Travel Blogs I’m Sick of Reading

Travel Blogs I’m Sick of Reading

As a travel blogger, I try to read a lot of other travel blogs to get a feel for the current state of the industry and improve my own work. I’m also part of a few social media reciprocation groups where I participate in comment threads; I read the posts of others and give them feedback in their comments section, and they do the same for me. While there are a lot of good travel blogs out there that document exciting destinations and add nuanced discussion to the conversation of ethical travel, there are certain travel posts that I’m so sick of reading.

Hotel Review Posts.

These posts are my absolute least favourite. In my opinion, this is what Trip Advisor is for, and I’m sick of reading boring reviews of mediocre hotels. I understand that travel bloggers are doing these reviews in exchange for a free or subsidised stay in these hotels, but I don’t think that it adds any meaningful content to their blogs.

I think I would be more open to it if the hotels were amazing, unique places, but the majority of them are run-of-the-mill midrange places that you could find in any city. There is only so much you can actually say about these hotels, and the posts reek of “I was paid to write this”.

Leave hotel reviews to the review sites and if you value your creative integrity, please leave the boring ones off of your blog.

Yellow hotel lobby

Packing Lists/Gift Guides for Travellers.

Packing list posts are often destination-themed and show a collection of clothing and accessories recommended by the blogger. These items are usually pretty generic and could be applied to a variety of destinations. I think that there’s some value to be had in dedicating an entire review post to an item that is particularly special, like a reliable backpack, rather than lumping it all together in a desperate attempt to garner some affiliate sales.

Gift guides for travellers are even more egregious. I have seen a lot more popping up recently in the lead up to Christmas and they are often full of items that the blogger recommends but has no experience with. To me this is the clumsiest attempt at trying to make affiliate sales and adds nothing of value when the travel bloggers have no experience of these items.

I don’t object to travel blogs trying to make money through affiliate sales, but I think that posts should have some value beyond “please buy these things so I can make a cut”.

Generic City Guides.

Colourful buildings in Barcelona

Huge cities like Barcelona or Paris have been written about to death. Unless you have encountered a strange or interesting attraction, à la Atlas Obscura, then there’s little value in drumming out another “Top 5 Attractions” post.

I realise that I’m inadvertently guilty of this myself, with my post Top 5 Attractions in Cartagena. However, this post was originally accepted for paid publication before this organisation unfortunately went bankrupt. I didn’t want the work to go completely to waste and so I re-purposed it, but I accept that it adds little to my blog or to the community.

These posts often contain the same major attractions that you could easily find in a Lonely Planet or on the front page of Google. Unless you are a major travel resource site like Nomadic Matt, there is little value to be had from writing highlights posts about major cities.

Travel blogs that I genuinely love reading.

I love travel blogs that blend stories with personal experience and opinion. I also particularly admire bloggers who visit little-known destinations, and who take a stand on ethical issues within the travel community.

  • Adventurous Kate: I have been reading Kate’s blog for several years now and she is never afraid to state her informed opinion. She regularly takes stands on issues like racism and white privilege within the travel community, and writes with a likeable, personal tone.
  • Nomadic Matt: The original and one of the best. Matt is one of the most knowledgeable bloggers on the internet and a genuinely reliable source, particularly for those aforementioned city and country guides.
  • Atlas and Boots: This is a hiking-centric blog that follows the adventures of Kia and her partner Peter. They produce comprehensive guides on hiking in lesser-known locations, and take a stand on travel ethics.
  • Forever Roaming the World: Amit writes about budget travel, which is a huge category dominated by a lot of larger bloggers. However, I particularly enjoy his personable writing style and sense of humour, which brings me back for more.
  • Beer and a Backpack: Although he does have a travel blog, Justin is much more active on Instagram, where he catalogues his adventures volunteering around the world. He visits obscure places like ostrich farms in Bulgaria, and is always an entertaining read.

What kind of blog posts are you sick of reading, and what would you like to see more of in the travel community?

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By | 2018-01-11T22:52:00+00:00 December 9th, 2017|ethical travel|32 Comments

32 Comments

  1. Ellie December 9, 2017 at 6:18 pm - Reply

    Have to agree with you to be honest! I do think some of these articles have a place (eg destination guides can be useful still, like if you’ve visited somewhere then you may as well write a destination guide else it would be a bit of a hole in your site, if you see what I mean?), but generally I’m with you.

    I do think there are plenty of good blogs still out there – even small, non famous ones – it’s just that they are hidden amongst the absolute mush that some people write!

    • Her Travel Therapy December 9, 2017 at 6:25 pm - Reply

      This is true, not all destination guides are made the same. Some bloggers can write about well-known places in an interesting way, but I really dislike listicle style articles with little substance. Definitely there are a lot of good writers out there at the moment, it’s just hard to gain traction and stand out from the crowd in a world of noise.

