The Top 12 Most Influential Travel Bloggers

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Have you ever dreamed of escaping the traditional workplace to travel the world… and then share all of your experiences online?

That’s what the people on this list have managed to successfully do in their own original way. Let their stories inspire you to start your own blog and see America like you’ve never seen it before!

Without further ado, here they are (in alphabetical order):


Amanda Williams

This seasoned backpacker has seen the sights of many continents with a philosophy that getting lost along the way is all part of the travel experience. Amanda Williams reminds us to just set aside the planning and let the road carry you where you need to go. She has stepped into the scenes of 20 different countries across 4 continents with the most intriguing travel blog to prove it! Her inspirational posts and words of advice allow others to set their compass toward some place warm, exotic and full of life–taking in all that this new found place has to offer with no need for a map! Amanda is a world traveler that invites others to seek out their dreams abroad–for the experience will enrich our lives and make us all the wiser when we return.

Amanda’s blog: A Dangerous Business

Follow her on Twitter: @dangerousbiz

Place recently visited: Savannah, GA

A favorite post: The Best of Oahu, Hawaii – In Photos


Chris Christensen

Chris Christensen is a world traveler with plenty of podcasts to bring each destination right to your doorstep. You won’t ever have to buy the guidebook to learn all the best tips about your upcoming trip! With both audio and video podcasts alike, you can get acquainted with Chris’s own travel experiences for a unique glimpse into the delights of an ‘amateur’ traveler. Although he claims the name the ‘amateur traveler’, we all know he has seen more than the experts since his first podcast began back in 2005. His website and podcasts are two great sources for travel tips, guides and hilarious travel stories. I was thrilled to have gotten to feature him as the second guest on our podcast. Chris likes to pick up the language each place he goes and has a passion for storytelling–so lend him an ear, there is much to learn from his travels! Here’s a guest post I did on his site with 10 Must-See Art Museums In America.

Chris’s blog: Amateur Traveler

Follow him on Twitter: @amateurtraveler

Place recently visited: Virginia City, NV

A favorite post: How To Spend a Long Weekend In Seattle


Gary Arndt

This man is bold. Gary Arndt sold his house in 2007 to travel the world. He has stepped foot inside 7 different continents and 130 countries across the globe. The kicker? He’s been to every state in the US! You would never guess that Gary was not always such the avid traveler–besides, the occasional summer vacation. Since he sold his home, he’s been at it ever since! His blog keeps you updated on his latest travels, so that there is always something new to read about in Gary’s grand adventure. Check out Gary’s blog to get the latest update on his backpacking expedition, and see the pictures he’s captured along the way. You may just find the inspiration you need to step out on your own journey to a new land beyond the edge of the sea. Learn about his favorite National Parks.

Gary’s blogEverything Everywhere

Follow him on Twitter: @everywheretrip

Place recently visited: Wisconsin

A favorite post: 7 Things That Are Awesome About America


Geraldine DeRuiter

This lucky lady got roped into the ‘blogging thing’ when she decided to tag along on her husband’s work journeys to destinations across the world. Geraldine DeRuiter describes her blog as a love letter to her husband–long and cuss-filled. But, don’t take offense that’s just the way he likes it. Her personal experiences give an inside scoop into what is good and not so good about each and every place she goes. Even better, the drama of her writing style is sure to reel you in and keep you watching, waiting for more. This blog is jam-packed with tips, guides and overall info that sets the scenery for sights all over the world. Even better, its told through the eyes of a lovely lady in the company of her husband–who adds a bit of the romantic touch to each story.

Geraldine’s blogThe Everywhereist

Follow her on Twitter: @everywhereist

Place recently visited: Miami

A favorite post: Alaska Airlines: Your Leg Room is Wasted on Me


Janice Waugh

Janice Waugh is a strong woman who inspires others to set their sights on scenes across the globe under the Solo Traveler Project. Her blog is all about going solo–a philosophy granted from her past widow and empty-nesting experience. Besides the travel tips and firsthand journals on her blog, she speaks and gives advice for those who like to take the road alone. Janice is also co-founder of Global Bloggers Network and host for the Toronto Meet Plan and Go–a brilliant resource for long term travel. She reminds us that we all have the power within us to ‘go it alone’ and enjoy our travels each step along the way. From the traditional to the exotic, Janice has seen and shared it all. She reminds us to pursue our own ‘Personal Legend’ and realize those travel dreams we would otherwise cast aside. As an aspiring solo traveler myself, I was thrilled to have recently gotten the opportunity to conduct an interview with her about solo travel.

