The ULTIMATE Travel Planning Hack
Who doesn't love to travel?
It can be a tedious task planning trips and figuring out all of the things to see and do.
I used to be PSYCHO down to the second on the move when I travel and GO GO GOING
Well 20% of my family is: GO GO GO (my Dad and I...probably where I get it from) and 80% are: easy going, whatever, IDK What do you want to DO? IDC what do YOU want to do? Vibes lol
Since the majority is blasé with the plans I enjoy making suggestions and researching to accommodate everyone’s interests and give options so everyone is happy and can break off at certain points if necessary.
MAPS MAPS MAPS MAPS MAPS MAPS
Google Freaking maps.
Full disclosure: Google tracks all of your location data ALL of the time even when you are in airplane mode with no service, in the middle of the woods, phone at the bottom of the ocean kind of stalker status. If you’re cool with that, i’m not really, but it’s a trade off for convenience (SCARY as the convenience of technology is bringing it closer and closer to our bodies …apple watch, fit bit, tech implants, etc.)
Once you accept google location services and all of the stalking of google that goes with it you can "enjoy" the "perks".
You can STAR places on your map from friends/family’s homes to restaurants, hotels, destinations, cities, instagram walls, anything! This was how I started my google mapping obsession. Especially in this internet, instagram age.
When someone would tag an exotic place in Thailand that I could never pronounce, spell or remember I simply open their tag through google maps and star that spot for later.
Now I have places saved all over the world.
Let’s get even more nerdy and specific!
I am blessed to be able to travel A LOT and to have seen a lot of places. I remember the first time I went to Europe was when I studied abroad in college and that opened my eyes to new cultures and I of course fell in love with travel, culture and wanting to explore as much of the world as I could.
So when the travel bug ignited I explored and embraced all of the off the beaten track adventures along with the tourist destinations. From this exploration I formed my, what to do when and where and what to avoid, mentality about exploring new places.
When I would return and friends and family were planning a trip they would ask for recommendations. I wanted to share my STARRED map with them, but that feature wasn’t available yet, until now
NOWWWWW I have places saved all over the world I save them to Saved places instead of STARRED places and create a list by city, state, country or trip specific depending on how detailed I want to be.
And you can make your saved places open and available to the public, keep them private or just share with a select group of people.
It’s an absolutely fabulous way to personally track your destinations that you want to see, places that you’ve been to, restaurants you love or want to try. PLUS the ability to quickly send a link to share with friends and family who want your input on the area, WIN WIN!
STARRED Places-comes up as a Yellow STAR on your google map. You can't share your starred places with anyone, they will only show up for you. Starred places are great for your personal places like friend's houses or special spots.
SAVED Places- Show up as blue tags on your map. You can make as many Saved places lists as you can think of. You can save by city, town, country, trip and share with whoever you want. These are great for sharing your recommendations.
I am still working on converting ALL of the starred places I have all over the world to SAVED PLACES lists, but here are some amazing gems to get you inspired/started:
- Philadelphia, PA
- NY, NY
- Los Angeles, CA
- Portland, Oregon
- Boston, MA
- Nantucket, MA
- Amsterdam, Netherlands
- Danube River Cruise Destinations
- AND MY MOST PRIZED POSSESSION: ITALY
Using these tools, my method for planning a city I’ve never been to:
Check For recommendations
1) With family, friends, friends of friends who are locals of said place to ask for recommendations.
2) Google it, don’t go by the first results or trip advisor
INSTEAD WE LIKE
A) 36 hours in…New York Times articles, Travel and Leisure, Conde Nast travel, etc.
B.) Blogger recs! especially if their blog specializes in travel or they are local to that place.
For Food And Things To Do
2) Eater 38
3) Online magazine articles
A. Search pinterest and pin to a board for that place.
B. Be sure to check out blogger recommendations!
A. If you’re in FB groups that allow it put it out there and ask if anyone is from or has recs for that place.
B. I always cross reference restaurants I am intrigued by by looking at pictures on yelp/google plus, sometimes they aren’t on those and you just have to go with your gut and try it out.
Adding recommendations from these people into my SAVED places list for that specific place or Trip.
If you have time to cross reference by looking at places websites or reviews you can sometimes eliminate things that aren’t your vibe. I usually keep more places saved over less because you never know because the next step I take is...
Connect the dots.
NOW you can Look at the map of saved places and create a plan or loose structure of your days according to location and what’s nearby
Even when I’m in my hometown/area I save places because sometimes you just forget about a place and you'll look at the map and be like, "hmm what am I in the mood for OH YEAH I forgot about this bomb ass Indian place around the corner. "
Don’t forget to go with the FLOW while you’re there.
Maybe you’ll meet a local on the train/lyft/coffee shop who gives some great recos
Maybe you just HAPPEN across a new discovery
Weedmaps is a good start,
Dispensaries/grows who don’t pay to be featured on their site won’t always come up, they make them harder to find even though they could be "THE DANKEST" lol.
They are not always up to date with menu items (they have to be manually kept up with by the dispensaries who don’t always update)
Google Maps searches (below) will be your friend. They also have been featured on yelp more and more.
Even if you don’t do ALL of this, idk could be intense, I am a psycho, control freak so it’s easy breezy for me to prioritize? A great attribute to google maps is when you’re in that area or if you are searching before you go you can GOOGLE it within the map.
Google: vegan ice cream ( a regular search term of mine) and then click search this area and it will come up with what you are looking for at that time. Then SAVE those results to your places. It's like the local map that they give you at a visitor's center with all of the food, shops and points of interest highlighted by the people who paid to advertise to get onto the map, but it's completely customized and catered to YOUR interests.
It’s nice to have a loose structure, but as they say, "life happens while you’re making other plans" lol so you might pinpoint these places, but instead end up on a new path with new discoveries.
The world is yours to explore!
Please comment of email us if you have any specific questions.