4 examples of great travel writing
Really good travel writing inspires us to get up, go out and see the world. It can be just as persuasive as an awe-inspiring photograph or an enthusiastic word-of-mouth endorsement from a close friend.
Here are four very different examples of travel writing, all of which are great for different reasons.
Nomadic Matt (blog)
Run by budget-travel expert Matt Kepnes, nomadicmatt.com, this is an energetic and lively blog – his passion is obvious from the get-go and prevails throughout his site. He’s written a best-selling book called How to Travel the World on $50 a Day, and constantly updates his website with new content.
He’s put together useful profiles on many cities and regions all over the world, but his most insightful articles are the ones offering practical booking advice and money-saving tips – such as “How to Find a Cheap Flight”. Being so well-travelled, he’s found numerous ways around the heavy costs of travel and is committed to sharing them – which is great news for the average holiday-goer who likes to save a bob or two (which is most of us).
Fodor’s (guidebook series and website)
In addition to producing the world’s most popular series of travel guidebooks, Fodor’s has embraced the modern age: in addition to printing their books, they also have a user-friendly website that’s packed with info and accessible on all devices – desktop, tablet and mobile.
The content on the website is certainly less detailed than the guidebooks the company established its reputation with, but brevity is not a bad thing at all. The site’s main function, after all, is to provide thick-and-fast info, and it does so. Look at the site’s main Florence page to see exactly what I mean – it gives a succinct introduction to the place and then outlines the top reasons to go, with a load of links to specific articles with reviews and tips.
From a less literary perspective, the Fodor’s site is mobile-friendly too – so it’s really easy to navigate on the go, unlike some of their competitors.
John Steinbeck’s Travels with Charley (non-fiction book)
As his writing career was coming to an end and he entered his twilight years, John Steinbeck (author of The Grapes of Wrath and Of Mice and Men) went on a road trip across the USA with his dog Charley, and wrote a book about his experience.
Unlike the other examples in this post, Travels with Charley doesn’t really contain any information you can use practically when travelling America – it’s more a portrait of the country at that exact point in time (1960).
Steinbeck set out from his house on Long Island, New York, and basically went around the country in an anti-clockwise loop, eventually finishing up at home again. The trip was said to be about 10,000 miles all in all.
In Travels with Charley, Steinbeck paints a vivid picture of American culture – as he does in most of his work. You can get a copy for peanuts in a second-hand bookshop or from various places online like Amazon and eBay.
Adventurous Kate (blog)
Kate McCulley is one of the best-known solo female travel bloggers. Her aptly-titled website, Adventurous Kate, resembles a journal more than anything else – the writing is very conversational and first-person.
Kate uses images very well throughout her blog posts – it’s not uncommon to see a dozen in one single post, and they’re all photos she has taken herself with her own camera. Crucially the images are well-placed. Nice pictures don’t constitute good writing, but they can certainly complement it – a prime example of this in action is Kate’s post about her trip to a Cotswolds gin distillery.
A while ago we wrote about how important images are in blogs – have a read and you’ll see some pretty telling stats about user engagement.
Any Other Suggestions?
Is there any other travel writing you think is worth a mention? It could be a website, a blog, an individual article, or a good old-fashioned book. Let us know what and why over on Twitter.
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