Imagine an encyclopedia of the world of everything fascinating, exciting, delicious, and awe-inspiring. Organize it by continent, country, city, climate, culture, or even cuisine and then put it on the internet to share with everyone. Then hand over the pen to the thousands of travelers in the world who want to share their stories and experiences with everyone and you get Afar.com.
Afar originally started as just a monthly magazine that published the highlights of the travel world. with an established staff of seasoned travel writers the magazine sought to bring subscribers the best of the world from the comfort of their coffee table. But limitations in staffing and subscriptions drove the website online in order to reach a broader audience faster and more efficiently. The change opened up doors for both the magazine and its readers that reinvented travel journalism.
Unique to the travel site is the ability for other bloggers and travelers outside of the magazine to publish short posts on places they have visited and want to share with readers. Often posts are simply a photograph and a short explanation but others can be quite lengthy with descriptions that can leave readers itching to book their next plane ticket. Contributors usually have blogs of their own, work for other publications, or are frequent travelers passionate about what they do. Either way, Afar.com is the ultimate tool for them to share their experiences.
The main screen features top stories from around the world as well as tabs listing all of the continents and a search bar for any specific adventures.
I searched Siena, Italy in hopes of finding something exciting for my study abroad next year. The page presents a grid of stories, each with a picture, title and lead that entices the reader to click and read more. Stories can further be organized by popularity (measured by “saves”) and topic (food, stay, play…). I read articles about shopping in Siena, the restoration of the Basilica of San Francesco, and where to find the best coffee gelato. Needless to say I am far more excited for my trip to Italy than ever before.
Still, getting lost in Afar.com may be easier than getting lost on these ancient Italian roads.