So many bloggers, so many blogs.  How on earth are you, I, we supposed to keep up with them all?  Each day I log on I find a new one.  New people, places, adventures, tips, trips, hacks and advice.  Yes its fantastic, but like I said, I just can’t keep up, even with the use of Bloglovin.  The net is flooded with travel blogging awesomeness when it comes to travel and I love it, but I just feel a little lost sometimes.  I imagine you feel the same.

Whilst there is awesomeness all around, I cannot lie and tell you that there aren’t certain blogs I return to time and again, my go-to blogs if you will.  I am undecided if it is unfair to call them my favourites, but the 10 blogs featured below are those that I tend to visit over and over, awaiting news and updates.  That the blogs listed below are for the most part aesthetically appealing is a massive draw for me as I am big on design.  It also probably helps that I have met a lot of the bloggers in person, but that’s not always the case.  Most importantly they’re all great reads, hosting a whole heap of unique and relevant content, backed up with engaging visuals and multimedia.

So, whilst I would love to learn what everyone else’s must reads are for 2014, in no particular order you shall find mine below.  Check them out and let me know what you think.  Happy reading and happy new year.

1. The Blonde Gypsy

The Blonde GypsyLarissa is quite simply cool, and so is her blog, there are no two ways about it.

Having taken the Balkans by storm in 2013, armed with simply an iPhone and on one occasion an old car, Larissa was the person to follow if you wanted to know more about some of the lesser travelled areas in Europe.  Bosnia and Herzagovina, Armenia, Ukraine, Estonia and Finland were just a few of the destinations that were explored and instagramed by this smart phone wielding blogger.  The ease at which Larissa travels through countries and areas where all sorts of barriers such as language, technology and transport, can and do exist is frightening, but to be admired.

In 2014, and along with a certain Mr Nate Robert (AKA Yomadic), Larissa is to return to the Balkans to operate her very own tour, or ‘Gypsy trip’, where she and Nate will lead a group of fans and followers from Serbia to Montenegro.  Sounds freaking epic, and I love the idea of a blogger as a tour guide.

Take your own gypsy trip here – http://blonde-gypsy.com

Past post I loved – Isle of Wight delight in southern England


2.  Backpacker Banter

Backpacker Banter

I was totally taken a’ back late last year when I met Chris in person for the first time.  Everything about his blog screams cool Aussie surfer dude, and so upon hearing words leave his mouth for the first time I was most shocked to hear his (English) south western accent.  Accent aside though, Chris is a surfer dude, and one whom takes some incredible shots of his and his buddies wave antics.  Keep an eye out for his photo of the week segment, which more often than not includes water and waves in one form or another – in particular the latest of Chris free diving.  I doubt many bloggers can claim to dive 30 metres on a single breath.  Sick!

Sometimes its hard to keep up with Chris, he is relentless in his travels, but luckily for us, always good enough to document his routes and most importantly his budget and spending.  His monthly budget summaries are some of the best around so be sure to check them out, especially if you SE Asia bound any time soon.

In 2014 watch out for updates from his upcoming South American travels, I believe he just landed down in Ecuador … lucky bugger.

Banter this way – http://www.backpackerbanter.com/

What went down in 2013 – 2013 12 months 12 pictures

Past post I loved – Things I do and don’t miss about Asia


3.  Backpacker Becki

**Now blogging at BordersOfAdventure.com

Backpacker BeckiAh now here comes trouble!  Becki is a great mate who I first met in London, but also met up with in Thailand back in April of last year.  Recently crowned Travel Blogger of the year for 2013 at the British Travel Press, she not only a good mate, she’s also a big inspiration.

Much like Larissa from the Blonder Gypsy above, Becki has taken it upon herself to visit and explore some of the lesser well travelled destinations on this earth.  I was particularly interested in her travels around Mongolia in an overland truck midway through 2013, and then more recently her 2 week stint in Israel, which provided an eye opening insight into a country with an extremely complex history.

Digging deeper than most other bloggers (myself included), Becki looks for meaning and understanding in all of travels, and produces incredibly detailed write ups.  She also loves a photo too, especially those within which she can strike a pose.  Not shy of a camera this one!

So the Travel Blogger of the year for 2013 is well worth following over this coming year, and it already looks like she could well be in the running for the 2014 award too,  judging by here plans over the next 12 months – Jordan, Oman, Qatar, Canada, Sri Lanka and India … nice!

