Using Instagram to help plan out your trip sounds insane, but it really is a huge help!
Does anyone remember MapQuest? That was the website you went to if you needed directions, it was basically a Thomas Guide. Please tell me I am not alone in knowing what both of these are! You would basically enter the address and it would give you turn by turn directions to where you were going. That meant you needed to know ahead of time where you were going, and the address from where you were coming. You could have just printed a giant map and circled your points of interest, and then carried the map around everywhere. I mean, I was born in the 70’s and we went on a lot of vacations without technology helping us lead the way. Without Yelp telling us where to eat, without travel blogs telling us cool hidden places to explore. It can be done, it’s been done. But to maximize your time and to help you recall all the places you visited on your stay, technology is handy.
Majority of my trips are spur of the moment, if I can find a great deal I cannot pass up, or sometimes I am short on time… flying in and out. For example, Portland is a city where from my location I can find inexpensive flights, it’s also a city close enough where I can fly in early in the morning and take the last flight out back home. This gives me a whole day to explore. If I can maximize my time I have a day full of adventures and eating good.
How do you find all the cool places to eat, or shop, or take the Pinterest worthy pictures at? I get this question asked of me a lot! Instagram! Well, and blogs, and books, and websites, but eventually all these places live with me on Instagram.
I create a bookmark gallery and give each gallery a name. I like to use the name of the city for each bookmark gallery. I sometimes will use a general area, for example I have a Southern California and a Northern California gallery, not a specific city for those areas.
From that point I begin using the search bar on Instagram. Let’s pretend we are searching Portland things to do. Type the word Portland into that search bar. Underneath the search bar they have four options of how to search for what you want. You will see the options: Top, Accounts, Tags, and Places.
>> Top will show you what was searched the most with the word Portland in it.
>> Accounts will be accounts with the word Portland in it.
>> Tags will show you the most used # hashtags with the word Portland.
>> Places will show you a geotag and the name of the place, since we searched Portland it will show us all the geotags with the word Portland. If you click on the location, it will show you the exact pin drop on MAPS. You will see a blue box under this as well that says View Information, if you click that box it will take you to a screen that says Category, Price, and Website. You can enlarge the map, move it out to get a a birds eye view of the surrounding area. It will usually include an address as well. Below this will be posts tagged from this location. If you need more information about the location, click the website and it will take you to that locations official website where you will find all the information you need.
Where to begin? Want to find great food? Look up hashtags like #portlandfoodie, from there all the pictures with that hashtag will come up. They give you a couple options search by the top posts featuring that hashtag or the most recent posts. I do both.
You can also choose to follow that hashtag, that will then allow any post with that hashtag to show up in your daily feed. Scour those pictures for meals that catch your eye! When you find them use the little page flag in the bottom righthand corner of that post to save it to your Portland gallery. Keep doing this until you have a bunch of choices for your trip! Always do more.. more is better! Don’t save only three places because that’s all you have time for on your trip save 23 places! By saving the post you will have the geotag of the establishment under the Instagram account (I made a cool how to info sheet explaining how to do this below). That geotag will be able to open up in maps or it will give you the address of the establishment to give to your Uber driver. Now keep repeating this same method for stores you want to shop at, museums, art galleries, cool landmarks and more until your Portland gallery is full!
Having all the information allows you to seek out your own places to visit not just the ones that, that location is traditionally known for. Eat where the locals eat, shop where the local makers have their wares, listen to the local talent. It is so worth it. I promise. This method of how I find all of that is all here!
Make your galleries and start bookmarking your places. You will have your own travel guide in the palm of your hand. What makes it even sweeter? When I am ready to document my travels I have all the information of where I ate, shopped and adventured to right at my fingertips for reference. I also use a hashtag to help me keep all of my travel posts organized and easy to locate. Once you make travel look effortless, your friends will start asking for your recommendations. By having quick access to your travel posts because you gave them a hashtag will be so helpful in the future. You can have them search your hashtag or find the post and tag them in it.
I have galleries for places I want to visit one day too. When someone ask me hey.. have you been here? Where should I eat. I tag them in a post from my gallery, I tell them I have not yet eaten there yet but to let me know how it is! Always be prepared, you never know when you can hit the road!
Hope these graphics below help you start building your travel galleries on Instagram! If you have any questions please reach out to me! You can also follow along my travels at #tinaktravels and how I document my travels at @socialpaperplan on Instagram.