There are so many online AND offline resources where you can find inspiration for your next travel destination. I’d like to share a few of the ones that have always worked well for me in the past.
2014 was a slow travel year for me, so I’m currently planning a two-week road trip along the east coast of Australia next month, and with any luck (and money), Scandinavia later this year to make up for it. I’m always on the lookout for ways to get some travel inspiration from all types of travellers, and I love combining different travel styles to mix it up a bit.
- Travel blogs: The Internet is full of travel bloggers. Here’s a list from The Expeditioner. And of course, my own (shameless plug haha).
- Travel curation websites: Gadling.com has been a favourite for a while, and have recently signed up to Traveldudes.org who also runs the weekly #TTOT chats on Twitter.
- Twitter: Use hashtags to search and read topics on your chosen destination (eg. #Scandinavia). Most travel bloggers are on Twitter. Also, participate in travel-related chats such as #TTOT or #RTWChat and connect with travellers from all corners of the world.
- Instagram: I always want to pack my bags every time I see a gorgeous landscape photo. Similarly, most travel bloggers are on Instagram as well as…
- Facebook: ‘Like’ their page so that you will get travel envy on your newsfeed.
- Visit a travel agency: Tell them your draft itinerary and they will be able to draw one up for you to fill the gaps. I like to compare itineraries from mainstream travel agencies and independent ones.
- Brochures: While you’re at your local travel agent, grab some brochures.
- Guidebooks/Guideapps: Lonely Planet, Frommer’s, Rough Guides, 1001 Places To See Before You Die, just to name a few.
- Travel memoirs or biographies: Great way to read about honest, wholesome and sometimes hilarious accounts of various travellers’ experiences. I’d like to give a shout out to Becky Wicks who has written about her time in Bali (Balilicious), Dubai (The Dubai Diaries) and South America (Latinalicious). I was lucky enough to spend time with her when I was in Rio de Janeiro Brazil a couple of years ago.
- Talk to locals: The next time you’re out and about, strike up a conversation with a local as they know their country/city like no other.
- Talk to fellow travellers: Again, strike up a conversation with ALL types of travellers and don’t just limit yourself to the backpacking or dreadlock-sporting ones. I honestly believe that EVERYONE is a traveller, whether you travel away for a couple of days or a couple of decades. Everyone has a story to tell [Watch this space for an upcoming blog post on this topic].
- Watch documentaries: Even reality TV shows like Man VS Food (yes, I quite fancy Adam Richman!) provide an insight to different cities and food cultures around the globe. Then there are the more ‘serious’ ones like National Geographic (Nat Geo Travel, Nat Geo People, Nat Geo Wild etc), The History Channel, BBC Knowledge, Discovery Channel, Travel Channel, etc.
- Newspapers: Nothing like a cup of great coffee on a Sunday morning and flipping through the travel liftout in the Sunday paper.
- Good ol’ gas bagging with friends: Yep, even your friends have awesome tales to tell. Organise a catch-up and swap travel tips.
- Wine labels: Fancy yourself to be a wine connoisseur? Did you like that bottle of Pinot Gris you got for Christmas? Read the back of the bottle and find out which vineyard it came from. Perhaps it will inspire you to do a round the world vineyard trip.
- Email subscriptions: Yes, these can get annoying especially if you receive email direct marketing (EDM) five times a day from the same mob. Be picky on which to subscribe to. I prefer receiving notifications from airlines or online booking sites (eg. Expedia, Webjet, Flightcentre, Zuji, Travel.com, etc) as there can be some fantastic deals.
- Google Images: Pictures do speak louder than words and sometimes, an image of an adventure trek up The Himalayas is all you need to get planning and packing. So get Googling!
- Movies: Game of Thrones? Lord of The Rings? Enough said. Next time you watch a movie and you find yourself inspired to find your own precious ring, run a search of the movie’s filming locations. IMDB usually publish these.
- Attend cultural events: I’m lucky to be living in such a multicultural country and fortunately, there are so many cultural days or festivals every year. Last year, I went to the Burmese Water Festival or Thingyan in Sydney, an annual event that falls around mid-April.
- Finding recipes: You may think this is a weird one but believe it or not, it will get you researching. Where did pasta originate from? How are empanadas made? Who makes the best Pisco Sour – Peruvians or Chileans? When you start looking for answers to these questions, it will make you read up on that country. Trust me. While we’re on the topic of food…
- Restaurant owners and waitstaff: One of the things I love to do is taking the time to talk with the waitstaff – particularly ones who are here on a short term Visa – and restaurant owners who’ve made the move to start a new life in another country.
- Photographer: Photographers have such a creative eye and unique perspective, finding beauty in almost anything they snap. Again, so many photographers out there, but a special mention to Christine Bernasconi who not only photographed my wedding a few years ago, but who’s also ticked off Antarctica from her bucketlist – also in my top five – and has held a successful exhibition of her photographs.
So the next time you’re out and about, dining out, surfing the WWW or talking with strangers, pay attention. It may just provide you with inspiration for your next – or first – passport stamp.