Updated 31 August 2020 – This is a long-running and subjective list of what I think are the best travel blogs for women, with a focus on baby boomer solo travelers. (You can also jump straight to the 2020 list if you don't want to read the backstory.)
What a difficult task! A few years ago I toyed with a travel blog list based on numbers and popularity, but just because something is popular doesn't necessarily mean I like it...
So I tried it differently and came up with a totally subjective list of good travel blogs I personally liked because they were useful, original, whimsical – or had that little extra 'something'.
Here is the original list. That was in 2017 (seems a lifetime ago!)
Then in 2018 I went on the prowl to find more top female travel bloggers – not necessarily new, but new to me. Here's that list.
And now, welcome to 2020!
The year 2020 can only be described as unique and, I hope, one of a kind. Sifting through travel blogs while most of the world is in lockdown and unable to leave home is an odd feeling, as though I'm grasping for hope in a world at a standstill.
The following list is anything but complete. It is made up of blogs I've found in my own travels on the web, or that have been recommended to me. I've included the ones I follow regularly, but I've added a new special Honorable Mention section for blogs that are still new to me or that only fit part of the "solo female travel after 50" category, which is where I'm now focused.
A few suggestions and recommendations didn't make it to the list at all, even though some were high-quality travel blogs. If I left them off, it's for one of the following reasons:
Also, if a blog seems to have every tick in the box but isn't anywhere on this list, it might just be because I haven't heard of it or seen it yet!
Bottom line, the decision of whether to include a new blog was a subjective one, and I couldn't include them all... So here goes!
The Insatiable Traveler
I would say Susan is a photographer first and a writer second, but she is so widely published that wouldn't be fair. Let's just say she is both, a mix of highly personal storytelling with stunning photographs. You'll love her photo tips – a great blog for travelers who care about visuals and stories.
The Professional Hobo
I don't know how this blog escaped my list in earlier years because I've been aware of Nora for years. A former financial planner, she left it all to travel the world and coined the term 'financially sustainable travel', about how to make your budget stretch so you can travel longer and better.
Sue Where Why What
Not quite in baby boomer territory, Sue speaks to the 40+ woman who is setting out to conquer the world on her own terms. Despite the slightly younger age group, she speaks to all of us when she describes the power a woman can feel when traveling solo and the many opportunities that will come your way if you only let them. She and I share a basic philosophy: "Just say Yes instead of No!"
Dreamer at Heart
A former teacher who retired early to follow her travel dream, Alison is a strong proponent of solo female travel and sees much of the same joys in it as I do. She is a Francophile and keeps coming back to my country (although I won't hold it against her not to have visited my eastern region yet!), housesitting through many of her travels.
Carol is an award-winning travel writer who focuses on how to travel in luxury even if you aren't rich (and that's something we all want to know about!) Of course she is an excellent writer (those awards) but what I particularly enjoy is her tongue-in-cheek sense of humour. When I least expect it, I laugh out loud.
The Traveling Esquire
Tyra is a busy trademark lawyer during the day but the rest of her time is dedicated to blogging about travel and food. I love her energy and it comes through in her sentences, as does hunger when she starts writing about food.
A Not So Young Woman Abroad
Julie made me laugh right away (Moulin Rouge cabaret: "A bit like a Disney show but with boobs.") From here on, I was hooked. She also has a huge community of women travelers on social media and knows how to pull us together!
Renata Green is a long-time solo traveler who believes in pushing the envelope. Her site has a series of "24 hours in..." guides that I love because I'm a great believer in taking advantage of every minute I have when I travel. That's a snapshot – there's a lot more!
France Travel Tips
This is the brainchild of cycling enthusiast Janice Chung, an inveterate francophile who has visited France 32 times so far. Janice doesn't just sightsee – she actually tries everything out herself. We love you, Janice!
These are blogs I'm watching (in no particular order) because there's something about them I like but they don't quite fit the 50+ solo female travel category.
Roving Jay – Not solo travel but this author and expat has fantastic travel writing and marketing resources (she has several websites).
Travel for Life Now – Lesbian couples travel with emphasis on history, adventure and food.
Rachel's Ruminations – Expat in the Netherlands with an engaging style that makes you feel you've known her all your life. A pleasure to read.
A Woman Afoot – For the slightly younger age group but perfect for anyone wanting to know about solo hiking.
