Since Twitter continues to take the Internet by storm and is now the go-to place for travelers to turn to, it's the perfect time to write a column on who I think will be 2011's top travel tweeters on Twitter. There are plenty to choose from and, yes, there are others who travel more miles, but in my opinion, they don't offer as much value. These tweeters are for those who love to travel, are eager to learn travel tips and/or want to live vicariously through those who take to the road every week. These 11 won't disappoint as they provide links to travel news, deals, tips and most importantly, share their experiences in real time along with pictures of their travels around the globe.
If you like following people who travel a lot and love it when they tease you with clues as to where they are or where they're going, then be sure to follow Andrew Evans. Andrew started his Twitter adventures under the handle of @Bus2Antartica. Then he took buses and a couple of ships all the way from Washington D.C. to Antarctica. Now he is traveling the world and is presently in Australia. I caught up with him recently in Copenhagen at the TBEX conference. He is an awesome guy and an even better traveler. Follow him. Sample tweet: Sun keeps shining but water falling on my head. Melbourne weather = so weird.
I got hooked on travel by becoming a frequent flier mile junkie. These days, I'm not that crazy or loyal to one airline and I travel not to accrue miles but for the experience. Now, I'd usually rather take the shortest and least expensive route to get from point A to point B. However, if one of the airlines has a sweet bonus deal, then I just might go the long way and/or spend the extra dollars to beef up my mileage account. So instead of spending all my time scanning the FlyerTalk message boards, I follow certain people on Twitter like @ChrisGuillebeau. This guy caught my attention BIG TIME when he posted a Tweet showing how he'd earned an 808,185 US Airways Frequent Flyer Mile bonus. EIGHT HUNDRED THOUSAND MILES as a bonus! Now that's insane! I checked out his website immediately and kicked myself for not following him months ago, which was when he laid out detailed instructions on how anyone could do this. I'm too late for this promotion but you better believe I'm following closely now so I won't miss the next one.
Matt is an excellent example of how following your passion and dreams can pay off. The 29-year-old quit his job four years ago and has been traveling the world 365 days a year ever since. He's been to over 40 countries and created a popular backpacking budget travel website called NomadicMatt.com. I met Matt, a Boston native, for the first time a few months ago in Europe. I learned that he's a cool guy in addition to putting some interesting travel stories and experiences on his Twitter feed.
Gary Arndt decided to do what most people only dream of. He quit his job and left his native Wisconsin to travel the world. That was back in 2007 and since then, he's been to over 80 countries and territories. He created a successful blog and has quite the following on his Twitter account; he's got over 100,000 followers. Gary provides great insight (and daily photos) so for anyone who wants to live their travel dream, I highly encourage following EverywhereTrip.
Many of the people I follow on Twitter I haven't actually met - although I'd really like to. At the top of that list is Bruce Poon. First of all, he has founded an amazing tour company called Gap Adventures. Secondly, he bounces around the globe more than me and he splits his time between Toronto, London and Melbourne. If you are interested in following entrepreneurs, leaders, adventurers, and/or sustainable travel advocates, then follow Bruce.
I logged on to TweetStats.com to learn all about my Twitter behavior. Their graphs showed that the person I retweet the most is @Heather_Poole. I wasn't surprised because Heather is fascinating to follow. She's a flight attendant for a major U.S. carrier and is always traveling somewhere. She also speaks the truth about what's on her mind. If you're interested to see what it's like to be a flight attendant, juggle a family and write a book at the same time, then follow @Heather_Poole. She certainly won't bore you! If her name sounds familiar, it's probably because she also writes a weekly column for Gadling.com called Galley Gossip.
One of the reasons I am in my position today is because of Chris McGinnis. It's a long story but when I first started learning travel secrets, I was obsessed with this man, who had written a couple of travel tip books and was a daily contributor to CNN. As fate would have it, the girl I was dating at the time had a good friend who turned out to be friends with him and the next thing you know, he took me under his wing and posted a link to JohnnyJet.com on his website. Because of that link, Laura Bly from USA Today found my website and declared it Website of the Week in the newspaper's weekend travel section. I'm eternally grateful to both of these people and I only bring it up now because Chris has taken to Twitter and has been doing an amazing job posting the latest travel news, stories and tips. If you love travel, which you obviously do since you're reading this, then follow Chris.
Jon Ostrower is Flight International Magazine's Aerospace Blogger. He's based in Washington D.C. and travels a ton. In fact, in 2010 he flew 165,070 miles on over 92 flights all over the world. If you are interested in aviation and airplanes add him to your list.
Jason Cochran is an author, junior historian, travel writer, WalletPop.com blogger, and your future best friend (so he claims). I've known about Jason for a long time, especially when he wrote for Budget Travel Magazine. He travels a ton and his Twitter account spits out more than just his own articles ... which would be good enough. Recently, he gave a play by play of his Virgin Atlantic snowstorm debacle - if you weren't following him - you missed some great reporting.
Scott Mayerowitz was the ABCNews.com travel editor but just moved to the Associated Press this week to do big-picture stories on the airlines. He's a self-proclaimed travel junkie and I met him for the first time when I did a segment on ABC News. Since then, I've seen him at conferences in Aspen, New York and Florida. He's a rising star in the travel industry and you should definitely follow him as his tweets and stories are always interesting and timely.
Don't get me wrong: I'm not trying to be a self-promoting, pompous a*s but I think I do a pretty good job on Twitter. I not only retweet good deals and travel news but I share my travels from start to finish with a ton of Twitpics.
So there you have it! Please let me know if you agree or disagree with any of these choices. Feel free to recommend a friend or yourself for a future travel tweeter column. I know there are many more out there and I'm always looking for the best of the best. Happy travels and a wonderful New Year!
Follow Johnny Jet on Twitter: www.twitter.com/JohnnyJet