My Favorite Travel Blogs to Read in 2017


This is my first year full-time travel blogging. I have made a decision to keep a list of my top travel blogs and put them into a collection of my top travel blogs to read at the beginning of the following year. This is my attempt to share some of the excellent travel blogs and their travel stories with a wider range of readers. I could not read every great travel blog and every post on my list of top travel blogs, but each travel blog featured here is worth taking a look at and some engagement.

Emily Luxton – Emily Luxton Travels

my top travel blogs
Photo Credit: Emily Luxton

Emily Luxton is a full-time travel blogger, and she prefers slow and deep travels over collecting passport stamps. I have found this blog exceptionally interesting since beginning of 2016, when she decided to incorporate her personal stories into her blogging world, making her readers feel more connected with her. Not only is her blog lovely to read, she has been very helpful in helping me build up my blog views and engagement, and we have exchanged ideas about social media marketing. The Facebook Group Travel Bloggers Social Media Sharing Group, the one she has created with other travel bloggers, is the first travel blogger Facebook group I have ever joined and has been so far one of my most active Facebook groups.

Emily has posted many interesting travel stories, monthly challenges, and destination features, but my favorite read is still her old post “Why I don’t count countries”:

“As a writer, I think quality time is far more valuable than a vast number of passport stamps – it gives me a level of expertise about certain regions (like Catalunya) that my readers find really helpful. It also means that I have a wealth of experience from which to create the kind of travel stories that I love to write! And, let’s not forget, there are always new experiences to be found in any country, no matter how often you visit – I’ve lived in England for nearly 30 years and I could never, ever, say I’ve experienced even close to every aspect of the country and it’s culture!”

Derek Cullen – No Hanging Around Solo Travel Blog

top travel blogs
Photo Credit: Derek Cullen

Although the blog owner, Derek, is a solo traveler who writes posts during his travels, he says his blog’s many posts more related to lifestyle, as his travel stories revolve around inspiration, and overcome fear and anxiety. I love getting his Facebook page updates and reading his new posts because his posts always remind me of staying true to oneself and pursue one’s passions. His post Is the Nine to Five Really the Real World challenges the status quo and delves deep into why we should live the life we wanted instead of living in a 9-5 cubical style:

“I don’t think it’s any coincidence at all that I am finding Chiang Mai so nice and this lifestyle so rewarding. Yes, starting out as a solo travel blogger in Krakow last November was extremely worrying, lonely and challenging all at the same time but nothing worth doing is ever easy and certainly not starting your own business as I would find out. I have to say, it’s an amazing feeling  – to wake up now and want to go to work, to create a business with absolutely no previous experience and to ditch the same conventional office for airplanes, trains, café’s, hotels and anywhere else I can plug in my laptop”.    – Derek Cullin, travel blogger at No Hanging Around

Andy Smart – Just Turn Left

Top Travel blogs
Photo Credit: Andy Smart

Andy left his home in 2005 to seek a life overhaul in China. After taking a number of misadventures and jobs in Southeast Asia, he now settles in Beijing and teaches English to Chinese students. His blog, Just Turn Left, focuses on observations and thoughts on Chinese culture, people, places, and road trips, which puts my view of my homeland into perspective. He is passionate about his writing regardless of whether he is saying the right thing. His humorous writing style and authentic voice make this blog a joy to read. Take a look at his blog post regarding Chinese hospitality:

 “I am now surrounded by five people blocking the narrow aisle all completely animated as a huge Russian sounding guy in a long black coat gets off his phone and attempts to come past. By this time as the manager barks out orders, one member of staff is now holding open the clear plastic door covering the bread and another holds a bag open ready for me while I remove each loaf. They are all being massively over helpful creating a huge commotion over six loaves of bread. From behind I hear a huge exasperated ‘tut’ from the guy in the black coat who is still unable to get by. I am also sure he can’t believe that a single person is unable to take out a loaf of bread and put it into a bag by himself. By the time I have the six loaves bagged up and in the trolley/cart my poor brain has taken another unnecessary pounding with Chinese hospitality taken to its usual extremes.”

His book Just Turn Left at the Mountain: Multi Entry Trials and Tribulations Meandering Across Chinese Borders is  one of my favorite travel books. It vividly details his journey throughout Southeast Asia and how he ended up in Beijing to this day. It is interesting, witty, and covers his feelings, experiences, and ins and outs about his meandering throughout China and nearby countries. Many of his tales resonate with readers and that is what you can ask for in a great book.

Danik and Claire – The Curious Explores

travel blogs
Photo Credit: Danik Bates

Danik and Claire made up the dynamic duo that has interested many travel bloggers and readers. They feature under-the-radar places, unique and quirky sides of big cities, and random tidbits of their journeys. There travel stories are funny, quirky, and without any lack of authenticity. Danik went to Ukraine during the crisis. In just two days, he experienced travel delays, a troubled border crossing, protests, smoking trains, crazy bus ride, and using a sexy body to stop a car.

