The different types of travel bloggers

Travel bloggers come in all shapes and sizes. There are digital nomads and Instagram influencers, know-it-alls, adventure junkies, SEO wizards, and people who are just documenting a holiday.

To keep track of all of this, I’ve made a list. Here are the main travel blogger archetypes that I’ve come across blogging, listening to travel podcasts, and looking for travel advice online.

Cartoon travel bloggers separated by archetype
The different archetypes of travel bloggers

Here are the categories. Which one are you? Which do you like to read? Which type drives you crazy? Let’s take a closer look.

The Old Salts

Drawing of a cartoon man drinking a mango lassi
The Old Salt – Wandering Earl

The Old Salts have been living out of a suitcase for many years, if not decades. They’re humble, engaging, adventurous, and they’re always on the move.

A post by an Old Salt could be a comprehensive destination run-through that could put Lonely Planet to shame, or a charming piece pondering their place in society when they have no fixed society.

They got into the game early when many people thought that ‘blog’ was a funny-sounding word, and built up their credentials over a long time. Now the Old Salts are into selling eBooks, guiding tours, and doing public speaking at travel conventions.

They may have even moved back home by now. Whatever the case, there’s a reason they’re at the top of the pile, and it’s because they’re great to read.

You can spot them by: With difficulty. The Old Salts are not overly flashy and blend into crowds well, but some have pretty famous faces in the travel sphere.

Examples: Many don’t even have seem to have last names any more, just travel related pseudonyms. Nomadic Matt, Wandering Earl, Adventurous Kate, Ottsworld.

The Epic Single-Serve Adventurer

Cartoon of two travelers cycling over the himalayas
The Epic Single-Serve Adventurers

Epic Single-Serve Adventurers are out there to document one insane journey. Maybe it’s cycling from England to Japan by bicycle; completing an epic glacier hike in Iceland; or maybe they’re driving around Africa with a dog and two cats in a van.

These single-serve adventures are captivating to read, but are usually all wrapped up in a few months. But there’s a silver lining for the Epic Single Serve Adventurers – such captivating subject matter might make for an great potential book.

You can spot them by: Following the smell of campfire beans to a tiny tent pitched on the side of a mountain.

Examples: The traveling together journal, No Hanging Around

The Encyclopaedias

Cartoon of a man drinking coffee and recording a podcast
The Encyclopedia – Chris Christensen of The Amateur Traveler

Organised, authoritative, and super knowledgeable. This group have gathered unchallenged travel insight from extensive travel, lots of reading, keeping up with news and technology, and professional connections.

Being an Encyclopaedia also requires a fair bit of life experience, so these bloggers are also seasoned travellers. For that reason, they’re not only informative, but engaging too.

The Encyclopaedias are a wealth of information about destinations, but also the travel industry, trends, and blogging as a whole.

Ask them a question on neolithic tombs, national park designations, travel-friendly credit cards, airline scandals or shinkansen speeds – they’ll have the answers. (Beware the Encyclopaedias at pub trivia!)

You can spot them by: Their greying hair, and many heated podcast discussions

Examples: Amateur Traveler, Everything-Everywhere, Rapid Travel Chai

The I Have a Day Jobbers

The I Have a Day Jobbers – Derrick from StickyMangoRice

A large group in the world of travel blogging, the I Have A Day Jobbers are travel bloggers with zero interest in being a digital nomad. These blog hobbyists work as a lawyer or a receptionist or a scientist by day, and type out blogs by night.

They may also have chosen to blog about how to maximise the ordinary person’s holiday leave and weekend time to get the best travel experience. Thus, many of the I Have A Day Jobbers aren’t looking to turn blogging into a career.

Others don’t care about being seen on search engines or promoting their blog. So it’s all about the passion for travel here, the joy of writing, and making the most out of spare time.

You can spot them by: With extreme urban camouflage, the Day Jobbers blend in seamlessly in society, and look just like you and me.

Examples: StickyMangoRice (that’s me!), MakeTimeToSeeTheWorld, Backpacks & Bunkbeds

The Chiang Mai Fisherman Pantsers

Cartoon of a couple relaxing on a pile of cushions in Thailand
The Chiang Mai Elephant Pantsers – Rob and Taiss from TogetherToWherever

Elephant-pattern pants, singlets, a laptop, and a favourite khao soi restaurant around the corner. The Fisherman Pantsers are chasing the dream of nomadicness with full fury, and they’re doing it on the cheap.

Their base of choice? The lovely Chiang Mai in Thailand’s north. Affordable apartment rentals in Nimmen, great food, fast internet and a pleasant locale make this a perfect base for travel bloggers who aren’t on the move.

Some are success stories who are making a living from their blogging income, and others are just running out their savings account trying to make it (but enjoying life along the way).