Backpack with Becki here – http://www.bordersofadventure.com/

What went down in 2013 – 2013 travel highlights and perspectives

Past blog post I love – Muay Thai training in Thailand – my attempt at being a pro fighter


4.  She Gets Around

shegetsaroundHearts around the world broke when Jen announced last year that she was in a relationship …  but she still got around.  Winning Danish Blogger of the year was a good start, so too becoming a Hilton D Tourist.

The later of this prestigious awards saw Jen take on a whole heap of destinations in a whirlwind tour at the back end of 2013.  Having gone freelance earlier in the year, I’m sure that such a tour across Africa and the Middle East , was more than Jen had ever dreamed of when handing in her notice.  Still, she made it a reality and it was a joy to follow.  I’m looking forward to more of the same from her in 2014.

 

 

Follow Jen here – http://shegetsaround.co.uk/

What went down in 2013 – Getting around in 2013 – my travel review/

Past post I loved – What? Next Wednesday I quit my job


5.  This Battered Suitcase

This Battered SuitcaseA recent (ish) arrival in London Town, Brenna and her suitcase have come packed with a whole heap of cool adventures from across 80 different countries.  She’s in London to study. but has some pretty slick looking plans for 2014, including trips to Porto, Belgrade,  Gdansk, Berlin, Paris and Jordan.

What struck me with Brenna’s blog was that in almost every blog post, no matter the subject or circumstance, there is nearly always a photo of Brenna with a huge grin on her face, a smile, something all too often missing from blogs.  That’s cool if you’re a landscape or wildlife photographer, or even like me you dislike having you own photo taken, but seeing someone enjoy their travels makes reading their work that bit easier and enjoyable.

Over the next few months I’m looking forward to reading how Brenna finds London life, and how she gets on exploring Europe (when her studies allow).  I’m also looking forward to seeing how she find blogging on WordPress having moved over from Blogger, a move that a lot of bloggers seem to have made or are making.  I swear that half the battle with blogging is the technology.

Suitcase full of adventures here – http://www.thisbatteredsuitcase.com/

Past blog post I love – 10 unavoidable truths travel


6.  Just Chuckin It

Just Chuckin ItQuirky, witty, endearing, emotional, stylish … I just love reading about Ryan’s adventures, and especially now that he is out and discovering SE Asia.

At first glance Ryan’s blog might look a little off the wall.  The design of his blog is unlike any other I have seen, with crazy cool illustrations worked into a functional, although playful design.  I loved it from the first minute I saw it, but looks are not always enough.  Luckily, Ryan is a very talented writer and has written a few hard hitting posts which dive deeper into destinations and ask questions about certain behaviors on the road.  Ryan’s personality shines through in his posts and he is extremely honest in explaining how he came to a life of travel, a trait that can only be admired.

Another string to Ryan’s blogging bow is his brilliant new newsletter.  Much like his blog, its design is all sorts of crazy, and the newsletter itself is brilliantly personal.  It reads as if Ryan has sent you your own postcard.  Well worth signing up in my book considering it will cost you absolutely nothing.

Chuck it this way – http://justchuckinit.com/

What went down in 2013 – My 2013 in retrospect from hell and back to a better life

Past post I loved – Tainted tourism – the gluttonous old man groping a young Thai girl


7.  The Little Backpacker

New Picture (3)I have been following Jodie’s blog for some time now and its safe to say I am hooked.

Having just returned to the UK (she now calls Edinburgh home), from having spent some 11 months exploring Australia, New Zealand and parts of SE Asia, whilst Jodie may be little, her blog is big on stunning photographs and handy hints for backpacking.  In planning my own Vietnam tour for April, I have pretty much stalked Jodie through that part of the world and have noted down all her recommendations in preparation for my own journey.  I often use travel blogs for researching future adventures, and Jodie’s (along with Vickyflipflop.com) has been an hugely valuable resource for Vietnam.

Writing aside, Jodie is clearly talented in the use of photoshop and/or illustrator, and with those talents in mind, you should definitely keep an eye out for for excellent info graphics.  Like the rest of her site, they are beautifully presented and a great way to summarize extremely helpful information without the use of excessive paragraphs of text.

Big blogging here – http://thelittlebackpacker.com/

What went down in 2013 – My top 13 moments of 2013

Past post I loved – An info graphic of a year in travel


8.  As The Bird Flies

As The Bird FliesFrankie’s is name now very well know within travel blogging circles.  She was the overnight blogger crush and fancy of pretty much everyone attending her freelance writing seminar at Traverse 13, wowing attendees with her story, her tips, tricks, hacks and of course Anchorman references.

