Travel blogs: the new information revolution for travellers

Blogger Cat Geer.
Image courtesy of Cat Geer.

No one has taken to the blogging phenomenon quite like travellers. Where once you might have packed a journal (preferably leather-bound) or even made a scrapbook, many travellers are now using the Internet to document their experiences. There are thought to be over 200 million travel blogs on the internet, meaning prospective travellers will be able to find up-to-the-minute, personable information on every destination they could think of. Where once the only sources of information were brochures, travel agents and expensive guidebooks, blogs are flooding the market with advice from the best vegetarian restaurants in Buenos Aires to the correct table manners in Japan.

To those reading them, the proliferation of travel blogs are akin to an information revolution. However, writing blogs are a time-consuming exercise, requiring dedication and commitment. With so much work involved, why are so many travellers choosing to start blogging? To find out, we spoke to Catherine Geer of Curious Cat on the Run.

A self-processed nomad, Cat’s first overseas trip in 2001 was to Thailand at age sixteen. Back then, she travelled with a Kodak camera, ten rolls of film, a diary and some pens. No device required anything else but AA batteries. She wasn’t able to see any of her photos until she got home, and even then it was a slow process due to cost of developing the images. In comparison, she now travels with two cameras, an iPhone, a laptop and an external hard drive.

Cat began blogging in June 2011 and says that she “immediately fell in love with the medium.” For what reasons? “It allows me to share my experiences and photos with family and friends, but, more excitingly, it also allowed me to connect with complete strangers.” Connecting with fellow travellers is one of the more compelling arguments for starting a blog. Cat says the fact that anyone can comment on your posts allows you to meet people who have both loved and hated your stories. “It’s a great way to share your stories, and they’re all there for all to see and for you to look back on.”

Travel now requires a lot of technology.

Cat does admit that blogging doesn’t come without its challenges. “It requires a fair bit of effort and dedication. This of course is all dependent on the blogger – I’m unfortunately a bit of a perfectionist, and spend hours selecting and editing my photos before starting to write my blog. You can also come across some strange people. One reader took great offence to a post about the vampire craze in Romania that I actually had to delete some of his comments. You can’t please everyone – another reader was horribly offended that I dared to opine that Bratislava was a boring capital city.”

The challenges, however, are minor compared to the benefits. Cat hopes that her blog will inspire others to start their own journeys. She also believes it adds to the travel experience. “It gives me the opportunity to really consider how I feel about a place, and think about the emotional impact visiting certain places has had on me. It also helps me to remember where I’ve been and what I’ve done.” Additionally, writing a blog can be a great way to offload. For Cat, it can be a cathartic experience.

“I blog about the negatives as well as the positives. I believe that anyone who claims that everything in their travels was perfect, that they never suffered disappointment or frustration or had something go wrong, is either a liar or hasn’t really travelled independently. Things do go wrong.”

Writing about the negatives as well as the positives: now, that’s something you won’t see in a brochure.
Do you use travel blogs to research your holidays? What are some of your favourites?