I am a planner by nature, and in college I actually specialized in Tourism Planning and Development. It’s safe to say that travel planning is one of my favorite things to do! People ask me a lot of questions when they are planning their vacations, so I figured I would provide a list of some of my favorite travel planning tools! I hope you find inspiration to plan your next big adventure after reading this!
1. Start dreaming on Pinterest
Pinterest is where most my travel dreams originate. Sometimes it’s overwhelming how many places are on my bucket list because of Pinterest! HA! Pinterest is super easy to use and you will be immediately inspired when you start to use it. Basically, start an account and search whatever you want! Simply, type into the search bar your idea and it will guide you from there!
You will immediately connect with bloggers and photographers worldwide. Then you start pinning things to your own boards. I create all types of boards. For travel – I have a board for my dreams, a board for each of my upcoming adventures, and a board to keep track of what I have checked off my bucket list.
This is seriously one of the best travel resources there is! Its an amazing way to organize truly anything, and the pictures make it so visually appealing! It’s easy to lose yourself for hours on this site! Try it!
2. Get out a real map
This is something I learned from my parents on our road trips while I was growing up! We were always finding sweet spots by taking backroads and searching the world by map! While I use google maps for starters, I then always take to a real map. I closely examine around the area I am going for state parks, monuments, or anything that sticks out to me on the map. I then plug those things into Pinterest to see photos of the area, and I decide if it’s worth the visit! I love maps and could stare at them searching all day! It pays off often when I find hidden gems I would have missed with GPS.
3. Talk to your friends and family
Your friends and family, and family friends, and coworkers, and really WHOEVER are great resources! Talk to people about what you are planning. Ask people questions.Connect old friends who live the area, or near the area you are visiting to see if they have any tips. The people you are connected to have been TONS of places you haven’t. Use that to your advantage. People love to tell stories about vacations, so let them, and learn from them!
Here are a few photos of places my friends have had the pleasure to go that are still on my “to do” list:
Paul in Egypt
Cassie in Aruba
Ali and Erik in Santorini, Greece
You better believe I’ll be asking them for a lot of details before I make any of these trips! 😉
4. Look to phone apps for help
I don’t use any really unique apps but I do have two favorites!
For lodging, Airbnb – You can find really neat places to stay and really affordable! From campsites to luxury homes, you possibilities are endless! The last place we booked was, Camp GRITS, a vintage trailer near Great Smoky Mountain National Park.
For restaurants I always look to Yelp. Yelp offers a great easy to follow map of wherever you are and shows you restaurants in the area. The app has great functions, you can link to menus, search by price or food type, and see customer reviews. We always find this app very useful and easy to navigate. Try it out for yourself and see what you think!
5. When you arrive, find somewhere to chat with locals!
While “talking to strangers” is a bit outside my comfort zone, this is something you should always try to do while traveling. Meeting people on my travels has left me with some of my most treasured memories. I will forever laugh about the pilot I met at a bar in Ireland (pictured below), and will always love seeing how many Minnesota transplants I can meet on any given trip to Colorado. Meeting people is not only fun, but it can turn up great travel tips! Locals know things tourists don’t! So, pull yourself up to a bar rail, or take your kids to a local park and strike up a chat! See what they think you should do during your visit!
I hope these tips are helpful when you are ready to plan your next adventure! Please let me know what you think! What are your favorite planning resources?
Much Love & Happy Travels,