Planning a trip and need a heads-up on the hidden quarters and cool hangouts that the average visitor doesn't get to hear about? Then leave your guidebook at home and instead let a growing army of travel bloggers show you the way. Traditional travel books often can't compete with the vast breadth of information on the Internet or a dedicated blogger's constantly updated insights into his home turf or topic. So whether you're after the best burger in Brooklyn or the hottest hotel in Berlin, simply log on. There's a blogger waiting to help.
SHANGHAIDIARIES.COM This stylish blog is the work of American journalist Dan Washburn, who moved to China in 2002. Alongside Shanghai restaurant reviews and city listings, you'll find hundreds of articles, pictures and short videos. And if that isn't enough coverage of China's most dynamic city, Washburn also edits online city guide shanghaiist.com.
NOTESFROMTHEROAD.COM Erik Gauger's sumptuous site contains gorgeous photographs from his trips around the globe. He eschews the camera phones or small digital cameras usually so beloved of travel bloggers and opts instead for an unwieldy, large-format Toyo AX camera with a Schneider lens. He also draws intricate maps in watercolors and acrylics to guide readers through Mexican deserts, the Iberian peninsula, and beyond.
is a website created by Rolf Potts, a renowned shoestring [an error occurred while processing this directive]traveler whose 2002 book, Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel, is a crucial reference for any budget wanderer. He started his companion blog the same year and provides almost daily updates from wherever he is (at press time, it was Paris).
DERELICTLONDON.COM When you're done with the London Eye and Buckingham Palace, turn to Paul Talling's detail-packed blog on obscure pockets of the British capital. He'll take you on a fascinating journey of derelict pubs, World War II bunkers, abandoned buildings, and more. Chances are you won't find any of this information in the guidebooks.
GRIDSKIPPER.COM Here's one for those who've left their backpacking days behind. Launched in April, the site caters to the savvy, upscale traveler looking for the latest places to stay, dine or shop in the world's big cities. During a random trawl, we found opening-night coverage of Miami's latest celebrity hangout, Rokbar, and news that movie director Francis Ford Coppola is renting out his swanky Paris apartment for short stays (it's about $485 a night if you're interested).