Update 2020: Due to how popular this article has become, I have decided to keep this article alive and will continue to add more beautiful travel blogs as I discover it.
2020 has come, maybe not with a bang as a lot of us may have hoped, but the world goes on and as such I have decided to extend this most beautiful travel blogs list even further with 6 new travel blogs to check out, bringing it to 20, a perfect number for the 2020 year. Without further ado, let’s check out all the beautiful travel blogs out there.
As some of you may know, I have been in the design industry for the past 10 years working as a freelance designer in various companies while also running this blog. In fact, the majority of my income is mostly from my design freelance work over at The Pete Design.
I value well-designed products and today, I want to dive down into the design of travel blogs and featured the best design travel blogs out there that take storytelling to the next level.
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The State of Design
Travel blogs nowadays are starting to look all the same, with generic off-the-shelf templates, difficult navigation, way too many unnecessary pop-ups and don’t get me started on scroll hijacking (why do people do this?).
I believe it is because creating websites have become more accessible and blogs can be easily built with automated tools, allowing bloggers to focus more on writing, marketing, and SEO.
This is all good for beginners but when these blogs grow, most bloggers forgot about design and instead doubled down on SEO and marketing, sometimes sacrificing user experience for profit. Their identities are diluted over time and hence why most of the travel blogs you see nowadays feel similar to one another.
Great Design & Excellent Storytelling
To promote great design in the travel industry, I have decided to scour the internet in search for the best travel blogs out there that have great user experience, excellent storytelling, and websites that pushed the envelope of what travel blogs can be.
The Best Design Travel Blogs in 2021
What I love about it: The Travel Episodes does not just take storytelling to the next level with their writings but also with video clips, sound effects, and photography. It’s like reading a futuristic storybook that teleported you to the place.
For example, the Hitchhiking through Pakistan entry, when you first landed on the page, you are already feeling the tense atmosphere of the video playing in the background, and the more you read through easily-digestible paragraphs, the more you want to see how it all went down. The Travel Episodes blog takes travel blogging into the realm of short stories like no other travel blogs I have seen.
What I love about it: Anywhere We Roam may seem like a typical clean and minimal travel blog but this UK-based travel blog runs by Paul and Mark is a great example of how photos speaks a thousand words.
The layout of the travel blog merely serves as a white canvas to emphasize the atmospheric and immersive photography that Anywhere We Roam is a master at. Their photography and writings are top-notch and has the ability to transport you to the location in question.
A great example of this can be seen on articles like Impressions of Havana – A story from the streets where the duo takes you through the street of Havana exploring its culture and vibe through atmospheric photography and immersive writing that will make you feel like you are there yourself.
What I love about it: As you know, I am a sucker for a well-designed website and one of the travel platform that have always been on my radar is Maptia, a platform for travelers and explorers to document and capture the world around them.
Maptia has not been updating as regularly as I had hope for but even then, the design they had come up with years ago is timeless and still stand as one of the best well-designed travel websites out there.
Its focus on world-changing photography accompanying the travel stories written by those who have lived their lives to the fullest is the sole reason why Maptia deserve a spot on this list.
The Gathering of Giants travel story by Tony Wu is an excellent example of Maptia’s superior content that you can’t get from any where else. Seeing the extremely detailed photos and reading the well-written story on this article is as close as you can get to being near these beautiful stunning whales.
What I love about it: I first discovered about IFLY Magazine when I flew with KLM to Europe in 2018 and as they often send out newsletters to their fliers featuring several locations for them to travel to next, they introduced me to IFLY.
IFLY Magazine is an online travel magazine operated by the Dutch Airlines, KLM, that combines the professionally shot photographs you often come to expect from travel magazines on an airplane, the use of interactive media such as sound and videos, and travel tips and tricks that are universally useful to all types of travelers.
A great example of how IFLY excels at storytelling is in “The Wales Way” article. The article highlights a road trip itinerary that take us through the beautiful sceneries of Wales.
The moment you arrive on that page, you will see a full-screen video of drones flying around Wales together with many full-page photos of mountains and castles of Wales. If that doesn’t create the best first impression for a travel website, I do not know what is.
What I love about it: With producing high-quality outdoor lifestyle content in mind, Another Escape blog hit the nail in the head with their online magazine website that features engaging and authentic travel stories and stunning photography of the outdoors around the world.
