It seems social media can do just about anything these days. From selling that stroller your family no longer needs to raising money for a cause you love, there’s a social tool for that. When it comes to travel, social media packs the power to help you plan and execute the best trip of your life. Consider these pointers…
- Search geo-tagged locations on Instagram for a radically unfiltered guide to your potential destinations and attractions. Is mid-September coat weather yet in Amsterdam? Are the Northern Lights really that spectacular without an expensive camera and perfect timing? Instagram photos from perfect strangers can provide these answers for you. Looking at the stream of photos tagged to a particular geo-location like Wynwood Art District or White Cliffs of Dover will give you a raw, unpolished perspective that can make or break travel decisions. Bottom line: geo-locations give it to you straight.
- Organize your ideas. Whether it’s pinning potential destinations and attractions to a ‘Caribbean vacation ideas’ Pinterest board or using the new ‘bookmark’ feature on Instagram to organize your favorites, social has a wealth of ways to save and share that your nifty spreadsheet or scratchpad just can’t tout.
- Follow pages and accounts related to the trip you’re planning. While they’ll provide a more carefully curated look, accounts like @nashville_eats and @bestlisbon can help you come up with some great ideas around what to do while you’re there.
- Got specific questions? Tweet the local CVB (Convention and Visitors Bureau) or post on their Facebook page. Seriously, they love it.
- Check in at the airport on Facebook, tagging your final destination. Friends & family might have excellent recommendations up their sleeves. And, who knows, someone you haven’t seen in a while might say “I’m heading there right now, too!” How’s that for a social media meet cute?
- 92% of consumers trust recommendations from friends & family over those of brands. So, ask around! Post to Facebook using the “Seeking Recommendations” feature to source tried and true tips from the people you (with some exceptions) like and admire.
- A picture says a thousand words, and Instagram is the perfect visual, mobile-first app for you to use to share your adventures. Just remember these pointers:
- The rule of thirds is your friend. Imagine a grid with 9 equal parts on top of the picture you’re capturing (or just use the iPhone grid function), then align your main subjects where the lines intersect for winning composition. All of the best travel influencers use this trick.
- Forget the flash. Opt for natural light or bright lighting that doesn’t make your photo look too yellow, whenever possible.
- Head-on and flat-lay shots are extra visually appealing.
- Post your 1-2 best Instagram photos per day of your trip, but add as many as you want to your Instagram Story throughout. (See: 8 Tips to Create Share-Worthy Instagram Stories)