The Art of the Travel Guide/Blog

Travel guides/blogs can take many different forms, have various purposes, and target difference audiences. But one aspect that I believe makes this genre post effective is when there is an evident connection between writer and the place that serves as the subject. If the reader can’t feel the authors emotions towards that place, what would compel them to want to learn more? What would make them want to emulate the authors experience in that place for themselves? What would be the fuel to ignite their travel flame?

All over the internet, travel guides/blogs can take very different forms, and I’ve chosen three very different examples from very different platforms to showcase. These show that it doesn’t matter if your audience is the general public (because the platform is one of the most well-known travel guide companies of today), or the grand scope of New York Times readers, or the family and friends with the link to your travel blog; as long as you know your audience, what they are looking for, and what information they expect from you as the writer, you can still effectively execute the travel guide genre.

Upon starting my research, the first website that popped up was unsurprisingly Lonely Planet, one of the most famous travel guide companies out there. I choose the guide for Venice, Italy¬†to look into because it’s near the Italian town of Crema that I choose to draft for my sample excerpt. This website was multimodal; it included many photos to utilize the visual mode, videos for auditory, paragraphs of information for linguistic, and a easy to follow, yet complicated format of links and tabs to different pages of the guide, for the spatial mode. Rather than just being one long page of information, Lonely Planet has one main page for each place, and tabs that take the audience to different pages for more information. This is a useful tool because with the vast amount of information on this guide, it is nice to be able to navigate around and not be overwhelmed by all of the information you may not need. The intended audience for this site is people who are interested in traveling to each particular place, as there are links to purchase tickets as well for recommended hotel and tour excursions.

In contrast, the next website I looked at was a travel blog by someone from my hometown. She put a pause on college and traveled the world, documenting her experiences on this blog along the way. This is different than Lonely Planet because rather than targeting a mass audience of the general public who are looking for help planning a trip, she mostly started this blog to keep her family and friends updated on her travels. However, this also targets people like me, as I don’t really know her that well, but have gone on her blog with the hopes of finding out how she travels the ways she does, so I can emulate it in my own life. She describes herself as the “queen of frugal travel”, which is something I want to learn tips about. Even though I may not be interested in the exact places she’s been, reading her blog posts reveals her decision making and problem solving processes while abroad, which is helpful when planning a trip, just in a different way than the Lonely Planet guide.

Finally, the New York Times 36 Hour travel column is a bit of a combination between the two above styles of travel writing. It is formatted like a schedule, with exact times in chronological order of how someone can structure a trip to a certain place. They can target the audience of general New York Times readers, offering an escape from every day life, but have an intended audience of people looking to plan a trip to the subject location. The one in this link is for Verona, Italy, a town I passed through on the way to Crema. It is a good combination between Lonely Planet and Danielle’s travel blog because it incorporates both personal accounts of what it’s like to travel in that place, but also includes specific information like restaurant phone numbers to give the readers tools to plan the exact trip the author is detailing. This is effective because the structure shows the audience how to pack lots of activities into just 36 hours, and gives a bit of a personal account and a bit of concrete travel knowledge.

For my travel guide in this experiment, I am seeking to take elements from each of these guides/blogs. I am hoping to convey my own personal experience, the realities of travel, and not glorify each place as much as Lonely Planet does. In addition, though, I want to provide more concrete information about where to go and what to do in each place, more similar to the 36 Hours column. I also want my reader to feel the emotions that I felt while traveling and in my reflection on the experience, which I borrow from Danielle’s blog style.

Overall, I appreciate that this can be a working genre, and I can always change up my format, add more information, and provide contact information so that any reader can reach out with questions.


One thought to “The Art of the Travel Guide/Blog”

  1. This dissection of different travel blogs is effective at showing their similarities and differences. Even more importantly, you have a strong understanding of what aspects of each you want to draw from in your own project. A compelling point you begin your blog with is this idea that travel blogs must establish a credible “connection” between the writer and location. In other words the writer needs to demonstrate their own passion about a place before convincing the reader to join them. With this in mind, I’d argue that connection goes further than simply writer to location but also writer to reader. The reader needs to trust the writer and be able to see themselves in their situation. Travel is in industry and the main concern of consumers (people who decide to spend their money on travel) is feeling secure in their decisions. They want to be told and believe they’re doing the correct thing by going on this trip.

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