Another Escape’s design shines the best when you are viewing travel stories like “The Road Taken” where the article follows a couple who traded their city lives to live lives on the road. Its white space and simple design of the website make ways for the engaging travel story and photography to surface and shine on its own.
There is a saying in the design community that goes something like this: “Good design is invisible” and I think this is exactly the case for the minimal and clean design of Another Escape’s blog. The website’s design of Another Escape gets out of your way and allow you to enjoy the wonderful stories of the outdoor world in solitude.
A crisp and clean colorful layout, water-colored headlines, a well-organized structure, and a ton of well-written travel guides, Indie Traveller is an excellent example of a travel blog that maintain its unique identity without sacrificing the usefulness of the content.
What I love about it: Indie Traveller is run by Marek Bron since 2012 and what I like most about the design is its play on the color palette, mixing contrast and subtle colors together in a way that made the travel blog stands out from the rest.
The layout is also uniquely framed and organized in a way that the moment you arrive on his blog, you know that he isn’t using any generic WordPress theme, which is a first impression that is hard to come by these days.
His content and writings are also the highlight of the travel blog. An article like “Where To Go Backpacking: Key Routes Around the World” is a great example of how organized and structured the content on Indie Traveller is.
The short paragraphs, a ton of white space, and the display of those unique diagrams and photos together with the pastel-like color palette, makes reading Indie Traveller such a blast which is something I can’t say for many other generic travel blogs out there.
What I love about it: This is a travel blog I selected purely of its artistic-style because the content is in Spanish but the design language of this blog is one of the most unique design I have seen on a travel blog.
Rojo Cangrejo design consisted of a lot blocks and lines laid out in a minimal way while relying on contrasty colors like turquoise and stunning photography to catch your attention and it works.
Marta, the writer behind Roko Cangrejo is also an excellent photographer who are able to capture the little intimate moments we often experience while traveling. Her article about Shapening Knives in the Japanese Town of Sakai is a great example of that. If you are looking for a uniquely designed travel blog, checking out Rojo Cangrejo is a no-brainer.
What I love about it: Cookiesound is probably one of the most badass mother-daughter travel duos in the travel blog industry. The travel blog is run by Nisa and Ulli Maier, a mother-daughter travel photography team who travel to off-the-beaten-path places while sharing exciting travel stories through writing and travel photography in a real, honest and sometimes sarcastic way.
Their journey began with a twelve-month-long road trip on a 4×4 through Africa. If that doesn’t make you want to hear their stories, I don’t know what would.
Their travel blog design is also one of the cleanest you will find out there. Since they are photographers, their travel blog design reflects the importance of storytelling through visual with clean typography and massive photos to tickle your wanderlust.
I really love their photography and it is something I aspire to be as a travel photographer. Their photography often reflects travel as it should be, rough and tumble, while showing a more human part of life in the places they visited. To me, that is one of the most powerful ways of telling travel stories.
Here’s a great example of their storytelling mastery: Travelling On The Infamous Iron Ore Train In Mauritania. Their crisp photography and their witty writings keep their experience real and down to earth which many can relate. Travel is tough, and it’s not all flowers and sunshine like what you would see on Instagram. Check them out and let me know what you think of Cookiesound.com.
Next up, we have a Bangkok-based travel duo from Taiwan and the Netherlands who run a travel blog that wants to break out from the usual trope of travel content like top 10 things to do in Bangkok. Let me introduce to you, Etty and Chris from RICE / POTATO.
What I love about it: RICE / POTATO is one stunning travel blog, so much so that the moment you see their travel blog, you know immediately how important design is to them. It’s all in the details they put on their travel blog, from the quirky color scheme of pastel blue and orange to the carefully laid-out image composition of each article.
A great example of a how their unique take on design helps emphasize their content is on their “9 Thai handicrafts you’ll actually want to buy” article where, with their elaborately designed header image that grabs your attention immediately, each item in the list is also accompanied with minimal yet colorful images with enough amount of text to get you interested.
What I love about it: Salt in Our Hair is a fun and colorful take on travel blog design that I rarely see in the travel industry. Nick and Hannah combined their top-notch photography with a well-designed layout, fun typography and deliver them at extreme efficiency.
And by efficiency, I mean their travel blog is really fast, which is very important for a travel blog since most of our audience are often on their phones reading the blog.
