Sean Dodson with The Guardian´s Alternative Travvies.

Is it because the Guardian or Sean Dodson didn´t think about launching a Best Travel Blog Award themselves? Their reasoning is even wrong, because at least one of the winners of the Travvies is a Dutchman´s Blog (Exposed Planet) and not a US based Blog. Anyway, they had to publish their own Guardian Alternative Travvies list in Sean´s Best of the Net Column:

Well at least there are movements in the field.

How to boost your Blog’s Web Presence: The T-List


The main wisdom is that the more links point to your website, the more traffic you generate and the better the (Blog)search engines can find you. So how to spread the word about your Bog?

Some examples of techniques to get the desired results are:

  • Comment, comment and comment; The advise is both inbound and outbound:
    • Give as many comments on interesting posts of fellow Bloggers as is feasible.
    • Obtain as many comments as possible simply by writing about subjects that may be of interest to others.
  • “I have been tagged”: Somebody points to (tags) usually 5 fellow Bloggers and the tagged ones should answer the pointing (tagging) by a post under the header “I have been tagged” and should give away a few until then unknown personal facts about themselves and at the same time tag 5 new fellow Bloggers.
  • Get interviewed by another Blogger:
    • Guillaume Thevenot exploited this successfully with his tag 20 Blogs I like, wherein from time to time he posts an interview. In addition he started this week publishing a list of 50 top Travel and Hotel Blogs according to technorati.
    • Paul Johnson copied the idea and has thus far published 17 interviews on A Luxury Travel Blog and yes yours truly Happy Hotelier is amongst them!
  • Join communities: For instance My Blog where you can obtain a nice widget (see my right column) that gives you an idea who passes by your Blog. Technorati, is another possibility and there are many more.

The T-List was launched yesterday by by Mathieu of Radar who modeled it after the Z List, originally launched by Mack Collier of Viral garden:

  • The idea is simple: Write a post, and copy and paste the list of the one who T listed your Blog into the post. Make sure the links are active and correct. If your blog is on that list, remove it as all to obvious self promotion is “not done”. Don’t worry, because if your Blog is on a T List, it will be on others and will spread. Add your favorite blogs to the top of the list. Publish the post. People will notice the incoming links, and hopefully write their own T List posts. The result will be that all bloggers will get more links pointing to their blogs, and more readers got to be good!

In other words:

  • Create a new post on your blog.
  • Copy and Paste the entire list of blog links in the post
  • Add any blogs that you want to include near the top of the list. (Optional)
  • Include the blog where you first got the list from, on the list in your post.
  • Do not include your own blog links on the list in your post.
  • Make sure that all links are copied intact.
  • Publish the Post.

Here we go

I add:

To the list of Radar:

  • Hotel Blogs [discontinued]
  • Les Explorers [discontinued]
  • Chrispitality Media Blog [discontinued]
  • A Luxury Travel Blog
  • Travel Rants [discontinued]
  • Travolution Blog
  • BootBlog [discontinued]
  • Erin Julian [discontinued]
  • My Travel Backpack
  • The Travel PR Blog

Your turn!

Added 10 March 2007:

Thanks David Ourisman of Travel Horizons for creating a T-List logo that proudly appears at the top of this post.

Look at my T-List page for an as complete as possible updated T-List.


Last edited by gje February 6, 2017.

The 2007 Travvies Winners

Travvies 2007

Today the Winners of The 2007 Travvies were published:

A grand total of 2306 votes were cast. In some categories, the competition was truly fierce, with the winner separated from the runner-up by single digits.

The winners:

  • Best Photography on a Travel Blog: Exposed Planet.

    Based in the Netherlands, Harry Kikstra, a self-described “climber / expedition leader / photographer / filmmaker / producer / writer / public speaker / cycler and many other things” proffers up a beautiful portfolio of images from his travels around the world. His photos portray both people and places — a reminder that the beauty of travel is not just found in vistas we see, but in the cultures we visit.

  • Best Single-Author Travel Blog: The Cranky Flier.

