The Benefits of Using Travel Blogs to Help Plan Your Trips (+ 10 of my Faves)

Travel Blog Homepage Collage

Travel blogs.

There are thousands of them.

Actually scrub that.

Make it millions!

How many travel blogs in the world?

Does that say 68 million!?

I know, I know – not all of these are unique sites. But even so the number’s pretty big!

In fact if you’re looking for just the most popular ones, then this post lists 2,500 of them!

Wow!

So how best to use all that information to help you plan your adventures?

In this article I share the main benefits are to using travel blogs, when researching and planning your trips.

And stick around to the end to find my favourite travel blogs.

Disclaimer: Please take note of the word HELP. I am not saying travel blogs should be the only tool you use to plan your trips, but when they’re used alongside guide books, tourism websites and forums they offer an additional, unique viewpoint that, for me, has become a vital part of my travel planning routine.


What Are The Benefits Of Using A Travel Blog To Plan Your Trip?

1) You Can Be Super-Specific

The first benefit of using travel blogs to plan your trip, is that you can be super-specific in searching for content that is relevant to you.

A travel guidebook has to try and cover off all bases, so will generally end up in the middle-ground, trying to please as many people with its information as possible.

There is no such danger with travel blogs.

BringFido.com
There is a blog for every need!

In fact it is a well-known strategy amongst bloggers to try and ‘niche down’ as much as possible. When you’re competing against so many other blogs, the only way to win search traffic from Google is to make the content of your blog really specific, and focus in on a smaller audience.

So whatever your interests, you’ll find a blog to match them.

🏟🏟🏟

Fancy travelling the world to see football stadiums? TheStadiumGuide.com has got you covered.

👍👍👍

Determined to travel for free, and make extra use of that opposable thumb? HitchhikersHandbook.com will help you get a lift.

🥦🥦🥦

Powered by plants? No worries, VeganTravel.com has got your back.

See what I mean? 

No more searching through the Lonely Planet Guide to find the one paragraph the speaks to your needs.

With travel blogs you can find entire communities set up to help you out!

So next time you’re planning a trip, get on Google and be super-specific about what you’re looking for. You might just be surprised what you turn up!

2) The Opinions Are (Generally) Unbiased

Most travel bloggers are independent, and blog about travel in their spare time. Yes, there are the elite guys at the top who make a living from it, but most of us are doing this as a hobby rather than a business venture.

It is fairly common in the travel industry for people to accept free trips in exchange for writing an article, or to be under pressure from their publication to produce a certain type of content, so sometimes it is hard to work out what a truthful opinion is. Some bloggers do this too, but they should make this clear on their site in line with FTC regulations.

And when it comes to using tourism sites to plan your trip, well their sole purpose is to promote the area, so they’re naturally going to show the place in a favourable light.

This is where travel bloggers fit in.

They offer an authentic counterpoint to the big publications, and are often writing their pieces ‘in the moment’ when the opinions are raw and fresh. They’ve generally spent their own money to be there, with no payment or incentive to offer up a certain opinion, so what you get is the truth.

Well their version of the truth anyway….

As with everything opinions should be taken in context. Don’t let one person’s viewpoint put your off a place, but equally don’t let it strong-arm you into going. Travel is about finding your own way, and your own experiences. Any number of things influence an opinion, and alot are restricted to that particular time: the weather, the crowds, a bad experience with a pickpocket – so read, learn, reflect and then make your own decisions.

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3) The Information Is Up To Date

One of the biggest challenges with traditional travel guides is keeping them up to date.

From the second they go to print information starts to get out of date. Everything from prices, opening times and even their existence can change (we once spent an hour in Malta looking for a sacred tree, that had actually been uprooted and moved half a mile away!)

Our Travel Guidebook Collection
Our Guidebook Collection

This doesn’t mean I don’t love guidebooks, I do! In fact we have loads of them, but even if you’ve got the latest version you need to double-check.

The best way to get basic information such as opening times and pricing is by using the official website related to the attraction you’re going to.

