Recently we were telling some friends about how to use Pinterest for travel planning. Afterwards, we realized that there may be other readers out there who aren’t yet in on the “Pinterest travel planning” bandwagon. But they should be! After all, Pinterest has quickly become one of the best (and most fun) ways to plan a trip.
The Evolution of Pinterest for Travel Planning
Years ago when Pinterest first came out, we didn’t really understand what it was either. But from what we saw when we went online, it looked like the site was primarily used for finding recipes and household crafts / decor, planning weddings, parties, etc. At the time, we sort of forgot about Pinterest because we didn’t really think it was useful for us.
But oh how things have changed.
Fast forward, and now Pinterest has morphed into a much bigger social searching and sharing platform. In a world where wireless and mobile technology have taken over print, Pinterest is leading the charge in a new era of vacation planning.
Just a few short years ago when anyone wanted to plan a trip, they would more than likely go to the nearest bookstore and skim through the travel section. They would grab a Lonely Planet Guide or a Rick Steve’s guide to Europe. They may also browse some photos and articles in travel magazines, possibly even cutting out items and putting them in a folder or box for later.
But now, you don’t need to go to the bookstore or fill your house with magazines. You don’t need to clutter your space with boxes and folders full of cut-out articles and dreamy pictures. It’s all digital with Pinterest, and you have access at the palm of your hand anytime.
Now you can save your time, energy, and money. Just make yourself a cup of coffee and cruise Pinterest for travel inspiration. You can get ideas and start planning your next vacation all while sitting in the comfort of your home, or in your morning bathrobe. In a world of Facebook and Instagram, Pinterest is the little sibling that is screaming for attention – many travel planners should be listening.
Planning your next vacation is easy to do with Pinterest, and we are going to break it down for you with some simple tips.
Why Pinterest is GREAT for Travel Planning?
Pinterest has you covered when it comes to getting inspiration, gathering information, and getting ideas for how to get the most out of your travel experience. But the real kicker is that you can actually save and “Pin” the things you find for a later date.
Honestly, that’s one of the ways that Pinterest is truly great. Perhaps the hardest part of planning a trip or finding inspiration is that when you find out about a cool place to visit, or see an amazing photo in a book, magazine, or on a website…you know you may never find it or remember it again!
Have you ever been ready to plan a trip and thought “where was that place they were talking about?” “Where was that picture I saw in that magazine?” “What website did I see that cool article on about unique things to do in Paris?”
Well, now you have a way to easily keep those things handy for a later date. And you don’t have to cut out articles and pictures and keep them in boxes and folders around your home!
How to Use Pinterest for Travel Planning
Finding Inspiration Through Travel Photos
Sometimes it’s tough to decide on where to go on your next vacation, so people are are often looking for inspiration all around them. You can get travel recommendations and advice from friends and family, or you can be original and choose your own path. Pinterest allows you to do all of this in a digital format.
Pinterest also has a social element to it, so you can connect with friends and family to share things with each other. You can follow other people or publications, or do a search for inspiration on your own.
Pinterest is a photo based tool, in fact it’s known for it’s beautiful pictures (and who doesn’t like pretty pictures?!?!). You can browse, search and “Pin” these photos to a board (like having a cork board at home). Lastly, finding inspiration on Pinterest can be as easy as following the right Pinterest Boards.
Finding Things to Do at a Destination
Pinterest is a great resource for finding things to do at a travel destination. Not only are you able to connect with friends or follow publications, but there is also a powerful search box. You can use the search box to narrow down your search by keywords by destination or even by interest (like family travel or honeymoons).
The possibilities for finding a variety of useful information is huge…and it’s growing bigger everyday.
Travel Tips and Advice
Pinterest is not only pretty pictures, it can be a source of great travel advice. You will find a wide variety of travel advice on Pinterest from other travelers from all over the world. In particular, travel blogs and websites (like ours) are a great source of “Inside Advice” while on the road; from avoiding scams, where to visit (or not visit).
The website is also a great source for finding budget travel options as well. You will find numerous budget friendly ideas, from destinations from all around the world…and even in your own backyard.
