Best travel blogs, worst car rental companies, fees gone wild: The top 10 posts of 2010

If there’s a trend in the top blog posts of 2010, it is this: You like to be shocked.

Nothing brought in readers quite like stories about unconstitutional TSA patdowns, flight attendants flipping out and fees gone wild.

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Oh, and you like reading about yourself, too.

This year’s top post, 10 travel blogs you should bookmark in 2010, is an example.

My methodology for pulling together a list of the top 10 travel blogs (I consulted my RSS reader) wasn’t going to win me any journalism prizes, but so what? They don’t give away prizes for the kind of journalism I do, anyway.

But since I was short-listed for the Pulitzer earlier this year, I tried compiling a list with a better methodology: a reader poll. It didn’t seem to carry as much weight and ended up ticking off a lot of my travel blogging friends, who felt snubbed when they didn’t win.

Sorry, guys. I’ll go back to my RSS reader for the 2011 list, which should be out any day now. And if it’s any consolation, I don’t win any popularity contests, either. Who would vote for a consumer advocacy blog?

Here are the other nine stories:

2. Best and worst car rental companies
Wow, this story still has legs, even though it’s been online since 2003. I guess it says more about the state of the car rental industry, and how the mainstream media covers car rentals (mostly as an afterthought) than it does about the enduring nature of my journalism.

3. How to fix your trip
But of course! That’s what people come to my site for.

4. JetBlue flight attendant who bailed after passenger confrontation: “Your carry on drama ain’t worth that to me”
Thank you, Steven Slater, for brightening up an otherwise dull August for travel writers everywhere.

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5. TSA: Enhanced pat-downs coming nationwide Oct. 31?
The TSA has lied to me so many times, I can’t even keep track. Here they are again, trying to mislead me about pat-downs.

6. Credit card charges gone wild: “international transaction fee” added to Puerto Rico purchase
I didn’t know Puerto Rico was another country! You learn something new every day, don’t you?

7. Full text of my subpoena from the Department of Homeland Security
Kids, don’t try this kind of journalism at home. A federal agent could show up at your front door. With a subpoena.

8. Yes, the name on your airline ticket can be changed! (Thanks, Expedia)
An online travel agency that helps one of its customers? Stop the presses. No, seriously, this 2009 post made a lot of people happy. And hopeful.

9. Revenge at sea: 5 ways passengers are getting even with cruise lines
Any time travelers can get back at an industry that they think is taking advantage of them, the story resonates. Case in point.

10. Saying “no” to TSA’s full body scan may come at a price
This is the story that started the pat-down controversy. It’s the first time TSA threw me a curveball about its full-body scanners, but certainly not the last.

Wow, it’s been quite a year. I kind of hope the next one will be a little less eventful. I wouldn’t mind having time to write the great American novel or going diving. My kids would sure like to see me, too.

Kidding about the Pulitzer, by the way.