But if you’re looking for up to date opinions then a blog can be a great way.

And there is a really simple way to do this on Google. Just search for the name of the place you’re going, followed by the word ‘blog’ and then use the tools menu to search for articles written recently, so you ensure you’re

This search below for the Taj Mahal is a fantastic example.

Search for articles or read guidebooks about the Taj Mahal, and you’ll be flooded with amazing recommendations, perfect places to take photos and what the dress code is.

All useful stuff.

But switch over to articles written in the last month, and you realise something’s changed.

The Taj Mahal is going to be cleaned in 2018, with a massive face mask style mud-pack.

Not so good for those classic photos.

There is simply no way a guidebook could keep up with this, and whilst the tourism websites will give you advice, a blog is a great way to find out even more detail from people who’ve actually been there and experienced the changes.

Taj Mahal Search .gif

So do yourself a favour, and use recent blog posts to help add to your background research, and save any mid-travel hiccups.

4) You Can Ask Questions

How to use a travel blog to plan your trip

Here’s one benefit that’s pretty unique to travel blogs, the ability to ask questions.

Scroll down to the bottom of most blogs and you’ll find a space for comments.

Most bloggers love to engage with their readers. It’s a pretty lonely task sometimes, tapping away at a computer in the dim-lit corner of a cafe. So when someone shows an interest by commenting or asking questions we’re straight in with a response.

Not every blogger is great, but you’ll quickly see from their previous posts if they bother to reply.

Take Derek over at WanderingEarl.com.

He’s one of the biggest blogs in the world, but still makes time to respond to his readers.

Just look at how helpful he is if you ask a question….

Pretty cool!

Now I know you can get similar interaction from travel forums, but the great thing about blogs is that you have confidence in the person answering the question. If you’ve read a great article, but it was missing one piece of vital information, then the comments could help you fill in the gaps. You know you can trust the response, because the rest of the post was so good!

So go one, get involved, and start adding comments to those blog posts to help with your planning.

5) More Photos

Nothing inspires me to travel more than photographs. Reading about a place is one thing, but seeing it takes me straight there.

The challenge with a traditional guidebook is just a simple lack of space. When you’ve got so much information to pack in, it’s hard to find the room for pages of beautiful photos.

This is where the internet wins!

You have amazing sites like Instagram and Trover which allow you to navigate by photos, but a great travel blog does so much more than this.

It sets the scene with words, gives you all the details you need, and then backs it up with beautiful photos.

The best of both worlds….

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6) They Are Free

The final benefit of travel blogs is that they are free.

A Lonely Planet guide will set you back somewhere around £10, but you can find all that information, and more, just by seeking out travel blogs.

Yes it’s going to take a bit more work, but if you’re travelling through multiple countries, the cost of guidebooks can really stack up.

Using a combination of tourism websites for factual information (such as opening times), and travel blogs for inspiration (such as ‘top 10 places to visit in x’) then you can bypass the need to shell out money on a guidebook.


4 Tips To Help You Use Travel Blogs

Here are a few tips that will help you get the most out of travel blogs:

1) Read More Than One

Travel is an adventure. Whilst it’s hard to be a pioneer in a world where so much has been explored, don’t let one person’ opinion give you false expectations.

It’s really important to get multiple opinions on a destination, so read multiple travel blogs to get a more rounded view.

2) Save Clippings To Evernote

Evernote Web Clipper

Evernote is a fantastic tool to save all your travel research.

There are so many useful features:

  • Create stacks and notebooks with all the information you find on the destinations you’re going.
  • Make notebooks available offline so you can see them on the move.
  • Share notebooks with other people, so they can contribute to. Really useful if you are going on a trip with other people and everyone wants to contribute to the planning.
  • Add in other documents such as PDFs and spreadsheets. Gets everything into one place for easy access.

One of my favourite parts of Evernote is the web clipper. This allows you to save simplified versions of web pages straight into a notebook – photos and all! Really useful when using travel blogs, as you can save the article straight into a notebook for use when you get to the destination.

