The Best Travel Stories of 2020

Best Travel Stories of 2020In a Difficult Travel Year, These Ten Travel Stories Stood Out

Despite the challenges that kept travelers grounded for most of the year, we still published many great stories every day of the pandemic.  We are happy to share the Best Travel Stories of the year with you here.

Best Travel Stories of 2020Only ten of the hundreds of stories we published can be on our Top Ten Best Stories list. We used many different criteria to decide, including a reader poll, the number of pageviews each story received, and the opinions of our editors and our editorial associates. Here are the GoNOMAD’s top stories of 2020.

1. Ten Places You Should Know About in Italy

Favignana: Cala Azzurra John Henderson photo.
Favignana: Cala Azzurra John Henderson photo.

John Henderson is our man in Rome. He’s been sharing his ex-pat point of view on GoNOMAD since he first moved there in January 2014.

Why a Winner

This story provides a tempting array of unusual places to see in Italy, places that might have been knocked off the radar but are, as the title suggests, worth knowing about. The photos by Marina Pascucci further enhance the package.

Read the story

2. Faroe Islands: Unlike Anywhere Else

Múlafossur Waterfall 1536x1150 1
Múlafossur Waterfall Faroe Islands.

We love stories about faraway, dream-like places that truly evoke the traveler in all of us. The traveling couple, Sergio Garcia Sigler and Patricia Garcia Gutierrez prefer to be known as “NomadsRTW“.

Why a Winner

These hard-to-get-to islands are a place we wanted to see for ourselves. Stunning photography and good practical information for visitors made this story shine.

“When we travel, we like to look for something different, challenging, and pretty. And then we found the Faroe Islands, which has it all.

Although tourism is increasing by 10% each year, you can still drive around some islands and not see a soul.”

Read the Faroe Islands story

3. Traveling Across the U.S. During the Pandemic

Murrah building OK
The absolutely empty eery site of the Alfred P. Murrah building and memorial in Oklahoma City.

We published dozens of stories in 2020 in a section we called “Covid Tales” but this piece by Jeff Rasley climbed to the top of our pageviews list.

It was perfect timing–published in April 2020, when the world was turning upside down. Everyone wanted to know the answer to Jeff’s question–what is it like now?

Why a Winner?

The main reason this story stood out is because of the way the author answered so many questions with his no holes barred descriptions of the places he and his wife drove through. It was about to get really bad across the U.S., and you could sense this in the narrative.
Read the story.

4. Nashville’s Music Museums: George, Patsy, and Johnny

Inside the Patsy Cline Museum in Nashville.
Inside the Patsy Cline Museum in Nashville.

Jackie Finch nearly always gets a hit when she submits her stories to us. She loves museums and finds so many interesting ones all over the world.

Her writing requires zero editing and she just gets what makes a good story. It must be her long background as a newspaper reporter back in Boston.

Why a Winner?

Jackie’s writing is simple but she gives you exactly what you need, and like the others, she provided us with photos to truly illustrate what you can find there. This story would easily convince any country music lover to visit these museums in Nashville.

Read the story about Nashville’s Music Museums

5. Sailing the Sea Cloud off the Coast of Spain

zodiacs and the Sea Cloud
The elegant Sea Cloud off the coast of Spain.

Katherine Rodeghier scored with her detailed description of this unusual cruise on a real sailing ship. The story’s photos and text made the reader want to come along.

Why a Winner?

This story crossed off many boxes–an exotic setting, a gorgeously elegant sailing ship, and the details of what it’s like to experience the trip.

This is the essence of travel writing, showing, not telling what you can do if you set sail on a ship like this. Read the story about the Sea Cloud

6. Traveling Through Castilla Y Leon, Spain

This story was the last hurrah of the year for travel for GoNOMAD Photographer Paul Shoul, who shortly after this trip was sidelined for months, even before the pandemic.

Penafiel harvest festival dancers
Traditional dancers at the Peñafiel-Harvest festival.

Why a Winner

Paul explains how things are different in 2020, and aches for the day (that’s coming SOON!) when he can return to a place like this and enjoy the company and libations.

“The crowded markets, the bustling tapas places, five deep at the bar so full of laughter, and new friends.

The sharing of food like the succulent Jamon Iberico often passed around a table and traditionally eaten with your fingers. There are over 200 medieval castles and enough historic cathedrals to refresh your soul and wear your shoes out visiting them.”

Read the story about Castilla Y Leon, Spain.

7. Thomas Wolfe’s Home in North Carolina: You Can Go Home Again

Lawrence Wells is a new contributor to GoNOMAD. He’s a Faulkner scholar who is very knowledgeable about hishouse in a postcard subject. He has a book about the author coming out later this year.

Why a Winner

This story might not resonate with some of our younger readers but Thomas Wolfe is a legendary novelist and for anyone who has read his books, this story will be fascinating.

“One is touched by the plainness of the house, its provincial and commercial purpose, the genius it randomly, fortuitously spawned. From this place sprang an American legend who would capture in words every fleeting moment and expression and sentiment of human experience as he knew it.” Read the story about Thomas Wolfe’s Home in NC.

steptoe butte state park
Steptoe Butte State Park affords sweeping views of the Palouse. Donnie Sexton photos.

8. The Palouse: A Special Part of the Northwest USA

Senior Writer Donnie Sexton couldn’t make it a return trip to Mongolia in 2020, so instead, she drove west from her Montana home to a fantastic place I’d never heard of…

The Palouse – a distinct geographic region of the northwestern United States, encompassing parts of north-central Idaho, southeastern Washington, and, by some definitions, parts of northeast Oregon.

Why a Winner

Finding a place that so many people have never heard of, then bringing back photos that make you say ‘wow, I gotta see that’ is why. Donnie Sexton has worked very hard and succeeded magnificently as a travel writer for GoNOMAD. This piece was one of many she has been sharing with our readers over the past 7 years and was an easy choice as a winner.

Read the story The Palouse, a Special Part of NW USA

9. Little Rock Arkansas: Have You Been?

little rock central high school
The tour of Little Rock Central High School in Little Rock and the story of segregation is very poignant. Paul Shoul photo.

Little Rock Arkansas is a truly unsung destination and editor Max Hartshorne knew that there would be a lot to like in this compact capital city.

He had been interested in visiting the city for a decade, and when he and Paul Shoul finally arrived, they were welcomed with open arms.

Why a Winner

Sometimes one of the most important things a travel site can do is open the reader’s minds about new places, and elevate them from obscure to ‘I’d like to see that!’ Paul Shoul’s photos present much of the beauty of this unheralded city.

This story is full of enthusiasm for the destination and it takes the time to really show what there is to see and do in Little Rock.

Read the story about visiting Little Rock Arkansas

10. Fantastic Photos Taken from Parking Lots

Here is a famous setting for a familiar photo with people.
Here is a famous setting for a familiar photo with people.

Rich Grant’s story about what you can shoot when you set up your tripod in a parking lot was impressive, some of the shots look like you’d have to hike days to get them.

Why a Winner

Part of what brought the award to this story was how relatable the topic was. Who doesn’t want to find spectacular images a stone’s throw from the car?

Rich has a knack for picking the kinds of topics people want to read about, and delivering on his promises. These really WERE fantastic photos!

Read the story about Photos Taken from Parking Lots 

Congratulations to all of our winners in 2020! Read the Top Stories of 2019

Read our Writer’s Guidelines

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