You've often asked me to recommend the best travel blogs for women, especially solo travellers. What a difficult task! A few years ago I tried to draw up a list based on numbers and popularity, but just because something is popular doesn't necessarily make it good... Nor do I necessarily like what everyone else does.
So I'm trying it differently.
My new list is utterly subjective. No numbers, no popularity contest - only blogs I personally like because they're useful, original, whimsical - or because they have that little extra 'something' that makes me smile. Most are by solo women travellers, but I also include the occasional one that isn't - and that I happen to like.
Without playing favourites, and in alphabetical order, here they are!
A Little Adrift
Shannon is a long-term traveler and has been on the road since 2008 (a magical year during which innumerable women quit their jobs, started to travel the world and launched a blog!) She focuses on slow travel (the best kind, in my opinion) and vegetarian travel but the real pearl is her sister site, Grassroots Volunteering. Don't even consider volunteering before dropping by first!
Adventures in Culture
Not by a solo female traveler at all but by my friend Jeff Dobbins, who is in love with culture and communicates it so engagingly (he was in New York theater for years, after all) I want to visit every place and event he mentions. It helps that he shoots a stunning photograph as well - and has given me the meanest tour of NYC I've ever had!
I first bumped into Kate's blog on YouTube... in a video of her eating chilli peppers. And that's what I like about Kate - her sense of adventure. She speaks to the under-35 crowd but much of what she has to say is relevant to all of us. In the early days she wrote more about her personal life but as her fame increased, so did the price that comes with loss of privacy. Still, she often grapples with difficult subjects - which is great - and since moving to NYC, she has been exploring some lifestyle approaches to her blog (while maintaining a focus on solo female travel).
Big Travel Nut
Run by Canadian Marie-France, Big Travel Nut tells travel stories in a lively and approachable way, with a voice the French would term sympathique. Marie-France uses that same voice to dish out solo travel tips for the 40-50 crowd, especially those for whom solo travel might be a bit daunting - she makes it seem so... do-able.
Breathe Dream Go
Mariellen spends a lot of her travel time in India, the country she calls her 'muse' and which she can't get enough of - she's up to her eighth visit. What I love is her willingness to question herself and what she does - she's a seeker and meaningful travel is one of her pathways, as is yoga.
Comfort is for Wimps
Jessica walks the talk. She believes in pushing boundaries - actually, she doesn't push them, she gives them an almighty shove. Scavenging restaurant tables to highlight food waste? Spending eight days couch surfing in Kabul? She's an original and I never quite know where she's going to take me next.
Hole in the Donut
This is the perfect site for all you cultural and history hounds. Barbara loves delving deep into the places she visits and she notices everything - you can tell by checking out her photography. You can click on many of her pictures and get a large format... she manages to put as much detail into her photographs as her stories.
I Am Aileen
Most travel blogs are written by first worlders, at least those we tend to come across most often online. Aileen is from the Philippines, proof that living a life of travel can become a reality if you're from a developing country - it's just a LOT harder.
Inside the Travel Lab
A quirky mix of luxury and the offbeat, British ex-physician Abi has an easy breezy style that punches up when she's ruffled. She's outspoken but not grating, and slices through disagreements in a way that looks for solutions and provides a fresh twist. I already wanted to visit Namibia before seeing her photographs - but now I HAVE to go.
I've loved her forever. When I first returned from my round-the-world adventure and decided to change my newsletter into a website, I looked around to see what was out there. I immediately found Canadian Evelyn Hannon, the first comprehensive women's travel online resource. It was incredibly useful then, and it still is now.
Jodi Ettenberg is a Canadian lawyer-turned-traveller-turned-foodie, who is celiac and provides many resources for the gluten-intolerant. She's a gifted storyteller and manages to connect perfectly with not only a place and her audience but with the people she meets on her travels - many of whom happen to cook for a living. Her Food Traveler's Handbook is a must read.
LL World Tour
I first met Lisa years ago when she started her own RTW solo travel - she's such a delightful and talented person (not one but three Emmy Awards in her former life as a TV producer) that we stayed in touch and became fast friends. Her writing sparkles with optimism and her love of travel jumps off the page.
Mind of a Hitchhiker
I wouldn't dream of doing what Iris does - hitchhiking in places like Ukraine and Iran - but for her, it works. She is the queen of no-budget travel (NO budget, no plans). A confirmed feminist, Iris rides life like a wave of good fortune - spending very very little money and trusting things will work out. So far they have.
Oneika the Traveller
A Canadian by birth, Oneika writes for specific audiences - especially women of color - and does so with such universal appeal I feel every story is relevant to me as well. A former teacher and aspiring polyglot, she now lives in NYC but doesn't seem to spend much time there (evidence of a true nomad). She asks the right questions about travel and doesn't shy away from controversy, which I love.
Sherry is the quintessential solo female nomad - on the road since 2006, no attachments, moving on when the time is right and working to pay her way. She is so passionate about career breaks she launched a company - Meet, Plan, Go - to promote them. To drive home her point she once handed out leaflets to subway commuters in New York City: "Sick of your job? Ready for a break?"
Solo Traveler Blog
Janice is also one of the early-birds online, with the marketing savvy to create a huge community around solo travel (for women and men). Her site is terrifically practical, with destination-based information and super-useful tips. She also manages to find great deals that save you money, too!
Alice is kick-ass - her own words - and writes in a way that makes me smile. Her energy zaps me and her choice of solo travel destinations - Bangladesh? - makes her an original. And she loves street art, which makes her... perfect. Her blog is fresh and funny; now I'm just waiting for her to push beyond Asia.
The Blog Abroad
Glo is as engaging in person as she is on her blog - we had brief encounter in an elevator at a blogging conference and her good humour was infectious. She's filled with wonder - as though she's still surprised to be traveling the world. I love her Busabout series - because who doesn't love a good journey? One with a map?
Dyanne is a girl after my own heart. She made a career change at 40 and took off backpacking solo in her 60s. She now calls Cuenca (Ecuador) home - she moved there from Vietnam. She's eyeing Eastern Europe... Her English-teaching skills means she can work anywhere in the world - and she's a geocacher! A fun way to travel if you love treasure hunts (I do).
Dan and Audrey travel as a couple and have made it to some of the world's less common destinations (I first read about travel to Kyrgyzstan on their blog). They tell wonderful stories, care about the people they meet and are respectful of the environment. Our politics seem to align, and Dan's 360º photographs glue me to the screen.