Starting a travel blog for free isn’t a myth. It’s perfect for you if you want the fun of a travel blog but you aren’t interested in anything serious. It’s great if you don’t really have the funding to invest in a travel blog too. You can begin a travel blog for free. No, really.
While it is possible to spend a significant chunk of change beginning a travel blog, you don’t have to do any of that, not if you want a travel blog that’s easy to begin, doesn’t cost you a cent, and lives on someone else’s server (so you don’t have to worry about updates either).
How to Start a Travel Blog for Free
These free blogging resources are perfect for anyone who wants to experience the simple joy of blogging without any of the hassles of site maintenance, updates, the costs of domain registration, web hosting, and site security.
Instead, these sites are all about the content. They provide you with the tools to do what you do best. You won’t typically have a ton of control over how your travel blog’s content looks, though some do offer premium updates, but you can finally begin the blog you have always wanted without the cost.
Yes, these sites are actually free. There is no hidden charge or fees (though some do offer a premium upgrade). Just blogging, sweet, sweet travel blogging.
You’ll be able to write to your heart’s content about the things that matter to you without worrying about all of the extra stuff that comes with owning your own site. While these sites typically let you keep your copyright (meaning you still maintain ownership of your content), it is something worth double-checking before you commit. But if there’s something these free sites for travel blogs get right, it’s that it is all about the writing.
You won’t have to get caught up in site design or image compression and learning how to use these sites is usually very simple. Best of all, they are based on a community, so you always have somewhere to turn if you get stuck or if you just want to chit chat with like-minded people. The community is something that the following sites pride themselves on. It’s how they’ve managed to keep growing and gaining users over the years.
Free Travel Blog Sites
When you become part of a travel blogging community, like what the travel-oriented travel blog sites provide, you have other folks you can network with, “talk shop,” and get to know who share the same enthusiasm for travel as you. It can be a very satisfying experience for those who also enjoy reading the travels of others because it can all take place on the same online platform.
These sites make it easy to stay on top of your favorite bloggers too with “favorite” or “like” functions that let you save the site for further reading. Now that’s convenient.
Begin blogging your travel adventures for free with My Trip Journal. The set up is relatively simple. You will provide your basic information and then receive access to your home screen. You’ll be able to create a welcome message, add a photo, and begin plotting out your trips. To make getting started even easier, you can view the six minute Guided Tour to learn how to use My Trip Journal’s features.
MyTripJournal Fast Facts:
- Multiple trip journals
- Interactive maps help you highlight your destinations
- Print-ready photo and video uploads
- Email update alert for your friends and family
- Message center and guest book
- A travel homepage to organize multiple journals
Dedicated to travel bloggers, OffExploring promises a free travel blog with a twist. After you’ve used the site to write, after you’ve uploaded your images and/or video, and then shared your new blog post on Facebook, Flickr, and Twitter, you can turn it into a hardback book. The main page highlights different travel blogs. Then, you can view the user’s profile, see their latest adventure, or send the travel blogger a message. From the main page, you can browse through more than 4,000 blog posts that span the globe. It’s all free.
OffExploring Fast Facts:
- Begin your travel blog and upload videos and images
- Turn your entire blog into a paperback or hardback book (you can view the example bok here)
- Map out your proposed travel route
- Unlimited photos and videos
- Take advantage of the message board and blog commenting ability to interact with others
This site is well-connected. Craft your custom map to plot your journey and your blog entries will be automatically tied to your map. You can add the map to your Facebook page. Use photos and videos from services like YouTube and Flickr to populate your blog. You won’t need to guess how well your travel blog is doing. TravellersPoint integrates with Google Analytics so you can keep tabs on your travel blog’s growth. Ads keep the site free though you may remove them with a premium subscription.
TravellersPoint Fast Facts:
- Discover a dedicated community of travelers with a forum, groups, and even photography.
- They possess 886,378 members worldwide (and are still growing).
- Use the TravellersPint bookmarklet to easily and quickly plan trips, creating an itinerary as you go (and it is even embeddable).
- Choose from one of the customizable templates or design your own.
- Update your site with text or images via email.
- Receive comments on your blog from TravellersPoint members or the public-at-large.
TravelPod now closed 🙁
With no cap on images or posts, you can get your new travel blog up and live in seconds. Use the interactive map to see how far you have traveled, plan out your route, and keep family, friends, and readers in the loop. See what people are reading and where they are from. Bonus: you can even collect money for charity, to fund your favorite nonprofit organization or to help you continue on down the road. Use the TravelPod mobile app to update on the go.
TravelPod Fast Facts:
- TravelPod was released in 1997, becoming the world’s first dedicated travel blogging platform.
- TravelPod has always been free.
Sign up for this free travel blogging platform takes seconds. Create a new account by connecting your Facebook account. Choose a username which will serve as your web address. You keep your copyright on everything you write or upload but Travel Blog.org does reserve the non-exclusive royalty-free right to use your pics and posts. You can edit your posts at any time–but the site does review your entries and may prevent a public posting if your post doesn’t fit their rules and guidelines (no adult content, for starters). Ads on your pages will help cover the costs your blog incurs (and it is how the site lets you travel blog for free). It is a huge community of travel bloggers and enthusiasts. It’s perfect for low-key updating and for enjoying like-minded and well-traveled folks, with discussions and an annual contest thrown in.
