What are you looking for in travel blogs, what makes them interesting to you? Why do you like certain blogs, but not others?
What are you looking for when you read a travel blog? Are you interested in an accurate/ factual account of someones travel, in observations about the culture & customs, in praise or criticism about a place, in controversial points of view, in blogs about exotic destinations, in exceptional writing style, in good pictures? All of the above? Or something completely different?
I am not asking why some blogs, for instance the ones on the front page, get more hits than others. That has been widely discussed here in the forum (good pictures, interesting first paragraph, high number of subscribers etc). I am interested what, in a general sense, makes a blog interesting and worthwhile your time, regardless of good pictures or a catchy introduction.
I read blogs primarily for one of two reasons: 1) I'm planning a trip, or checking out potential destinations, and am curious what others have done/seen/thought of/what-have-you at that or 2) I'm more than likely procrastinating and need a break from whatever I'm doing at the time. I rarely read blogs when I'm actually doing the traveling myself.
What I look for is therefore dependent upon my aims. Particularly if I'm looking to help gather planning ideas, I appreciate a decent amount factual info (what, where, when), points of reference, pictures (and not 'good' pictures necessarily, but snapshots that can give me a general idea of the surroundings). These are blogs that usually don't make the best reads, but are somewhat helpful.
If it's the later, I'm more interested in an interesting narrative, some wit to the writing style, or maybe an intellectual stimulating observation or commentary - critique, praise, controversy, personal opinion. I want a story to help me live vicariously away from a desk or a differing point of view to get me thinking (one reason I'm so interested in reading blogs about the U.S and whatever city I'm living in at the time - I like to see how it's viewed and perceived by others).
This is why I don't think there is really one best
sort of blog. And then when I go to compose my own I throw all my advice out the window and end up writing a mish-mash of whatever suits my fancy at the time.
I have alot of time doing nothing in my work, so I sit reading blogs all day long. I am currently saving for my own trip so blogs that mention prices are very helpful to me. I also get alot of ideas on where I would like to go myself and have even started marking off interesting places on my googlemap as I read. Its also a great form of escapism and gets me through the day. A bit of dry comedy is always a bonus. Not sure what I would do with myself if I didn't have the blogs to read. Also, because I read so much I look for blogs that are finished because I end up catching up to them otherwise.
One thing I do not enjoy in blogs is negativity and its amazing how much of this I find. I often come across blogs were each blog is a run down of how crap their day was, caused by many insignificant things like a flat tyre or too many flies with a tiny mention at the end saying 'yeah and Ankgor Wat was ok'. I think the main reason I dislike these blogs is because I can be a negative person myself and I am really worried these are the things I would want to write about when I am travelling and I hate the thought that I will be like that. That and its also just depressing, especially when I am stuck at my office desk and they are living the dream!
Tina, that's interesting about the negativity. For me, I get annoyed when people always praise a place over the top. That's a bit like only taking pictures of beautiful things, say one part of the beach, even though the beach is actually littered with rubbish. So I am looking for blogs that don't idealise a place, but give a balanced view. And of course that's how I try to write my blogs as well. Not all experiences are good when you travel, and I think there is nothing wrong in mentioning bad experiences as well.
Also interesting about the prices or the factual info that Stephanie and Andras are looking for. I hardly ever give much "real" information. Maybe I should reconsider that for future entries.
Oh no, don't get me wrong. I totally expect and want people to say it like it is but I am talking about blogs that rarely ever say anything about what they have actually done or seen because they are too busy moaning about a blister on their foot or that the camper van is too small in every blog they write, while using a camper van. The 'real' blogs are the best, and if there is no mention of some probelms or dislikes then I assume its nonsense. I have read blogs though, that are literally a list of day to day gripes and they don't mention anything about what they have seen or done and the only reason you know they did see it, is from the pictures at the bottom. Anyway, you think I would just stop reading it and move on to something better but I have this thing, when I start a blog , I must finish it! I get through so many now though, that im forcing myself to give up on the ones I don't like.
I don't know Ben, I enjoy reading your blogs and would say you provide a decent about of 'real' information (although I admit to reading about your travels less for planning purposes and more because I find them interesting in general). Simply providing the names of places is helpful.
I dislike reading blogs are exceptionally vague. Nothing is more useless when reading a blog for planning purposes or inspiration that has statements like "The hostel we stayed in was great/awful. I would always/never stay here again" without actually providing the name of it, just like "We took this awesome hike up to this one place where the views were gorgeous." Providing exact directions is tedious and unnecessary, but it would make a blog so much more useful if the name of the trail, the location or even which guide book recommended it (if applicable) was included. Also bland generalizations leave me questioning. "The food here is wonderful/awful." "The weather was nice." Okay, great. What is the food made of? What is the weather like? I guess that's what I mean by 'real' information. I prefer blogs that are specific, regardless of how limited their scope might be.
Of course, maybe those bloggers are writing solely for friends/family back home and don't care if anyone else wants to read of their trip - which is fine. Just means I won't be personally interested in what they have to say. But honestly, if my friends and family were traveling and recalled their journey to me in unspecific terms, I'd be pressing for further details anyhow 😊
Some of my favorite travelblogs are from people that have a great sense of humour when they are writing.
Also, I tend to read blogs about places that I'm interested in going i.e. India, China, New Zealand so I can get a general feel for the area and see if there are any 'must-see' places to add to my list. But at the same time, I tend to skim over the history details of a place, because that is something I can easily read about on Wikipedia etc.
I read a blog for many reasons but some of the reason are:
-first of all curiosity of course
-I like to read other peoples travel experiences from places to where I have been too.
Has he ( the traveller ) collected the same experience has I have ? Does he like/dislike a place like I do ?
What have I missed when I was there ?
