The Art of Designing a Travel Website

Whether you’re a travel professional, run a travel magazine, or you’re writing a personal blog about your adventures around the world, WordPress is an ideal platform to share stories of your journey. WordPress themes are available for just about every travel niche – catering to pros and enthusiasts alike.

Let’s explore the latest design trends and find out what makes for a great WordPress travel theme. We’ll separate travel agency and company themes from those aimed more towards travel bloggers and magazines. All themes featured here are fully responsive and compatible with mobile devices.

For Travel Companies and Agencies

While it’s certainly important for a travel agency website to look attractive, it’s even more vital that it provides a great user experience. Giving customers easy access to key site functionality will both increase bookings and keep them coming back time and again.

Among the goals of a travel pro’s website should be to show what you have to offer in a well-organized manner, provide sufficient detail and use media to entice users to either book online or contact you.

Check out some featured themes below and how they’re using the latest design techniques to help you build a great website.

Booking Search Prominently Displayed


As we see above in the Trendy Travel theme, the ability to search for a hotel, travel package or specific location is featured as part of the home page slider. It may seem like an obvious design choice – but that’s exactly the point. Ensuring that a user can take action right away without having to look around is simply expected. This will encourage the user to make the extra effort to search and act on the things you have to offer.

This fully-responsive theme includes Visual Page Builder to help you achieve complex layouts without code. It’s also compatible with WooCommerce to enable online sales, along with bbPress and BuddyPress support for social interaction.

Well-Organized Package/Destination Listings


If you’re promoting travel packages to beautiful locales or even hotel rooms, utilizing an attractive listing will wow your visitors and encourage them to get more information. The Travel Time theme is a great example of a stunning layout that includes vital information. Notice the inclusion of pricing, trip length, number of travellers and review ratings – not to mention a space to show off some enticing photography. It’s a lot of content that is organized in a very neat and attractive manner.

Travel Time also includes a highly-customized backend for WordPress that lets you add extra details about each of these packages. For example, you can add videos, photo galleries, itineraries, travel tips (called Guides) and more. The theme integrates with WooCommerce and The Events Calendar Pro plugins, includes a page builder, built-in animations, mega menus, lots of shortcodes and a contact form builder.

Trip Itineraries


If you run a tour business or a travel company focused on a structured day-to-day plan, having the ability to create clear itineraries is important. Exploore is a theme that understands this and has provided a clean, straightforward layout to display the details of a trip.

You’ll also find a powerful search feature that allows users to filter results in a number of different ways. Visual Composer is included to make creating custom layouts easy. You can customize fonts, colors and settings with a drag-and-drop interface.

Video Backgrounds


Nothing can give you that “wish you were there” feeling quite like video. Watching waves gently washing up on the beach or birds soaring majestically in the mountains can create quite an emotional response. The Paradize theme includes the ability to display video backgrounds which can help spark your visitor’s sense of adventure.

You can also take advantage of 18 custom widgets, mega menus, support for 10 WordPress post formats , WooCommerce support and the inclusion of Visual Composer.

Unique Promotional Methods


Blue Bird has done something quite unique here. The theme features a listing of destinations in the header, on either side of the custom logo. Hovering or tapping on one of these listings opens up a mega menu with various options underneath. In the example above, we’ve hovered over the “Asian tour” item. This could be an outstanding tool for promoting specific trips or trip categories. Again, we see vital information right at the user’s fingertips.

Also included is the ability to filter hotel/package/destination listings, lots of different page layouts, the ability to create your own layouts with Visual Composer, interactive sliders with Slider Revolution and support for the free Contact Form 7 plugin.

Travel Blogsand Personal Sites/Magazines

Travel blogs are all about telling a story, and photography can be used to share the experience of being somewhere. The newest travel-oriented WordPress themes feature big, bold imagery, but that’s necessarily a must-have feature; if you’re going for a minimalist look, a more simple layout and white space lets your photography take the center stage.

Beyond documenting the places you’ve been, your blog should also reflect your personality and the types of trips you enjoy most. For example, your approach and style may be a bit different if you’reon a tour of the world’s great roller coasters, as opposed to visiting historical landmarks!

Below are some themes that will help you share your story with the world.

Photos That Demand Attention


While it’s ultimately up to you to provide great photos, your theme should feature them in an attention-getting way. Penamoo will display your travel shots front-and-center. Featured images are large, without being overbearing. And using the WordPress Gallery post format, you can display clickable photo galleries that will display your favorite pictures in a stunning full-screen lightbox.

Penamoo features four home page layouts (both with and without a slider), and the ability to customize related posts, create galleries from your Instagram posts and a nifty tabbed post widget that encourages users to explore your other entries.

Interactive Maps


While it’s cool to tell your readers about all the places you’ve been, it’s even cooler to show them.

An interactive map, like the one included in the Wild theme, provides a simple visual representation. Click on a marker and you’re transported to the relevant post.

Along with the maps (which are powered by the included Interactive World Maps plugin), you’ll get Visual Composer, Revolution Slider, an included child theme and more than 560 vector icons.

Standout Layouts


Good layouts don’t always have to conform to rigid standards. Check out the gorgeous layout that Voyager uses for posts. Alternating the position of photos and text are a terrific way to keep a reader’s attention as they scroll through your post listings.

The theme also features custom widgets, mega menus, multiple home page, blog and slider layouts, WooCommerce support and a filterable portfolio.

Personality Abounds


A travel blog should be fun and reflect your personality; it doesn’t need a formal, corporate look. As the INNOVATION theme shows, some quirky artwork and fonts can add a personal touch to your site.

INNOVATION boasts 11 different concept layouts (including the Travel layout seen above). It’s highly-customizable, includes a page builder (Ruby Composer), WooCommerce support and integrates well with Google AdSense.



What’s the best way to tell your story? FOTOMAG is a WordPress theme that provides a captivating mix of images, parallax scrolling and a minimalist layout. It can help you tell a story that is visually appealing and easy to digest. The optional Infinite Post Load feature will continually load posts as the user scrolls down further. This is a feature we’re seeing on more and more sites recently, and it will keep your readers exploring.

You’ll also find the ability to use “sticky” menus that scroll along with the user, support for multiple WordPress post formats (including beautiful photo galleries) and a variety of page and header layouts.

Happy Trails!

Choosing the right WordPress theme is important for getting your travel website up and running quickly. The design and functionality we’ve seen today provides for a beautiful site that also works the way your visitors need it to.

Now that you have these powerful tools in hand, you can think about (and implement) the features that will make your website the best it can be.

Feature image: dosecreative

About the Author Eric Karkovack

Eric Karkovack is a web designer with well over a decade of experience. You can visit his business site here. In July 2013, Eric released his first eBook: Your Guide to Becoming a Freelance Web Designer. You can follow his rants on Twitter @karks88.