You have your online business up and running, everything is in place for you to satiate your wanderlust now. All you need is your computer and an internet connection, right? Um, no, not quite. Those are the two essentials for running your online business from anywhere in the world. (If you don’t have your online business up and running yet, have a read here to find out how to create a life of financial and geographic freedom!) Travel, on the other hand, takes some planning! Whether you are an explorer, road-tripper and thrill seeker or more restrained luxury traveler, how do you know where to go, what to do when you get there and if you’re even going to enjoy it at all? Hope this article helps you to find the Best travel tips ever!
Travel bloggers and travel editors plan their trips as much as possible, in minute detail even – after all, they want to get the most out of the trip! Let’s take some cues from them, how do the travel pros handle planning for their journeys?
Research is key! Yes, professional travelers do a lot of research when planning their trips. I have accessed the inside scoop on where to look and how to dig for the traveler’s gold. That is what we are going to uncover in this article.
1. GOOD OLD-FASHIONED PRINTED MAGAZINES
Yes, there is value to be found in the printed magazines (and online too of course). I have a big love affair with printed magazines of many genres, for this article though let’s chat about specific titles like Getaway, Outdoor, Camping and Caravan, Wanderlust Travel, Conde Nast Traveller, National Geographic – just to name a few
If we look at the January 2019 Issue of Getaway Magazine (www.getaway.co.za), the feature story was “173 travel ideas for 2019”, some options they offered are as follows:
South Africa: Pet-Friendly Garden Route ideas, Insider’s Guide to Howick, Sunday Drives in Cape Town, PE, Durban and Johannesburg,
Zimbabwe: The World’s Highest Zipline (I hang my head in shame, this Zimbo who loves zip lining but has not done the most famous one in her home country! As we say in Africa – eish!)
Mozambique: Lubombo Adventures
Colombia: A Jungle Hike to a Lost City in Colombia
Italy: New Food Journeys
What an incredible selection – I would love to do ALL of them!
You can lean towards your interests and hobbies too, of course, perhaps you would rather look at Dive Magazine, or Spiritual Magazines to find the retreats.
2. SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS
Let’s face it, people love to share photo’s, their happy times online. Just this makes social media a fabulous place to look.
But it is not only a case of happy photos, but the social media platforms also provide excellent inspiration to assist you with travel plans.
This is a great place to see who is going where and what they are doing there.
I have it on good authority that Instagram is an awesome place to start because it is such a visual medium and images draw a lot of attention and intrigue.
There is a plethora of travel information available online, my recommendation is that you follow some travel accounts and observe what they are posting. This is a great way to ignite some inspiration about where you’re going to head off to. Keep in mind that Travel Bloggers earn their keep by getting their viewers to spend money on airlines, resorts, activities etc. They want you to visit the destinations they are promoting. This makes the Instagram environment the perfect place to find some ideas that will excite you.
Instagram also offers features like Geotag and Hashtags to help you with your searches. Spend some time doing some searches, the great thing is that you can search according to your interests – are you a fitness fundi, keen on cycling, walking tours, swimming or perhaps you are a foodie and want to travel and taste your way around the world. There are ideas for all hobbies, interests, and activities, just get online and search within Instagram.
Did you know that you can also take advantage of Instagram’s “save this post” feature? This allows you to save in different albums too. What a pleasure, all in one place! Another benefit of doing things this way is that you have the advantage of accessing the images and albums whilst you are on the move so once you are in your dream destination you can pull up the album and double check that you are doing everything your heart desires.
Other platforms are very helpful too, think of platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Snapchap. Actually, Facebook is one of my favourites, but I know that we all have our preferences.
It has been said by some travel bloggers that Instagram is the king of travel content, I lean more towards Pinterest personally, you are welcome to connect with me on Pinterest and have a look at my Travel Board to see who else you can follow for travel inspiration.
3. GET ON PINTEREST
Pinterest is a highly underrated tool for many things – building your online authority is one of them – which makes it a treasure trove of travel information too! I was also under the impression that Pinterest is merely DIY and décor tips, with food ideas thrown in. Ah, no! Pinterest is SO MUCH MORE! As an online marketer, you really need to get your presence up and running and growing on Pinterest – I can give you some pointers in that direction if you like. Let’s keep with the discussion at hand though – Pinterest contains an enormous amount of information about travel, have a look for things like curated city guides, tips, and tricks to economize on your trip, what you should economize on and what you should allocate more toward. There is information about what to do at the different destinations, best places to eat, amazing points of interest to include in your sight-seeing. Truly, Pinterest offers everything you could dream of to help you plan your long-awaited travels!
Not unlike Instagram, you can save the ideas you are interested in by creating your own boards and pinning the photos, how to’s and articles. I have seen some boards where people have saved by country or even city. You could do it by destination, you could do it by interests. Anything your heart desires, this is your planning tool for your trips, a great place to gather inspiration.
Here are links to my social media platforms:
4. WORD OF MOUTH OR ASKING “FOR A FRIEND”
I am sure you know someone you trust who could share their travel experiences with you. First-hand information from someone you know well and who knows you well is difficult to beat. Ideas of who you could speak to include your friends and family, even colleagues. Ask for their advice, where they have been and which ones they would recommend to you.
