Travel Hacks: Why travel blogs are the best travel guides

Monday, August 08, 2016


Travel guides or Travel blogs is something I have mentioned a couple of times before on the travelsandmore Facebook page. I'm a sucker for a big fat 300 page Lonely Planet. I've never met one traveller who isn't. Whether you love Rough Guides or Footprints Travel Guides or like me, will always be a lover of  Lonely Planet you just can't beat getting lost in a a good travel guide book, but are they enough?


Are travel blogs more reliable than travel guide books?

I love Lonely Planet, I can't help it. There's nothing more satisfying than opening a big fat 500 pager packed with information on a new destination you're planning a visit to. But since starting my travel blog journey and getting closer to the travel blogger community I started to think about a few things. Are travel blogs better than travel guides?

Even before I was travelling I was reading travel blogs. I love photographs and feeling like I'm really in the moment. Travel guides are amazing when you're sat on your sofa and you really want to learn some facts or swot up on what areas to stay or figure out where the South Terminal Bus Station is.


There also amazing when you're stuck without WiFi and need to find the name of a hostel, any hostel. Because you arrived in Costa Rica at 1.00am without pre-booking. But when it comes to raw and real advice and opinions travel guides only get you so far.

First of all they are travel guides are subjective and not in the same way travel blogs are. Of course, all opinions are subjective but travel guides are a censored kind of subjective. Someone high up in production and branding at Lonely Planet gets to decide whether or not their writers can say something. Is it too taboo? Will it sound distasteful? Is it off brand?

Travel bloggers offer you one individuals emotion-filled account on a place, hostel, attraction or restaurant

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But that's not the main reason. The main reason is to do with the life span of the information featured. There's no denying it all the information featured in any travel guide is well researched and each writer is extremely well informed there is a serious question surrounding the time line of a travel guide. 

In fact its almost safe to say the information goes out of date before they are printed. Every day a travel guide book is being developed the information included gets older and possibly staler. 

Often, by the time you splash out on your latest edition of your favourite travel guide it's a year out of date even upon its release. This isn't too much of a problem, but in the world of backpacking and travel things are changing constantly. Attraction prices, bus timetables, ferry routes etc. And when you are planning for a long term trip its those fine details that become really important to you.  

We even found ourselves, on the rarest of occasions arriving at a hostel that no longer exists. This happened to us in Honduras. Twice. And this leads me on to why I love travel blogs. Nowadays the market is so big there are so many travel bloggers out there, there is fresh information being churned out every minute.


   

There are endless amounts of aspiring travel bloggers online all eager to share with the public there guides, musings and opinions on their latest adventure


This is why I really love travel blogs as a source of information and not just because I write one myself. There is nothing as satisfying as an honest opinion on a regularly updated travel blog. Real time, in the moment travel advice from someone who can say exactly how they felt about a destination. Thought provoking, question raising accounts from people who have had a particular experience weeks and days ago. 

It doesn't get any more real than an individuals emotion driven desire to write about 'The best hostel in Bangkok' or 'The best TukTuk driver in all of India'. Now to me, thats why travel blogs will always be greater than travel guides. But I guess that's why the two differ and finding the perfect balance between your sources of information. Fact vs. Opinion, Travel Guide vs. Travel Blog is the right way to go about planning your travels in future. 


Living vicariously through fellow travel bloggers whilst at home

It's always a great feeling knowing that even when I'm not exploring someone else is and that feeling of living vicariously through someone else's adventure experiences.

Nomadic Matt and Globetrottergirls prepared us for what to expect in Central America. I stumbled upon several other incredible travel blogs whilst looking for bus timetables and border crossing information leading up to our Latin America Trip.

There's something exhilarating about reading the words of another and knowing you'll be enjoying that same experience. It's also amazing what you on travel blogs find when you're not really looking for anything specific.

I guess my love of travel blogs is what initially made me want to start documenting my travels and blogging to begin with. I always liked the thought of a journal type travel blog that I can always go back to and read when I'm feeling nostalgic.

But I really love the idea that as a random behind a keyboard I could help or influence someone else's travel plans and the real-time aspect of blogging always means there's new and fresh insights available somewhere online.

It's just an opinion and as I've said before most travel writing is, opinions are subjective but these are the reasons for me that travel blogs are the best travel guides.

   


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14 comments

  1. such a beautiful and informative post...

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  2. I cant agree more! I usually research the internet - search for blogs with first hand information on specific places that we are going to visit. It is much more informative than a guide to be honest. You get all the nitty-gritties of the trip.

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    1. It's always the best way I think. Also love the use of the term nitty-gritties, definitely agree with that. Thanks for reading!

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  3. This is so true! I totally agree that most travel guides end up going out of date even before they hit publication! Being a travel blogger and being an avid reader of other travel blogs I love that there's a personal story included with each guide and post. It makes me better understand the place I'm travelling to and keeps me entertained while still being informative! - Sophia from http://www.sophiawithoutborders.com

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  4. Thanks Sophia! I think it's so relevant even though I'm such a sucker for a Lonely Planet, but who isn't these days? :)

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  5. Definitely! I am totally with you on this one. Lovely article. :)

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  6. So true! I like buying travel books and magazines but i always end up searching blogs about the place because I wouldn't bother to bring them on a trip. Thank you for this post. :)

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    1. Thanks for your reply! I love a book and I love any travel magazine but I just find blogs so much more satisfying :)

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  7. Nice experience. Very inspired for a travel blogger like me. Tks for making this article.

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travelsandmore was originally just an outlet to document my travels. It turned into something much more and now its more of an obsession for me than anything else. Thanks for stopping by. Don't forget to subscribe, I'll only ever send you my latest travel related blog posts right to your inbox.