Social media and travel have become synonymous with each other these days. Sure, some people still like to buy a Lonely Planet book, but for the most part, travelers are turing to the internet to plan their vacations and get inspiration.
My two favorite social media travel planning tools are Pinterest and Instagram, both provide excellent visual inspirations, specific details of the location, and are mobile friendly. They also are user friendly for all age groups, so even if you are not "high tech" as my dad says, you can navigate destinations easily by simply using their search bars. Each day when I post to our United Military Travel Instagram and Pinterest accounts, I find myself getting lost in all the photos from around the world...wanderlusting if you will. If you are se arching for exotic destinations that are far from mainstream travel, you will find them too.
Both are loaded with personal photos from people who travel the world for a living and seasonal travelers looking to inspire others to do the same.
What I love about Instagram is that you can search photos four different ways: top tags, people, tags, and places.
If you are not familiar with tags aka hash tags, they are how you categorize your photos to make them easily searchable to other users. For instance, if your photo is of a cruise ship in the Caribbean, you would add #cruiseship #caribbean making your photo show up in the search results of those two tags. Use tags to your advantage when planning your travel.
Top tags are all the tags you have used in your photos which allows you to find others who have been the same places as you or have similar interests.
When you search via people you can find photos that your friends have shared, then you can follow them for their posts to show up in your daily feed.
If you search by tag that means simply you search whatever you are interested in and if someone added a tag of that in their photo it will show up. Instagram also lists how many posts are under each tag, making it super easy for you to choose which tag to follow....a great time saver!
Or simply search by places. I feel that you get the same results by searching via tags and places so try it out by playing around with all the places you want to visit.
New user hint: you HAVE to set up your Instagram account via smart phone. Once that is done, then you can access it from your computer.
Now that you can learned how to navigate Instagram, start searching for the destinations you wish to visit and take notes on your favorite hotels, beaches, restaurants, and adventures!
Pinterest is fantastic because it lets you create boards of all your favorites, meaning when you find something you like you put it in its own special places, and it stay put making it easy for you to plan your travel. Instagram does not let you do that. Pinterest also lets you share your travels by letting you create boards for you to pin your personal photos in...what I would call a virtual photo album. Another difference between Instagram and Pinterest is that Pinterest provides a lot of "how to" and "top reason" guides on destinations rather than just photos. It lets you learn and dive deeper into the destinations, kinda like an online guide book with hundreds of authors!
The way I like to plan my vacations through Pinterest is by creating a board entitled "2015 Vacation Ideas" then adding pins categorized by destinations, hotels, rare travel ideas, etc. Or you could break each board into specific details such as the actual destination, hotel, and travel guides. However you plan your travel, you will get fantastic ideas and inspiration from Pinterest!
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