In a nutshell, Pinterest has access to just about anything related to travel that you could possibly be looking for.
Are Your Ready to Plan a Trip on Pinterest?
Get Started with the Basics – Create an Account & Travel Boards
First off, you will need to make sure to have an account on Pinterest. If you don’t already have one, then you can easily make an account following a few simple instructions on their website (you mainly just need an email address).
Once you have an account, then you need to set up “boards” to pin your discoveries onto. Think of these boards like a corkboard on the wall at your home, or a box or folder in your closet. You could have just one…but that would make it confusing having all these different things mixed together. So you will want to create multiple boards to help yourself stay organized!
Your Pinterest boards can be anything that interests you.
If you are interested in a specific travel destination, then name your board after that destination – like Paris, Hong Kong, Boston, New Orleans, or by states like Georgia, Hawaii, or simply by countries like China, Ireland.
You can also make your boards more generic – like Travel Tips, Road Trip Tips, Travel Itinerary Ideas, Travel Tools, Travel Packing, Bucket List. The options are endless. The only thing to keep in mind is that the board fits your needs, and it is easy for you to remember where things are so that you can find them later. So it is up to you how you want to organize your boards.
Once you have your boards set up, then you are ready to start pinning ideas to your boards.
Finding Pins to Pin to Your Travel Boards
For me, this is the really fun part. There is a lot to sort through on Pinterest, but when you set up your account, you can actually indicate your preferences…which will help narrow down items that you see when you are browsing the feed in Pinterest. Pinterest will also have some ideas for you that fit your interests too.
You can start browsing the main feed and pinning them to your boards, or if you want to search for something more specific, then you can use Pinterest like a Google search engine. Just type a keyword into the search box and pins that fall under that search category will show up. It’s that simple.
Then you can start organizing the info you are finding by placing the pins onto your boards you have created.
Pinterest works similar to Facebook in that you can follow people and companies. Those that you follow will show up in your feed and you can see what they are pinning. But you can also just follow certain boards from other people (if they are public). So you will see pins on those boards show up in your feed as well. This is really great if you are working with a friend to plan a trip together, because you can share boards with ideas and even pin together by inviting them to pin to your board on your account!
** Note: When you make a board you can choose whether or not to make the board public. So don’t worry about people being able to spy on your personal boards or pins. You can easily keep them to yourself.
Time to Plan Your Trip
Additional Tools & Downloads For You
Now that you have found your travel inspiration on Pinterest and organized it on your boards, it’s time to really start your travel planning! Pinterest has gotten you this far, so whenever you are ready to start planning a trip, just go through your boards and start putting it all together.
Once you get into the details of planning a trip, you may want to have yet another way to organize it all. Liz and I actually use a Vacation Planning spreadsheet. This sheet lets us copy and paste websites and specific information that we KNOW we will use on our trip, such as the opening hours for a museum and the website, or how to use the local bus in a city.
It goes a step further from Pinterest and starts to make it all practical.
This sheet works really well for us when we’ve gone beyond the inspiration phase, and helps guide us into making our itinerary for a trip.
Get a FREE Copy of Our Vacation Planning Template
To help all of our readers, we’ve also made a template of this Vacation Planning spreadsheet for you to download here for FREE. This simple download gives you a place take what you’ve found on Pinterest (and other sites) and organize all the info from the sites you have bookmarked.
Once you have everything finalized for your trip, then be sure to download our “Cheat Sheet – Itinerary Template” which gives you an easy way to keep track of confirmation numbers, simple itinerary, etc. in a paper format while on the road. Sometimes, nothing beats a good ol’ fashioned piece of paper that you can put in your pocket. But you can also keep it on your smartphone for quick reference, or email a copy to friends and family.
All these tools will help make it easy for you to plan and organize your trip, so that you can relax and make your trip one that you will remember forever.
Already have a Pinterest Account? Pin this post to your Pinterest Boards and make sure to Follow Our Boards too!
Photo Credit: All fall under CC.0 – StartupStockPhotos1, StartupStockPhotos2