    Self-described airline dork Brett Snyder serves up commentary on the aviation industry with insight, humor, and a penchant for Photoshopped stock imagery. If it’s about air travel, he’s likely to have an opinion, though in reality it’s not always as curmudgeonly as his blog title implies.

  • Best Group-Written Travel Blog: The Lost Girls’ World.

    Three New York women faced burnout in a “quarterlife” crisis, put their media careers on hold, and took a year to travel the world as a group. The blog is their collection of dispatches from the field, as they explore South America, Africa, and (most recently) Asia. Jealous readers, living vicariously, can pick up locally-specific travel tips as they watch these women living the dream.

  • Best Informative/Practical Travel Blog: The Cranky Flier.

    Cranky, again! Though other blogs were nominated in multiple categories, the Cranky Flier is the only one to actually win multiple awards. As mentioned above, Brett Snyder’s focus on airline news and opinion, with a humorous touch, has won him many fans.

  • Best Destination Blog: Newyorkology

    Amy Langfield helps her readers get a lay of the land in the City That Never Sleeps, with news and event listings for tourists and locals alike. For visitors hoping to hit the ground running, the site is a goldmine of up-to-the-minute information that traditional travel guides might only get around to putting in print 12 months from now.

  • Best Travel Blog: National Geographic Inside Traveler.

    Finally, the big one: Best Travel Blog. Emily King, National Geographic Traveler’s assistant to the editor, and researcher Jessie Johnston round up stories and links from (quite literally) all over the map. Sometimes practical, sometimes destination-specific, but always about exploration and travel. The 2007 award for best travel blog goes to them.

Travvies 2007: Best Travel Blog Awards: open voor voting

Travvies 2007

Upgrade: Travel Better is a blog that mainly describes techniques about how to get a better flying deal by obtaining an upgrade.

On February 2 the author had launched in 2007 Travvies: Best Travel Blog Awards the nomination for the best travel blogs awards in several categories.

Under the nominees were several blogs you will find in my right column, including a shameless bit of self promotion by yours truly.

Today the Finalists were published:


  • Gridskipper.

    Gridskipper is the well known decadent guide to the best in worldwide urban travel. Hotels, restaurants, clubs, flights, and sights all get their due, but we also pay lascivious attention to sex, entertainment, events, and insider advice on where to find the hottest local debauchery. On or off the grid, Gridskipper spotlights the upscale and the underbelly of global city culture.

    One of my resources for quite some time. Although I dislike their arrogance and platitudes sometimes, I give them my vote after considering the next nominated:

  • Brave New Traveler.

    We’re dedicated to publishing high quality content on the nature of travel in the 21st century – everything from useful on line travel tools, entertaining and inspiring travel websites, to exploring the philosophy of travel and the blessing (or curse) of globalization.

    Who Should Read Brave New Traveler?

    Are you someone who loves to wake up in the morning and wonder where they’ll be in the afternoon? Do you enjoy meeting interesting characters from around the world, and learning about their diverse cultures? Do you love travel and want to keep up on the latest on line tools to make your traveling easier, and your travel writing.

  • Girl Solo in Arabia

    Carolyn McIntyre will travel from the Moroccan City of Tangiers through 46 countries as she attempts to recreate an epic journey made 700 years ago by the famed Islamic scholar and traveler Ibn Battuta. Arabist, Middle East political analyst and award-winning expedition creator to Asia, Carolyn has almost three decades of living, working and traveling in the Middle East. A real-life ‘Indiana Jones’ meets ‘Holly Golightly’, her own wanderlust has taken her to all parts of the globe but her specialty lies in her extensive knowledge of and unique insight into, the Arab and Islamic worlds.

    It is very pity Carolyn is not nominated for the best single-author category. Would it have been I would have given her my vote.

  • National Geographic Inside Traveler By Jessie Johnston and Emily King. Difficult to navigate!
  • Newyorkology.

    NewYorkology is a guide to New York City updated daily with the latest openings, closings and reviews to help you plan your trip and know what to do if you’re already here.