  2. Maram Taibah December 9, 2017 at 9:58 pm - Reply

    I totally agree with you. Thank you for writing this. I think it’s important to think about your blog’s placement. Some of these blogs don’t feel like they’re written from the heart or with a truly inquisitive mind that wants to learn something about the world that other people haven’t yet. I’m especially tired of hotel reviews and city guides. I’d rather see a well put together video or a post that focuses on ONE aspect of a city that people don’t yet have access to.

    • Her Travel Therapy December 10, 2017 at 5:07 pm - Reply

      Yeah I definitely think it could be more interesting to go more in depth with city guides beyond a surface glimpse.

  3. lucywilliamsglobal December 9, 2017 at 10:22 pm - Reply

    This is not a blog post that is written very often! You have made me laugh! I’m not a fan of hotel reviews, as they are very boring. Also, Asia is everywhere at the moment, I like Asia, but not reading about the same places constantly.

    • Her Travel Therapy December 10, 2017 at 5:08 pm - Reply

      I’m glad this could entertain you! Yeah it’s a bit hard when certain countries suddenly become “trendy” and the community is oversaturated with posts about it.

  4. Christine December 10, 2017 at 1:28 am - Reply

    Thanks for writing this! As a relatively new blogger, I get so frustrated when I see people write low quality posts that are short and have very little information, but get all sorts of traffic. I write about a couple of niches, including travel. I have a full time job, and can’t travel all the time. So, when I write something, I try and do a really comprehensive job, but I have very little traffic. It’s important to me to maintain the quality though.

  5. John Franklin December 10, 2017 at 2:02 am - Reply

    A great article, I always love reading different points of view about the best ways to do travel blogging. I started a blog to focus on independent businesses in different destinations but it’s so hard to get noticed amongst all the general articles. I’ve ended up integrating the stories of the businesses within the wider destination guide so at least some people are reading the blog. Still have no idea if I doing the right thing though.

    • Her Travel Therapy December 10, 2017 at 5:09 pm - Reply

      I think a lot of blogging is about trial and error. Over time you will hopefully realise what is the right thing for you and what works.

  6. twobytour December 10, 2017 at 5:22 am - Reply

    Thank you for this! My partner and I recently started a literary-focused travel blog (yes, we’re travelers, but the posts are more humorous memoir and suited to people looking for long-form nonfiction), and were having this same realization. I have no issue with guides, just make them about something unique. We’ve definitely been looking to follow and support other people in our community who are passionate (and we have found some, to be sure), but I can’t wait to check out your list.

    • Her Travel Therapy December 10, 2017 at 5:10 pm - Reply

      Thanks!

  7. Katie Mayor December 10, 2017 at 5:25 am - Reply

    Yay! About time someone said a lot of the things I’ve been thinking (thank you)! I get so torn about whether to follow the advice that’s all over the web – about affiliate sales and ways to drive audience through this way and that, which basically would turn my blog into something I really don’t like. And is it worth it? So I’ve kept it as a place where I just write about the travels I have loved and a place to share my photos from my adventures. Been trying to focus a little on Pinterest, but now my feed is rammed full of the (often, but not always) boring destination guides you mentioned, whereas it used to be a place of inspiration for me. So glad you wrote this – it’s a convo that should be happening more. Keep it real, folks! 😜

    • Her Travel Therapy December 10, 2017 at 5:11 pm - Reply

      I’m glad this resonated with you. I find Pinterest so boring once it starts getting flooded with travel blogger pins. I just want to see pretty places and beautiful architecture on Pinterest!

  8. Rhonda Albom December 10, 2017 at 5:28 am - Reply

    In some ways I am guilty of all of these things, however at the same time I agree with you on most of what you said. My one hotel review this year was a unique place, my first gift guide ever was only of items that I personally travel with (and I travel light) and unlike you, I love city guides as long as they have discovered somewhere new.

    • Her Travel Therapy December 10, 2017 at 5:12 pm - Reply

      I think as long as you feel personally connected to your posts then that’s what is most important for you.

  9. Indrani December 10, 2017 at 3:36 pm - Reply

    I am guilty of doing some of those disliked themes. I agree about the hotel reviews but one has no option especially since the stay is in exchange for a review.
    It would have been good if you had given suggestions on how to make them more interesting. 🙂
    Thanks for that list of good bloggers. I am always in search of good reads.

    • Her Travel Therapy December 10, 2017 at 5:15 pm - Reply

      My personal opinion would be not to stay at boring hotels that require reviews, but I value my creativity over getting a free stay. Everyone has to make their own choices I guess. I would love it if all review posts and packing lists were scrapped to be honest, but city guides should stay but with a more unique and personal focus. Maybe intertwined with a personal narrative from the visit there.

