Please give me your opinion of these travel journal hosting sites

I am not a big traveller but I did go to Ecuador with Earthwatch last year.

I was on a project that involved catching and banding birds in nets in a cloud forest. I got a lot of decent pictures of birds and everyday life on the expedition. I also kept a modest journal of my impressions, something I don’t usually do.

I wanted to put my journal and pictures online together to share with my family and friends (including everyone here). I know there are a lot of picture hosting sites out there, and a lot of journal (blog) sites but I wanted something where it would be easy to put blocks of text and the relevant pictures near each other. I also figured it may as well all be on a travel-oriented site.

This is where you guys come in. Please give me your opinion of the following three travel journal sites.

First possibility: Ball of Seems relatively straightforward, and I like the mapping feature.

Second possibility: Infested with Google ads but otherwise seems close to what I am looking for.

Third possibility: Travelblog. No adds and very complete but might be difficult for some to navigate, what do you think?
I am particularly interested in ease of use and navigation, and general user-friendliness. Some of the older generation of my family are not the most tech-savvy people in the world and I would like to make this easy for them.
By all means I am also open to any other helpful suggestions about how and where to do this. Any and all ideas welcome.

I’ve had no problems with Ball of Dirt for the past 3 years.

Well, I don’t have any experience with the ones you’ve mentioned, but I’m currently in the process of creating a blog documenting my trip to Japan (and probably future trips as well) and it’s worked really well–basically, I use Picasa in combination with Blogger. Blogger is associated with Google and gives you 1 gigabyte of space for free, or 7 gigabytes for $25 per year, and on up. You can actually make posts directly to Blogger using Picasa, but you can only post 4 pictures at a time that way, so I just upload the pictures from Picasa to the Picasa Web Album and then cut and paste the URL it gives you to the Blogger posting site. It’s super-easy–it’ll resize everything for you, both in terms of height/width and kilobytes–just tell it want you want, basically.

There are probably some sites that give you more, and the one thing that annoys me is that I can’t figure out how to get really high quality pics with the Picasa Web Album–you have to download them, can’t just click it. But it’s by far the easiest I’ve used, and I’ve tried a few (although not any of the ones you’ve listed, admittedly.) Navigation is pretty standard too, I think, and there’s a fairly high level of customization–it’s really easy, too, all drag and drop.

You can also do mapping with it I think, because as you may know Google is associated with many, many things, including Google Earth, etc. and through the Picasa program you can put place labels on your pictures.

Either way, good luck! Your trip sounds really cool.

PS: If you want to see a sample, my blog (still in process) is here.

Could you give a link to your journal? I’d be very interested in seeing it.
Tanaqui thanks for all the info. Your journal looks great, very much the kind of thing I want to do.

Now I just have to find the time to do this little project. It’s high time, I can’t believe its been almost a year since I went already.

I’ve never used any of those sites, but my sister uses Virtual Tourist. As a family member viewing her site, I find it to be pretty straightforward.