    It is a rich source for anything connected with NYC. Consequently it gets my vote in the destination category.


  • Newyorkology See above.
  • Let’s Visit Asia. A B5media Blog writen by Ruth Schaffer:

    I currently write Let’s Visit Asia and Eating Fabulous for b5media, and The Biotech Weblog the Allergizer for Creative Weblogging.

    My interest in Asia travel was born out of work-related travel assignments in Southeast Asia (I am a Microbiologist by training, and used to work on experimental research for an international agricultural research institute). But the craving burgeoned when I relocated to Europe. It seems ironic, but amidst castle ruins and cobblestone streets, I found myself longing for exactly that place which is practically out-of-reach: Asia. Sunny, warm Southeast Asia, in particular. My top destination? The Philippines, of course.

    Next to traveling, eating is my favorite pastime. Luckily I have no problems with my weight. I strongly believe it’s matter of what one eats and how much, and if you can get the balance right, there’s no reason one should miss out on delectable goodies. I absolutely despise being told about stuff I shouldn’t eat. And that’s why EatingFabulous was born. A blog about functional foods and nutraceuticals.

  • Europe String. Also a B5media Blog

    Blogger FAQ

    Who are you? My name is Melissa Petri and I am one of b5media’s travel bloggers. I will be blogging about Travelling Europe on a Budget or Europe String.

    What exactly will you be posting? Tips and tips galore. I think a quick look at the categories I chose would give you an idea of the kind of information I will be sharing.

    Break bread – cheap eats in and around the continent
    Commute – cheaper ways of getting around, whether by land, sea or air
    Forty Winks – where to sleep; from hostels to sleeping at airports
    Did you know? – travel trivia
    Economy-sized tour – focused on a particular city with combination of info
    NEWS – latest budget travel news
    of bandannas and backpacks – featured pictures of readers and their budget traveling experience
    Armchair Traveler

    Are you qualified to blog about travel? Architecture may have been my initial vocation but I have earned my PhD in packing light and choosing the best hotels through years of practice. I am an expatriate in Germany; and count the USA, HongKong, China and Korea in my adoptive land list. Now that I have grown roots in Frankfurt, I have yet to give up my semi-nomadic life as I continue to traipse around the world for business and leisure.

  • JohnnyJet, written by Johnny Jet:

    I used to be afraid to fly (long story). Moved to California from Connecticut at 21– that’s when I conquered my fear. In college I started dating a bona fide princess from Hong Kong. She was accustomed to flying Biz Class. I had ONLY flown coach — and I had never been overseas. When she invited me home, I couldn’t let the opportunity slip by. I (okay, my dad) bought the seat next to her from a consolidator. I picked the right time to have my first out-of-coach experience. WOW! What a difference– A nice phat seat, some hot towels, a little sorbet to clean the palate, non-stop food, beverages and movies. When I returned to the U.S. I felt like a new man. I started working as a college recruiter. While traveling my 26-state territory on a tight budget, I learned traveling in style on a budget was possible. I started a weekly newsletter and to share my tips. Three months later USAToday made website of the week and now it’s my full time job.

  • Yucatan Living.

    This on line magazine is for expatriates who are living, working and playing in Yucatan, but especially for those who are discovering this unique location as a possible destination for retirement, starting a new business or owning a second home. Yucatan Living is also a favorite resource for people who prefer to explore this region and its special culture beyond what most tourist websites and guidebooks usually recommend.
    Yucatan Living covers practical subjects like the immigration process in Merida. We publish local color stories that reveal the variety of lifestyle choices available to new arrivals. We interview expatriates who already live and work in the area to tell how they made a success of moving here. Of course, we also research local services and offer insight into the common problems people face while adapting to a new culture and language.

    Not so much a travel Blog as a blog about the foreigner’s (expat) view to a certain area. Interesting indeed.


  • The Perrin Post.

    With over 15 years as Conde Nast Traveler’s consumer affairs expert Wendelin Perrin has an infinite store of timely and practical advice and insights on everything from the best hotel deal to navigating airport security.