  10. Dany December 11, 2017 at 2:52 am - Reply

    I honestly think that everyone can blog about what they like, provided that they are honest to their readers. So I’d never, ever point my finger at anyone. We have our little window on the world with our blogs, I’d let the audience decide. 🙂 Anyway those I find more boring are the gift guides for travellers, especially during the holiday season these seem to be all you can find online. Read one, it’s like having read all of them.

    • Her Travel Therapy December 12, 2017 at 9:53 am - Reply

      I understand where you’re coming from. I don’t think making a post about trends rather than specific bloggers is “pointing the finger” per se though. If I was writing comments on specific posts then that would be mean and unnecessary.

  11. Timothy Gagnon December 11, 2017 at 4:56 pm - Reply

    I couldn’t agree more! I actually wrote a similar article on my website about travel bloggers. The hotel reviews and packing guides are quite cheesy – if you don’t know how to pack, I think you shouldn’t be traveling at all. Destination guides are cool if they don’t drone on about the same tourist attractions everyone talks about. Thanks for writing this! Hopefully I can tweak my future travel articles to be more appealing!

    • Her Travel Therapy December 12, 2017 at 9:53 am - Reply

      Haha! If you don’t know how to pack, you shouldn’t be travelling at all!

  12. Natasha December 11, 2017 at 5:07 pm - Reply

    Sorry, I don’t know if my last comment went through so I will launch it again!

    I just wanted to say thank you for the straight shooting post and telling it like it is. Even today I have tried to muster enthusiasm for Christmas Gift ideas, and it wasn’t easy.

    I liked it so much that I dare say I am now going to peruse through the rest of your blog and have a read as I like the cut of your jib!

    • Her Travel Therapy December 12, 2017 at 9:52 am - Reply

      Thank you! I appreciate it 🙂

  13. Rosalind December 11, 2017 at 10:09 pm - Reply

    Yes while I tend to agree with what your saying about the generic 5 things to do post etc. I do have some sympathy for some of the newer bloggers just starting out that are still finding their way. I’m sure we are all guilty at one point even the famous bloggers you list as having cringe worth posts we would rather forget. As time goes by I think we all get better it’s always a learning curve. Great post BTW

    • Her Travel Therapy December 12, 2017 at 9:52 am - Reply

      That’s true, we can only seek to improve our content and stay mindful of what works.

  14. Claire December 12, 2017 at 9:45 pm - Reply

    YES! It seems the more travel blogs I read, the more frustrated and disappointed I am with poor quality posts and half-baked articles thrown together without a thought. I think all travel bloggers are guilty of at least one of these at some time – some more than others. But then my friend said that there is a market for everything, and someone must read these posts otherwise people wouldn’t still do it 🙂

    • Her Travel Therapy December 13, 2017 at 7:40 pm - Reply

      I’d love to know if there are people who genuinely love these posts and why!

  15. Megan Claire (@mappingmegan) December 12, 2017 at 10:51 pm - Reply

    Haha I had to laugh on the travel gift guides, because we’re flooded with them at the moment, and they’re everywhere I look. Though I disagree on the hotel reviews – Tripadvisor reviewers are not professional reviewers, and are often not in depth – they always lack the essential detail people need to be able to decide if a hotel is a good fit for them, and usually a user review is only left if they’ve been swayed by bias one way or the other, whether wanting to post becaue of a negative experience, or gush because they were treated amazingly. So even though travel bloggers may be comped a stay in exchange for review, I think there’s a lot of value in these – sure, every day readers aren’t going to care, but for those searching online wanting an in depth look at the hoel experience, with photos which actually represent the property, I think these are a very valuable resource 🙂

    • Her Travel Therapy December 13, 2017 at 7:39 pm - Reply

      How bad are the gift guides!!
      That’s true, they can be helpful if you’re looking for reviews of a particular property.

  16. Sandy N Vyjay December 13, 2017 at 12:03 pm - Reply

    You are right, there are these kind of posts that one does not really like to read. One looks out for those personalized experiences and travel stories that make for quality reading. But on the other side the bloggers also need to balance between artistic expression and commercial needs. I think this is the eternal debate that print media have about balancing editorial and advertorial content.

    • Her Travel Therapy December 13, 2017 at 7:34 pm - Reply

      That’s true about print media, I didn’t even think to consider the comparison myself!

  17. Ollie December 15, 2017 at 3:30 am - Reply

    Interesting post. At the beggining I felt like I agree with you. But than I startet to think about it more. Rewievs, ok, not for me, I do not like tem and as you said for me it is TrpAdvisors job. But list of things to take or buy or top 5 things to do in Bacelona. Why do they exist? Because people want to read them. Our readers. For me this is strange as well, but if readers want it, you do it. I guess people usually do not wriet their blogs just for themselves and family. So I do not see here place for links maybe, I see how many people click at my friends posts like this – so they want that kind of lists or guides. The other thing is that how you can write list or guide – like tons od post before or like only you can 😉

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