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Travel Writing 101: Follow the Top 5 Travel Bloggers of 2013

POSTED 11/22/2013
By Lori Brooks

Getting paid to travel the world is a fantasy many people have, especially when faced with the unexciting prospect of your average desk job. But you don’t have to settle for a fictitious escape via a Kauai coastline screensaver — you actually can profit from visiting the world’s top destinations. The secret to living the dream is to write about it. Travel blogging is a profession that could not only earn you a living but — as evidenced by the travel gurus listed below — could also lead to a six-figure income! As with anything else, the tricks of the trade are best learned from the top names in the niche. Follow these five travel bloggers and you’ll find that paradise is only a few blog posts away.

Peter Greenberg

Travel Writer Peter Greenberg

Peter Greenberg is also known as the Travel Detective.

Emmy Award-winning investigative reporter, producer, and travel editor for CBS News, Peter Greenberg is known as the “The Travel Detective.”  He was named by Travel Weekly as one of the most influential people in the travel industry. Peter’s blog provides a multitude of cutting-edge resources:

  • The newest adventure apps and gear
  • The insider’s complete guide to the world of traveling
  • The best luggage for different types of travel
  • The latest on jet-setter safety and cut-rate seasonal getaways
  • The world’s “hidden gem” travel destinations

You name it, and he’s reporting on it. Although Peter is sure to update readers on what’s happening in travel news, he simultaneously keeps us amused with such posts as Weird Vending Machines around the World and Need a Laugh? The 5 Most Entertaining Airline Safety Videos. One thing’s for sure: if you’re visiting Peter Greenberg’s site, you’ll never be bored. To learn how Peter works his travel reporting magic, sign up for his free newsletter or check him out on Twitter (@PeterSGreenberg).


Don George

Don George travel screenshot

Don George is a contributor at National Geographic, Adventure Collection, and Gadling.

National Geographic said it best when they called Don George a “legendary travel writer and editor.” Don has visited more than 65 countries and shares his expertise as a travel writer/editor, broadcaster, and speaker for National Geographic Traveler, Adventure Collection, and AOL’s The #1 travel blog when combining such factors as RSS membership, unique monthly visitors, and Alexa rank, Gadling is a one-stop shop for all things travel. On his site, Don includes travel tips, candid airline reviews, eye-catching posts (like Pooping In Public, The Newest Hotel Trend), stunning photography, current developments in budget travel, and more. Thanks to Don’s leadership, Gadling offers relevant, entertaining material that newbies in the travel writing industry should look to for guidance on what to publish and how to make it a worthy read. For the latest from Don George, sign up for his personal newsletter or check out Gadling’s facebook page.

Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliot Screenshot

Chris Elliot is the guru for travel emergency help.

As a consumer advocate, multimedia journalist, and co-founder of the Consumer Travel Alliance, Christopher Elliott is your go-to resource for any unfortunate (but inevitable) travel troubles. Although his site,, isn’t exclusive to travel-related topics and includes general consumer information, the majority of Chris’s posts are about travel. In a recent post entitled The unsettling truth about travel insurance, Chris tackles the unfairness and questionable benefit of travel insurance. This is a perfect example of how Chris addresses specific issues his readers are dealing with and how he gets to the bottom of any scam or mistreatment they’re facing. “Chris has distinguished himself with a long track record of selfless advocacy on behalf of travelers,” comments David Callaway, editor-in-chief of USA Today. In other words, if you’re interested in exploring a unique approach to travel blogging, it’s a must that you sign up for Chris Elliott’s free e-newsletter or start keeping up with his tweets (@elliottdotorg).


Gary Arndt

Gary Arndt traveler screenshot

Gary Arndt is a double treat — blogger and photographer.

An American independent travel blogger and photographer, Gary Arndt lives up to his blog title Everything Everywhere. Best-known for his award-winning travel photography, Gary not only captures breathtaking images but also co-hosts the podcast This Week in Travel and keeps readers up-to-date through a travelogue of his personal escapades throughout the world. Having visited 7 continents and 130 countries/territories, Gary depicts stories ranging from surviving a tsunami in Hawaii to swimming with whale sharks in Australia. In 2010, Everything Everywhere was named by Time Magazine as one of the Top 25 Blogs in the World. Time describe the blog as being “anchored by [Gary’s] inimitable personality.” To keep up with Gary Arndt’s awesome photography and intriguing travel tales, subscribe to his email newsletter or follow him on Twitter (@EverywhereTrip).


Matt Kepnes

Nomadic Mike Kepnes Screenshot

Nomadic Mike is young but well traveled and well known.

Matt Kepnes began traveling the world in 2006—and so began his future as a nomad and acclaimed travel writer. Better known by his blogging title Nomadic Matt, this jetsetter has gained recognition through offering up valuable tips for the frugal traveler and by writing the occasional controversial post—such as Why I’ll Never Return to Vietnam, a post that led to over 300 comments with Vietnamese government officials contributing to the debate. Although in 2013 Matt announced he’d be going from “nomad to homebody” by moving to New York and cutting back on his travels, he continues to provide valuable worldwide travel information, specifically on budget travel. When describing Matt’s writing, former New York Times Frugal Traveler Matt Gross explains, “Matt’s collection of easy-to-employ money-saving strategies will open your eyes to the near-infinite ways of seeing the world without busting your budget.” If you want to learn more about budget travel writing and how to write with authority, check out Matt Kepnes’ e-mail newsletter or follow him via Twitter (@nomadicmatt).


Do You Have What It Takes to Be a Travel Writer?

Once you begin following the travel writing experts we featured above, you’ll notice there are certain skills required to be a successful travel blogger. The following tips will help you develop these skills:

  1. Read a lot of travel blogs with a critical eye. Taking the opportunity to see what other writers are doing well and what they’re doing poorly will improve your own writing. It will also keep you updated on which specific topics are currently trending or hot in the travel sector.
  2. Hone your writing skills. As a blogger, it is essential that you understand the basic rules of the English language. It is also important to develop your own writing style to lend your blog a distinct character.
  3. Learn the basics of blog platforms and web development. Being proficient in web services such as WordPress and Blogger are necessary for managing and enhancing your blog.
  4. Read up or take courses on online marketing. Whether it’s through social media, guest posting on other blogs, or through some other platform, getting your name out there is the only way to build traffic and eventually profit from your blog. When trying to tap the online population, marketing is your best friend.

Although not an exhaustive list, these are crucial skills that every successful travel blogger needs to have. The experts above can show you how it’s done, but it’s up to you to put in the work necessary to make your travel blogging career a profitable reality.

Jagged Edge Media JAcom Consultants