As some of you may know, I have been in the design industry for the past 10 years working as a freelance designer in various companies while also running this blog. In fact, the majority of my income is mostly from my design freelance work over at The Pete Design. I value well-designed products and today, I want to dive down into the design of travel blogs and featured the best design travel blogs out there that take storytelling to the next level.
The State of Design
In Travel Blogging Industry
Travel blogs nowadays are starting to look all the same, with generic off-the-shelf templates, difficult navigation, way too many unnecessary popups and don't get me started on scroll hijacking (why do people do this?). I believe it is due to the fact that creating websites have become more accessible and blogs can be easily built with automated tools, allowing bloggers to focus more on writing, marketing and SEO.
This is all good for beginners but when these blogs grow, most bloggers forgot about design and instead doubled down on SEO and marketing, sometimes sacrificing user experience for profit. Their identities are diluted over time and hence why most of the travel blogs you see nowadays feel similar to one another.
Great Design & Excellent Storytelling
In order to promote great design in the travel industry, I have decided to scour the internet in search for the best travel blogs out there that have great user experience, excellent storytelling, and websites that pushed the envelope of what travel blogs can be.
Here are the 10 best design travel blogs in 2018:
What I love About it: The Travel Episodes does not just take storytelling to the next level with their writings but also with video clips, sound effects, and photography. It's like reading a futuristic storybook that teleported you to the place. For example, the Hitchhiking through Pakistan entry, when you first landed on the page, you are already feeling the tense atmosphere of the video playing in the background, and the more you read through easily-digestible paragraphs, the more you wants to see how it all went down. The Travel Episodes blog takes travel blogging into the realm of short stories like no other travel blogs I have seen.
What I love About it: 12 HRS has a concept they stick to that I really like. You guess it, it's the "12 Hours in" series that provides not just a detail guide on how to spend your limited time in a city, but also the guides are clearly divided into hours with phenomenal typography and stunning photography. Imagine a high-quality magazine but on the web.
What I love About it: Jungles in Paris takes travel storytelling into a deeper level away from the usual topics travel blogs like to write and more in the territory of a deeper understanding of countries' cultures and traditions. It's a breath of fresh air to read stories about "The Amazon Most Endangered Hunters" than another guide to a city or a country.
What I love About it: Aileen is one of my favorite travel blogger. She writes her travel articles from a perspective of a third-world country passport holder (like me) and she shares her story with amazingly thorough detail, pastel-colored photography and easily digestible list. The aesthetic of her articles just screams how much attention she paid to design. Plus, her articles are always accompanied by a stunning cover photo with on-point typography. An example of her unique aesthetic can be seen on her "Japan Sakura Forecast" article.
What I love About it: Camels & Chocolate is one of the most colorful travel blogs out there. Kristin, the owner of the blog, really paid a lot of attention to her blog's design from the on-point color scheme to the aesthetic of her photography. Every element of the landing page works in harmony with her content. Articles like "Real-Life Narnia: A Guide to Jasper" also put focused on photography, making it feels like we are traveling with her.
What I love About it: Along Dusty Roads authors, Andrew and Emily are one of the best travel photographers in the travel blogging game. All of their articles are accompanied by abundant of information and stunning photographs that will inspire anyone to visit the place. Their article about The Forgotten Animals of Bolivia has not just amazing photography but also a clean design that put the focus on the content first and foremost and is easily digestible. I remember reading their blogs extensively when I was traveling in Colombia and Ecuador.
What I love About it: If I want to plan something adventurous, I always visit Expert Vagabond. Mathew is a great adventure photographer and an excellent writer. His travel blog is designed for optimum information consumption with a simple layout, clean and content-centric. Expert Vagabond never failed me at getting the concise information quickly without sacrificing the ability to dive deeper into a place if I wanted to. His article about Hawaii is a great example of his excellent writing and inspiring photography.
What I love About it: Sidetracked travel blog is a great example of a travel blog that excels at everything from unique adventure stories to a beautiful layout that doesn't dilute the content. An article like "Paragliding off the Alaskan Mountain Range" shows off their ways of getting first-hand stories from adventurers and accompany it with adventure photography in between to give you the sense of scale. You will feel the rush of adrenaline by just reading through their articles.
What I love About it: Classe Touriste takes you off the beaten path further than most travel blogs do. The travel blog is designed to almost feel like you are reading a newspaper full of adventure stories with big typography, photography in a grid and clean layout. For example, Classe Touriste will take you to places like North Korea and convince you to do the same with their absolutely stunning photography.
What I love About it: Our Wild Abandon is a creative and quirky travel blog by the duo Kyla and Jill with stories that will make you want to run away with them and do long road trips around the world forever. It's like On the Road book by Jack Kerouac envisioned in the 21st century and split into smaller stories for internet consumption. Their layout design, for example on their Yosemite story is almost invisible, making ways for the stories and photography to shine and take over.
And there you have it, the top 10 travel blogs I believe have the best design out there. What do you think of the list? If you have any recommendation or you want me to add to the list, please don't hesitate to let me know in the comments below.
Looking for more inspirational articles? Check out The Solo Traveler’s Inspiration section where we will discuss topics related to the nomadic and traveling lifestyle and shower-thoughts that will invoke wanderlust in all of us.