Travel Bloggers REVIEW

Discussion in 'Blogstand' started by giocatoredoro, Nov 19, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. giocatoredoro

    giocatoredoro Silver Member

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    Disclaimer: I do not feel I could necessarily do a better job than (some) of these bloggers, and my review is completely objective based on nearly 3 years of daily reading. This also does not include all of the Bloggers out there.

    Frugal Travel Guy: This guy is an old timer, who has been writing for a while (even has a book on Amazon), and he used to be the Gold standard, before he sold out. Now his blog is 80% ads, 10% self-promotion, and about 10% useful information. I still read it out of habit. Rating: 5

    The Points Guy: The best writing style and visually pleasing blog in my opinion. Most of the blogs contain useful information, but they are usually tailored to "premium" travel. All of his trip reports, travels are basically done at Category 7 hotels, and in First/Business class. He should tailor some of of the posts/tips to younger folks who just want to maximize the amount of trips, rather than quality. He is on the verge of "selling-out" like the FTG (with his involvement with Chase), but fortunately has maintened objectivity. Rating: 8.5

    Mile Value: He is quickly becoming my favorite blogger. He organizes his post very efficently, and provides a valuation to every opportunity (although I highly disagree with some of the valuations! BA miles at 1.7 cents?!). It's written by a young man, who basically shares award booking tips, and lots of travel-hacking. It's nice to see a blog that isn't just filled with hotel pictures from trips. He also has lots of "meet-ups". Highly underrated blogger. Rating: 8

    View from the Wing: Gary has been writing his blog for over 10 years, I believe. His blog is without question one of the best. Although his posts sometimes ramble on, and have typos, he is usually amongst the first blogger to come out with new deals and information. Sometimes, I'll find myself reading another bloggers' work to better understand a particular post. This is somewhat ironic, because he also has a FT job, but still manages to beat others to the punch a lot of times. Rating: 8

    One Mile at a Time: This blog is written by a young (24 years old) guy named Ben. Although many people like his blog, I don't share this enthusiasm. Like TPG, most of the information is tailored to solely premium travel, and full of trip reports (probably since he has no job, apart from blogging). His blog posts are generally filled with condensanding remarks, which he calls "first world problems". He will often post quasi-rants about a shower overflowing, or other annoyances, like a spoiled child. However, he does provide good information on his blog, and doesn't push cc referals as much as others. Rating: 6

    Frequent Miler: This blog is truly amazing with all sorts of rapid point earning opportunities. Frequent miler does not really post trip reports, or award-booking tips, he focuses on his "Frequent miler laboratory" where he finds out ways to maximize points/miles. The first person to blog, teach, and utilize the ink/vanilla reload combo - yup Frequent Miler. I find some of the double-triple-quadruple dipping to be cumbersome, but as a pure source of new information, he can't be beat. Rating: 9

    Mommy Points: Her blog is great for families, and people trying to maximize "bang for buck". Although I'm not her target audience, I still read her blog daily. An above-average blog. Rating: 7

    Million Mile Secrets: Darius, the author of the blog, seems to be more infatuated with showing his new wife Emily to the world, then anything else on there. The site has dramatically increased ads, and recently many of his posts have essentially been a repost of someone else's, but the "dummie" edition. He is great at showing step-by-step what to do, but often too much. I find myself saying "duhhhh" alot when reading his stuff, but others find it useful. Rating: 7.5

    What do you guys think?
     
  2. edekba

    edekba Gold Member

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    I'm surprised you rated MMS as high as you did ... you always seem to go off on his on your blog :)
     
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  3. Jett Rink
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    Jett Rink Silver Member

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    Subjective, not objective. ;)
     
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  4. servo

    servo Silver Member

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    For me it's MileValue 1st and foremost, FM 2nd, and everybody else later, but I still "read" most of them.
     
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  5. gleff
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    gleff Co-founder

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    Thanks for the compliments, and the criticisms. Different blogs have somewhat different niches or areas of focus, and so not surprising that folks would view them differently. I think that FrequentMiler offers a great blog, it keeps a strong and somewhat narrow focus, and offers something a lot of people value. But not everyone is going to put time into gift cards or buying free after rebate items from staples, and may get more out of Mommy Points.

    Some people love my trip reports, other people find little value in them, I get feedback on all sides for most of the sorts of posts I write. And yes, I sometimes have typos in my posts. I've never been much for spell check. Sorry for those who are bothered by it! :)

    Now, there are lots of blogs out there which aren't that useful. I think for the first couple of years mine was in that category. It's very much about finding your voice, figuring out what you have to say that's unique in some way, and then a readership will tend to develop whose interests match that style.