The Sophisticated Life – Medical doctor turned stylish affordable luxury blogger (that medical background is particularly useful for travel during the coronavirus).
Heather Begins – An inspirational writer showing midlifers how to change tack without jeopardizing their future - in other words, quit the job, see the world, don't wreck your life because of it.
Raulerson Girls Travel – Despite the name, Heather is a solo traveler documenting her successful transition to digital nomad and learning to pivot when travel gets tough.
Solo Tips and Trips – Susan is also a successful digital nomad and funds her travels through her bookkeeping practice, which she can (and does) manage from anywhere on the planet!
Grey Globetrotters – Travel tips for the 50+ traveler and interviews with other mature travelers.
And now, for a bit of nostalgia and a look at past years... where my focus was more on solo female travel and less on the 50+ age group, as it is now.
Kami and the Rest of the World
Kami doesn't travel full-time but when she does, it's with a vengeance and a keen eye. She's particularly keen on Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union and has (virtually) held my hand through Moldova, Transnistria and Ukraine.
The Culture Map
Like most blogs I like, Shing has a solid food presence on hers, and outdoes herself on culture. What sets her apart, though, is her focus on northern regions, where it's cold and icyyyy...
Lola Mendez is from Chile and I visit her blog for one major reason: her Responsible Travel Challenges, which raise essential issues and make you think about how you travel.
Valerie & Valise
Valerie Stimac may live in Oakland but her blog is perfect if you love itineraries (I do!) for 3 or 10 days. But in all honesty what I really love is her sister site, Space Tourism Guide. I've always had a soft spot for what's out there and while I have no plans on going myself, the stars make me dreamy...
My Adventures Around the World
Claudia Tavani is a former human rights lawyer who hails from Sardinia. For all you adventurous travelers and lovers of the outdoors, you'll love her hiking stories, a love she takes all over the world (along with her love of food and her astute destination observations).
Flora the Explorer
I love reading Flora because her stories are personal, yet written in a way that resonate with others. If you've ever felt afraid, insecure or just plain curious about the world, Flora will make you feel 'part of'. It doesn't hurt that she's a fab writer, too.
She's not from Indiana but a lawyer from London who chucked it all to put words to paper. Jo Fitzsimons's blog is a mixture of solid destination information and personal impressions - I just like how she handles words.
Journalist on the Run
Janet Newenham has a fine blog but I'm suggesting you watch her YouTube videos - they really channel her upbeat and spunky personality, as do her near-daily Instagram stories. She's having fun with her drone and has quite the eye (and I admit I can't figure out how she actually finds the time to post everything she does!)
Very Hungry Nomads
This is one of the first items I check in the morning - not the blog (although it's great!) but the daily Instagram stories of Marty and Rach (Slovakian and Australian) as they pursue their mission to eat their way through every country in the world. Envy plays a huge part in my morning peeks.
The Globe Getter
Tausha lives in New York and doesn't travel full-time - she does try to show us you can hold down a full-time job and still see the world. I like her sense of humor; when I least expect it, she says something that makes me break out in a silly grin. And because she doesn't blog for money, she just leads with her heart.
Anita may live in Portugal but she's more often out than in. What sets Anita apart is the way she mixes culture, history and food - but a fair warning: she is not to be read if you're hungry because you'll find yourself salivating and rushing out for some dumplings or couscous! One of the best travel blog sites if you're a foodie who can't sit still.
Girl vs Globe
A 20-something travel blogger is perhaps not who you'd expect to find on this list but Sabina transcends her age group and runs one of the more popular travel blogs for women. Gregarious she is, but also smart and savvy, with a strong humanitarian and environmental instinct that makes her want to do the right thing. Keeps me young! (Has radically changed tracks but I still enjoy her!)
Green with Renvy
What I love about this blog is its cross between culture and sustainability. Alison travels but she writes about plenty of other ways to preserve our planet, all of it in a super engaging way, including wellness and green living. And plenty of food!
Heather on her Travels
Heather lives in Bristol but she doesn't stop - she travels everywhere, and is online everywhere, with Youtube videos of her hotel rooms and social media stories live from wherever she happens to be. She occasionally travels solo but what I like most is her approachability - she comes across as a friend, which makes her blog believable.
Julie Dawn Fox
Julie is all about Portugal, so if you're looking for the inside story on this lovely country, Julie has it, from the Douro to the Algarve. She's lived here for a decade and knows the country well, and she offers an itinerary service if you want things taken care of for you.
