Free WordPress themes are limited and don’t offer the features you need to make a successful travel blog. This post will help you to select the right theme for your blog in 2021. Travel bloggers need beautiful websites, but many travel blogs are, well, ugly. It can be hard to create something beautiful when you don't understand website tech. Even customizing your website's HTML and style code takes some tech chops. However, WordPress provides a solution for non-techies to build stylish, functional, and revenue-generating websites with ease.
I've spent many years working with WordPress and websites in general and I think I know what works when it comes to themes. Free WordPress themes are for experimenters and beginners. Anyone who wants to be taken seriously should buy a premium theme.
You can take WordPress to any level and build extremely complex multi-site empires with customized code but we're going to look at a simpler option which will appeal to travel bloggers. Putting a nice looking website on the internet is often a matter of choosing the right WordPress template. WordPress is eating up the Content
So the advice is: Stick with WP. If you'd like to know more about blogging in the travel niche check out this How to Start a Travel Blog guide. It's one of the most detailed guides on the Internet and is sure to help you on your blogging journey.
This theme gets the first place position because it's the one I use on most of my business websites (and client sites). I improved the load times of the site by 20% simply by switching to Astra's expertly crafted, lightweight code.
Astra is a new WordPress theme company but they've really hit the nail on the head. This is a clean, lightweight, and powerful theme for any kind of business. I'm a big fan and have already used it on a website. It's fast, easy to use, and does away with a lot of the clutter of similar-looking themes. WordPress themes are prone to the problem of bloat. Astra doesn't suffer from this problem though and that's why I love it. You can customize your theme to suit your travel style.
Built to be simple with only the features that will get traffic to your website: SEO, speed, and good looks.
Responsive design (mobile friendly – looks amazing on phones and tablets and is retina ready), incredible live customizer options, custom widgets, post formats, and flexible layout options are just some of the features of Astra. If you're thinking of selling anything on your website, know that Astra comes with excellent Woocommerce support. In fact, it's one of the finest integrations with Woocomerce I've ever seen in a theme.
The Astra theme includes starter sites in the form of demo content that you can import into WordPress to get started right away.
Astra also works very well with the Elementor and Beaver Builder page builders and is recommended by the Astra theme as the best “page builder” tool. An excellent blogging theme but also a powerful one to build a business on.
Essence Pro By StudioPress
A beautiful new theme that is as practical as it is eye-catching. Essence Pro WordPress theme is perfect for showcasing large photos and Pinterest-style images. Great for the modern travel blogger. This is a feature-packed theme with pricing tables, shop layouts, and a professional-looking front page already built in. You just need to show up and start adding content.
There's a minimalism aspect to Essence Pro. But this allows breathing space for your writing and photography, the two most crucial part of any travel blog.
As with all StudioPress themes, Essence Pro is a child theme of the Genesis framework, one of the most robust, secure, and SEO-ready themes to start your blog on. I've been using Genesis themes for years and they've never caused me problems.
While a WordPress template built for food bloggers and recipe SEO might not seem ideally suited to your travel blog, this is the most popular theme in the StudioPress range. It's probably the best of the lot and is versatile so that's why I recommend it for bloggers in a wide range of niches. Travel bloggers who want to showcase their Pinterest-style images and Instagram will love the setup. If you prefer to show your travel photos vertically (portrait-style) then Foodie Pro makes it easy.
Beautiful fonts and typography, icons, and a flexible layout make this one of the best themes for travel blogs. The documentation is also excellent and will have you ready to go in no time.
Recipe Blogger Theme by StudioPress
This theme is not promoted as a travel theme for WordPress (in case you haven't guessed, it's for food bloggers) but it has many elements that make it a great choice for travel bloggers.
The theme is one of the fastest around and also one of the most secure. This comes from the underlying Genesis framework which you will need to own to be able to use the this “child theme”. The Genesis framework is a complete solution for security, SEO, and future-proofing. Updates to the underlying core framework are very infrequent (if at all) and it’s also a very secure and lightweight place to start a website. But beginners need not feel overwhelmed. There is no requirement for coding knowledge and the framework with child theme can be set up in a couple of clicks.
