FROM THE EDITOR
Finding Useful Travel Blogs
I recently did an online chat about travel blogs on Washingtonpost.com, and people tended to ask the same thing: How do you find blogs, and how can you tell if one is good?
Finding them isn't that hard. First, you could check BudgetTravelOnline's list of 100 travel blogs (organized by topic). It's a great starting place, because even if you don't like our picks, you'll find that most of the blogs have links to other blogs. It's called a "blog roll"--a list of blogs that its editor respects. The list is linked to the blogs, so you should just start surfing around and see what catches your eye.
The sites I personally love are the ones done by someone who just does it because he or she is obsessed. At Budget Travel magazine, we often assign stories to bloggers because we love their enthusiasm and their knowledge. We have a series of stories, which we call My City is Better Than Yours. Take Chocolate & Zucchini, for instance. Clotilde Dusoulier lives in Paris and loves food, and she has an amazing blog. So we had her do "My Paris Is Better Than Yours." Travel is hard--you can't know everything about everywhere. So maybe it's better to focus more specifically.
One of the things I've learned about bloggers, by the way, is that they love to give advice. Many will answer your questions if you e-mail them. Dan Washburn, who does Shanghaiist.com (and who wrote our "My Shanghai Is Better Than Yours" story, agreed to do a story for Budget Travel because he got so many people asking for his advice he figured it'd just be easier to do the story, and then he could direct people to it!
But how can you tell if a blog is trustworthy? Or whether I'd like the advice it gives? First, I always look to see if there's biographical info about the blogger (usually under a link that says "About"). I try to get a sense if the person likes what I like. And also, I try to see if I'd even like the person! And then I look to see how often it's updated. If it's once a month, I'm outta there. The best bloggers are obsessive. They get excited. Then I read some entries. Do I like the style? Do I trust the opinions? That's a gut call, ultimately.