Whether they’re teaching English, writing code, or blogging about the ‘top 10 must see _ in _‘, the Fisherman Pantsers like to gravitate towards Chiang Mai’s combo of fast internet and cheap food.

Of course, there are other popular enclaves, too – Bali, Cape Town, and Medellin, to name a few.

You can spot them by: They’re young, carefree and cool, and love to post pictures of their ‘office’, sipping coffee with their feet up, by the pool (never mind the impracticality of sun glare on the laptop screen).

Examples: Together To Wherever, Two Wandering Soles

The Maverick Entrepreneurs

Sketch of two travel bloggers on a cliff in Ireland
The Maverick Entrepeneurs – Travis and Heather Sherry from Extra Pack of Peanuts

Many fingers in many pies, the Maverick Entrepreneurs branch out from blogging to all sorts of other travel related things. They could be podcasting, creating apps, hosting AirBnB properties, organising tours, or running photography courses online.

Maverick Entrepreneurs are usually bouncing with energy, and are perpetually busy. As the Lori Greiner quote goes: “Entrepreneurs are willing to work 80 hours a week to avoid working 40 hours a week“.

They rely on their drive, innovation and personality to succeed, rather than popular pictures of exotic places.

Behind the digital nomad facade, there’s a shark-like businessman selling methods to revolutionise your own life, get out of debt, and travel as an early retirement.

You can spot them by: Finding the person hunkered down in front of a laptop, without much time to travel.

Examples: Extra Pack of Peanuts, Zero to Travel

The Perfect Photo Instagrammers

Drawing of a girl with a floppy hat paddling a canoe
The Perfect Photo Instagrammer

The Perfect Photo Instagrammers love to show you the perfect side of travel, such as riding in a kayak wearing a floppy hat, standing on top of a mountain with arms outstretched, or doing yoga in front of a sunset (because that’s why we travel, right?).

They must stay within five metres of an infinity pool at all times, and share breakfast with giraffes on safari, or risk losing the love of their followers. Included in this list because there is usually an accompanying blog; their social media presence is their most visible facade.

While we’re often envious of their dreamlike holiday snaps, and quick to hit that ‘Like‘ button, the perfection of the shot often doesn’t seem like reality. Taking a closer look at the photo makes one think how long it actually took to achieve the perfect snap.

It also begs the question whether the pursuit of dazzling photos and the time it takes to take and edit each photo leaves room to even enjoy the place they’re visiting. Sometimes we just want to know that something has gone wrong on their trip – cockroaches in their hotel, or luggage lost – just to feel as though we can relate.

You can spot them by: They’re the person staring off into the distance wearing a sun dress, whilst an assistant/boyfriend/girlfriend follows them around with a camera.

Examples: Gypsea Lust

The Tanned Retirees

Cartoon of two tanned retirees with the great wall of china
The Tanned Retirees

They’ve got time and money, a sense of adventure, and are pretty good at seeking out sunny locations to recommend for fellow retirees.

A Tanned Retiree might plant themselves on a resort on a tropical island year after year, making friends with the locals and getting pretty good at snorkelling; or they’re experts in travelling around Australia by campervan and sniffing out well-provisioned campsites.

You can spot them by: Their adventure gear, 80’s sunglasses, beaming smiles and enthusiastic spirit.

Examples: Adventurousretirement

The Location Gurus

Cartoon of a brunette in front of a church door
The Location Guru – Stephanie from InfiniteIreland

The Location Gurus have chosen one place for in-depth analysis, and the result is a super-informative travel resource.

They might be locals or expats, but they know every pub, every UNESCO site, and the construction date of every church. The Location Guru can tell you the best season to visit, and what drinking games to try.

You can spot them by: The hybrid accents they’ve adopted from their new home.

Examples: InfiniteIreland, Gina Mussio

The Newbie Bloggers

Cartoon of a couple taking a selfie in front of the pyramid of giza
The Newbie Bloggers

Sweet, honest and packed with photos, the Newbie Bloggers often just want their family to know what they’re up to. Many bloggers started out as Newbie Bloggers, getting used to the way the website works, and figuring out what people like.

With post titles like ‘Day 1 in Tokyo, eating awesome sushi‘; ‘Day 2 in Tokyo, meeting up with my parents in Shinjuku‘; or ‘Day 3 in Tokyo, adventure on the subway‘, their writing is often diary-like. They’re not caught up in the SEO and social media game. There are lessons to be learned about what attracts people to their blog, but there’s potential.

You can spot them by: Big galleries of images, showing every picture they took.

Examples: Many blogs out there on WordPress Reader.

