible and don’t mind sharing their tips and responding to readers. In other words, we rock! 😉
LeslieTravel recently posted..Finding paradise- Why I love camping on the beach
Great article on how invaluable all of us travel bloggers are and how we endeavor to remain relevant, immerse our readers into the experience, and most of all, remain ‘current.’ Thanks for sharing your philosophy, one that is shared by many!!
Jeff Titelius recently posted..La Sainte Chapelle – the Holy Chapel – a crowning jewel on Île de la Cité in Paris- France
I lost faith in Lonely Planet reviews after a hostel I was using in Costa Rica were sprucing up because they had been called by the LP author to let them know he was coming in 3 days time, thereby presenting a completely unrepresentative view.
With restaurants many of the authors tend to equate cheap as good, over other factors such as atmosphere or most importantly (to me anyway) the taste of the food. Generally bloggers tend to be more realistic when it comes to how enjoyable a restaurant might be.
Steve recently posted..Taxi Drivers – Kuala Lumpur- Malaysia
Not only are travel blogs the most updated source of information, but you get something that guidebooks are lacking: a strong opinion with a detailed story.
Scott recently posted..Furry Friday 27- Nothin 2 C Here
Nice! Travel blogs are timely and authentic. That is why I like to read them and try to convey in my posts.
Charles McCool recently posted..8 Great Spots to Visit in the Florida Keys
Travel bloggers play an important role in showing readers what it’s really like on the ground in a destination. For example, before heading to Egypt and Jordan, i reached out to bloggers who had visited there and I learned a great deal about the locations.
Love this perspective Ted. I totally agree, travel blogging not only provides an honest, easy to update perspective, it is in REAL time as much as can be. We rock the boat and thanks for validating this in the post.
Charu recently posted..Win an Eco Friendly Watch- Sprout Watches Pop-Up Store for Earth Day
Interesting post. I also like that travel bloggers bring a real life perspective to the places they travel. Travel blogging is still fairly new and I’m excited to see where it takes us in the future of tourism.
Christy @ Ordinary Traveler recently posted..I See the Light in You 4
Couldn’t agree more. I bought along my Kindle loaded up with my Thailand Lonely Planet and I have barely touched it. Most of the information I use to plan my trip has come from travel blogs.
Bethaney – Flashpacker Family recently posted..Travelling from Bangkok to Koh Samui
I still like to use a guide, but I get all my ideas before hand from reading blogs. Plus, I draw inspiration from blogs. Thanks Bethaney for stopping by.
These days I simply bring out my iPhone note app for tips from fellow travellers. Once I can connect to wifi, checking places out via links is smooth-sailing. I love the power of being able to organize trips with a tiny smart phone vs. (somewhat) outdated guide books. That said, many of the books come with maps that do make things handy offline! Thanks for posting this. And the spam filter works on a laptop, LOL!
Thanks Ariane for hanging in there and not letting the spam filter bring you down. Technology sure has changed the travel world as much as it has changed all other aspects of life from dating, socializing, music, and travel.