Janice’s blogSolo Traveler

Follow her on Twitter: @solotraveler

Place recently visited: Jupiter, FL

A favorite post: Solo Travel Mistakes to Avoid


Johnny Jet

Take lessons from this Johnny Jet who conquered his fear of flight and set off on an amazing journey that would multiply to destinations spanning the globe. His website, blog and forum are a fantastic place for travelers to learn and share travel tips, bookmarks and firsthand experience. This is where the travelers come together and become ‘the expert’, so that others benefit from each pleasant (or unpleasant) travel memory offered up as unique insight. Johnny is all about sharing unique tricks of the trade, as he champs friends in airline miles competitions–an unexpected turn of events for a guy who used to dread the idea of flying altogether! Needless to say, Johnny can’t wait for his next trip and is offering you all the little details that complete a worthwhile journey.

Johnny’s blog: Johnny Jet

Follow him on Twitter: @johnnyjet

Place recently visited: Manhattan Beach, CA

A favorite post: 10 Ways To Find Cheap Thanksgiving Flights


Kate McCulley

Adventurous Kate is an inspiration for all who wish to make traveling a full-time job. She did just that! Now Kate spends her days wandering around any place that seems wacky and interesting, while soaking up the culture and interacting with the locals each stop along the journey. With her experience in online marketing, she decided to make it her job to blog about her experiences as a world traveler. Now, Kate’s seen over 45 countries and is here to tell everyone *ladies especially that traveling solo is not just possible–it is truly the experience of a lifetime. There is much out there designed to scare us into shying away from independent travel–but Adventurous Kate proves it can be easy, safe and fun all rolled into one.

Kate’s blog: Adventurous Kate

Follow her on Twitter: @adventurouskate

Place recently visited: New York City

A favorite post: How I Saved $13,000 For Travel In Just Seven Months


Matt Long

Matt Long is just a regular guy who is here to teach you how travel is in your sights. You may not realize that traveling is in the cards for you, but Matt will show you just that! On his blog, he offers up tips, guides and advice for ordinary people who wish to travel the globe. Matt has succeeded in making traveling his profession, and he would like to share all his firsthand experience with those who also seek the world beyond the cubicle. With travel tips, itinerary tools for planes, trains and travel apps, his website offers it all up for those who are ready and willing to set out on their own journey away from home. It’s Matt’s vision to help make the best travel advice more accessible to ordinary people who wish to create their own travel experience with destinations all over the world.

Matt’s blog: LandLopers

Follow him on Twitter: @landlopers

Place recently visited: Amelia Island, FL

A favorite post: 20 Things Every Smart Traveler Should Know


Pam Mandel

With a camera, passport and ukulele–you can’t go wrong! Pam Mandel is a self proclaimed ‘nerd’ who loves to share her travel experience. This world traveler has contributed to many travel blogs, and she was also featured in National Geographic’s Intelligent Traveler. Her countless experiences have led her to many other opportunities such as radio, guidebook writing and on to become the co-founder of Passports with a Purpose–a group to raise funds for a cause that resonates with travelers. Most of all Pam has a passion for sharing her photographs and travel stories with those who seek the entertainment and advice of an intelligent seasoned traveler. She also has a special section on her website to flaunt her nerdtastic attitude–the Ukulele FAQ. So, you, too can learn to play.

Pam’s blog: Nerd’s Eye View

Follow her on Twitter: @nerdseyeview

Place recently visited: Seattle

A favorite post: Finders, Weepers


Seth Kugel

You guessed it! Seth Kugel is frugal–but only in the best way possible. This guy really knows his stuff when it comes to traveling on a budget. And even better, he would like to share his tips and advice with all who seek it. Seth has been writing for the New York Times since 1998 and in 2010 he took over their Frugal Traveler blog. I highly encourage you to check out his blog as it has really inspired me over the years. He is currently based in both New York and São Paulo. He has written for a variety of publications including: New York Magazine, Conde Nast Traveler, Time Out New YorkO the Oprah Magazine, Every Day With Rachael RayARTnew and The boston Globe. I recently got the honor to interview him on budget travel!

