Even though I vehemently deny this is a travel blog, or that I’m a travel blogger, I just can’t look away.
During the last few months, I’ve seen too many excellent new travel blogs arrive on the scene to stay quiet. I have to speak up.
Update: Here’s a list of 12 travel bloggers worth following in 2012 and 12 travel Twitter personalities you should follow in 2012. Also, please see update at the bottom of this post on the survey results.
Here they are in alphabetical order:
All Aboard Beat
I’m a sucker for clean, minimalist web design, and Libby Vertz’s new site fits the bill. This has all the right elements of an up-and-coming travel blog — a strong voice, catchy photos and a good grasp of the subject matter.
I just like the way Amy Welborn writes. I think you will, too.
Andrew Evans’ new travel blog on National Geographic looks so darned good, it makes me want to jump out of my office chair and catch the next plane to … wherever. Anywhere not here! Isn’t that what a good travel blog is supposed to do? This site reinforces my deeply-held belief that life is an adventure. Crisp photos, engaging video and great storytelling combine to make this blog a must-read.
Hiking isn’t an easy subject to blog about, but veteran journalist Michael Schuermann does a nice job of making the subject interesting, even to us non-hikers. If you’re headed to Europe and want to see it from ground-level, read this blog first.
Ooooh, very catchy! Fathom bills itself as an “independent online travel hub” that reflects the way that wired, global-minded travelers plan, purchase, and share their travel experiences. It is, in fact, a gorgeous — and gorgeously-written — new travel blog. If I had designers like that, I would be making Arianna Huffington money in travel journalism.
Anne Fitzsimmons is obsessed with hotels — obsessed in a good way — and it shows in every post of the Hotel Belle. As someone who grew up in Vienna, I share her love for Sachertorte and Kaffeehauskultur. If the hotel is the destination for you, you’ll definitely want to bookmark her blog.
The Los Angeles Consortium for Online Travel
This is easily the best new regional travel blogs to come along in a long time. It’s from a consortium of well-known LA area travel writers, including Jennifer Miner. You can tell that these folks love LA!
My Life’s a Trip
Yes, it is. And Jen Pollack Bianco’s multimedia diary is definitely worth following.
MSNBC.com’s Overhead Bin
The MSNBC travel section has always been a site to watch for travel news. The Overhead Bin, which includes contributions from columnists Harriet Baskas and Rob Lovitt, only solidifies its reputation. The posts are fun, interesting and timely.
Ralph Velasco’s photo blog
I really like the way Ralph Velasco combines travel writing with excellent photos and instructions on how to get the shot. His blog makes me want to be a better photographers. And to travel more.
Travel on Tree.com
I haven’t seen this much energy in a new travel blog since they launched Gadling. (Yeah, I go that far back.) Tree.com, which is owned by LendingTree and RealEstate.com, leaves an upbeat impression of travel — focusing on practical, “how-to” stories and destination features. I recognize a few names, including Kara Williams from The Vacation Gals fame and Colleen Lanin from Travelmamas.com. Nice work!
By the way, I reviewed a lot of new blogs to generate this list. There were many that I wanted to include, but didn’t, because either a) the authors didn’t give their full name; b) they didn’t have a track record; or c) it wasn’t a travel blog, strictly speaking. I like knowing who’s writing the blog, and I wanted to recommend a travel blog with more than a handful of posts. Please let me know if you think I missed any new travel blogs in the comments.
Note: Thanks for your interest in the best new travel blogs of 2011. I had hoped to determine the best of these blogs through an online vote, but there were widespread irregularities. I’m talking banana republic-level ballot box stuffing, scripting and other shenanigans that would make the Bush 2000 campaign blush. I’ve decided to remove the results.
(Disclosure: I’m a columnist for National Geographic Traveler and MSNBC.com.)
(Photo: pietro izzo/Flickr Creative Commons)