    All of the blogs above are in my RSS reader. I have my own preferences amongst them. My two favorites have two of the lower rankings in your index. Which is cool, we do differ a bit in our tastes is all that shows, and the internet is a big place...!
     
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  6. thesterlingtraveler

    thesterlingtraveler Gold Member

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    I may be going out on limb here, but I think TPG has already sold out. Chase is basically paying him to travel for their "where in the world is TPG" or whatever they call it. The last straw for me was when he recommended buying a fairly expensive item (I have since forgotten what it was), then wait for the bonus miles to post and return said item. Completely unethical in my book! It may be ok for him to do it himself, but to recommend a large following of people to do it too crosses the line.
     
  7. edekba

    edekba Gold Member

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    Gary, considering you have a FT job, I believe that your blog is actually on the top of my list. It is very informative & updated regularly with constantly good quality posts .

    That's just my 2cents
     
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  8. giocatoredoro

    giocatoredoro Silver Member

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    Gary: Thanks for your comment. I've always appreciated that fact that you respond cordially to praises and to critiques. And it's a great thing that we (and others) have a difference of opinion regarding the quality of blogs/bloggers. This is ultimately good for all of us that will benefit through a competitive environment (ok enough libertarian talk!).

    Keep up the good work.
     
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  9. guberif

    guberif Silver Member

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    If you haven't been following Ben for a while, he can be hard to get started with. As a long-time reader (every post) I understand his humor, self-deprication and also see his work ethic. He also responds to email questions faster than anyone I know, even in the middle of his recent big move. YMMV, but I think he is one of the nicest guys out there. Yeah, he's younger, but he's been travel hacking for over a decade.
     
  10. edekba

    edekba Gold Member

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    While Ben's trip reports are awesome to read and dream about, I think he creates a lot of envy hate from readers. I can honestly say I don't understand how he can sustain his travel patterns while not having a real job and being as young as he is ... it just doesn't make sense. Then his rants on #firstworldproblems probably just irritate even more readers.

    I just try not to think about the financial/time logistics of Ben and throw it up that he's a rich boy and I'm poor =). Then I go away reading his posts happily.
     
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  11. giocatoredoro

    giocatoredoro Silver Member

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    This is a great point. There's no way he can sustain himself and traveling lifestyle from his blog. I could be totally ignorant, but I just don't see any possible way. I have no problem with how he has the means to travel, and travel well, but I do have a problem with the condescending tones of some of his posts. I do have a problem with him "demanding" a suite upgrade, or him degrading TSA agents for some futile reason. I haven't ever tried to email him, and I've never met him in person, but it's clear he is not cognicent of the tones of his posts.

    I do agree, he does a good job on trip reports. Usually there's a high level of detail in them, but again, you just have to ignore the elitist tone.

    Again, everyone will have their own opinions, but for me, I'm not a big fan.
     
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  12. edekba

    edekba Gold Member

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    He does do award booking ... but even then.

    Maybe he's a drug mule or something.... jk
     
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  13. gconnery

    gconnery Silver Member

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    Don't totally disagree, but then others would have different perspectives than you. As the father of a young child I actually do get quite a bit out of the Mommy Points blog posts that maybe you're not that interested in.

    My top 10 right now, based on what I'm interested in and quite a bit of post frequency:
    1. View from the Wing
    2. The Points Guy
    3. Mommy Points
    4. Frequent Miler (always very interested, just not willing and don't have any Vanilla Reloads anywhere near me)
    5. Million Mile Secrets (understand your point of view, but then maybe I'm stupid)
    6. MileValue
    7. One Mile at a Time
    8. Frugal Travel Guy (falling farther down the list over time...)
    9. Frequent Flyer University (a newcomer for me, useful recently)
    10. Point me to the Plane

    I read all of these and a number of others as well though, and the order has changed over time. Some of these people have other things going on and just can't keep the frequency of posts going. And hey, some of those "destination of the week" and trip reviews and such I actually find useful. Just not a high percentage of them.

    To each his own. If you haven't visited the last two I'd recommend a look... FFU at least is another non-BoardingArea blog and you might want to have a few of those around these days...
     
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  14. guberif

    guberif Silver Member

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    MommyPoints is tied for 1st on my blog reading with One Mile At A Time. I have two kids under 3 and can relate to her so well. Also, I'm likely to take 1 TATL trip per year or two, hopefully to escape from my kids with my wife, versus 1 a month in RTW SQ First :)

    Also really enjoy Hack My Trip (Scottrick); he's a rising star, if you ask me!
     