- I don't want to read that everything is perfect I want to read how things really looks like ( dirty Beaches ) .
- I also like to read stories when something goes wrong (for example when someone throws his shoes over a river and the shoes don't reach the other shore).
- I am not so much interested reading about outdoor activities but I like to read stories about the people you meet. I still remember your story in an Irish Pub in a Chinese City where you wanted to watch the opening of the Olympic Games and your exhausted experiences with street sellers in Lombok but I don't remember any of the Nationalparks you just have visited in NZ ( but I kept following you in NZ).
- Do other travellers make the same mistakes as I did ?
- By travelblog I get new ideas about places which I once want to see by myself (Palawan, Burma,Malaysia)
-I like to read other peoples reaction about your blog (in China and now recently when you came to Hawai: "Welcome to the USA"
- I am too curious to stop following you.
- And by the way I read your blog because it helps me to improve my english.
I used to read travel blog to know the interesting destination where I could plan my next trip.... Travel blogs encourages me to write about my personal travel experience...I have started blogging after reading many travel blogs!
What excites me about a travel blog is the reviews or what ever information given there is cuming straight from the bloggers heart. i have read so many blogs that speak only what i could probably read from any site but the whole meaning of blog is lost there as wen one does so . Blogging is to write about your expereince or even what u have possibly heard from someone and you would like to give your opinion about so i love to read those blogs that have reviews that are out of expereinces or others true expereinces
Ben, I'd like to come up with some spectacular and unique reason for why I read certain blogs, though that might be a bit self-centered of me to say I need to come up with a reason that nobody else was smart enough to come up with themselves. However, the reality is others on this forum have really all beat me to the punch, which is fine. Ultimately, I'm just not that full of myself...
I guess, right now, it's a lot to live vicariously. To that end, I am probably more keen on those who can write interesting stories. That includes those who can speak truthfully of their experiences - good and bad. I agree with others that I don't want only good stuff and to read basically an tourist advertisement of a place - I can get that from official tourism associations.
I do also probably read as some reason to keep myself inspired to think about a next big trip for me. To that end, I suppose it will eventually become "idea inspiration". After my last big international travel (which was my first big, extended international travel. I have traveled the US somewhat extensively and short trips outside the US, but not extended travel.), I took some time off but now think I'm ready to hit the road again. To be honest, a meandering RTW trip like you are doing has great appeal. However, as we all well know such a trip takes money and planning...and that's what I need to start with more vigor. Perhaps with some planning and saving, I then will change my focus from reading for interesting stories to, again, idea inspiration.
Okay, it is well past my bedtime to go to the desk job in far too few hours...
i love it when people describe their experiences with the locals. thats what i look for mostly. i want to know what the locals are like, how they treat you, how they live. weird and fund experiences you had with them. i appreciate it when a blogger tries to get to know the culture more. especially when a tourist gets invited into a locals home. which doesnt happen often. lovely pictures are a come on too
For me the joy of reading travel blogs is that they are as close as you can get to experiencing a place without actually going there yourself. Tina mentioned escapism. I agree, but would also say it was "incapism" - not just wanting to escape the innevitable duller moments of your own life (even if you are traveling yourself), but actively wanting to climb inside another more mysterious and unknown place.
A good blog will provide personal insights (which you can never get from a travel guide) of the oddities, intricacies and culture of a place, while also being a joy to read.
The bits of blogs I skim past are the day to day practicalities that have no particular reference to the place. I sometimes wish writers would concentrate on the remarkable place outside their hotel room, rather than the size of the bed or the decor within. But I also appreciate that the joy of a blog is that it is personal. It is what you, the blogger, wants to remark about. I'm just surprised sometimes why someone with enough adventurous spirit to get themselves to Madras or Myanmar then finds a description of the hotel lobby more interesting than the hustling, bustling energy of the street outside (to exaggerate a little).
I am looking for some advices, ideas and inspiration😊
Good photos grab my attention and a good title gets up my interest, but to me I want factual information in a well written interesting format.
A blogger that has done something that I have never heard of before always catch my attention first.
Like Bikepacker who biked from England to Singapore or Africabound who rode around Africa for a year and then moved on into other countries. I know that they are both really popular here on the site, but they are the best examples that I have.
Recently I've had more free time than I used to have so I'm up there with Tina that I'm able to read a lot of blogs throughout the day.
Most days I start by reading all the blogs on the front page that I have not read yet. Then I move to the newest blog section and read a couple of those. My attention is usually grabbed by the location or a photo that jumps out at me. Next I will rate a few photos and if I see a photo that grabs my attention I stop and read the blog. I read the bio on the writer of almost every blog I read. I love knowing something about the writer. I go back to rating photos for a little while. Then I think up a country that I want to know something about....sort of country of the day. I'll go to the country and read two or three blogs.
If I have time I read the blogs from bloggers that I have recommended or subscribed to.
If I have time I start the process all over again.
I don't expect the blogs to be written by professional travel writers I look for the enthusiasm of the writer. I can tell when they are having fun. I want reality. I'd like to hear the good and the bad but I'm with Tina that I don't want them to complain about everything......
I agree with Harold, my favorite blogs tell about an encounter with a local which is funny because I don't always include that in mine. I will have to make some changes.
I generally read blogs if they are about a place I want to go but if they have a catchy title and/or an amzing first four pictures I generally read those ones too.
I rarely read a blog if it only has a few pictures unless the opening sentence is compelling me to read on.
I try to write about the funny things that have happened to me or the shocking things lol and I write a mixture of how I felt at the time and quotes from conversations that made me feel that way.
On occasion I take the time to open a blog without photos just because I am curious. I want to learn more about people who do not take photos. I guess I'm naturally curious and this is a sociology experiment. From time to time I find a well written blog .... and I long for them to post photos.
A picture is worth a 1,000 words.