Top Tips for Travel Blogging

The rise of social media means we’re much more likely to share our travelling experiences now, than ever before. From posting pictures or even the odd Facebook boast, we like to let people know what we’re up to.

And, we think it’s a brilliant thing! With 60% of Brits updating their status TEN times whilst on holiday, we certainly have a lot to say.
If you’re happily guilty of being a social sharer, have you considered blogging? We love to post personal accounts from our passengers on this very blog, and if you want to try your hand at travel writing, here are our top tips to create the perfect post.

Don’t be too formal

We know, when you read travel guides, you’re not only left to pick out a few key bits of information from hundreds of pages, but it’s jam packed with big words and industry jargon. It can be slightly overwhelming.
When it comes to blogging, write simply. Write as if you were speaking to a friend, easy to understand language keeps your reader focused, there’s no need to over complicate it.
Keep your sentences and your paragraphs short, and break up your text with sub-headings. When people are taking time to read your piece, make it easy for them to see what’s written within.

Write in first person and past tense

It’s your experience and your story, so write from your perspective. When people are reading travel blogs, they’ll be looking for opinions. What you thought about a certain place, where you would suggest people visit.
Your visit gives your writing credibility, and your reader is there to read about what you got up to, just to see if it’s something they may like too. Don’t feel like it has to be written like a story book. Aim to entertain, not necessarily impress.

Start strong!

You don’t have to recall all of your trip in chronological order, what you want to do is to cherry-pick the best bits of your story.
And, this is no different with your opening paragraph. Let us know what makes your story interesting, grab your reader’s attention, and then, write about your favourite experiences.
A great tip would be to break your blog down into destinations, rather than days. Use sub-headings and let us know if you have any quirky little stories from your visit.

Find your angle

Are you a single traveller heading to unknown lands? Are you heading off on a special pilgrimage with your partner? Maybe, you’re on a journey of discovery? Each can be a unique angle to write from.
Think about what you’d like to have known prior to your trip. Whilst writing can be your hobby, it can also be an information source for others. If you have a reason for people to read your piece, they will.

Mix up your content

Keep your writing light by using photos, treat it like a show and tell. As they say, a picture can tell a thousand words, but it can also enhance your writing.
You will give the reader a better idea of what you’re talking about with visuals as images are easily digested. And, according to Content +, articles with images get 94% more views than those without.
(Be sure to use your own images, though. Pictures found online will, more often than not, be covered by copyright.)
It’s always great to throw in some interesting facts, or quotes from locals, your guides, or your travel companions, too. Keep your readers interested and give them something to take away from your writing.

Have fun writing!

Most importantly, have fun writing your blog. Your enthusiasm and passion for the subject will come across through your writing and make your blog post a pleasure to read.
So, there you have it. Our top tips for travel writing. Are you ready to begin? If you fancy writing a blog post for Leger Blog, send your work over to blog@legerblog.co.uk
 

Paul Reed: What The Somme Means to Me

I grew up on stories of the First World War from my grandmother: in 1916 she was a young girl in Colchester and remembered the wounded at the local station still with Somme mud on their uniforms, and recalled, often with tears, her own lost generation of cousins who never came home.

On the Somme 1988After years of reading about it, one summer more than 35 years ago I found myself walking the dusty tracks out from the town of Albert onto the fields and through the woods where this momentous battle took place. Walking the ground added a new dimension to my understanding not just of the Somme, but the whole First World War.
The ridges and the woods, and how they dominated the battlefield all made perfect sense and as I visited the area more and more it was clear the Somme was like many battlefields: it was a huge jigsaw of many pieces and gradually through visiting and researching, it’s story unfolded, the pieces came together, and it all made sense.
So many places on the Somme hold special memories for me during these early years of visiting: at Gommecourt I got access to a wood where one of the Great War veterans I knew had been dropping shells from his siege guns. Incredibly I found shell holes among the trees caused by his very guns!

Serre

the killing fields of Serre
The Killing Fields of Serre

Serre was always a special place to walk the ground, as I had interviewed veterans from Accrington, Barnsley, and Sheffield who had fought there. One thing they all recalled just before the whistles blew were the sound of skylarks singing high in the summer sky above the carnage that was about to unfold: and skylarks still sing at Serre, evoking those memories even a century later.
With veterans on the Somme 1985
With Veterans on the Somme 1985

Delville Wood

The woods of the Somme are incredibly atmospheric. In Delville Wood nature has triumphed after the place known as Devil’s Wood to the troops was reduced to mere matchsticks by the bombardments.
One tree from the original wood survived, but today the wood has regrown and is alive with flowers in the spring, and deer walk the rides where once battalion after battalion was destroyed. Somehow it all seems incredibly appropriate: that the return of the land to what it once was makes the sacrifice bearable, if not worthwhile.
Delville Wood 1916Among the trees of Delville Wood today
 

Newfoundland

Few trenches remain on the Somme, but at the Newfoundland Park a whole battlefield landscape was preserved not only making it possible to understand the static nature of WW1 but it is a place where you can sit and imagine the whistles blowing and men walking into machine-gun oblivion on the black day of 1st July 1916.
Here I think of my grandmother’s brother: shot through the legs as he went Over the Top that day.

trenches Newfoundland Park
The Trenches at Newfoundland Park

I’ve walked the Somme a thousand times, and I hope to continue to walk and visit it for many years to come, whether for television, with a Leger group or just on my own. It is a place that haunts you, and along its dusty lanes, and under the trees of its many woods, the voices of a generation of men still resonate.
The Somme will stand for so much to so many: sacrifice, tragedy or sheer bloody murder. But for me, it will always be a place where I can focus on the essence of the Great War: ordinary men in extraordinary circumstances, doing their bit in something they knew was bigger than them, and which defined the deaths of those who fell and the lives of the majority who came home. The Somme changed them all, and a hundred years later it can change us.
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Coming soon… Paul Reed’s Battlefield Blog.