    My choice from the 5 finalists.

  • Cheapest Destinations Blog.

    Tim Leffel is author of The World’s Cheapest Destinations, as well as Make Your Travel Dollars Worth a Fortune: The Contrarian Traveler’s Guide to Getting More for Less. He is also editor of Perceptive Travel (

  • The Cranky Flier.

    Hello. My name is Brett, and I’m an airline dork. I’ve had the bug since I was young. By the age of 12, I was a travel agent. Since then, I’ve worked for USAir, America West, Eos, and United mostly in revenue management, marketing, and sales. Today, I run Travel. As you can imagine, these views are mine and mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of my employer.

  • View From the Wing.

    FlyerTalk, part of the WebFlyer Network, features discussions and chat boards that covers the most up-to-date traveler information. An interactive community dedicated to your favorite topic: travel! That’s right: all travel, all the time. The FlyerTalk forums are open for business 24 hours, 7 days a week. Even better, all travelers — from vacation travelers to mileage junkies — are welcome in the community. Just choose a forum and you can get to the business at hand: conversing about programs, how to make the most of your miles and points, general travel, airports, destination and dining information.

  • Today in Travel. Seems to me a place where they just clonk unedited stuff. Not my style.


  • Brave New Traveler See above. It got my vote as Grid something got already my vote.
  • Gridskipper See above.
  • Vagablogging

    Rolf Potts has reported from more than fifty countries for the likes of National Geographic Traveler, National Geographic Adventure, Conde Nast Traveler,, Outside, Islands, Surfer, Outpost, the San Francisco Chronicle Magazine,, The Guardian (U.K.), and National Public Radio. Currently a travel columnist for Yahoo! News (and formerly a travel columnist for, his adventures have taken him across five continents, and include piloting a fishing boat 900 miles down the Laotian Mekong, hitchhiking across Eastern Europe, traversing Israel on foot, bicycling across Burma, and driving a Land Rover from Sunnyvale, California to Ushuaia, Argentina.

    Potts is perhaps best known for promoting the ethic of independent travel, and his book on the subject, Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel (Random House, 2003), has been through six printings and translated into several foreign languages. His writing has also been featured in nearly twenty literary travel anthologies, and thirteen of his essays have been short-listed for Houghton Mifflin’s annual Best American Travel Writing collection — including the gonzo classic “Storming ‘The Beach'”, which Bill Bryson chose as a main selection in 2000, and “Tantric Sex for Dilettantes,” which Tim Cahill selected in 2006. His writing for National Geographic Traveler,, and Outside garnered him Lowell Thomas Awards in 2003, 2004 and 2006; and he’s been cited as an expert on independent travel by publications around the world, from National Geographic Adventure, to TIME Asia, to Italy’s La Stampa daily, to the Australian Financial Review.

    Though he keeps no permanent residence, Potts feels somewhat at home in Bangkok, Cairo, Pusan, New Orleans, and north-central Kansas, where he keeps a small farmhouse on 30 acres near his family. Each July he can be found in France, where he is the summer writer-in-residence at the Paris American Academy.

    Impressive piece of self promotion :-)!

  • triphub Group Trip Advisor. By Jocelyn Milici:

    A Blog dedicated to Group Travel.
    A little background on me: I’ve worked in online travel for the last eight years (including producing and managing content at Expedia for nearly five years), traveled the globe (from Hawaii to Israel), helped organize events (from presidential campaigns to local auctions), planned numerous group trips (family and friend get-togethers mainly), and have felt the pain of using inefficient methods of planning a trip or an event with groups involved – email after email, endless phone calls, trying to keep track of RSVPs, accommodating changes. So many wasted hours keeping all the details straight! My hope is to help create group travel efficiency in any way possible by sharing and stimulating discussions.

  • Lost Girls’ World.

    Three twenty-something New Yorkers who ditched their media jobs to embark on a yearlong, round-the-world journey in search of adventure and inspiration. To find out what prompted them to leave everything familiar behind.

    First impression is a Blog about their whereabouts….