The theme's minimal, clean look allows site owners to promote beautiful images and really highlight the content rather than the technology behind the site. Showcase your travel photos and image-heavy blog posts with ease. it's especially good for Pinterest-style images. Most travel bloggers on WordPress understand the value of Pinterest traffic. The font is subtle and subdued and nothing overpowers the focus of the site, the content. For this reason, I think most bloggers wanting to document their travels or promote a product could do so quite easily with this theme. It’s also WooCommerce ready so you can sell online if you wish.
It’s not the cheapest option but you will have access to StudioPress’ Genesis which you can use with other themes. Recommended for beginners with a slightly bigger budget or someone that has moved on from the basic free or general WordPress themes.
Divi & Extra by Elegant Themes
Divi and Extra are two of the most popular themes for WordPress.
Extra is a good choice for magazine, community, and news type blogging as it offers many customisation options and preconfigured layouts. You can have a very professional looking theme set up and running quickly even if you don’t have much technical knowledge. Divi is a great choice for building slick graphics-heavy websites (ideal for travel blogs). It's also a very capable Ecommerce store and offers tons of extra features such as A/B or split testing, translation features, beautiful buttons and layouts, a theme builder, and rock-solid security.
Extra and Divi WordPress themes offer a bewildering array of sliders, video sliders, contact forms, and audio player widgets, to name a few. Many of these options are overkill and will add some extra loading time to your website but managed properly they can make a plain site look very professional.
It also comes with built-in support for WooCommerce, product reviews, and project galleries so if you are planning on selling via your website check this theme out.
ElegantThemes.com sells its themes on a subscription basis. Don’t panic! A one-year subscription to the entire collection of themes, including Divi (their flagship theme) and their social media plugins and lead magnet tools is just $69 per year. You can also use the themes on other sites and their technical support is superb.
OceanWP is one of the fastest-growing WordPress themes on the market. One day I'd never heard of it, the next I was hearing about it all the time. Having installed the theme on a number of sites, I can confirm that it's worthy of the hype.
A simple looking theme with powerful features, OceanWP delivers everything a travel blogger would need.
- Super fast and lightweight theme – The faster your website, the more Google loves it. Slow, bloated sites don't rank well.
- SEO ready – ready to go SEO features.
- Ecommerce ready (Woocommerce) – For those ebook sales
The theme comes with ready to use demos which can be easily converted into professional websites quickly.
And one of the most compelling reasons to get the OceanWP is that it works really well with Elementor.
GeneratePress is popular because it focuses on a small number of key areas
- Responsive design with great layout options.
- Fast (lightweight) loading theme files
- Custom widgets and customizable headers, footers, and sections
GeneratePress has some of the fastest themes available. Speed freaks will absolutely love the super-fast loading times thanks to the tiny 30kb file size. Get that perfect score on Google's Pagespeed test. It's clear than in 2020, faster websites get more traffic and higher conversions. The bloated WordPress themes of the last decade don't stand a chance.
This simplicity of the Premium themes bundled with GeneratePress as well as the clever use of whitespace makes these themes an attractive option for any budding travel blogger.
The premium theme costs $49 for Unlimited websites and you get a 40% discount on renewals. There's also a free version, so why not give it a try? It’s mobile and localisation ready which means it will work on any device and you can easily get the theme ready for international language use. GeneratePress also works with Elementor and Beaver Builder page builders.
This WordPress theme is one of the best for travel blogging in my opinion because it's extensible, easy to configure, and not bogged down with ridiculous sliders and multi-purpose plugins. If you want to get back to basics but want one of the best premium WordPress themes for travel blogs, check out Generate Press.
While Elementor is not a theme, it's often included in roundups because of it's flexibility and modern design. Elementor is a page builder and Theme builder. It's used to create beautiful, responsive homepages and landing pages. But even with the bare minimum WordPress installation, Elementor can transform your blog into a professional website with it's easy to use drag and drop interface.
One of the key features is “responsive design”. Elementor was developed in the era of mobile-first, unlike older theme builder technologies. The customization options are almost unlimited. You can edit, change, and define even the smallest feature on a page. Then save that and reuse it throughout your team. It's easy to make your travel blog your very own with Elementor.
Elementor comes with professional templates that feature dynamic content (content that changes depending on factors you choose) to help you stand out from the crowd.
Keith is the founder of Fat Frog Media. He has worked in the tech, fitness, food, and hospitality industries. Keith helps businesses improve their marketing and conversion rates.