One of the many problems I often have with travel blogs is that they are often slow to load due to how unoptimized their travel blogs are, may it be the overkill photo sizes, poorly designed mobile layout, or bad server, etc.
That is not the case of Salt in Our Hair though. Google PageSpeed score of the blog clocks in at 90, which is higher than most travel blogs out there. They really did a great job here at creating a beautiful travel blog without sacrificing performance.
What I love about it: 12 HRS has a concept they stick to that I really like. You guess it, it’s the “12 Hours in” series that provides not just a detail guide on how to spend your limited time in a city, but also the guides are clearly divided into hours with phenomenal typography and stunning photography. Imagine a high-quality magazine but on the web.
What I love about it: Jungles in Paris takes travel storytelling into a deeper level away from the usual topics travel blogs like to write and more in the territory of a deeper understanding of countries’ cultures and traditions. It’s a breath of fresh air to read stories about “The Amazon Most Endangered Hunters” than another guide to a city or a country.
What I love about it: Aileen is one of my favorite travel bloggers. She writes her travel articles from a perspective of a third-world country passport holder (like me) and she shares her story with amazingly thorough detail, pastel-colored photography and easily digestible list.
The aesthetic of her articles just screams how much attention she paid to design. Plus, her articles are always accompanied by a stunning cover photo with on-point typography.
A great example of her unique aesthetic can be seen on her “DIY Trip Hong Kong Itinerary: 5 Days (More Or Less) W/ Macau Day Trip” article.
What I love about it: Camels & Chocolate is one of the most colorful travel blogs out there. Kristin, the owner of the blog, really paid a lot of attention to her blog’s design from the on-point color scheme to the aesthetic of her photography.
Every element of the landing page works in harmony with her content. Articles like “Real-Life Narnia: A Guide to Jasper” also put focused on photography, making it feels like we are traveling with her.
What I love about it: Along Dusty Roads authors, Andrew and Emily are one of the best travel photographers in the travel blogging game. All of their articles are accompanied by abundant information and stunning photographs that will inspire anyone to visit the place.
Their article about The Forgotten Animals of Bolivia has not just amazing photography but also a clean design that put the focus on the content first and foremost and is easily digestible. I remember reading their blogs extensively when I was traveling in Colombia and Ecuador.
What I love about it: If I want to plan something adventurous, I always visit Expert Vagabond. Mathew is a great adventure photographer and an excellent writer. His travel blog is designed for optimum information consumption with a simple layout, clean and content-centric.
Expert Vagabond never failed me at getting the concise information quickly without sacrificing the ability to dive deeper into a place if I wanted to. His article about Hawaii is a great example of his excellent writing and inspiring photography.
What I love about it: Sidetracked travel blog is a great example of a travel blog that excels at everything from unique adventure stories to a beautiful layout that doesn’t dilute the content.
An article like “Paragliding off the Alaskan Mountain Range” shows off their ways of getting first-hand stories from adventurers and accompany it with adventure photography in between to give you the sense of scale. You will feel the rush of adrenaline by just reading through their articles.
What I love about it: Classe Touriste takes you off the beaten path further than most travel blogs do. The travel blog is designed to almost feel like you are reading a newspaper full of adventure stories with big typography, photography in a grid and clean layout.
For example, Classe Touriste will take you to places like North Korea and convince you to do the same with their absolutely stunning photography.
What I love about it: Our Wild Abandon is a creative and quirky travel blog by the duo Kyla and Jill with stories that will make you want to run away with them and do long road trips around the world forever. It’s like On the Road book by Jack Kerouac envisioned in the 21st century and split into smaller stories for internet consumption.
Their layout design, for example on their Yosemite story, is almost invisible, making ways for the stories and photography to shine and take over.
What I love about it: Asiyami Gold is a travel blog run by Asiyami Gold who focuses on blending stunning photography with design and travel in a way that felt professional, yet personal.
Her photography is almost as if it came straight out of a travel and fashion magazine. The muted color scheme, sharp detail and old-school grain effect give her content a unique blend between magazine-like fashion and travel that you don’t often find on a travel blog.
Instead of having a travel blog design competing for the attention, the design of her travel blog stayed aside with a minimal black & white design allowing her unique style of photography to stand out front and center.
To me, that is a great design choice right there. Asiyami Gold travel blog design is functional yet it stays out of the way and let the content shine on its own. This strike of balance is not easy to accomplish, yet her travel blog was able to do it.