  • Killing Batteries. Leif Pettersen’s battery-powered rise to the zenith of travel writing rapture… I love it! I vote it! (sorry Carolyn).
  • AdventureGirl. The travel stories of a Flight Attendant who started in November 2004
  • The Cranky Flier. See above.
  • Flight Level 390. A blog of an Airline Pilot which gives the reader an insider view with photo’s added.
  • Travel Sweeps. About Travel Sweepstakes. Not my cup of tea.


  • Exposed Planet. A photo Blog of a fellow Dutchman, Harry Kikstra (36) who climbed 7 summits and also is a expedition leader/ photographer/ filmmaker/ producer/ writer and more. His statement:

    I have started not only as a way to show my portfolio, but also to share the beauty of our planet. Nowadays negative press & media might make people scared of everything foreign or different: culture, religion, people and the places themselves. This xenophobia is taking over our lives and prevents us from seeing the real world as it is: a wonderful place with beautiful people. There are no bad or evil countries, religions or people. There is bad and good people in every culture, including your own.

    Nice statement and nice site! I’ll consider it for my vote….It gets my vote.

  • Life Vicarious.

    My name is Christian Wagner and I am a 31 year old guy from Newport Beach, CA who loves to travel and take pictures. I have taken a number of international trips over the past 4 years and have decided to take a slightly longer trip. On September 29th, 2006 I take off on what will be a 448 day journey around the world. The plan is to cover 6 of the 7 continents (not going to Antartica, at least I don’t think I will but you never know!) and who knows how many countries. Along the way I will be keeping a daily photoblog chronicling the trip. And hopefully a story or two will accompany some of the photos.

    Very nice photos!

  • Michael Simon on the Road Blog seems to be discontinued. So not my vote, although nice photos!
  • Flight Level 390 A blog of an Airline Pilot which gives the reader an insider view with photo’s added. Not eligible for my vote in this category.
  • Notes From the Road To me this seems more like an anti developer Blog than a photo Blog. Wrong category, but see the comments to this post.

Also the members of the Jury were introduced.

Time to Vote which is possible until March 1, 2007.

Note: From time to time, after checking the nominees, I’ll add my findings to this post and order them according to my own preference.

Istanbul and the art of booking a hotel online: Nothing Zen!

2007 September Art en Route in Istanbul CRW_2337A
I am starting this post at the end of 2006 because a journalist of the Guardian has asked me to give some insight comments about booking your travel via Internet. Well, what better answers to such question than to describe what you do on the Internet to get some answers while it is for real?

Once a year, in September, we use to travel with a very heterogeneous group of Baby Boomer friends to a city to experience Modern Art. The name of the loosely organized association is aptly chosen “Art en Route”. It even has its own logo. Art en Route has its own Small-Museum-of- Modern-Art-director who gives the group lessons in Modern Art and prepares briefs about places to visit and artists to see and acts as the Art guide in the city. He is very well humored and has to be, because the group often gives its cynical comments about the “Artsy” character of what is displayed. We (he and Art en Route members) learn a lot!

Earlier trips were to Barcelona, Berlin, Paris, and Venice. The Berlin and Venice trips I attended, The rest I had to forgo, as I had to look after our own hotel guests.

In 2007 we are to visit Istanbul for the Istanbul Art Biennale.

The frequent travelers of Art en Route and I -as the Hotelier and Internet geek- of Art en Route are asked for Hotel suggestions. After I had suggested Propeller Island City Lodge for our September 2006 trip to Berlin, I am afraid some members of the group will vote against any of my suggestions.

However, I should mention that I suggested this Hotel only after my DW called me up in the middle of the night when the trip went to Barcelona in a prior year (2004): She had just checked into the group’s hotel of choice and very much to her dissatisfaction. The room had only one window that looked out on a blind wall of an in-house light shaft and the pipes of the hotel kitchen and various air conditioners were blowing their air and stink with a lot of noise into the shaft. She demanded me to look for another hotel on the Internet immediately. Also the hotel was very shabby and located in the center of the ”Quartier Des Madames”. Hence she wanted to move out and check in into another hotel immediately. Apart from the fact that then it took even more effort to find a suitable hotel, I didn’t succeed to find any other hotel room at all for her, as Barcelona was fully booked, at least according to the consolidators and very few hotels had their availability accessible through their own sites in those days. Therefor I am always hesitant to book last minute, whatever the deal may be. Unfortunately on the other hand my DW and I are usually forced to book last minute by our work.

