I’m often asked how I find travel inspiration. There’s a lot of decisions involved in planning a holiday, and everything from choosing which country to visit to finding really cool accomodation and things to do when you’re there can be really tricky if you’re not looking in the right places.
I’m not sure if I’m a planning natural, or if the 10,000 hour rule has taken effect, but even I find it’s a bit of an ordeal to head down the rabbit hole that is the internet in search of practical travel inspiration.
Yep, I said practical inspiration.
I love Instagram as much as the next person, but it’s so hard to find real travel advice as you scroll on through. Sure, there’s no shortage of photos of beautiful people on boats, in rainforests, on beaches… in hammocks over the water.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t plan my trips around hammocks over the water. Exclusively anyway!!
So what about the kind of inspiration that actually helps you travel more? The kind that not only leaves you inspired, but makes you feel like “you got this” and has you hopping over to Skyscanner quick smart to book your trip.
Over the last few weeks I’ve spent time consciously monitoring the sources of inspiration (and information!) that I use to plan our vacations… so next time I’m asked how I find travel inspiration, I’ve got a much better answer than “down the rabbit hole”!
How to Find Practical Travel Inspiration
Like Minded Travellers
In my opinion, THE best way to get practical travel inspiration is by chatting to someone who’s got similar ‘travel taste’ to you.
If you don’t know someone IRL who fits the bill, then travel bloggers are your friends!
Stuck deciding where to go? They can suggest somewhere that’ll suit you perfectly.
Looking for practical itinerary advice? They’ve got it in spades.
Find someone who’s travelled extensively through a region or country that interests you, AND that has a personality and travel style that’s similar to your own and not only will you land on a treasure trove of inspiration, but you’ll also have a whole lotta information to help you get planning.
Given I travel as part of a couple, my favourite bloggers do the same. You won’t find anyone with more Africa resources than The World Pursuit, and The Common Wanderer‘s posts are jam packed with the most dreamy photos as well as essential info to help you follow in their footsteps.
Up until just a few short months ago, I thought Pinterest was just for finding cool clothes and cat pics.
What I didn’t understand is that it’s more of a search engine than social media platform. Unlike Instagram, those gorgeous images all link through to articles about what you’re searching for. Suddenly Pinterest isn’t just about inspo – it’s also a planning tool.
Wondering why you shouldn’t just stick to good old, trusty Google?
Well, the issue I have with google is that only the ‘big guys’ hit page 1 or 2. And, while they’re often right up top for a reason, lately I’ve been finding the first page of google less helpful than it once was. The big guys don’t always have the latest info, the best places to stay or the coolest things to do.
Since I’ve started favouring Pinterest, I’ve been able to find amazingly helpful information from lesser known bloggers and boutique brands that I wouldn’t have come across otherwise.
Struggling to find that like minded traveller I mentioned before? Pinterest might just be your best way to do that too (it’s how I found the two blogs I listed above).
Travel Books (…Not Guide Books)
Quite a few of my holidays have been inspired (at least in part) by travel books.
Reading is a great way to start getting to know a culture before you land, so you’re more likely to become part of it (and less likely to commit faux pas) while you’re there.
Plus, it’s also a great way to live vicariously through someone else while you’re saving up for a trip, making it far less likely to fall off the savings wagon when you get a marketing email about that unmissable sale (we’ve all been there)!
Some of the travel books I’ve most enjoyed are:
- The Elephant Whisperer
Possibly my all time favourite book, you’ll amazed to learn about the incredible lives and personalities of this heard of elephants, and the extraordinary South African conservationist who saved them.
- Head over Heel: Seduced by Southern Italy
A fun and light hearted insight into Italian life and the differences between north and south. I read this before we went to Puglia, and funnily enough the author studied at the same Italian language school as me in Sydney before he moved to Italy.
- The Wander Year: One Couples Journey Around the World
I keep coming back to this witty account of (you guessed it) an American couple’s year of travel. I challenge you to read this book and finish it not wanting to take a grown up gap year!
Don’t Forget to Look Within
There’s plenty of travel inspiration out there, but don’t forget to check back in with your own compass before you go searching for the ‘next best thing’.
Most of us have got a whole lot of really cool things swirling around in our heads that we really want to do, and we think that someday we’ll get to them… well, now’s the time, my friend!
In the past I found it somewhat awkward planning my travel priorities around Brad’s, until we sat down and came up with a joint bucket list. If you’re part of a travelling couple, it’s worth sitting down and doing the same… you’ll never have to wonder ‘where next’ again.