Self published author of the brilliant ‘Shy Feet’, a book of short travel inspired stories, and one of the turning freelance success stories of 2013, Frankie is an artist when it comes to turning simple destination blog posts into mesmerizing journeys.  She also takes a rather nice photograph or two.

I know I am not the best writer in the world, far from it in fact, but if I was to wish to be able to write like any other blogger, I would wish to be able to write like Frankie.  I honestly think that she might be able to sell ice to Eskimos with her words, given the chance.

Setting up a base in a new location every month or two is an exciting way to live.  Granted the freelance work must be incredibly hard and tiring, but Frankie appears to makes the very most of every new place she lives in.  From Shepherds Bush to Amsterdam and beyond, I can’t wait to hear all about her travels in 2014.

Take flight here – http://www.asthebirdfliesblog.com/

What went down in 2013 – The travel and writing lessons I learned in 2013

Past post I loved – Real London – Returning to Shepherds Bush


9.  Barefoot Beach Blonde

Barefoot Beach BlondeOceana’s blog is one that rings bells with me.  Like myself, she travels with her partner, but also like myself, it is only she that blogs about their adventures on the road.  There are many travel blogging couples out there, but it’s cool to have found another couple whereby only one of them blogs, and then compare how they see travelling the world with a partner and blog about it in  comparison to how I see things.  Also, being female, I’m hoping that Oceana might drop the odd tip on how to keep the lady in my life happy whilst travelling :)

Another hugely interesting aspect of Oceana’s blog revolves around her recent announcement that her blog is to take a slightly new direction in 2014, and concentrate less on backpacking and more on budget travel.  Whilst I still love hostels, I can appreciate the change and the want for something more than just getting smashed in a hostel bar and then brag about just how smashed you were to your dorm mates  the next day.  I think this is a direction a lot of travelers take as they grow up and out of certain behaviours and come to appreciate different aspects of travelling.   It will be great to see it taking place in real time on Oceana’s blog.

Barefoot budgeting advice here – http://www.barefootbeachblonde.com/

What went down in 2013 – Barefoot Beach Blonde year 2013 review

Past post I loved – Travel question: Solo? Group? Or Couple?


10.  Helen in Wonderlust

heleninwonderlustHelen’s blog is a very recent discovery, so recent in fact that I had actually met Helen before I discovered her blog.  It was whilst scoffing burgers at some ungodly hour in the heart of Farringdon that Helen first told me about her blogging exploits.  I must admit, I thought she was an industry bod, selling tours or working PR for a tourism board before she started to talk WordPress and social media.  But, the truth was, by the time we had met, she had left all that behind.

Diving into Helen’s work, it is clear to see that Africa was where it all started travel wise for Helen.  You cant find a page or post on her blog were Africa is not mentioned or linked, and with good reason!  Spending so long in Africa has enabled Helen to put together an almost unparalleled series of posts.    ‘Is it safe to travel Africa as a solo woman’ is an understandably popular post amongst her readership.

Another huge draw for me with Helen’s blog was her take on blogging.  Helen In Wonderlust is just over a year old, and it was interesting to read about her thoughts and feelings on her first year as a travel blogger.  Her initial dislike of self promoting was something that I could understand and appreciate, truth be told I still dislike it.  I’ll also be incredibly interested to see how Helen’s blog progresses in year 2.  Personally I dont think my blog went anyway in its second year, it kind of plateaued.  I’ll be keen to see how Helen will take her blog further over the next 12 months, and see if I can pick up any tips on how to grow ones blog.

Wonderlust this way – http://www.heleninwonderlust.co.uk/

What went down in 2013 – An unexpected journey

Past post I loved – Kilimanjaro – the roof of Africa


11.  Head For Points (BONUS)

Head For PointsOK OK, not strictly a travel blog in the conventional sense, but a blog I have paid a large amount of attention to in recent months.

If you just so happened to have read my ‘How I personally afford to travel‘ post a couple of months back, you would have read how I am trying on air miles for size.  Earning points and air miles is not something I’ve done before, but I feel confident in achieving the goals I’ve set myself with this venture, and that is mostly down to the help of Robert and his insanely detailed and helpful guidance.  Not only does he offer advice, but through certain partnerships, can on occasion earn you bonus points.

If you’re UK based and looking to get into the air miles game, give this blog a few minutes of your time and you’ll be amazed at what you can both learn and earn.

Earn yourself some points here – http://www.headforpoints.com/

 

So there you have it, 10 blogs for 2014.  What do you think?  Are there any others that you think I should be keeping an eye out for?