Internet is more about randomly than scientifically approaching such questions. Therefor I describe my rather random (in earlier years the buzz word would be fuzzy) approach while avoiding the Five Star Alliances of this world.

  • My first inclination is to go to the site of Bookings, already because, originally, it was set up by a couple of Dutchman and because it is a fast loading site and has a lot of useful content (good maps!) and added somewhere in 2005 or 2006 user generated hotel reviews to it. It comes up with 102 hotels in Istanbul….now where to start…..leave it for the moment. By the way: They changed their name into Booking.
  • Mr and Mrs Smith? I red somewhere (yes it was in The Guardian) that the couple behind the guides and the site got married very luxuriously. They have only the Sofa Hotel. I discussed this already with the lady in charge of booking for Art en Route, but it is probably a bit to far away from the city center.
  • Relais et Chateaux? Has no Istanbul Hotel presence.
  • Luxury Culture? No Istanbul Hotels.
  • The Kiwi collection comes up with the first useful hit that draws my attention: Sumahan on the Water on the board of the Bosporus, about half an hour from the city center by water taxi. I would love to stay at this place as I know where it is and know (because once I made a trip on board of the US Ambassador’s motor launch “Hiawatha” over the Bosporus) how beautiful the scenery is there and how you can be sensationally surprised if a Russian Mega Crude carrier comes along when you potter on the Bosporus in a relatively small motor boat. It is even more sensational than when from Rotterdam Centrum you want to visit Hotel New York in Rotterdam. The river Maas is very busy there with a lot of Big Barge traffic up and down the River.
    A drawback of the Kiwi Collection is that it lists few hotels and gives Istanbul and Marmara as location result: Marmara is approximately 100 miles apart from Istanbul, i am not searching for Marmara.
  • Then I look at Tripadvisor phew, 344 hotels…Again: Where to start…?
  • Once I got the tip for Travel Intelligence [ed: diascontinued since publishing this post] from a Dutch guy who takes 2 to 25 Euro cents from a respectable number of Chinese travelers pouring over Europe whereby he acts as an intermediary for booking them cheap hotel rooms. Probably he is wiser than I am. Hey! They revamped the Travel Intelligence site: Not so much faster loading, but definitely a better look and feel and a map! They also mention the Sumahan. It is probably a bit too expensive for the group. It is located in an old Raki distillery. That is interesting.
  • I turn to and see that a couple of hotels offer up to 25% early booking savings and other hotels have probably not set their availability correctly.
  • I am definitely avoiding the SPG (Starwood Preferred Guest) booking site as I recently found out that before you know how, you make a decently priced reservation but forfeit your up front payment if you want to change your date of booking or just made a simply made error in the booking.

A couple of hours went by. Now, like another Blogger, Heather Green at BusinessWeek put it eloquently recently: I should take a walk around the block to let my brain do something else than troll: surf and read and read without my brain taking anything in….on the other hand: I use to surf as an alternative way to walking around the block thinking about issues that come up in my work…

My first conclusion is: Look at various dedicated hotel sites, be it luxury, design, romance or whatever you have in mind and then check back with the bigger sites as Booking, Expedia and the like.

I look further:

My second conclusion is: First I should have called upon a friend of mine who is a big shot in business, has lived several years in Istanbul not so long ago and still frequently travels there….

Will be be continued somewhere in February, when we have Art en Route’s opening of the season session.

In the meantime I would appreciate suggestions from readers.

Update: Eventually we staid at a Hotel near the Kybele hotel which had a nice lobby for a drink.

Last edited by gje on December 17, 2016

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