Seth’s blog: Frugal Traveler

Follow him on Twitter: @frugaltraveler

Place recently visited: San Francisco

A favorite post: Memphis on the Cheap: Elvis, Barbecue and Baseball


Shannon O’Donnell

Shannon O’Donnell is an eco-conscious and humanitarian traveler who invites others to turn their next trip into a volunteer effort. With her real-world volunteer experiences, her advice is unique in that it allows others who seek destinations around the world to learn the ropes of responsible traveling. Shannon has been traveling all around the world since 2008, sharing her each and every experience with all of us. Her goal is to better empower and motivate all interested travelers with solid advice on how to travel the world. Shannon’s website is full of great tips, beautiful photographs and personal stories that reveal the cultural rewards of travel with fantastic food, local interests and unique long term trips to complete the most memorable journey abroad. She has also written a book guide for those who seek volunteer travels.

Shannon’s blog: A Little Adrift

Follow her on Twitter: @ShannonRTW

Place recently visited: Key West

A favorite post: 20 Lessons from 5 Years Traveling Around the World


Sherry Ott

Are you too a cubicle dweller? Sherry Ott is living proof that anyone can escape the cube to set off on a nomadic adventure to cities and sights across the globe. Her blog shares firsthand stories with witty humor and stunning photography to add scenes of awe to the mix. This bold woman claims no home–she up and sold all her possessions back in 2006! The experiences she shares are there for others to capture the magic of travel, as it opens a door to a world of possibilities. Sherry is the epitome of what happens when boring everyday routine takes its toll on the soul, so she left that world behind altogether. This former IT gal now spends her days volunteering, freelancing, house-sitting each step along her journey. She was a participant in my roundup of 15 Travel Savings Tips from Some of the World’s Most Popular Travel Bloggers.

Sherry’s blog: Ottsworld

Follow her on Twitter: @ottsworld

Place recently visited: Chicago

A favorite post: 48 Hours In New Orleans


Here are some other travelers who almost made the list: 


  • Arthur Frommer from Arthur Frommer’s Blog (he took a short hiatus in March and just recently started blogging again) on Frommer’s was actually sold to Google in August 2012 for $23 million, but 83-year-old Arthur Frommer actually bought it back from them in April 2013. I hope I still have that much energy when I am his age! Much of the site was starting to get out of date, no new guidebooks were being produced, and Arthur himself decided to quit blogging. But since he has repurchased his company, they are quickly making a rebound as they just recently released a few new guidebooks. For many years, Frommer’s guidebooks made up close to 25 percent of all USA travel guides and I can’t wait for them to get back to where they were before. Frommer actually expects to release as many as 80 books by the end of 2014. Hopefully his daughter Pauline (who will be a co-president of the company) can help along the way!


  • Rick Steves – I would have included Rick Steves, as well, but I think he needs to get his act back together and get off all those drugs! He has even admitted to writing articles while high! While he is well known for sharing excellent budget travel advice, he is also a huge drug advocate, making a great effort to reform marijuana laws in the USA. Personally though, I think he needs to stop worrying about American pot problems and go back to Europe where he belongs! Just kidding. But I do wish that he would stick to being a travel spokesperson rather than a weed one. I don’t mind him getting high, but I’d rather him not do it while he’s writings information that will impact millions of travelers vacations!


  • Matt KepnesMatt Kepnes – It’s almost unheard of of anyone being in nearly 450,000 Google Plus Circles, much less a travel blog, so I want to start by applauding him on his success with his site – Nomadic Matt. But what I don’t like about his site is that it is strictly geared towards hostel goers and budget travelers. He is currently a resident of NYC and I would like to see him start posting more North American content (like this post he recently did on NYC dining). As for the destination guides on his site, I would like to see Orlando added! Orlando is the most-vosoted city in America and one of the biggest tourist destinations in the world, and all he has to say about Orlando is that “it’s cheesy” and “not authentic.” As a self proclaimed “theme park extraordinaire,” reading this instantly made me want to second guess his logic about USA travel! But once he adds an Orlando guide and starts gearing more towards your traditional American traveler, I’ll become his biggest fan.


Which travel blogger has inspired you the most (other than me!)? We would love to hear from you in the comments!



Taylor Goldblatt

After years of research, travel, and dreams, I have created this website for people like you who want to experience the things that only America can offer. My passion is to explore and share America's greatest destinations and attractions. Follow me on Twitter @USCityTraveler for additional travel tips and ideas.

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