Join in and experience the battlefields from Leger Holidays’ Head Battlefield Guide’s perspective as Paul Reed takes us on his personal journey through the Battlefields of Europe.

Our new feature will include regular updates from Paul. From personal encounters to new tour updates, sharing his wealth of military knowledge and research.

 
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Top Wine Regions in Europe

From impressive architecture to some of the world’s most iconic attractions, Europe really does have it all. And, to top it all off, it’s also home to some of the best vineyards, producing the world’s most popular wines, year after year.

Whether you’re a wine connoisseur, looking to indulge in some wine tasting or just enjoy a glass of the grape, what could be better than getting to know just where your favourite tipple comes from?
But, don’t just go by what you heard through the grapevine. Delve into some of the picturesque vineyards on the continent as we take you some of the best wine making regions that Europe has to offer.

Bordeaux

St. Emilion, Frankreich
Nestled in the southwest of France, needing little introduction, Bordeaux is one of the largest and most recognisable wine regions in Europe. And, whilst it may not be known for its striking beauty, it is home to some of the most sought after and expensive wines in the world.
In fact, the most expensive bottle of wine ever to be sold by auction came in at an eye-watering £105,000! The name? Chateau Lafite, a Bordeaux wine.
Its reputation as a great wine region comes from its superb reds. With its perfect combination of climate and soil, around 75-80% of the wine produces
Wine Producing Grapes from the Bordeaux Region
Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot

Champagne

champagne-13041
Of course, we can’t forget about the Champagne region in northern France. EU law actually states that only sparkling wines made in this region can go by the name Champagne, which certainly helps with its label as one of the world’s most elite drinks.
The Champagne province, just a short hop across the channel, is actually pushing the northernmost limits of the winemaking world. With its high altitude and low temperatures make it difficult for the grapes to fully ripen – but do make the grapes highly acidic, making them perfect for sparkling wine.
But, not only does the area produce world-famous champagnes, but there’s also a nice selection of non-sparkling wines and even the odd rosé.
Wine Producing Grapes of the Champagne region
Pinot Noir, Meunier, Chardonnay

Douro Valley

obidos-12907
One of the oldest and more picturesque European wine regions. Stretching from Porto to the Spanish border, it became the first wine region in the world to have a formal demarcation, meaning only in that region can Port wine be made.
And, of course, it’s famous for its production of Port. Packed into the north of Portugal, the Douro is also a popular producer of some brilliant, and relatively cheap, young table wines of all types – red, white and rosé.
The area is split into 3 sub-regions; Baxio Corgo which is the mildest and has the most rain, the largest Cima Corgo, standing at an impressive 47,000 acres and the hottest and driest region, the Duoro Superior producing the best quality wines.
The general rule of thumb is that the further east the region lies, the drier the climate and the deeper the wine, giving a great selection if you’re wanting to bring home some delicious Duoro wines.
Wine Producing Grapes from the Douro Region
Tinta Barroca, Mourisco Tinto, Tinta Roriz, Malvasia, Viosinho

Mosel

river-rhine-14206
Taking its name from the Mosel River, it’s the third largest wine region in Germany. But, most will consider it the best, thanks to the regions international prestige.
Whilst many people associate Germany with beer, its wine production has brought about some highly sought-after bottles.
It’s thought that the vineyards were first introduced to this area by the Romans, who planted their crops along the Rhine and Moselle to keep a local source of wine for their garrisons.
It’s considered to be one of the most difficult to maintain vineyards in the world, thanks to its steep river bank slopes, making the fruit of their labour even sweeter.
Wine Producing Grapes of the Mosel Region
Riesling, Müller-Thurgau, Elbling, Kerner

Tuscany

tuscany-10827
Tuscany, it certainly oozes romance. From its picture-perfect rolling hills, quaint villages and its Italian charm… and the fact it’s Italy’s most famous wine region.
Tuscan vineyards produce an array of internationally recognised wines in various styles, including the popular Chianti. Its perfect combination of hilly terrain and warm daytime temperatures allow for the grape to maintain its acidity, sugars and aromas.
Ever heard of a ‘Super Tuscan’? Super Tuscans are an unofficial category of Tuscan wines, not recognised in the wine classification system of Italy. Winemakers of the region thought the rules of producing Chianti were too strict, thus producing their own super variety.
But in no way does this make the wine cheap and of low quality, they tend to be modern, rich and some carry a hefty price tag of over £100.
Wine Producing Grapes of Tuscany
Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malvasia Nera, Trebbiano

Rhône Valley

View of historic center of Avignon town from Papal Palace. France
The Rhône Valley wine region is divided into two sub-regions, both with individual winemaking traditions, the Northern Rhône and the Southern Rhône.
The northern region, with its continental climate, produces both red and white wines and the southern, with its Mediterranean climate, offers a wide array of reds, whites and rosé wines – including the popular Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
By law, there is only one red grape permitted to be planted in the northern region – Syrah. However, to offer a unique selection of various wines, it is often blended with white wine grapes to soften the wine and produces a great choice of varying tastes and aromas from the one red grape.
Wine Producing Grapes of the Rhône Valley
Syrah, Viognier, Red Grenache, Marsanne
So, there you have it. Let’s raise our glass to the brilliant vineyards of Europe.
Why not take a trip to these wine regions and even enjoy a spot of wine tasting? Head over to leger.co.uk to find your perfect tour.