We are planning a family trip to Europe this summer and would like to set up an online blog to share our experiences with friends and family (not a money-making blog). We would like it to be easy for our tween and teen to use and want it to be enjoyable for others to view. It is a jungle out there. Does anyone have suggestions for a host? Should we choose a free service? Any benefit in paying for a fee blog site? Any tips on how to set it up and keep it active welcome, thanks!
I like using travelpod (free). You can set it up so it will post to Facebook and send emails to selected people so they can follow along. I like that I can use it offline, then when online, I can update it. And you can add photos. It's a pretty straight forward 'type in the days entry and add photos kinda thing', so easy to use. I think you can set it as well so that it can be private (only certain people can view)
The sad thing is, I find I am so tired at the end of the travelling day that generally I just write down bullet points, and I don't write it up until after I am home. You can access it on a desktop, and thru apple products for sure (and probably android...I use an iPad). I think best way to do it daily would be to set aside maybe a certain time in the evening or the next morning to take 30 min and do an entry. I've 'travelpod'ed' my last few trips - and even if no one reads them but me, I like looking back and seeing what we did each day.
You could also check into WordPress...again - accessible thru desktop or portable device. I've only ever accessed it while online, so not sure if it works offline.
Thanks for your suggestion (and reality check about being tired at the end of the day)! I did run into Travelpod and it sounds good. We would have liked the option of an Android app though, and it doesn't look like they have one. I was hoping each family member could take turns making entries to keep the pressure down and my daughters have Android phones . . . we'll see what we can set up. Much appreciated.
I will say - if you do get an offline one...long train rides are a great time to update!
We used travelpod last time and will this time as well. It was really easy - we put the pictures on our ipad via wifi from our camera, then I just updated it every day. I was really really exhausted at night but I am so glad I trudged through and kept it updated, because it was great to have it once we got home! And yes, writing on the trains and planes was great.
This year I am going to get the kids to add to it as well. They kept paper journals last year (for about the first half of the trip) - hoping they will do better digitally!
I've used Blogger--it's easy--especially if you already have a Google account.
I set it up before we depart and then spend a few minutes at the end of the day (sometimes not every day but every couple of days) posting highlights. I post 2-4 photos from my phone and a little text. I keep it simple.
I send family and a few friends the link before we leave and let them decide if they want to follow or not. For me, it's a fun way to capture the highlights of the day and let family know that we're o.k. It's nice that you have a team of people that can post--different perspectives would be interesting!
I've used travelpod as well and some of my friends have used blogger. For a travel blog there is no reason to use a pay service if it's just for friends and family.
One piece of advice is to get familiar with the different options to update your blog before you depart so you don't have to figure it out on the fly. For both travelpod and blogger there are options to easily update the blog with text and photos via email, text, social media, etc so you can queue up your email on a train and send when you reach wifi.
I think Sharon means Blogger. That's what I use, too. If you click on my name here, you can see links to two of my blogs so you can see what they look like. There are lots of options for personalizing, making things private or not, etc. There is a Blogger app, too, and I use that to write down quick things to upload, then flesh it out later when I am online. As DJ said, I set my blogs up some time in advance of my trip so I am familiar with how you do everything before I go.
Another vote for blogger! I was new to everything blogging related last year, and definitely found blogger to be easy to navigate. I set up the blog on my computer at home, and then added it to my ipad mini. I also purchased the "blogsy" app for my ipad (it was very inexpensive). The great thing about blogsy was that it allowed me to write and add photos from my ipad any time, even when I didn't have wi-fi....and then I could actually post when I got somewhere with wi-fi. Sometimes I could get caught up on writing on the bus (we were on the BOE 21 Day tour) and sometimes I did it at night, but I was able to post pretty much daily throughout the entire trip. My family at home loved it (and some of my tour mates actually referred their friends/family to my blog since they didn't have their own!), and I have totally enjoyed reviewing it after the fact to "remember when." I highly, highly recommend you create your own blog -- for me, it was the best travel journal I've ever created, because the words and photos are there together! It was also an amazing reference to have after my trip when I was creating a trip scrapbook. If you would like to see my blog, please email me privately and I'll share the link.
All of this information is very helpful! Thanks everyone. We are leaving in a few days . . . will the set up be longer than a couple of hours?
It shouldn't take long to do the basic set-up--at least not long for Blogger. It's the fiddling around with it to get just the right template, etc. that can take time. Start basic and it will be easy. Consider your first one a learning experience and you can make it fancier once you have more experience.
I forgot to mention that I have the Blogger App on both my iPhone and iPad and can post from either one.
I also use TravelPod and it's very easy to use. You could probably have it set-up in about 10-15 minutes. Uploading photos and videos is also very easy, but of course that depends on the speed of the Wi-Fi connection. Some hotels only seem to have slower speed connections. TravelPod also allows one to save a Blog entry in "draft" form and then post it when you're ready.
Blogger also allows saving pages as drafts, and lets you preview everything before publishing. That allows you to get your pictures where you want them, write captions, etc.