How do you do your travel research? Sure, google is a great way. But there are other means too, to find unique destinations and local secrets. Apart from travel websites and stories like Trevellers, here’s how to do travel research using social media!
Itineraries from Travel Bloggers (Best Recommend)
Travel bloggers share their itineraries, especially those with a more unique approach. For cookie cutter itineraries, you have a better chance with tour companies. For unique experiences like road less travelled in Iceland, hairy cows in Scotland or layover in Singapore, it’s better to look for travel bloggers.
Compare 20 blogs on the same thing about the same place. Test their recommendations and filter out those you like and those you don’t. Not everyone’s style is the same.
For cookie cutter experiences, get sample itinerary from the official tourism boards or tour companies. Then use travel bloggers’ unique experience to add to your travel.
You could also check out Atlas Obscura for some little activities to do!
Create a playlist for the specific location that you are visiting. Search for <location> travel guide and add those videos in. Another great recommendation is <area> 3 day itinerary or <area> vlog. I did that for my Taipei trip when I was already in Taipei.
Watching vlogs and travel guides help you to familiarise with the area. Add them with travel blogs, and boom! You are well ahead in your research plans!
Travel Forums (Great Place!)
Travel forums are great. But I put them in 3rd place because I use them when I have specific questions. Like when I was in the safari in South Africa or specific questions about taking Flixbus from Poland to Austria.
I basically google my question and read through the forums. There is no one forum that really stands out. Some are more detailed than others: TripAdvisor usually are for frequent travellers and Stackoverflow can get super detailed and technical.
Whilst not really a forum, I also recommend Facebook Groups if you use Facebook. Couchsurfing groups of a city usually has very friendly people giving tips and advice. You can also meet them, and I think that’s a great addition.
I use google maps to help me with location timing, distance (to plan my itinerary), operating hours and REAL PICTURES. Sure, instagram is cool, but I do find instagram too edited and fake. The pictures are too colourful, too much contrast and way too many edits or filters. When you are actually there, it’s hard to believe it’s the same thing as what you’ve seen on Instagram.
So I use google maps to see the real unedited pictures people post.
Search the country name on pinterest and create a <city> board or <country> board. Pinterest can be quite annoying because like Instagram, the pictures are super edited. But some images include wonderful tips and secret locations in there!
Instagram (Least Recommended)
- Key in the area or city in the search tool and check out profiles that specialise in the area
- I always avoid those “instagram models” pictures, because you know the images are heavily edited. I’ve followed through with some, and the place looks nothing like the instagram picture. Also, I’m not a huge fan of “influencer travel”. It’s too fake, and more focused on “lifestyle” than authentic travel.
- Use location tags then search for niche profiles
- I only use the hashtag search if it is a unique place
- Otherwise, those general travel accounts to get travel inspiration, before I do any deep research
- Follow tourism websites by the city or country. They give good info on getting around, food, little trips and hidden gems.
- Local photographers also offer better insights into the countries than some random foreign “lifestyle influencer” trying to sell a dress. The local photographers can bring you some hidden gems.
- Use the “recent” not “top” function on Instagram for more real and unedited pictures.
- I use it especially when I need local information that is limited. E.g. haiku stairs hike in Hawaii.
- Also, use Instagram to tell you where NOT to go. Because all the others will flock there.
Trevellers is my way to change the world. Through my stories, tips and lessons learnt, I truly hope to inspire you to get out of your comfort zone, see the world and see who you truly are. Travel is more than just taking a selfie. Travel is an adventure, where you can truly become who you are, give you the time to reflect and grow to become the person you’ve always wanted to be.