  15. servo

    servo Silver Member

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    That's a good point. Some of the bloggers are niche. I'm in a DINK household, so I avoid anything talking about kids, because there'll never be any value to me from posts that talk about points/miles from doing shopping for kids, or planning award trips for more than 2 people.

    I'm starting a personal finance and budget travel blog soon, and it's not going to be geared toward milepoint types, but I have heard a LOT of talk on TOBB and here saying they'd like to have a blog for travelers who aren't looking for the caviar results. I think TPG, and a few others have gotten where promoting the fancy trip location posts are nothing more than a hard sell for the affiliate link, saying "you too can live the glamorous life, just do what I do". Except, not everyone has their finances (TPG doesn't seem to be poor by any means) in that great of order. I would feel guilty manipulating card apps in that fashion.

    How many Americans are overseas travelers anyhow? 10-20% of the population? The large majority of the populace wants to stay in the states, figure out how to make their middle-class paychecks (much like mine) go farther for them in life, and on the side, for domestic travel. That's where I'm headed with my blog offering, but it's largely going to be in the niche of the personal finance arena that is well below the majority of readers on FT and MP, so I didn't plan on promoting it here.

    I've worked for financial institutions in one capacity or another for over 10 years now, and some of the things I see posted on some of these blogs, I can only just sit and shake my head at. I can also promise no photos of me or my wife will appear on my blog. :rolleyes:
     
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  16. deant
    Original Member

    deant Milepoint Guide

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    The problem I have with Mommy Points is that she often does not show both sides of a "deal". For example, one day she was saying how you could use Points.com to transfer points between programs. If you just read the blog, you would think that it was a GREAT program. NEVER did she raise the issue about the horrible exchange ratio. To me, she lost a lot of credibility when she did that.

    As for TPG, the day he sold his "business" I noticed a dramatic shift in his blogs. Prior to the sale, I saw a lot of things that were interest to many people (especially for newbies). Since the sale, I have see very little of value.
     
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  17. mommypoints

    mommypoints Gold Member

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    ?? Was I sleep-writing that post, or do you have me confused with a different blogger? Points.com is usually a rotten deal and I have no memory of writing a post like you describe. I can think of one instance a long time ago I might have mentioned them in reference to options with Frontier miles that were given away that folks didn't know what else to do with, but that doesn't sound at all like the post you are describing.

    Pls post a link so I can know what you are referring to bc I totally agree with you that is usually a bad use of miles/points.
     
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  18. gleff
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    gleff Co-founder

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    Or maybe moving a handful of miles (less than 10) from another program to US Airways to generate partner activity during the grand slam?
     
  19. mommypoints

    mommypoints Gold Member

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    That passes muster as well, but doesn't sound like what is being referenced. ;)
     
  20. edekba

    edekba Gold Member

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    actually I think he was referring to another blog. I know what he was talking about as I've read that exact post but I can't recall the name
     
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  21. mommypoints

    mommypoints Gold Member

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    Glad to know I haven't totally lost my mind then. ;)
     
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  22. Scottrick
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    Scottrick Gold Member

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    Rising star with too many other responsibilities. Let's see if I can get this fellowship, and then we'll talk. :) I have trip reports up the yin yang that need to get done.
     
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  23. Scottrick
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    Scottrick Gold Member

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    I would like to add that when people are criticizing the styles of different blogs, a lot of them may not be targeted toward you. I've spoken to a few bloggers about this. If someone is writing all about luxury travel, then he or she may be after aspirational travelers or just people who find it entertaining. Those who can afford it probably don't need his or her help. Not everything is educational. Nor is everything going to be in the same style every day.

    And even if that blogger seems to write about 5-star travel every week, it could also be so that he or she has the opportunity to cover that one destination you actually plan to visit.

    I remember one person who complained about a particular post of mine. I pointed out that if that was the one reason he wanted to stop reading my blog, it seemed a bit foolish to write off everything else if he had found it valuable up to that point. I would probably write something valuable again in the future. But on that particular day, I was targeting someone else. I've run into other people who really liked the post in question.

    I don't read every blog thoroughly. I probably don't read ANY blog thoroughly. But I skim most. You never know when you'll find something interesting.
     
  24. Espan

    Espan Silver Member

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    Thanks to OP for the list and conversation that followed. Will probably lead to me changing my reading habits.

    Have to agree that there's been a noticeable decline in usefulness and my interest level in blogs like TPG and FrugalT post-"selling out"
     
  25. rwoman
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    rwoman Gold Member

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    I think this is a great discussion. That said, I'm not sure any of us are truly objective on FF'er topics...we all have our biases when it comes to airlines, hotels, credit cards, etc.
    :)
     
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