3) Use Google Tricks To Be Targeted With Your Searches

As I discussed earlier, there is a travel blog for every need.

So when searching for information, don’t be afraid to be really detailed.

Great locations in Paris to walk your dog

How to get off the beaten track in Thailand

Best bungee jump locations in New Zealand

And there are lots of tricks you can use to make your Google search even more specific.

Exclude keywords using -, keep phrases together using “, search within a specific site by using site:.

Use this article to help with your targeting: Six Google search tips to find anything faster.

4) Ask Questions

Don’t find what you’re looking for in an article?

Then ask questions!

You have three options:

  1. Scroll to the bottom of the article and use the comments.
  2. Search the menus and find the blogger’s ‘contact me’ page, where there is usually a form to fill in.
  3. Use hunter.io to find an email address for the website owner and make contact directly.
How to use a travel blog hunter.io

Are There Any Downsides To Using Travel Blogs to Plan Your Trip?

Absolutely!

Here are a few:

  • Bloggers are not professional writers and don’t have editors. This can lead to long, tedious, unhelpful and sometimes wildly inaccurate posts.
  • Information can just get reflected from one site to another. Many bloggers use other sites to help them write their articles. It’s amazing how many ‘Top 10 Places to Visit in ‘X” or ‘Best Places to Eat in ‘Y” articles are almost exactly the same.
  • Some blogs re publish content to make it look new and relevant, even though the reality is they’ve just changed the date. This helps them to shoot up Google rankings, but might mean the information is outdated.
  • Some bloggers get paid to write. This can be by airlines, hotels, restaurants and even tourist boards. Whilst this doesn’t mean they will show a bias, it must be hard to offer a truly balanced opinion when you know the trip has been paid for. Any bloggers that do this should declare so on their site, so read the disclaimers.

As I said, it’s best to use travel blogs to supplement more traditional forms of research, however if you come to trust a particular one, you may replace them completely.

I have a friend who travelled though Asia solely on the recommendations from Nomadic Matt’s blog!


My Favourite Blogs

NomadicMatt.com

It’s hard to post a list like this without mentioning this blog. The most famous blog on the internet, packed full of budget-friendly travel ideas and destination guides.

Everything-Everywhere.com

This was the first travel blog I really enjoyed. Gary Arndt has visited over 100 countries, and documents his adventures with great articles and breathtaking photographs. I love his focus on UNESCO heritage sites, and the way he lists all the countries he’s been to.

ExpertVagabond.com

If you’re a bit more adventurous, then Expert Vagabond is the place for you. Matt Karston lives an exciting life, and write articles that are both incredibly entertaining and incredibly factual. My favourite is his piece about getting a Sak Yank tattoo in Thailand.

WeekendCandy.com

Weekend Candy is a UK based blog with a clever concept – making the most of your weekends. The reality for alot of us, is that travel is hard to fit around a busy schedule. In this blog Claire Robinson inspires us with a simple philosophy; “Two Days, Make Them Count”.

ThePlanetD.com

Dave and Deb have in depth travel guides from all over the world. Canada’s adventure couple throw down the gauntlet, and challenge you to get out there and experience the world.

NerdNomads.com

The Nerd Nomads, are a Norwegian couple sharing their adventures. I particular love their in-depth guides to Asia, which are really detailed. Check out this article ‘Where To Stay In Bangkok‘ and you’ll see why I think their site is so useful.

ScrewTheAverage.com

Screw The Average is a blog written by a couple on search of becoming financially independent and using it to travel long-term. Alongside great financial tips, they have some fantastic guides to cities around Europe.

TheCultureMap.com

The Culture Map is a UK based travel blog run by Shing. She has simple to digest guides from over 40 countries, but I particularly love her focus on the Scandinavian countries.

48HourAdventure.com

A simple, yet brilliant concept for a website. Chris holds the belief that you don’t have to quite your job to travel the world, you just have to make the most of your time. With 48 Hour Adventure, he has put together guides to everywhere from Melbourne to Milan and many more in-between.

