When you Google around looking for travel inspiration, do you find it frustrating to wade through some of the low-quality or spammy results?
Try mixing up your Google searches with the search boxes on Pinterest and Instagram.
Pinterest, in particular, is not really a social network; it is an inspiration search engine, and that includes travel.
Trip Ideas From Pinterest
People use the visual “bulletin board / mood board” Pinterest to collect thoughts and ideas on all sorts of topics, including travel-related ones like clothes to pack, outfitting an RV or travel trailer, trip scrapbook layouts, etc. You can sort search results by Pins, Videos, or Boards (which are Pins grouped together by a common thread like topic or color.)
When you click on an individual Pin, it will usually be linked back to an article or blog post, so you can get more information.
If you use Pinterest for trip ideas, I recommend getting very specific with a few destinations to start, or you may feel overwhelmed by all of the results competing for your attention from general “beautiful places to see around the world” searches. Of course, if you have no idea where you want to go, a general search is fine – maybe you’ll see a place that you hadn’t considered.
Pinterest also curates their own Travel ideas page, with featured creators, topics, current travel-related searches on the site, etc.
If the destination is big enough, you can get answers to specific questions like where to eat:
Like other digital platforms, Pinterest users are seeing more video posts, and a Story-like feature called Idea Pins. The company also launched Pinterest.TV – themed shows with various creators. I didn’t see any pure travel programming yet, but did find this episode about building a summer itinerary.
Our own Perceptive Travel editor Tim Leffel is active with travel ideas and tips on Pinterest. Here is a screenshot of some of his Boards, which you can follow individually, or his account as a whole…
Trip Ideas From Instagram
Plenty of people use Instagram for travel inspiration, hence the overload of influencer photos of women twirling around in dresses in pretty places, or people looking contemplatively at an attractive landscape of some sort.
You can also find ideas for more prosaic destinations, though.
For example, as I prepared for some recent content creation client work with the Waco, Texas tourism marketing staff, I spent time doing Instagram hashtag research on the #WacoTX hashtag. It’s best not to overcomplicate this process – start with a simple hashtag like the name of a destination or activity. You can also search with words or phrases rather than hashtags, although your results will be more algorithm-driven.
The current “big deal” in Waco is the Magnolia empire – the shops, bakery, restaurant, house rentals, a soon-to-be downtown Magnolia hotel – which grew out of the U.S. home renovation TV show Fixer Upper. I like their work (and the food at their restaurant, Magnolia Table, is very good) but I was looking for lesser-known, overlooked things to do and see in town.
While researching Waco on Instagram, when I saw an interesting post, I looked at the associated profile. If it was a local business, I went to see who THEY follow, because local people doing interesting things tend to network together. As a result, I found lots of intriguing places to investigate, like where they’re saving historic black gospel music recordings, and outdoor adventures in Waco including a hike/bike trail that I’d never heard anything about, although I’ve visited the town multiple times.
Sometimes there are local quirks. In Canada, many people use their city’s three-letter airport code as a local hashtag, like #YEG for Edmonton in Alberta, and #YWG for Winnipeg in Manitoba. Hashtags are not case sensitive, although for accessibility it is better to capitalize the first letter in each word, so #EdmontonAlberta rather than #edmontonalberta.
You can also search IG posts by geographic location, with the Places tab under Explore in the Instagram app. On desktop, I use the word “location” along with the name of a location in the search bar, and that seems to work. This is particularly handy for seeing the latest posts taken in a particular location, to give you a bit of “eyes on the ground” current information.
Or you can search by hashtag or words for something that may seem obscure but is really popular, like cat cafes around the world.
Do you find trip ideas from Pinterest and/or Instagram? How well does it work for you? Tell us in the Comments…
If you like this post, please consider subscribing to the blog via RSS feed or by email – the email signup box is toward the top of the right sidebar. Thanks!