13 March 2015

Travel Blogging is Like Listening to a Broken Record

I read travel blogs. Not only do I have them on my RSS feed, but I also follow quite a few of them in Twitter. But lately, I find myself thinking that the point these travel bloggers want to convey are all the same, and every blog I find just pretty much says the same thing. And it used to be that I took advantage of the information that they gave, but now, it feels like I already know the things they are saying, and that I don't benefit from these blogs anymore.

First, let me talk about the destinations they cover. I personally read and follow travel blogs because I would like to get ideas about my next destination. However, it seems that the coverage of travel bloggers are quite limited to a few well-known areas around the world. Basically, you'll find a lot of travel bloggers blogging about specific countries in South America, specific countries in Europe, and specific countries in Asia. You find travel blogs blogging about Brazil, Costa Rica, France, Scandinavia, Spain, Thailand, and so forth. The articles saying which hostel they stayed and which restaurants they went to in these countries are a dime a dozen. But I guess you would be hard-pressed to find travel bloggers blogging about Paraguay, or Cape Verde, or Rwanda, or Papua New Guinea.

The ironic thing is that the majority of these travel bloggers are so allergic to being called tourists and they would rather be called travelers, and they are also so against the idea of going to places that are on the common travel radar, preferring to "go off the beaten path", but seriously, the places they blog about are anything but off the beaten path.

So instead of a travel blog, I feel like these so-called "digital nomads" are just writing an online diary that is fancy enough to have fancy CSS and that earns them income.

I find it very hard to find a travel blog that is unique. Most seem to be written for the audience, thinking what the audience wants, instead of because one has a genuine desire to go off the beaten path. Mind you, one doesn't need to go to war zones to go off the beaten path. But at least give me something I don't know.

Here's an example: I went to Myanmar last December. I not only had a guidebook, but I also looked at travel blogs of people who went there. Here's what I found online: travel bloggers only go to Yangon, Bagan, Inle Lake, and Mandalay. But Myanmar is a bigger country than that. I opted to go to Yangon and Mandalay (because those are the two cities on both ends of the country that had an international airport) and Bagan, but I didn't opt to go to Inle Lake, opting instead to go south to Mawlamyine. Other travelers on the road I met thought I was crazy because I opted to skip Inle Lake. "You're not going to Inle Lake?!?!?!"

Mind you, Mawlamyine was an experience. It was a little rural, but the caves were fascinating. And where did I get the idea to go there? From a freaking guidebook!

Seriously, I find it rather annoying when you have these elitist travel bloggers writing articles like they are travel experts, telling the rest of the world what to do and where to go, but to be honest, the world is way bigger than what they envision.

Now if I find a travel blog blogging about how to tour the volcanoes in Kamchatka, then I'd be impressed.

2 comments:

  1. I enjoy travel blogs and articles written around anecdotes, it helps getting a feel for the place. I don't read reviews or just the "been there, done that" articles, like you say, it's not very helpful.

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    Replies
    1. Zhu,

      Yeah, sometimes they just provide information that is already well-known and not really new.

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