Claire has created an ultimate guide to cat cafes around the world for cat lovers, and details of what cat cafes all around the world have to offer: food, coffee, tea, brunch, cat-themed snacks, cat books, and even fines for rule breakers. Interestingly, cat cafes have become increasingly popular that other types of animal cafes have opened, including a raccoon cafe in Korea:

“Seoul introduced raccoon cafes to us this past year! Enjoy a cup of coffee in a cozy atmosphere as raccoons climb and run through their playground in the ceiling above your head. If you’re lucky one of the little guys may come down and visit you at your table. Don’t expect to cuddle with these little guys because they are always on the go. You usually can sneak a pet in while they are walking past your table or are laying down. I recommend going on a week day in order to get the best one on one time with raccoons. It’s definitely a unique experience you won’t find anywhere else!”

Claire Kennedy – Avenly Lane Travel

top travel blogs
Photo Credit: Claire Kennedy

Claire currently lives in Las Vegas with her husband. They started traveling across the world in their first year of marriage, but a nasty infection struck that landed Claire in bed for two years.  Claire has found a way to cope with – the creation of Avenly Lane Travel.

Avenly Lane Travel is extremely visually appealing, with many great pictures that inspire us to explore this beautiful world. Her website is filled with excellent images, destination features, and travel tips. Her Facebook  group, Travel Bloggers Guide to Pinterest, is a supportive community for travel bloggers who are interested in furthering their travel blog career through Pinterest.

Karolina and Patryk – Karolinapatryk.com

top travel blogs
Photo Credit: Karolina and Patryk

Karolina and Patryk’s site focuses on travels and life’s inspirations. Karolina and Patryk were both born in an average Polish household. After finishing college, they decided not to follow suit, to get a job and climb the corporate ladder. They started their own business, which enables them to travel around the world. Their blog many times send us the inspiration that to pursue our dream life, all you need to have is courage, energy, passion, and a plan to do it. In addition to travel inspiration, they share their adventures, luxury travel stories, and trip tips.

The reason I recommend Karoline and Patryk is that their site does not just cover their travel journeys and inspirational stories; they revealed what it takes for them to be full-time travel bloggers. Not many people know the behind-the-scene work of a full-time travel blogger is not as glamorous as it seems. It is frustrating; it is demanding; it is exhausting; and it involves a lot of hard work. Their blog post The Ugly Truth About Our Life has exposed it all.

” Our life is far from being perfect. We had so many failures that we can’t even count them. We lost many friends, who couldn’t understand our way of living. 3 years ago we had to move from our beloved apartment because we have no money to pay the rent ($500 monthly!). Our company failed twice. Our blog was a disaster at the beginning, we had no writing or photographic skills. One of us was diagnosed terminally ill. We cried and got drunk many times but we never gave up.” – Karoline and Patryk, The Ugly Truth About Our Life

Henrik B Jeppesen – henriktravel.com

top travel blogs
Photo Credit: Henrik B Jeppesen

I enjoy reading Henrik’s blog because he is the only person I know so far who has set feet in all 193 countries and he is only 28. He loves budget travel, but could not pass up the experience of staying in luxury hotels, so he found a way to make his budget work. As of 2016, Henrik has flown with 200 different airlines, stayed in 1,000 luxury hotels, visited 132 territories in 96 countries, and hitchhiked more than 1,000 times.  I think he has done a miracle of visiting all the countries and I have been reading his travels since we first met on Twitter. He has a page dedicated to a photo of each of the 193 countries and the passport stamps from countries that stamp EU passports.

Anna Pelova – Great Nomad

my top travel blogs
Photo Credit: Anna Pelova

You may have heard of the Great Nomad and say that it is not a blog, but sometimes all we need is inspiration to travel and the thoughts that resonate with us, to wake us up when we are low, to cheer us up when we have self doubt, to create a nomadic lifestyle, to challenge the status quo, and to live life in our own way. It is not simple, the amount of adversity we have to overcome to live the dream is easily overlooked, but Great Nomad brings truth and inspirations to others. I am a fan of Anna’s writing and her deep thoughts, and respect her for overcoming adversities and pursuing her dream regardless.

– Absolutely nothing is impossible. The minute you believe something is impossible; it becomes impossible for you, not for someone else. The fact that you are the one who believes it’s impossible means that you are not the one who is going to solve that problem. Someone else is going to solve that problem. To some extent, you create your destiny, you create the future. The best way to predict the future is to create it yourself.” – from The Billionaire Entrepreneur Disrupting Space Travel, Great Nomad

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My Favorite Travel Blogs to Read in 2017

Julie Cao

Julie is the creator of Always On The Way. She lived in Hawaii and now resides in London (Ontario, Canada). In 2017, she went on an overland trip from Bogota Colombia to Puerto Williams, the southernmost city in the world. She believes travel is not only about visiting tourist attractions but more about getting to know the culture, people, and the place.

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