Travel Blogging VS. Travel Writing


On the 8th day, God created the superfluous travel blogger. That is the opinion held by many who see bloggers as nothing more than affiliate pushing, agenda driven, wannabe journalist hipsters who provide very little value to readers. To some extent, that is true.

Some travel blogs are nothing more than a monkey banging away on his keyboard about deals from X to Y that are only available for a limited time to a destination nobody wants to go and from a location that nobody even lives. On the opposite extreme, many travel blogs are written by individuals who make little or no money but enjoy sharing their travel experience.

Besides travel bloggers there are travel writers who do more than post pictures of the beach and the menu on Cathay first-class. Travel writers are artists who give insight on the geo-political, social situation in a country from their unique perspective that can only come from seeing the world up close and personal. Travel writing isn’t how to churn your way to a Tahiti or sneak your way into the Lufthansa Senator Lounge. It requires more thought, more detail, and, dare I say, more knowledge of the English language.

So which one is TPOL? Travel blogger degenerate or travel writing savant?

The answer is all of the above. Yes I want affiliate links that pay me stupid amounts of money for people applying for the Southwest card for the 10th time. Yes I want Uber referral credits for readers signing up with my referral code (which happens to be alexanderb113). At the same time, I go beyond these superficialities and provide readers with clever Trip Reports, Flight Reviews, Hotel Reviews, and Lounge Reviews along with an impossible to duplicate Guns & Butter Travel Guide.

None of those make me a travel writer. What makes me a travel writer are posts that take hours to write but receive little attention because they aren’t a freebie to the Maldives. These include the ones found in the press, the pulse, and occasionally, the prof section. Are you a naive traveler? interested in the Occupy Movement? concerned about ISIS? All these posts received a handful of eyeballs but are a lot more insightful than my $77,000 Trip Heard Round the World.

I’m happy to have readers read, comment, and critique all my styles of writing and am grateful for real live interaction as a result of blogging/writing. Now if you could please click on my sponsor below so I can make some money to pay for all this.

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  1. If you’re already talking about how many ‘hours’ a post took to create you’re not in it for the love.

  2. The issue with bloggers vs writers I’ve found is that the former group when writing up trip reports never can articulate the cultural aspects learned through travel — which IMO is the value of travel. Yes the superficial aspirational hotel or flight reviews are nice but the very best travel WRITERS can explain to others how traveling to X shifted their way of thinking beyond visiting most of the tourist areas or “local” restaurants — sorry but a safari in S. Africa or riding an elephant in Thailand is pretty basic. The problem with this is most bloggers only stay at a place maybe a week or less and that type of depth and understanding takes months if not years. Find me someone who immersed themselves in one area (not focused on solely earning miles, gasp) and who can share how their perspectives were changed or enlightened because of the culmination of multiple encounters and I’ll show you a travel writer.

    • I get where you are coming from. That’s why I feel somewhere in the middle. Lazy days it’s pics of business class which get tons of clicks. Motivated days it’s posts under “the press’ section. The nice thing about blogging is the freedom to write how and when I want though some commentators would have you believe there are rules to trip reports.

      As far as staying in a place for several years versus a few days I, again, prefer to do both which is a contradiction but some places aren’t worth more than 3 days for me. Some I would love to stay for years.

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