Update 2019: Due to how popular this article has become, I have decided to keep this article alive and will continue to add more beautiful travel blogs as I discover it.
In 2019, I have added 4 more beautiful and unique travel blogs to the list, so be sure to check out the new addition to my best travel blogs list: Best Travel Blogs in 2019.
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
- Great Design & Excellent Storytelling
- The Best Design Travel Blogs in 2019
- The Best Design Travel Blogs in 2018
The State of Design
In the 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 pop-ups and don't get me started on scroll hijacking (why do people do this?).
I believe it is because 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
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.
The Best Design Travel Blogs in 2019
What I love about it: Cookiesound is probably one of the most badass mother-daughter travel duos in the travel blog industry. The travel blog is run by Nisa and Ulli Maier, a mother-daughter travel photography team who travel to off-the-beaten-path places while sharing exciting travel stories through writing and travel photography in a real, honest and sometimes sarcastic way.
Their journey began with a twelve-month-long road trip on a 4x4 through Africa. If that doesn't make you want to hear their stories, I don't know what would.
Their travel blog design is also one of the cleanest you will find out there. Since they are photographers, their travel blog design reflects the importance of storytelling through visual with clean typography and massive photos to tickle your wanderlust.
I really love their photography and it is something I aspire to be as a travel photographer. Their photography often reflects travel as it should be, rough and tumble, while showing a more human part of life in the places they visited. To me, that is one of the most powerful ways of telling travel stories.
Here's a great example of their storytelling mastery: Travelling On The Infamous Iron Ore Train In Mauritania. Their crisp photography and their witty writings keep their experience real and down to earth which many can relate. Travel is tough, and it's not all flowers and sunshine like what you would see on Instagram. Check them out and let me know what you think of Cookiesound.com.
Second up, we have a Bangkok-based travel duo from Taiwan and the Netherlands who run a travel blog that wants to break out from the usual trope of travel content like top 10 things to do in Bangkok. Let me introduce to you, Etty and Chris from RICE / POTATO.
What I love about it: RICE / POTATO is one stunning travel blog, so much so that the moment you see their travel blog, you know immediately how important design is to them. It's all in the details they put on their travel blog, from the quirky color scheme of pastel blue and orange to the carefully laid-out image composition of each article.
A great example of a how their unique take on design helps emphasize their content is on their "9 Thai handicrafts you’ll actually want to buy" article where, with their elaborately designed header image that grabs your attention immediately, each item in the list is also accompanied with minimal yet colorful images with enough amount of text to get you interested.
What I love about it: Salt in Our Hair is a fun and colorful take on travel blog design that I rarely see in the travel industry. Nick and Hannah combined their top-notch photography with a well-designed layout, fun typography and deliver them at extreme efficiency.
And by efficiency, I mean their travel blog is really fast, which is very important for a travel blog since most of our audience are often on their phones reading the blog.
One of the many problems I often have with travel blogs is that they are often slow to load due to how unoptimized their travel blogs are, may it be the overkill photo sizes, poorly designed mobile layout, or bad server, etc.
That is not the case of Salt in Our Hair though. Google PageSpeed score of the blog clocks in at 90, which is higher than most travel blogs out there. They really did a great job here at creating a beautiful travel blog without sacrificing performance.
What I love about it: Asiyami Gold is a travel blog run by Asiyami Gold who focuses on blending stunning photography with design and travel in a way that felt professional, yet personal.
Her photography is almost as if it came straight out of a travel and fashion magazine. The muted color scheme, sharp detail and old-school grain effect give her content a unique blend between magazine-like fashion and travel that you don't often find on a travel blog.
Instead of having a travel blog design competing for the attention, the design of her travel blog stayed aside with a minimal black & white design allowing her unique style of photography to stand out front and center.
To me, that is a great design choice right there. Asiyami Gold travel blog design is functional yet it stays out of the way and let the content shine on its own. This strike of balance is not easy to accomplish, yet her travel blog was able to do it.
That is it for now. I'll continue to add more when I find more beautiful travel blogs so stay tuned.
I am also on a lookout for a travel blog with great design and so if you have come across one and would like to share, feel free to send them here: Suggest a Travel Blog.
The 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 want 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 bloggers. 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.
A great example of her unique aesthetic can be seen on her "DIY Trip Hong Kong Itinerary: 5 Days (More Or Less) W/ Macau Day Trip" 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 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 14 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.
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