Trip Planning With Photos
My number one go-to while trip planning is Pinterest. While there are plenty of photo websites out there, I like Pinterest because I can build a board of the place I plan to visit next and really dive into it. You can create a board of places you want to visit, things you want to do, and get a first hand account of what life in the area might actually be like. Once the trip is over, you can add your photos to that board and see how your expectations compared to your experience.
If you compare my Pinterest page to my blog, you’ll notice this is a tool I’ve recently began to take a more organized approach to.
Be Ready To Talk
Another great planning idea is to get to know a bit of the language. You don’t need to be perfect, but show that you’re trying and people will be much happier working with you. This of course could be (and will be) a topic all to itself (Update: It now is and you can see my review of Language learning products here), but it leads into another great way of trip planning…
Wouldn’t It Be Nice To Already Have Friends There?
Getting to know some people from the local area can be a great trip planning tool. There’s no reason why you can’t make friends while practicing the language. I recommend Conversation Exchange. There you can meet many people who have varying levels of English who would be thrilled to tell you about their homes. I will admit that I kinda cheated on this one by listing that I lived in Medellin 2 months before coming here. But the results were great… I was picked up at the airport by a chick who now does all of my translating work (part time job for a college student) and another who became one of my best friends (until she simultaneously found a boyfriend and took her business full-time… BOOH!).
Oh, and guys, don’t be the dick head who pops up on a Skype video chat naked. It’s almost embarrassing to me when a girl says “Wow, you’ve actually got clothes on!” There are places on the web for that crap.
Waterless Surfing Anyone?
This one may be the norm for some of you, but I’ll bet there are plenty of people who don’t know what Couchsurfing is. On Courchsurfing.org’s website you can search for an open couch at your destination to do some surfing on. Actually, I recommend sleeping on the couch instead of surfing on it. Now I’ve never been the surfer dude before but I have hosted people and, minus one jackass, always had great experiences with it.
The way this trip planning tip basically works is by allowing a surfer or surfers to find a host for a short period of time. The larger the group, the harder it is to find hosts so I generally recommend this for individuals or couples. There are no fees involved but my surfers have always bought me dinner or done something nice to show their appreciation. Some of them have become friends that I keep in touch with today. This option is not right for everyone but there are meetups and people excited to share their knowledge of the local area with visitors.
You May Already Know….
That I can not plan a trip without maps! I’ve not only included them in my Offline Apps post from way back when, but I’m also still working on a video series that will explain to the novice how powerful maps can be in trip planning.
And I couldn’t call this trip planning without adding some other useful resources…