And there you have it, the top 20 travel blogs I believe have the best design out there. What do you think of the list? If you have any recommendation or you want me to add to the list, please don’t hesitate to let me know in the comments below.
Further Reading for Inspiration
Looking for more articles to help inspire you to travel more? Here is a collection of articles you might like:
- Hiking to the Everest Base Camp is one of the most memorable epic moments of my life. Here’s a long-read piece about my experiences hiking the Everest Base Camp: On My Way To Everest Base Camp.
- Ever wonder what it is like to travel the world on a third-world passport? Check out: Traveling The World On A Third World Passport.
- Are you currently planning a trip around the world and are looking for cheap countries to visit? Here are the 10 Cheapest Countries to Visit in the World.
- Traveling in Europe can be cheap, really cheap. These are the 8 Cheap European Countries to Visit.
- For adventurers and backpackers out there, here are the 10 Best Adventure and Backpacking Blogs You Should Follow.
- I truly believe we need more Asian representatives in the English-speaking travel blogging industry, especially for blogs about Asia. Here are the Top 10 Kick-Ass Asian Travel Bloggers To Follow.
- Did you know that you can travel without leaving your couch? Here are the 8 Great Travel Books You Should Read.
- For the best travel videos to inspire you to travel even further, here are the 20 Most Creative Travel Videos of All Time.
- If you are looking for travel vloggers to follow on Youtube that aren’t cringeworthy, check out: 10 Best Travel Vloggers to Follow On Youtube.
- A photo is worth a thousand words. Here are the 25 Most Beautiful Travel Photos I Ever Took From Around The World.
- Ever wonder what it is like to be a travel blogger during COVID-19? Check out: Being A Travel Blogger During COVID-19 – What Is It Like?
- Stuck at home and not sure what to do? Here are the 10 Best Things to Do When You Are Bored in Lockdown.
- Wondering where you should go after COVID? Here are the 8 Best Places to Visit During COVID-19.
- Are you fully vaccinated? Are you looking for a country you can travel to where you don’t have to quarantine? We’ve got that covered! Check out: 27 Countries That Are Open to Vaccinated Travelers.
- Can’t travel internationally for the time being? How about traveling in your own country? Here are the 7 Reasons Why You Should Travel in Your Own Country.
- To find the most inspirational travel quotes and captions to go with your photos on your Instagram, check out 20 Best Travel Quotes and Captions for Instagram.
- We often hear bad stories about locals from travelers but what about the other way around? Here are some of the Notorious Stories Of Terrible Backpackers.
- If you lost your bag while you travel, here is how to deal with the situation: My Bag Was Stolen In Germany.
- Have you ever felt you do not belong in a place you are born in? Read this: Where Is Home? – My Quest In Search Of Where I Belong.
- People often preach about how important it is to live in the moment but sometimes, that may not be such a good idea. Here is The Problem With Living In The Moment.
- Solo traveling is not for everyone and even though I love it to death, it is not always flowers and sunshine for solo travelers. Here are the 10 Things I Hate Most When Traveling Solo.
- Travel friends come and go but that may not be such a bad thing. Here is why you should embrace your travel friends: A Life Of Brief Encounters.
- Hiking is life. Here’s why: One Year Of Incredible Discomfort – 10 Things I’ve Learned From Climbing Mountains.
- Here’s why having no plan is the best plan: Magical Things Happen When You Have Nothing To Do – The Art Of Doing Nothing.
- Is life getting you down? Here’s why you can’t always blame life for everything: Life Doesn’t Suck. We Are Just Suck At Living It.
- Want to know why I chose to travel alone? Read this: We Travel Alone, NOT To Be Alone.
- For meaningful solo trip, you need to share it with someone. Here is why Happiness Is Only Real When Shared.
- Traveling is no longer for the rich. Here is why: “People Think I’m Rich”.
- The Himalayan Mountain is one hell of a teacher. Here are the 7 Life Lessons The Himalayas Taught Me.
- Want to travel alone but scared that you might get bored out of your mind? Here is How To Enjoy Yourself And Have Fun While Traveling Alone.
- Want to start traveling solo also? Here is What It’s Like to Travel Alone.
- Here is a simple story on how I started traveling: F*ck It, I’ll Do This Alone.
- For more inspiring articles like this, visit my Inspiration page.