Posting power: 7 tips for blogging your way to a better trip

Had a problem with your last trip? Fire up your PC and post something online.

Go on. You just might change the travel industry like Carl Larson did. When he tried to check a regulation-size box on a recent JetBlue flight, an unfriendly ticket agent demanded that he fork over $50. The reason? The box contained a folding bike.

So Larson blogged about the experience on the Bicycle Transportation Alliance’s site, calling the airline’s policy “ridiculous.” The story was picked up by another blog, Then it made its way onto another site called the Consumerist.

It didn’t take long for JetBlue to fold. Not only did the airline refund Larson’s $50. It changed its rules, too. “Customers traveling with folding bikes in a bag that fits within the standard checked bag weights and dimensions will not be charged the bike fee and will be treated like any checked bag,” a representative told him.

Bloggers are changing the travel industry.

• When Julie Yack had a bad stay at a Las Vegas hotel, she published the details on her blog. “It proved rather effective,” she told me. “The general manager called me that day, told me the hotel owners now know what a blog is, and worked hard to make things right.” That included an apology and an offer of a free two-night stay.

• Debbie Dubrow fired up her laptop after her car rental agency offered her “aged, unclean, and in many cases broken” car seats for her child. The resulting blog post was devastating. “It eventually led ABC News to pick up and investigate the story,” she told me. “Its impact reached far beyond a single news broadcast, though.” Indeed, the company pledged to clean up its act, and California agreed to revisit its child safety-seat laws.

• Catherine Connors hit the blogosphere after a flight attendant demanded she “cover up” with a blanket when nursing her infant son on a flight. The post caught the attention of other bloggers and national media. “WestJet changed and clarified its policies for flight attendants on in-flight breastfeeding,” she says.

The travel industry isn’t just hip to blogging. In many cases, it takes blogs more seriously than the mainstream media. “Blogging has a sense of authority and authenticity that other media doesn’t have,” says Rebecca Goldberg, a hotel design expert and editor-in-chief of Boutique Design magazine. She’s been tracking the influence of bloggers on the hotel industry, and says it grows with each year. Other travelers — particularly those booking their hotels online — feel that blogs are more believable than what they read in a newspaper or watch on TV. “If I read something in a blog,” she says, “it reads more like advice and less like a promotion for the hotel.”

How do you become part of the blogging revolution in travel? Here are a few ideas.

1. Get in the habit

Becoming a travel blogger may be easy at first — all it takes is a computer and an Internet connection — but it’s a lot of work over time. Max Hartshorne, a blogger who edits the travel Web site, says only a few rules apply. “Don’t write blog posts longer than 300 to 400 words, or about four paragraphs,” he says. “Make sure the headlines are specific, and aren’t misleading. Post at least three to five times a week — or don’t bother.” Travel blogging takes some discipline, but if you feel as if you’ve got something to say, Hartshorne says you should get started now.

2. Find a specialty

Want to start a general-interest travelogue? Good luck. There are tens of thousands of well-read general travel blogs. But focus on a single topic, like renting cars or visiting a particular destination, and you’re off to the races, say experts. “You don’t have to just say, ‘This is my topic,’” says Richard Laermer, author of “2011: Trendspotting for the next decade” (McGraw-Hill). “You have to say, ‘What’s my niche?’” Become an expert, so that when people read you, they’ll come away with the feeling that you believe in what you’re talking about.

3. Be opinionated

Don’t be shy about telling your audience what you think about a particular travel product or experience. Feedback — both positive and negative — is often welcome not just by readers, but travel companies. “I’d recommend that bloggers take the opportunity to be a key resource for companies looking to enhance their service by providing fast and fresh feedback,” says Joe Poulin, chief executive of Luxury Retreats, a villa rental company.

4. Tell an interesting story

“Think about what you would want to know about a foreign city or country before traveling for the first time and incorporate those details in your blog,” says Reggie Miller, the chief executive of Iced Media, a New York City-based online marketing and research agency. He says travel blogs can serve as both a glimpse into your own travels and offer a service to fellow travelers who are looking for advice on their next trip. “Details are key,” he adds. “The more information without getting too wordy, the better.”