If you have your heart set on a particular destination, you only need to ask for recommendations from people you have been there. Even better, perhaps they know someone who lives there! Locals are often the only ones who know about the real hidden gems!
Travel blogs can offer something that official travel resources often don’t. By nature, Travel Blogs tend to go into detail at a more personal level, they’re also not confined to the corporate obligations when compared to other travel resources (hotel concierge services for example).
Travel blogs can give you the inside track on what to look out for (an example of this would be my trip to Singapore where we paid $10 deposit on our MRT cards. What we were not told what that there are only certain stations you can retrieve your deposit from. It seems like something small but these costs add up, particularly if there is more that one person traveling. Aside from which, traveling from South Africa, the Singapore $ is considerably stronger than the SA Rand). These are the little intricacies that you get to know about from the Travel Bloggers.
Travel blogs can also offer free tips and information about the latest exciting things to do at your destination. They are also a great source for finding the unique experiences which are not mainstream, you know, those off the beaten path options which are not revealed in the typical travel books.
Where to find a great travel blog – Google can help you, or Pinterest as mentioned earlier. I quite like this article from Wanderlust Magazine.
5. DEVELOP A TRAVEL VISION OR DREAM BOARD, JOURNAL OR EVEN AN EXCEL SPREADSHEET
Whichever methodology appeals more to you – perhaps you are like me where you enjoy a combination of creative and orderly – whichever it is, make use of that! Keeping a vision board allows me to focus in a very different way to a written journal or excel spreadsheet. There really is a place for each one when it comes to me. I like being able to “go away with the fairies” and fantasize about where I could go and what I could do. In fact, writing a vision can work in this way too, especially if I include emotional aspects of the journey. Somehow tapping into how I feel makes it much more real. Creating an Excel spreadsheet can be a way to put my dreams into a functional reality, that’s where the rubber hits the road and I know what I am in for time wise, financially and logistically. In excel I would include different sheets for the different aspects of a trip, for example:
Destination options – the time of year, seasons, activities at the destinations etc
Accommodation – options; pricing; Airbnb; hotel; self-catering etc
Meals – what is included in accommodation, where else to eat in the vicinity, pricing of meals for budget planning, top restaurants, their location etc
Entertainment – also in Singapore, we saw the most beautiful ballets and musical shows, plus we spent a day at Universal Studios in Sentosa, wow, what an experience! The Transformers ride was something else. Definitely worth planning for! You can even buy a priority ticket for the rides which pushes you to the front of very long queues, well worth it!
Transport – will you hire a car, a bicycle, where from, what costs will be involved. In some parts of the world it’s important to factor in a driver, far safer than driving yourself around (places like New Delhi, India and Lagos, Nigeria come to mind here)
Flights – (including time, cost, stopovers etc)
Luggage – what is your weight limit with the airline you choose, do you have the opportunity to travel with your beloved articles, perhaps it’s a guitar, bicycle or surfboard.
What to pack – the season you are traveling into, pack appropriate clothing, what activities you will be doing on the other side, will there be a need for formal wear on a couple of the evenings etc?
It may seem like a lot of additional work but I have found that this kind of planning helps me lay things out in black and white and allows me to make decisions based on facts rather than enticing images – yes, those beautiful images can sway me away from making the most practical choice (whether that is from an affordability or convenience perspective). Plus, knowing what to pack for special events helps me feel more comfortable knowing that I am prepared. You could of course also go shopping to buy that special something to wear
6. EXPLORE OFFERS ONLINE
When we don’t know “where to next” but the travel bug is bugging us, we can always look at what the latest offers are online – and there are some great ones if we just keep out eyes open for them!
Here are some ideas of where to find great ideas and deals:
Here are some other highly recommended links too:
7. USE THE HANDY GOOGLE MAPS SAVE FACILITY
Another option for the highly organized, you can make use of the handle save facility offered by Google Maps. This can even be used for the lovely restaurants you want to try out when you get there. Very convenient.
The way to make use of this is to use Google Maps to save the location, find the spot, select the name and click “save”, then “save in your lists”. You have the great advantage of keeping the information at your fingertips, quite literally. When you are looking for somewhere, just look at your list and let Google Maps take you to where you need to go.
You can use this whenever someone makes a recommendation or you happen to walk past a place and want to get back there later in your travels.
8. TRIPADVISOR OR YELP
These two tools are amazing, they really can take you to places you will love! Not only can you find some great things to do and places to eat by using TripAdvisor or Yelp, but they can even assist you with budget and location! Very cool tools!
NB: Sometimes the reviewers are difficult to please and deduct stars for petty issues (i.e. their favourite brand of sparkling water was not available) and others are just plain nasty. My advice to you is that you take some reviews with a pinch of salt.
NB NB: TripAdvisor offers an amazing list of information such the best destinations and hotels, to make it even easier, they break them down into a load of categories too. This information can really help when you are searching for where to visit or where to stay at your chosen destination.
I would love to hear from you and learn about your travel experiences – go on, share them with me (and everyone else who visits the page) – we can all help each other!