Travel Bloggers: A WordPress Plugin for Travel Blogs

Our quest at Globetrooper has always been to help people travel the world together. But today we’ve extended this mission beyond the Globetrooper website by developing a WordPress plugin to help others travel bloggers meetup with their readers across the globe.

It’s a simple plugin that displays a blogger’s current location, travel itinerary, and an integrated form to enable readers to propose meetups at any location on the travel itinerary.

WP World Travel: A WordPress Plugin for Travel Blogs

It started with us building this functionality into our own blog. We wanted to show our readers where we’d be so we could catch up around the world. I’d have to say, as much as travel itself (if not more), we love to catch up with other location independent people. It’s as if the foreign surroundings help forge stronger and longer lasting connections. Plus I love to talk shop.

Before I get carried away, do you want to see a live demo? Just look to the top of the sidebar →

As I was coding away (read: pulling hair out), it dawned on me that we should package this functionality into a plugin for other travel blogs. Of course, I didn’t know what mess I was driving head-on into. About a week later, and looking a few years older, I’ve published the final product. It’s been downloaded about 100 times so far, and I’ve had lots of feedback and bug reports, so I’m confident it’s now working properly across all themes.

I’ve made it as lightweight as possible, so you don’t need to worry about bloating your travel blog. The country flag images are optimized and all of the code is written with best practice and as efficiently as I could manage. The plugin doesn’t create it’s own database tables; it uses the WordPress options table to maintain a very light footprint. If you know the painstaking effort we put into Globetrooper.com, then you’ll know we’ve gone over-the-top with the plugin too.

How to Get the Plugin

You can search for it in your WordPress Plugins dashboard or visit the WP World Travel page on WordPress.org. If you use it, we’d love to hear from you so we can check it out and make sure it’s working properly and looking good with your theme. If there’s anything you’d like changed, just let me know and we’ll sort it out ASAP.

You can view the plugin homepage on Globetrooper for more information and screenshots.

We hope you like it 🙂

P.S. For the Geeks

The reason development took so long is I stuck to the WordPress PHP and CSS coding standards. I’ve enqueued the scripts properly, removed potential jQuery and PHP naming conflicts, built the plugin within a class structure, and made sure to write settings into the WordPress options tables as efficiently and safely as possible.

The Meetup form uses Ajax to post the data and email asynchronously. I have plans to make this form degradable Ajax in an upcoming version. At present, that would be no use since other parts of the widget rely heavily on JavaScript. But I’ll look at ways of converting them to degradable JS too. This, of course, will only benefit the very small % of people who don’t have JS enabled browsers.

The main function uses wp_mail. I’ve come to realize just how fickle email really is. Not due to the technology, but end-user spam protection. I’ve sent full headers with the Meetup message to get the message through gatekeepers, but there are instances where it won’t work if your server isn’t set up correctly or if your server doesn’t have permission to send from the domain of your WordPress admin address.