5. Be real

One of the things that set bloggers apart from mainstream-media types like me is that they write in a more informal, conversational style. They also tell it like it is without worrying about upsetting an advertiser or source. “Be honest and write about a subject or destination that you are passionate about,” says Jason Sarracini, who blogs at “The best teachers are ones that are passionate about their subject — and the same applies to bloggers.”

6. Play fair

A blog may not be a newspaper, but some of the rules of journalism should still be considered, if not followed. For example, if you’re slamming an airline or resort, think about asking your subject for a comment. “If you did not like a certain aspect from your travel experience ask a decision-maker to provide details on why or why not,” says Katena Carvajales, the media-relations manager at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. “That will give their reader an opportunity to make the decision on their own.” (That assumes, of course, that the company will take questions from a blogger — some don’t.)

7. Think beyond words

The most effective blogs don’t just use the written word, but also audio and video, to convey their message. Discount travel agency STA Travel hosts several employee blogs, and has found that multimedia really clicks. “The video blog from our last intern, Pat Blute, was great because people got to actually see Pat in the Galapagos and watch him skydiving in Australia rather than just read about his experience,” says Kristen Celko, the company’s vice president of marketing and ecommerce.

With just a little know-how, perspective and honesty, you can join the blogging revolution in travel. But maybe the best part about a Web log — other than that almost anyone can do it — is its potential to improve the travel experience.

It’s about time. Those of us who had the power to push for change, the folks who reported for the established media, have fallen asleep on the job for the most part. We’ve become tired and complacent, cozying up to our advertisers and rarely writing a critical word about an industry that has forgotten the meaning of customer service.

For us, blogging is a long overdue wake-up call.

Underwritten by

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Cavalry Travel Insurance

Cavalry takes the worry of out travel by providing 24/7 access to medical and security professionals combined with the best medical evacuation and security extraction services. Cavalry gets you home safely when you need it most. Learn more at

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Seven Corners

Seven Corners has helped customers all over the world with travel difficulties, big and small. As one of the few remaining privately owned travel insurance companies, Seven Corners provides insurance plans and 24/7 travel assistance services to more than a million people each year. Because we’re privately held, we can focus on the customer without the constraints that larger companies have. Visit Seven Corners to learn more.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Sodexo North America

Sodexo North America Sodexo North America is part of a global, Fortune 500 company with a presence in 80 countries. Sodexo is a leading provider of integrated food, facilities management and other services that enhance organizational performance, contribute to local communities and improve quality of life for millions of customers in corporate, education, healthcare, senior living, sports and leisure, government and other environments daily. Learn more at

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Travelex Insurance Services

Travelex Insurance Services is a leading travel insurance provider in the United States with over 55 years combined industry expertise of helping people dream, explore and travel with confidence. We offer comprehensive travel insurance plans with optional upgrades allowing travelers to customize the plans to fit their needs. Compare plans, get a quote and buy online at

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by AirHelp

AirHelp is the world’s leading flight delays compensation company, helping passengers apply for compensation following a delayed or canceled flight or when boarding has been denied. It is AirHelp’s mission to fight for passenger rights by holding airlines accountable for flights disruptions that are out of passengers’ control. AirHelp has already helped 5 million people, taking the stress out of applying for compensation and making it as hassle-free as possible for travelers around the world.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Allianz Travel Insurance

The Allianz Travel Insurance company has built its reputation on partnering with agents all around the world to provide comprehensive travel insurance for their clients. Contact Allianz Travel Insurance for a comprehensive list of coverage.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Chubb

Chubb is the world’s largest publicly traded property and casualty insurance company, and recognized as the premier provider of insurance for successful individuals and families in the U.S. and selected international markets, offering coverage for high-value automobile, homeowners, recreational marine/aviation, valuables and umbrella liability coverage. As an underwriting company, Chubb assesses, assumes and manages risk with insight and discipline, and combines the precision of craftsmanship with decades of experience to conceive, craft and deliver the best insurance coverage and services to individuals, families and business of all size.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Fareportal

