The Best-Looking Travel Blog You’ve Ever Seen?

When I first decided to start writing about my travel experiences, I had no idea what I was doing. Hell truthfully I still don’t have a clue what I’m doing. The adventure part is easy…the hard part is finding time to write about them. But hey at least now I look more stylish while doing it! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  One thing I hate about nearly every travel blog out there is they all look exactly the same: menu up top, a new/featured post slider under that and a boring sidebar that always starts with the obligatory “about me” widget.

I wanted mine to be different.

So last week after building a new web site advertising my web design abilities and services, well I figured it was time to upgrade the HoliDaze as well. And behold, the new look is here! In fact the whole layout of the site has been redesigned to make it easier to navigate and find what interests you. Browse FriFotos, be inspired by up-and-coming travel bloggers, even live vicariously through me if you can’t travel just yet.

The Home Page

The first thing I did was completely trash the stereotypical home page design and come up with a completely new, dynamic one. Although it still highlights a few noteworthy items up top, this is not done in the traditional slider style. In fact the whole theme is built around the parallax idea. This means the backgrounds scroll as you scroll and the floating menu on the left stays with the screen, for even quicker home page navigation.

The New HoliDaze
Both the menu on the left and the quick links sidebar float as you scroll down the page

The main page also includes a full bio about myself and why I travel, as well as a map featuring my past, current, and future travel plans. Now I know what you’re thinking…what a minute, Derek always talks about how he never plans his travels. And you’re right, I don’t plan. But I at least kinda-sorta-maybe know what country I am in now and where I will might end up next. No guarantees, of course.

The New HoliDaze
Now you will always know exactly where I am

Here’s A Secret: I Hate Getting “Where Are You Now?” Tweets / Emails / Messages

Yes, I’m nomadic, sure, I move around a lot. But if you look through my last three tweets you’ll see a location hashtagged. Recently I joined Facebook and now post travel updates there. Hell I’m even on FourSquare and Path. So please, pretty pretty please, don’t ask me that question. Check the new home page instead Thanks for understanding!

  Excerpts from my newest three posts are also show on the home page but below that there are other highlighted areas. These will change every month. I have also included a featured photos section towards the end of the main page that will be updated every few weeks.

The New HoliDaze Presenting HoliDaze highlights and featured photos, both of which change monthly.[/caption]

Navigating The Site

Originally I focused most of my writing and attention on core part the HoliDaze site, which now has nearly 150 different authors. However now that I am on this 4-year 80-country RTW trek I decided that this adventure should be documented on the blog portion of the HoliDaze.

As such one of the biggest things I had to do with this upgrade is organize the site in a more friendly fashion and make navigating it a breeze. The old menu here only had a few simple links, most of them pointing back to and not towards other sections of this blog. That has completely changed now. I’ve expanded the information contained within this blog to answer any questions you might have about me, my adventures, and my services.

The New HoliDaze
Even more things will be added to this menu in the upcoming days

Each Section Looks Completely Different

WordPress is great but one of it’s big limitations has always been that every page is forced to look exactly the same as every other — same layout, same sidebar, same everything. Luckily this has changed over the last year. Using the newest version of WordPress and some of the stylish new features available via plugin, now it is a breeze to make every page and post completely unique.

Each section and every category is many differences, some obvious and some subtle. For starters the sidebar is different with every page / post you view. Not only are the widgets diverse but in some sections the entire sidebar is wider or skinnier, on the left side instead of the right, maybe even not there at all. No dull repetitive layout here ๐Ÿ˜‰

The New HoliDaze Blog Interviews
Even the main interviews page has a different layout than each of the individual interviews. Stylish!

  Speaking of Travel Blogger Interviews I’m finally caught up and ready to resume them.
 Interested in applying? Give me a shout!

Over the next week or two I will be further tweaking and adjusting the new layout, along with adding a few more new sections and continuing to perfect the navigational menus. If you have any suggestions or thoughts please let me know!

What Do You Think?

About Derek Freal

"Some people eat, others try therapy. I travel." ย  Cultural enthusiast. Adrenaline junkie. Eater of strange foods. Chasing unique and offbeat adventures around the world since 2008. Derek loves going to new destinations where he does not speak a word of the local language and must communicate with hand gestures, or places where he is forced to squat awkwardly to poo -- supposedly its healthier and more efficient. For more information (about Derek, not squat pooing) including popular posts and videos, check out his bio.

8 thoughts on “The Best-Looking Travel Blog You’ve Ever Seen?”

  1. Good on you Derek. You’ve put a lot of thought and effort into your new and exciting design.

    Various websites tell us how our website should be designed as you alluded to at the top of this article. However you clearly make the case for the fact that this is your website, nobody elses. You design it to suit your needs and the readers. There is so much here and I love the idea of you alternating page layouts too.

    Keep up the good work.

    • Thanks bro, appreciate the kind words. Yup, I realize in some ways that I’m going against the “norm” here but that’s just the way I am, the way I’ve always been. I don’t like blending in to the crowd or hopping on the bandwagon just because everyone else is already there. Hell, I only joined Facebook a couple months ago and truthfully already regret it. Necessary evil my ass. I’ve survived this long without it. Everyone claims it is a such an important source of incoming traffic for their site but I get only a trickle. Anyway, I’m getting off-topic.

      This new layout is also a kind of social experiment. In the two weeks it’s been in place the amount of emails I have received for guest posts, interviews, and PR opportunities has increased. Curious to see if this trend continues. Also wondering how much attention the rotating photos on the front page photo gallery will get; that will determine if I leave that area as-is or replace them with something new.

      In the end it’s important to remember that standing out from the crowd can be a good thing, but it’s also not for everybody. You’ve got to find what works for you. And this, well this works for me ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Ha ha! You pretty much described my website layout in the beginning of your article. Although, I’m tempted to be offended (don’t worry, I’m not!), I’m just getting started and you’ve given me the hope that it can and will get better. I’ve only been travel blogging for about 3 months now and I just needed to start with a basic format. Sometimes I look at my website and think… “there is just too much white” and “this is such a basic layout”, but for now, I’m just trying to get the content down. Hopefully, down the road, as my adventures expand, so will my website! Thanks for the inspiration and keep up the good work!

    • No worries Toccara, everyone starts simple. Your blog should evolve and as you and your writing do. Technically even though I only got serious about travel writing last year I’ve been blogging since 2008 (although back then it was nothing more than drunken rambles once every few months intended for friends back in the States). I’ve been thinking about creating a design like this for a while and am happy to finally have it in place, but I’m not done tweaking it either.

      If you ever need any help or suggestions with your blog then feel free to ask. If you haven’t noticed already the travel blogging community is a very friendly and supportive one. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Hi,

    Hi, I tried to post this in travel blogger interviews but it wasn’t working. So I guess i’ll try posting it here. We are a young couple in a long distance relationship (NY to LA) that both love to travel together. We have been together for 5 years and have traveled to 11 countries together so far. Our travel blog is fairly new & we would love to be featured on your website. Our blog website is here:

    Thanks in advance,


    • Hi Dichi. Really, it didn’t work? I received the email, saw it at the same time as I got the notification of this new post awaiting approval. Anyway I’m about to start researching blogs for the April edition and will most definitely add yours to the list of candidates ๐Ÿ™‚ Oh and I will also follow-up with your email as well, just give me a couple hours as I’m currently working with a client trading back-and-forth emails every few minutes. Rest assured as soon as our work is done you’ll hear from me again ๐Ÿ™‚


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