TravelBlog Fast Facts*
- TravelBlog.org has over 200,000 members and grows at around 100 new members a day
- TravelBlog.org hosts over 7 million photos
- TravelBlog.org hosts over 60,000 maps
- TravelBlog.org hosts over 700,000 blog entries
*These facts were labeled current as of 2013. But it is food for thought.
What began as a way to provide travel insurance for world travelers has morphed into a travel community. World Nomads still offers its flexible travel insurance but now other travelers can interact easily through the free travel blogging platform. Unlimited photo galleries help you create the visual record you want without unnecessary elements to get in your way. Since the site was created by a world traveler, it’s made to work for you. Upload your files quickly, even while at an Internet cafe (and you know those Internet speeds aren’t the greatest).
World Nomads Fast Facts:
- Join a community of more than 33,000 travel bloggers
- Link your blog posts to your map to make it easy to see where you’ve roamed
- Upload your videos to Vimeo or YouTube and then use the embed code to add it to your World Nomads travel blog
- Unlimited photo galleries provide ample opportunity to tell your photo-rich story.
Free Sites Not Specifically for Travel Blogs
It’s easy to see how to start your travel blog for free when you consider all of the options above. But hold onto your hat. There’s another set of options. You can also begin your blog on a site that, while not dedicated to travel, is still free. In some cases, they may work even better, depending on the type of audience you want and the options you are hoping to find.
Some of these sites offer different options and one in particular (hello, WordPress) makes it slightly easier to switch your account from the freebie version to a paid version later on if you so desire.
Although Blogger will never make the “favorite blogging platform” list on most sites (sorry, Blogger), it does still deserve a mention. If you want simple, this is it. You still maintain a bit of control over your content, but it is free to begin, relatively easy to start, and migration to WordPress is still possible (although not always so simple) if you do decide to do something more with your blog in the future. You can write your posts in Microsoft Word or Google Documents and upload them directly to your Blogger site. If you won’t be going it alone, you can easily add on other users to help you keep your Blogger travel blog updated.
Blogger Fast Facts:
- You can follow the Blogger development team on Twitter
- Blogger themes are mobile friendly and made to be fast
- Made by Google
- Update your site via Microsoft Word or Google Docs
Between the three free blogging options, Medium is the new kid on the block. Yet, it is taking the traveling world by storm. Although Medium is devoted to a multitude of topics, there is a travel-specific tag here so that any user interested in travel can simply click the tag and view what pops up. Image-heavy blogs are particularly popular on the site.
Medium Fast Facts:
- Sign up with Twitter or Facebook and the service will automatically import your followers so you start out with a network
- Clean design helps your words and images stand out
- Highlights help other users draw attention to their favorite parts of a post (and lead to conversation)
- Medium shared, “Posts are read for an average of 25% more times when they are shared on Medium.”
- Download the Medium Apple or Android app for Medium on the go
Choose a theme then make it your own with the drag and drop theme builder. Then use the web designer tools to mix up your fonts, tweak the color scheme, and switch out the background image. Contact forms are built right in so you don’t have to worry about whether or not a theme has that option. You’ll use Stats, an analytics tool developed by Webs to see where your traffic is coming from and what they are doing once they get there. As your site grows or your needs change, you can pick a premium plan to provide more options (like new themes).
Webs Fast Facts:
- More than 55 million websites have been built using the Webs service
- Change the fonts, background image, or colors with the built-in web designer
- Add social media icons, a Facebook like box, and share your Twitter stream on your site
- Templates are mobile optimized so your site will look good across devices
- Use the provided photo gallery and crop, resize, and rotate your images from within your site
- View the web analytics of your site using the Webs tool, Stats
The benefit of this option is easy: if you ever decide to treat travel blogging as more than a hobby, you will find it much easier to switch your content from the free WordPress site to your own self-hosted WordPress site. Otherwise, it’s easy to get started with a free WordPress site. Sign up, create a name, choose a theme, add a couple of tweaks, and go.
WordPress Fast Facts:
- WordPress began in 2003
- Over 409 million people look at more than 23.5 billion pages every month
- Users churn out about 83.4 million new posts and 42.2 million new comments every month
- WordPress hosts blogs are written in more than 120 different languages
Where to Start Your Free Travel Blog
The options almost seem endless, don’t they? Craft a list. Think about the features you want. Do you prefer to be a part of a travel community or would you rather just write? Do you want bells and whistles or do you want a more minimalist travel blogging platform? Do you want the option to export your content later to a different site, if you so desire?
It’s likely you will find one, if not several, sites that fit your needs. Test them out. Look at their dashboards. See which one feels like it matches how you work. Look over the tutorials. Read the fine print. Then? Commit to the travel blog that’s right for you. Sign up and get to work on your new blog.
Next, you will need to come up with the best name for your travel blog.
Did you choose one of the options above to begin your own travel blog? Which free travel blog site did you pick and why? Do you have any advice for new travel bloggers?