Social media reach continues to grow at exponential rates (there are new apps popping up every month, this month it’s Peach), people are turning to social media for everything from sharing photos to talking to family and friends to finding a date to shopping to catching up on the news. And planning every kind of trip imaginable.
Using paper guidebooks and maps are helpful, especially in the early stages, but the closer you get to your trip, and once you’re on the road, lugging around books and maps can add unnecessary weight.
Social media = instant gratification. When a guidebook is published the information is already at least a year old, when something is posted to social media it’s generally a representation of what is happening in the moment. The information is more recent, more up-to-date.
Videos posted to snapchat are watched over 7 billion times a day. Launched in 2011, snapchat has been on fire since 2015 and it’s continuing to grow — the fact that photos and videos only live for 24-hours is a major draw. So how can one possibly use snapchat to plan their travels? Follow accounts that post fantastic content, destinations, magazines, and travellers. Here are some accounts to follow: @expatedna, @legalnomads, @cestchristine, @backpackerbrock.
Around 70 million photos are posted every day on instagram, and unlike snapchat, users have the ability to search for photos by destination, user, topic, brand, and hashtags — making it easier to find travel inspiration. Most of us are attracted to visual stimulation, which is why instagram is such a popular social platform.
When planning your trip, follow travelers who inspire you, search for destinations you’re thinking about visiting, look at tourist sties and activities. Make notes on which places you want to see in person, if you see an amazing food shot check the geotags and make a note of the restaurant or what the food is called.
Do you have a travel question? Quora and Trippy are platforms that allow you to ask questions to their communities, and receive answers from fellow travelers and travel experts. Perfect when you are nervous about a destination or need more up-to-date information. Ask about hotels or hostels, how to get around and what to do, but also ask questions about healthcare and safety. If you’re a celiac, these are also good for gluten-free questions. If you have a question, ask (be precise)!
Many say that Twitter is slowly dying, but it can still be useful when planning your travels — especially with brands being more present and active. While there are a lot of travel bloggers to follow for inspiration, there are some informative brands you should follow.
For airfare deals follow accounts like @TheFlightDeal and @airfarewatchdog as they tend to post amazing deals that can save you hundreds of dollars. Follow @trivago for hot hotel deals (as well as your favourite hotel brands as they will post sales and deals). Participate or follow popular travel chats like #RTWChat, #TravelSkills, #ExpediaChat; a travel chat is great for information as well as for finding people you may want to follow.
Of course following and reading content posted by those on Twitter are important, but sometimes you get the best results by interacting with people. Tweet brands and bloggers. Ask relevant questions — most of them will answer you.
Meetup is a wonderful app if you’re looking for events and meetups while you travel. I have used this for finding photography groups and meetup when I travel. There are several groups and interests available through the app, so it’s good to download and search for local events that suit your interests when you travel.
Many of the groups that use Meetup also use Facebook groups, so it’s good to use them together and meet some travelers and locals as you venture around the world.
Back in the day Foursquare was all about checking in and earning badges, the new Foursquare is different; If you want to check-in somewhere and see who is nearby, Swarm is the app for you. Foursquare is an app used for rating and reviewing businesses, and encourages users to create lists. When planning your travels, read reviews and utilize user lists to decide on where to go, eat, and sleep on the road.
Foursquare is like TripAdvisor and Yelp mixed together, without the insanely negative reviews which can skew things far too quickly.
If you’re an organizational freak, or love pretty pictures, you should be on Pinterest. While brands and bloggers aim to create eye-popping boards, travelers and other users create boards to inspire them as well as to help them plan. Create a board for your entire trip, or one board per country you wish to visit; with boards created, pin articles and websites you find during your research, repin photos and tips you find on the website. Search within Pinterest for everything from accommodations to restaurants to destinations to things to see and do.
Pinterest can help you create a visual plan of your trip, as well as future trips. When you find pins you love and have questions, ask in the comments!
Social media is evolving; making it easier to find apps that will fit your personal travel style. Never be afraid to ask questions in social media. If you enjoy a post, tell the person who posted it! When someone recommends something, take a few minutes to look at the recommendation and if it’s a fit you can pin to your board or save the link in productivity/organization app like evernote, trello, or pocket. Travel planning can be a great source of motivation, and it can save you money for when you’re on the road as well — but that’s a topic for later.
Which apps do you use to help plan your travels? Tweet us @bootsnall.