The Nichemakers

Cartoon of two adventure travelers and a dog
The Nichemakers – Jen and Dave from LongHaulTrekkers

They’ve got their heads screwed on, and know their niche. Their websites are slick and colourful, and a joy to browse.

Most importantly, the Nichemakers have identified something specific to make them stand out from the pack. Their site shows a laser-focus about travelling solo, women’s travels, posting in multiple languages, family travel, pet travel, travelling vegan, hacking airline miles, or travelling with a disability.

The Nichemakers are the new breed of travel bloggers, who need to stand out in an increasingly saturated market.

You can spot them by: Their armies of super-loyal followers.

Examples: WildJunket, PaulinaOnTheRoad, IAmAileen, LongHaulTrekkers

The RV Diehards

Cartoon of a couple and their RV
The RV Diehards – Marc and Julie from RVLove

Going all-in on the concept that life fits nicely in an RV, the RV Diehards come in both couple and family varieties.

You can find them roving around the USA in everything from ‘Meet The Fokkers‘-style megabuses, to cheap and cheerful mini RVs, chasing the summer weather and generally enjoying a carefree life. European variants are common, too, squishing into beachside parking lots.

You can spot them by: Their RVs, of course!

Examples: RVLove, Drivinvibin

What have I forgotten?

There we have it, the different types of travel bloggers out there that I’ve encountered!

Of course, many bloggers fall under several categories. Some might be leaning away from travel and towards other things, such as travel and fashion, or travel and food.

So, what else could we add to the list?

Maybe the Happy Family Travellers, taking a family of four for a round-the-world trip? Or Insurance Company Bloggers, paid to promote their travel insurance with cool stories. Round-The-World Yacht Bloggers? And don’t forget Vloggers, and all the video content they create (that might have to be for a future post for another day).

Let me know in the comments what you’d like to add, and I might even be able to draw them up and include them!


34 thoughts on “The different types of travel bloggers

  1. You know your people hehe Im impressed you know the categories and you know a lot of real world bloggers in them! The RV ones look a bit like Rose and I. Love your drawings mate

  2. Love all of your illustrations and the depictions of different bloggers – very accurate. I’m definitely the newbie blogger! πŸ™‹πŸ»β€β™€οΈ

    1. Thanks! I’ve got to say, the newbie blogger is definitely the most fun. Just type out what’s on your mind and don’t have to worry about promotion or anything, which can take even more time than writing the blog itself.

  3. Possibly a Newbee blogger, but only on FB now (publishing to Public, though, not just Friends). Pre-retired early, 5 years ago (now 60), sold everything and hit the road. I travel to see wildlife, landscape, nature, very old architecture and for newness (been to all continents). Not keen on staying in the same place for more than 2-3 months and don’t care for constant movement (such as tours) for more than 1-2 weeks.
    Love the post and drawings!
    Thanks Wandering Earl, for reposting on FB.

    1. As I made my list, I realised that it’s easy to place one’s self in more than one category. It sounds like you might be a ‘tanned retiree’ blogger, but also a digital nomad, and deep down everyone is a newbie blogger to some degree. Thanks for reading, and for your comment!

  4. How about the Culinary Explorers whose photos almost always show food, them eating food, or them with a beverage in hand?

    1. That’s a really good one! I know of one travel blogger who just goes around the world finding exotic, interesting and over-the-top desserts. I’ll have to sketch an example and add it to the list!

  5. I love this! What caught my eye initially was fellow Earl’s face, and the rest made me smile once I clicked through. I’m an old hat (started in 2008) with a niche (celiac travel… and maybe soup πŸ˜‰ and enjoyed the breakdown tremendously.

    1. Hi Jodi, glad you liked my post! I recognize your blog, I think you were on Amateur Traveler once if memory serves! Yeah I think you’re an exclusive mix of different types – the Old Salts are a rare breed, but blogging about soup is also a pretty unique niche! πŸ˜€ Feel free to share my post πŸ‘

  6. Love this … just out of newbie blogger stage where we are starting to realise the enormity of SEO, and the learning curve is vertical πŸ™‚
    NIche…ish, not retired yet and were only in an RV for a year. A blend – maybe a couple in a blender with the other ingredients, SEO, Social Media, Website design, Html code, and blogging courses would be a fitting drawing πŸ˜‰ We certainly feel like we are in one sometimes!
    Love your illustrations and what a great idea!

    1. I’m in the same position, just starting to learn about SEO. Its a large and competitive world to suddenly find yourself in.
      Yes it certainly looks like you span several categories! Thanks for reading πŸ˜€

  7. Haha! I love this, and the drawings are great. I definitely recognise a few in some of my friends (mainly RV diehards with a few I have a day jobbers). Though I’m not sure which category I fit intoβ€¦πŸ€” But I guess it’s always hard to put a label.on yourself.

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