So you’re thinking about planning a trip? Yay, this should be fun. The first thing you need to know is that there is a wealth of information available to help you start your planning. This can be both exciting and intimidating. But hey, you’re not in it alone! For whatever type of trip you’re planning, discovering those must-sees, your ‘eh-maybes’, and everything in between should be about what gets you motivated. Here are some tips for staying organized and making sure that you never miss a spot!
Create a Google Map for Your Trip
Google maps is a great tool and reference vehicle to help you plan your perfect trip. Not only is Google maps fully customizable, but it’s also probably the smartest tool out there because of its preloaded data and its ability to let you pin your wishlist locations with icons, personalized titles, color-coding, and the ability to add specific reference details per location. It’s also the easiest way to track your points of interest on the go and use them right from your phone.
Are you taking a trip with your besties? Perfect! Once you create a map, you can easily share it with your friends for the luxury of collaborating in one place. Google maps is a great starting point to build the road trip of your dreams.
Check out how I organized my Google Maps, and even download some of your favorite states for the next time you hit the road.
Instagram Quick-Adds to Google Maps
Geo-tagging can be both a blessing and a curse, but the one thing that it is efficient for is quick-saving those epic locations. Here is a short video on how I save newly discovered locations to my map.
Do you find most of your travel inspo on Instagram? Same here. Don’t let all of that scrolling go to waste. It’s easy to keep organized with the help of IG Bookmarks. Find that inspo you’ve been looking for by searching geo-filters or hashtags, and save that inspo into a categorized grouping. You can go as high-leveled or as detailed as you want. I, for one, save my inspiration by locations so I’m ready to roll when it’s time to plan away.
Another way to get double the use out of your bookmarks is to add some photo inspiration to the mix. Then before you head out, screenshot your bookmark page (in case you don’t have cell service). That way you can quickly look at all of the photography inspo that inspired you to go there anyway.
Okay, so you found this awesome hike on someone’s Instagram page, but the location isn’t mentioned. What a bummer. It’s not mentioned in the comments either! Ugh, now you’ll never know.
Or, maybe there’s a way. It’s not surprising that people are actually way nicer than we give them credit for. A quick note before you ask, try doing your research. See if you can figure it out on your own. If you can’t, there is nothing wrong with DMing that person and saying something like, “Hey, I’ve been racking my brain over this. I did some research and narrowed it down to two areas. I would really love to do this hike, I’m only going to be in the area for a few days. Any pointers?” That way they know you are just trying to feed off of their research and that you genuinely care about this specific place. Plus, that you are turning to them for expertise. They’ll love that!
Pinterest is an amazing place for getting detailed information about a location. Not only is Pinterest awesome at helping you to categorize your searches, but it is also designed to suggest other common topics based on those searches and pins. Follow your favorite bloggers and when you do find the places you want to see, add them to your google maps!
Search Google for Blogs Using Keywords
Let’s be honest, the information is out there, it’s just a matter of finding it and finding the specific details for what you need. But let’s say you don’t really have a plan and you’re just trying to get an idea of the general information of a place. Make sure you’re using words for what you really want to find. If you are trying to find places to take pictures for your Instagram, try using the word “instagrammable”. If you are looking for more unique places, search “off-the-beaten-path”. By simply using “best places to go in XYZ, you’ll get a huge array of information, and probably not the information you were looking for.
Now that you have found some spots, type those destinations into IG, Pinterest, and Google Maps and let your apps take you on the journey.
Alltrails is my absolute go-to for anything outdoors. If you are unfamiliar with the Alltrails app, just start by searching the location. You can search by distance, difficulty, most viewed, nearby, and more.
Once you find the hikes that interest you, create and save them to that area’s location folder. Finally, add your hikes to your google maps list! That way when you are on the go and you’re looking for something to do or something that is in range of where you’re going, you can easily pick a nearby hike.
If you are interested in any of the hikes that I’ve done, check out my AllTrails showcasing my previous routes and hikes.
So there you have it! Those are a few of my tips for making sure that you never miss a spot while you are on the road. A key takeaway is to make sure that you are staying organized and to have a master copy of all of your favorite spots in one place so that you aren’t searching all over for that picture that you saw one time, somewhere.