Planning an adventure is one of my favourite past times. I’ve even been know to plan for trips I may actually never get to take. Other than flicking through amazing books like Lonely Planet’s collections, social media is one of my favourite and the easiest way to research your next big trip.
Social media is a double-edged sword.
We hear so much about how it is addictive and destroying real life interaction. There is a whole generation that is going to have selfies taken in bathrooms to look back on in their old age. Awesome photo’s have us yearning to experience the life that influencers are supposedly enjoying. Although these are so often extremely staged and far removed from real life. Most of us that use social media to engage are just as guilty of this. I only put up my most beautiful pictures from my travels. Not the temper tantrum my kid has just had at the airport or us all sick from eating something a little too exotic.
Social media can be beautiful too.
I have made some amazing friends on Social Media and I use it as one of my main tools for planning our trips. I’ve discovered places I’ve never heard of and had advice shared by people who have the experience where I want to go first hand.
Here’s how to make the most of your social media when planning your future experiences.
This is usually the first place I go to when I start thinking about our next adventure. Just type in the country, location or what you need to know in the search section and away you go. Even better is when you follow some great accounts who inspire you to travel to somewhere you would never have considered before.
Top Tips for using Pinterest as a research tool
- Find accounts who inspire you and travel how you do. Follow them.
- Find boards filled with things you love and places you want to see. Follow them too.
- Create your own board/boards and start collecting pins that inspire you. If you don’t want others to see this just make your board secret. It such an easy way to keep all your info in one easy to find again location. You can keep all your pins on one board like “Scotland” or a few boards that go more in depth. “Places to stay in Scotland”, “Hikes in Scotland”
- Make sure you do a little research on your pins. During my most recent trip planning for Scotland, I’ve seen some amazing images of the Fairy Pools on Skye, all lined with purple trees. If you look a little harder you will find the same image, without the photoshopping with lush green trees… of a river in New Zealand.
- A great place to start are those pins that show “top ten places to visit” or “ secret locations in”. Check out the articles linked to these pins then look further into the locations that spike your interest.
- Make sue you scroll down after clicking on a pin, you can discover some great finds in the “related pins” section.
- You can pin directly from websites to your board when researching with the Pinterest browser button. I used to have lots of tabs open on my laptop or scraps of paper floating around my home with websites written down. Now I can just click on the pin I saved and read the article when I am ready.
- Remember Pins are linked to articles usually. Take the time to read the ones that interest you and you will probably learn new things about your destination.
- Use Pinterest to plan your whole trip from where to find great flight deals or how to pack your luggage for the trip
Pinterest Accounts/boards we love
This is my personal favourite social media platform. I love that the images you find here are some of the most up to date pictures you will find on any search engine and the Instagram community are always so happy to share tips and thoughts with you.
Top Tips for using Instagram as a research tool
- Use the search function on your Instagram account. Each tab can help you in a different way.
You could type in a larger search like “Iceland” to get an overview of places that capture your interest then narrow down your search from there to more specific like “ Reykjavik”. When someone Geotags their image it will come up in your search. I love this option because not only will you see a place at its best from professional photographers and travellers but you will also get a glimpse of the more natural and everyday side of a destination from other accounts. Clicking on locations Geotag will bring up a handy map too so you can see where the site is and what’s nearby.
Here someone may use the #Iceland but show you a really cool spot to eat or hike or show you a place you have never heard of before from other searches. This is a great option to discover exciting new things about a destination.
If you type in a pace and head to the People Tab you are likely to discover such inspo treasures as official tourism boards and locals that are passionate about their home. These accounts are a great source for information about events and local secrets in the areas you want to visit. Make sure you follow the ones you love. Finding out where residents love to eat and what festivals are on is a great way to experience an area more than the average tourist.
- Join the convo.
Instagram is a fantastic place to ask questions and have access to thousands of well-informed people. You could ask a question on the comment section of a photograph you love or if you’re a little shy write them a personal message. Alternatively, you could create your own post asking for information and advice about a location. Make sure you ask a clear question in your caption and use relevant hashtags to attract attention to the post.
Instagram Accounts we love
As we all know people love to share pictures from their travels and Facebook is one of the most common methods to share. Through personal photographs and shared content, Facebook can give you some great inspiration for travel destinations.
Top Tips for using Facebook as a research tool
- Follow the pages of travellers. This might be big sites like Trip Advisor or Expedia or more local pages like,,,,
- Join groups dedicated to Travel or a specific area you are interested in.
- Search for the destination you are interested in and click on the tabs to find Groups, Events, Videos and more for the location you are dreaming of. I’ve discovered photo tours, festivals and seen some amazing videos by using this function.
- Ask. By asking a question on your Facebook you may find out great uncle Vern is an expert on the area…or the guy used to work with at your last job just visited there and knows the best places to eat. Chances are if a direct friend doesn’t know they may have a friend who does.
Facebook pages we love
There are so many platforms available but some platforms you may want to check out are YouTube, Twitter, Google +, Reddit, Foursquare, StumbleUpon, Flickr and Clipboard.
Looking for more travel inspiration? Check out some of our favourite blogs and accounts in the sidebar.
Travel With Meraki – Remember that there are real people behind these social media profiles. Interact with the community and learn some amazing local knowledge as well as make some global friends.
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