by Cailin O’Neil
You’re sitting at home watching the Amazing Race and you see them fly to a place you have never heard of before or you are scrolling through your Facebook feed and see a friend post photos of a place you haven’t visited. However it happens, inspiration to travel the world and see new places always pops up everywhere and in the most unlikely situations. But once you hear about a place and see some great photos or videos about it how do you go about making your visit a reality? Here are some of the best tips for how to research the place you want to travel to next.
The Internet is your friend
Of course you can find information about literally everything on the internet these days but where do you begin? If you are a fan of review sites then TripAdvisor is one of the best out there. It’s great for looking up specific hotel properties, tours, tourist sites and restaurants. Keep in mind that people tend to leave comments more often when they have had a bad experience then good. So take the bad with a grain of salt and be on the look out for the good as well.
Another good idea is to type your search query into Google, for example “What to do in South Africa” and then I add travel blog to them. “What to do in South Africa travel blog” and then all of the top search results will be from bloggers who have visited the area. This gives you a range of perspectives and opinion on the best things to see and do. Add the word budget or luxury in there and you might be surprised with all of the options that you will be given.
Guidebooks aren’t as common of a tool now as they use to be but Lonely Planet, Frommers and the like are still pumping out their new versions on the regular. A lot of these guidebooks have also now been turned into electronic versions that you can download on your phone or tablet as well. They often all even have their own blogs so you can find even more trusty reports on their own sites.
A great way to really see what the locals and visitors alike enjoy in a new city is to search Instagram with selected hashtags that represent the destination. If you are interested in going to the seaside town of Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia search #PeggysCove and from there you can fall down a rabbit hole of beautiful pictures and learn about where they were taken, see what the hotels and food look like first hand and more. It may even give you inspiration and ideas for your own photography.
Word of Mouth
One of the best ways to learn about a place of course is by talking to people who have been or are from there. Post to your Facebook or Twitter asking friends their recommendations. I also often wait until I arrive in a place and then ask the people that work at the hotel or hostel or people that are tour guides what their recommendations might be.
If you are staying at an AirBnB or couch surfing your hosts can also provide great insights. You can even look up for local Travel Massive meet ups to catch up with travel lovers in the specific destination you visit and perhaps you might even get inspired to visit another destination as well.
Do you have any other great suggestions for researching a trip? Leave them in the comments below!