Leah traded Texas for Paris and there's no better place to observe luxury. She's also a foodie and writes flowingly but one thing Leah does beautifully is getting personal - she's not afraid of putting it all on the table but sensibly, and with sensitivity. Authentic is what I'd call her.
I can never decide whether Lola is a photographer (National Geographic) or writer (author of Lagom). Nor am I clear on whether she's Nigerian, American or Swedish - and that's what I love about Lola: she's brilliant at everything she touches. Her travel photo blog does it all!
Luxe Adventure Traveler
Jennifer is married to Tim but circumstance has forced them to live in different countries temporarily, so Jennifer often travels solo. She seems to be on the road much of the year and I love the "luxury adventure" vibe of her international travel blog (though I'm a little stronger on the luxury than on the adventure!)
Messy Nessy Chic
Nessy lives in Paris but she's got the British eye for quirkiness. I rate hers one of the top travel websites and I love it because it's full of vintage, the unusual and offbeat - you never know where her explorations are going to take you.
Monkeys and Mountains
Laurel is almost my antithesis - she hikes and camps and does all those things I try so hard to avoid! Where we do converge is on our love of animals, which she is putting to work by leading tours to Madagascar (so high on my bucket list it's somewhere above number 1!)
Donna won't let a little thing like "maturity" get in the way of travel. At an age where some women slow down, she's speeding up on every front, better at social media and building a following than many millennials I know. She travels the world from her HQ in San Miguel de Allende and never leaves her camera behind.
Planet Janet Travels
Janet goes everywhere and likes what she calls "soft adventure" - like tracking mountain gorillas or walking the Camino. She writes unabashedly from a baby boomer perspective and wants to take readers "beyond the guidebook".
The Travel Rebellion
A travel blog with a strong ethical outlook and a desire to change the way we travel - for the better. Lottie's blog shows us things we might not always want to see, but we'll be better for the learning. (Not regularly updated but remains great reading.)
Wild About Travel
What I love about my friend Simon Falvo's world travel blog is her choice of destinations - a traveler after my own heart. After all, how many solo female bloggers choose Algeria and Pakistan as destinations? And gorgeous photos to put you right there.
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 endearingly (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! (Sadly this blog is no longer being updated but I'm leaving it up for the brilliant writing and photography.)
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-40 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). She is definitely one of the more famous travel bloggers. (Kate has now moved to Europe.)
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. (And she also runs a Facebook group for over 40 solo travelers who want to connect with others.)
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.
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. Among the travel and lifestyle blogs I most enjoy for the writing.
I've loved her forever - she has one of the best travel sites in the world when it comes to information for women who travel. 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. Sadly, Evelyn passed away in 2019 but her newsletter lives on.
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 with the people she meets on her travels - many of whom happen to cook for a living. Definitely one of the best blogs in the world - one of the top 10 travel blogs, actually. Her Food Traveler's Handbook is a must read. Sadly, she is too ill to travel right now but we're rooting for her!
LL World Tour
I first met Lisa years ago when she started her own RTW solo travel blog - 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.
Kerrin Rousset is an American transplant to Switzerland and runs an award-winning blog that documents her eating, cooking and travels. What draws me to this, in addition to Kerrin's sparkling personality, is the lushness of her photography (dieters abstain!) and her food-fueled curiosity. I fell in love with this blog a decade ago and it still delivers. Not solo, not baby boomer, but... FOOD. (Note in 2020: This blog hasn't been updated but the material on it is relatively evergreen.)
Not A Ballerina
Amanda Kendle has been online at least as long as I have (more than a decade) and we were in touch in those early days. She has evolved her blog into a fabulous podcast about travel (I've been interviewed on several, as have so many other travelers!) called Thoughtful Travel. This is one podcast you shouldn't miss!
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?" The quintessential travel around the world blog.
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 - now rebaptized Solo Traveler World - is terrifically practical, with destination-based information and super-useful tips. She also manages to find great deals that save you money, too! One of the best online travel sites for solo travelers.
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. Definitely one of the cool travel blogs.
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 and amazingly grateful for it. One of the powerful female voices of color in an otherwise not very diverse area.
Dyanne is a girl after my own heart. She made a career change at 40 and took off backpacking 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). A solo woman travel blog for the truly young at heart.
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 don't travel solo and aren't baby boomers but 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. One of the best blogs to follow if you like offbeat, slow and responsible travel.