SwedishNerdVsTheWorld.co.uk

Jim Knutsson is a man on a mission to see the world, and have as much fun as possible doing so. Whilst his blog isn’t as detailed as the others on this list, it offers a unique and quirky insight to the places he’s visited. I also love the way he ranks every country in order of how much he’s enjoyed them, and ever-growing list that finishes every article.

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Rose
Rose
1 year ago

The difficulty I find when researching travel, is that I want to find bloggers, but it’s so difficult. For example, say I’m looking at a place like Phuket. Type in Phuket travel blogger and up comes tripadvisor and booking.com and a million other hotel booking things, when all I want is honest reviews or experiences of the region from bloggers. Does that mean every blogger, should put a “blog” alongst their name as in thesabbicalguideblog.com. When I try and google my problem, it just keeps showing “the 10 best bloggers” or “how to become a blogger”.

Saptarshi Bhattacharya

Nice Blog of yours with great tips
Thanks for sharing

Tamal Bose
1 year ago

Benefits of using travel blog is very good post of yours ..
Thanks for sharing this post

Dilip Singh
1 year ago

Thanks for sharing this blog it is very useful.

Mrs. Sham
1 year ago

Good Article. Thanks for sharing this.

Mangat Singh
1 year ago

This blog is pretty nice.
Very Informative with good tips and comments.
Thank for sharing.

Aamara Brown
1 year ago

Great Post . Thanks For sharing such a good tips

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1 year ago

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1 year ago

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Joseph Samra
1 year ago

Yes, right travel blogs are very beneficial. They helps us a lot in planning our trips. Your blogs are wonderful. As I am travel lover, so for me your post is very useful.

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Mahima
11 months ago

wow!! so many great things and amazing pictures.
Thanks for sharing this.

Tamal Bose
11 months ago

Nice post author.Thank you. Please keep it up.

Robin Jameson
10 months ago

Planing my next family vacation and this article is super helpful. Thank you!

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5 months ago

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Adam
5 months ago

Informative post! I was searching for a travel guide for France. Your comprehensive blog on a list of travel blogs & instructions on picking the best one might help me. I recently got my France Tourist Visa & will be visiting there soon. Following your tips & tricks might help me in getting a good France travel guide 2020to discover France with my cousins.

Oliver
3 months ago

Beautiful Blog with amazing article.
Thanks for sharing!!!

Jake
3 months ago

Thanks for sharing this useful information.

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1 month ago

All are great but in my opinion, the travel blog about tips is great but some of blogger has put in to much their bias in the blog so its effective much to the reader like me.

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1 month ago

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16 days ago

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Useful Tools for Booking Your Sabbatical

Flights

I always use Skyscanner or Agoda alongside Google Flights to make sure I’ve got the best price. I use Google Flights to save a route and monitor price changes and a combination of Skyscanner and Agoda to get the cheapest tickets. 

If you are in the UK I would also highly recommend signing up for Jack’s Flight Club to get incredible flight deals sent to your email inbox every week.

Accommodation

When booking accommodation I always start with Booking.com as they generally have the best range and prices. I also regularly use Airbnb for longer stays and apartments in cities (use this link for £25 off your first stay). For a different experience try signing up to Housecarers for free house-sitting opportunities (get 10% off membership with this link).

Insurance

Travel insurance might seem like an unnecessary cost, but when a flight gets cancelled, injury occurs or you damage a piece of gear you’ll regret not paying in advance. I’ve used  World Nomads for two sabbaticals and (after badly damaging a hire car in Laos!) found the claim process to be simple and transparent.

Tours

Using local guides is one of my favourite travel tips. The easiest way to find a local guide is to use Get Your Guide who offer tours with local guides all over the world.

Gear

Check out my gear page for my favourite travel gear, here for a detailed 3-month packing list for men and women and here to find 38 great travel gifts.

Transfers

Getting from the airport to your destinations is an added stress after a tiring flight, so take the guesswork out and pre-book with JayRide.com. Their prices often beat the local taxis and I've found them to be reliable and easy to use.

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