How to use travel blogs to plan your holiday: Six top tips
We recently covered the best ways to research your holiday, which included a section on some great travel blogs. While there's no substitute for getting the opinion of a well-travelled and like-minded person who'll give you the inside track on your destination before you go, the trouble is knowing just how to find and use the right travel blogs for you.
How to use travel blogs: finding the right blogger(s) for you
Ask most bloggers and they'll tell you the reason they started was to help their friends and family who always turn to them for information when planning their own holidays. More often than not, what started as an online diary or way of sharing favourite places and travel knowledge, evolved into the multifunctional and varied resource that is their travel blog.
A great way to check if a travel blog is a good match with your own holiday tastes, is to look up the writer's tips for your home city, or somewhere you know well, and see if they fit with your opinions on what's worth seeing and doing in town. The key here is to find someone who wants the same things out of a holiday as you, so you can trust their judgement and follow their advice with confidence.
The best way to use you travel blogs when planning your holiday is to find one or two that inspire you, and before you know it you're likely to have stumbled across a bunch that interest you. Here are some ideas to help you find the right blog for your holiday needs:
1. By destination
If you already know where you're going on your next holiday, this is the time to find the bloggers who are based in, hail from, or generally cover this part of the world so you can get their insider tips.
For example Sardinian blogger Clelia Mattana writes about her Top 10 Beaches for a low budget holiday in Sardinia on her site. Spanish Sabores, aka Lauren Aloise, is a Massachusetts-born blogger who is based in Madrid and writes about the city as well as the rest of Spain - including the Canary Islands, though if you want specific info on Gran Canaria you should head to Matthew Hirtes' Gran Canaria Local.
Both Chasing The Donkey and Frank About Croatia cover the whole of Croatia in depth and also in Europe Amsterdam Blog is a Brit's take on life in the city, and Eurotribe focuses on holiday ideas in Eastern Europe. Further afield, South African Mzanzi Girl blogs mainly about her own native land.
2. By travel style
If you're looking for budget tips for your holiday you're in luck because the majority of bloggers write about getting the most from your Pound, Peso, Dollar or Dirham - it turns out that the more people travel, the more likely they are to want to save money while they're away. Bloggers like memorably-named Kash of Budget Traveller journey the world finding stylish yet cheap hostel accommodation, and in this case there's also a guide to cheap places to eat.
Female holidaymakers with an eye for style as well as travel will probably find the ideas and information on Mrs O Around the World, Savoir There (my own blog), A Lady in London and Fashion's On Vacation up their holiday street. If it's sport you're into, you'll find holiday ideas from a travelling golf ball with Bob Around The World, and Christy from Ordinary Traveler who writes regularly on surfing holidays.
3. By who's travelling
If you're wondering how to use travel blogs when planning your holiday and are looking forward to a family vacation, you'll probably find specialist blogs aimed at those travelling with kids most useful.
Sites like 1 Dad 1 Kid give ideas based on single parent travel, while Erin Bender writes from the point of view of travelling with a family including young children on her blog Travels With Bender. Similarly solo holidaymakers and couples can find blogs written by those who've been there and done that, such as Janice of Solo Traveller.
4. By profession
You might want find it easier to trust a travel blogger who is following the same career path as you, or who was before travel took precedence in their lives; they may well have tips and holiday ideas that will resound with you more than most. Many bloggers left corporate or professional jobs to go around the world sharing their findings.
Michael of Go, See, Write was a lawyer, as was Jodi of Legal Nomads, and Katherine Belarmino manages to fit her travel blog in around her paralegal job. Shikha of Why Waste Annual Leave still holds down a demanding job as a GP, and Jess of A Passion And A Passport is a full-time speech pathologist.
Even if you don't happen to be a medic or legal eagle there are plenty of blogs out there focussed on people who want to get the absolute most out of their days off work; try Need Another Holiday or My View From The Middle Seat.
5. By resource type
Many of us are using blogs to fill in the information gaps when planning the more practical side of travel; The Man In Seat 61 is a train traveller's encyclopaedia, Price Of Travel is all about keeping your eye on the holiday purse strings, and Head For Points helps you maximise your air miles, while World Travel List is a compilation of travel blog posts by worldwide destination.
6. By tour operator
What began as a hobby for a few holiday addicts has changed the whole travel industry today, so professional travel companies as well as individuals often have their own blogs too. Cruise aficionados might enjoy the Cruise118 blog, ski fans can try Much Better Adventures and there's a blog on cottage rental specialist site Sykes Cottages, plus other general travel companies like Tucan Travel and Mr and Mrs Smith.
It's worth checking if your holiday company or tour operator such as TUI or On the Beach, have their own blogs; many now do and give inspiration and ideas on the places they sell trips to. If you're headed on one of their holidays they can be a great resource and an easy example of how to use travel blogs when planning your holiday.
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