Fareportal’s portfolio of brands, which include  CheapOair and  OneTravel, are dedicated to helping customers enjoy their trip. Whether you want to call, click, or use one of our travel apps, one thing is clear: We make it easy to take it easy.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by

An independent provider of low cost CDW/LDW insurance for use with rental cars. Up to $100,000 cover with no deductible. Policies available on a per day, per trip or per year basis. Also works with overseas rentals. Try  Insuremyrentalcar.comnow.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Mediacom Communications

The nation’s fifth-largest cable operator, serving the smaller cities and towns in the Midwest and Southern regions of the United States. We are a high-performance broadband, entertainment, and communications company that brings the power of modern technology and quality customer experience to life inside the connected home by combining ultra-fast gigabit speeds with personalized local and over-the-top entertainment choices that fit your lifestyle. Details at

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Arch RoamRight

Arch RoamRight is one of the fastest growing, most-highly rated travel insurance companies in the United States. Travel advisors love working with us, and travelers feel protected with our trip cancellation and travel medical insurance coverage. We also make it easy to file a claim online with our fast, paperless claims website. Learn more about RoamRight travel insurance.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Virtuoso

The leading global network for luxury and experiential travel. This invitation-only organization comprises over 1,000 travel agency locations with 17,500 advisors in over 45 countries, and holds preferred relationships with 1,700 of the world’s finest travel companies. Virtuoso advisors collaborate with their clients to create personalized itineraries featuring exclusive perks, while also providing advice, access, advocacy, and accountability. For more information, visit

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by VisitorsCoverage

As a company that is constantly striving to simplify travel insurance, VisitorsCoverage, is on a mission to help travelers make the better decisions about purchasing travel insurance, quickly. VisitorsCoverage has helped millions of travelers globally to buy the suitable travel insurance and explore the world with confidence. Get insurance for your next trip at  VisitorsCoverage. Lowest Price Guaranteed.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by MedjetAssist

Medjet is the premier global air-medical transport, travel security and crisis response membership program for travelers. With a MedjetAssist membership, if you become hospitalized more than 150 miles from home, we will get you from that unfamiliar hospital all the way home to the hospital you trust. All you ever pay is your membership fee. MedjetHorizon members add 24/7 personal security and crisis response benefits. readers enjoy discounted rates. Travel safer with  MedjetAssist.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Southwest Airlines

The mission of Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit. We are committed to provide our Employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by makes it fast and easy to compare and buy travel insurance online from top rated providers. Our unbiased comparison engine allows travelers to read reviews, compare pricing and benefits and buy the right policy with a price guarantee, every time. Compare and buy travel insurance now at

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Squaremouth

Squaremouth helps travelers easily and instantly compare travel insurance policies from all major providers. Only companies that meet the strict requirements of Squaremouth’s Zero Complaint Guarantee are available on the website. Compare policies on to save over 70 percent on your next purchase.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Travel Leaders Group

Travel Leaders Group is transforming travel through its progressive approach toward each unique travel experience. Travel Leaders Group assists millions of travelers through its leisure, business and network travel operations under a variety of diversified divisions and brands including All Aboard Travel, Andrew Harper Travel, Colletts Travel, Corporate Travel Services, CruCon Cruise Outlet, Cruise Specialists, Nexion, Protravel International,, Travel Leaders Corporate, Travel Leaders Network and Tzell Travel Group, and its merger with ALTOUR. With more than 7,000 agency locations and 52,000 travel advisors, Travel Leaders Group ranks as one of the industry’s largest retail travel agency companies.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Travelers United

If you’ve been mistreated by the airlines, Travelers United is your voice in Washington. Join the #1 travel advocacy organization working with Congress to improve and protect travelers. Plus, get $400 of annual benefits you can use for travel for only $29/year. Add your voice to ours. Make travel better.  Join today.

Send this to a friend