How to Use Pinterest for Trip Planning
Pinterest is my happy place. It’s where escapism, creativity and practicality meet. It’s where I can find “quick and easy weeknight recipes” or “tricks for preschooler to sleep through the night” or “makeup tips for dark eye circles”…
Every time my husband sees me with the iPad in bed, he shakes his head because he knows I’m getting lost in the Pinterest rabbit hole. “I’m building my Pinterest empire!” I protest, but he rolls his eyes. One of my favorite lines from the sketch comedy Studio C is when Wonder Woman fights the Justice League for gender equality and Batman asks her, “How did you find out about this meeting? We didn’t post it on Pinterest…” Yeah, so Pinterest has a a reputation for being the vortex of time sucking when it comes to recipes, DIY or celebrity hairstyles.
But with over 100 million monthly active users, Pinterest is a force to be reckoned with. As far as I’m concerned, the only user that matters is YOU and I want to know…
Are you getting the most out of Pinterest?
I use Evernote for note taking and capturing ideas on the fly, but Pinterest is where the magic happens. Pinterest is actually more of a visual search engine than a social media platform and since humans are highly visual, it can spark your creative fire like no other tool out there on the interwebs.
If you’re a Pinterest newbie, let me give you the brief overview. Your “feed” is the collection of images (known as “pins” since this is basically a virtual corkboard that you’re pinning ideas to) that appear based on your selected areas of focus (such as Travel, Design, Vegetarian Recipes, etc). Just like Google, you can search anything.
A handful of my recent searches include:
- “Things to do with kids in Melbourne”
- “Weird things to do in Tokyo”
- “Cat cafes”
- “Ramen” oops, see how all roads lead back to recipes?
Pinterest is a dynamic visual repository with links to articles, websites and even shopping.
Here’s how to up your trip planning game and start using Pinterest to plan the perfect vacation.
Oftentimes, I don’t know my next travel destination until I see something that makes me say, “Yup, I need to go to Belgium.” You can use it to brainstorm bucket list destinations and/or to find budget destinations, cheap itineraries and free activities for anywhere in the world. To get started with your own planning, you’ll want to create a board.
Create a board
Choose secret or visible
Do you want this board to be searchable by anyone using Pinterest? Pinterest works because we collectively share pins, but secret boards are great for things you don’t want made public (“Mike’s 40th Surprise Birthday Party” or “All The Cocktail Recipes I Don’t Want My Mother-In-Law To See”).
If the board is set to Visible, I’ll select a category to make the board easier to find. If it’s set to Secret, the category doesn’t matter since it’s not searchable and no one will see it except you (and those you invite to pin to it).
Invite a collaborator (or a few collaborators)
If you want to share this board (for a group trip or a family reunion), you can add them via email address or their Pinterest ID. Once they accept the invitation sent by email, they can start pinning to the board.
For example, my cousin and I are travel buddies and we purchased a spontaneous trip to the Azores Islands in Portugal (more on that later, suffice to say TravelZoo had an unbeatable deal). A the time of booking, I honestly couldn’t even find Azores on a map, much less know the details of the restaurants, activities, sightseeing, etc. that we would want to explore.
I typed in the following terms:
- Things to do in Azores
- Azores food
- Azores activities
- Azores recipes
This is my actual planning board for our upcoming trip to the Azores. In just a brief scan of the pins, I learned that based on the aerial photo of the island, Terceira looks kind of like the Millennium Falcon, it’s part of Portugal it has brightly painted architecture with an old world, bucolic vibe and has a 2:1 cow to human ratio.
My Pinterest feed is basically a pretty feed of educational articles. Since a picture is worth a thousand words and I’m a highly visual learner, this is the perfect platform for learning. For trip planning, I actually use Pinterest even before I do a Google search. The people who have created these pins have been there, done their homework and lived to not only write about it, but create a cute graphic to help tell the tale. 😉
For someone like me, with rampant ADD, I can flit and flutter my way through my visual catalog and then have breadcrumbs (pins) to follow back home where the research happens. For my own workflow, I pin first, read the articles at a later time and then delete the pin if the information is not of interest. This helps clear clutter from both my boards and my mind.
After I’ve edited my board down to the best pins, I send the utmost favorites directly to my collaborator, my traveling partner-in-crime.
- Click “Send”
- Type in their Pinterest name or email address OR select them from the list below.
- You can also share via social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Facebook Messenger or email.
The feature that gives me extra bang for my buck is the “Related Pins”, which are found below the pin you’ve selected. Like Amazon.com’s “Recommendations for you”.
Upload Pin or Save From Web
Another feature you can use with your travel cohorts is to upload a pin. You don’t just have to rein from what’s already on Pinterest; you can upload a photo directly from your computer or phone or from another image on the web by using a free browser extension (such as this one from the Chrome store). FYI, pinning directly from Facebook is prohibited due to privacy restrictions.
You’re the fearless leader of this internet research expedition. Trip planning done right is almost as fun as the trip itself. Trip planning done right is almost as fun as the trip itself.Click To Tweet
Pinterest is just another tool in your planning arsenal, but it’s perfect for daydreaming, capturing the mood, and planting the seeds in your mind of exactly what you want to see and experience. I want to see THAT alleyway. I want to stand on THAT hill top and look down on the waves. So my questions for you are do you sucked into the black hole of Pinterest or do you stay focused? Have you ever used the collaborator option to plan something? Did you learn anything new? If you have any tips on how you use Pinterest, please share them here! Inquiring minds want to know.
And while you’re at it, are we connected on Pinterest? I’d LOVE to follow your adventures. You can find me there or comment below with your user name and I’ll follow you! And maybe, you might even want to follow back because when you follow a travel blogger, you’re literally following them to the ends of the earth. 😉When you follow a travel blogger, you're literally following them to the ends of the earth.Click To Tweet