I’m ready to blog, Jeeves (courtesy maveric2003 at Flickr Creative Commons)In the churning madness of the blogosphere, it’s tough to separate the ol’ wheat from the bloggy chaff.

Just when I think I’ve gotten my RSS feeds down to a reasonably insane number (only 97!) I find other great stuff out there.  It’s time to take a snapshot of five blogs that I always make time to read; maybe I can help others to declutter from the travel info storm.

1)  The Perrin Post.   Consumer Travel News Editor Wendy Perrin is one of the main reasons that I keep my subscription to Conde Nast Traveler magazine, even though it seems to veer into the materialistic and foo-foo more often than I’d like.  Wendy is the anti-foo-foo.  A smart Harvard grad with a nose for useful travel scoop, she just started blogging in August 2006 and is a classic example of print media getting smart about online media.  Lucky me:  we’re going to snarf down some deep-dish pizza together at dinner this weekend, after attending the SOBCon 07 blogging conference in Chicago.  Wendy’s leaving no stone unturned to make herself a better blogger, and I admire her for that.

2)  Killing Batteries.   The guy’s going to think I’m a stalker, I’ve linked to him so often lately, but I can’t stand to see good writing and a butt-kicking work ethic go to waste.  Leif Pettersen is usually a Romania and Moldova expert, but lately, thanks to an unexpected guidebook update assignment from Lonely Planet, he’s been blogging about adventures in Tuscany on his travel writing blog, Killing Batteries.  Warning — do not blow your coffee through your nose laughing when you read his thoughts on Italian driving or wearing shorts in Italy.

3)  This Just In.    This is a brand-new blog but is typical of Budget Travel ; a daunting blizzard of helpful information, updated about every 17 seconds.   This Just In…. lets the intrepid BT staff keep you updated with lots of little tidbits rather than holding everything for the magazine.  By the way, I particularly like Budget Travel because it features destinations that you don’t find anywhere else AND that a human on a budget can actually GET to; for example, seeing the Yoopers.  I now know more about Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (hence “yooper”) than I’ve ever known before, and I really want to see it someday.  The magazine isn’t chintzy about posting a lot of its print content online, either, unlike some mags that I love (National Geographic Traveler, can you hear me?  If it’s in the current issue, I understand holding back to sell print mags, but after that, give it up to the trons!)

4)  My year of getting published.   I like this blog by Kiwi Liz Lewis because she’s just about where I am in the freelance writer pantheon; starting to hit her stride.   Last year, she put it all out there in the blogosphere when she wrote about her decision to seriously “make a go of it” as a writer.  She’d post about her queries and how they were going, what bombed and what didn’t, and what she was learning over at her New Zealand travel blog.  Our paths often cross in the comments section of the Perrin Post (see above) and now she’s started a blog called Christchurch Tour Guide at Home Turf Media, where I run the Carnival of Cities (when it’s not “on tour.”)   We sort of wave to each other, in print.

5)  The CHOW blogs.   OK, I’m cheating since there are three blogs here, but there are some major foodies at CHOW, the online food magazine.  I’ve written for them about eating like a local in Austin, but the site’s blogs go into some incredible detail about good food and where to find it.  The CHOW Tour covers North American cuisine,  the Grinder has the top food stories in the media and the Digest has a daily roundup of CHOW goodies.  For guidance from locals on where to eat, the Chowhound discussion boards will offer more tips than you can handle.

There you have it; hope you find these five blogs useful and fun to read.  This post is part of the ProBlogger Top 5 Group Writing Project – many thanks to Darren Rowse for hosting this fun blogging opportunity.

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