Over the years, I’ve figured out a few ways to help narrow down all those travel choices. Read on and don’t forget to let me know which of these work for you or if you have a tip that I didn’t mention!
Search the Internet
This is the most obvious one. Just type a few key words into your search bar and see what comes up. For example, if you’re looking for a party, the word “carnival” will definitely bring up places like Trinidad and Tobago.
If you already know where you’re going, the internet is also a way to learn about both popular and lesser known things to do. For my trip to Guyana, I had no idea what there was to see there – a quick internet search meant I was soon acquainted with the country’s amazing prime site: Kaieteur Falls.
Browse Through Instagram
Poking around social media is a great way to find travel inspiration. I definitely suggest an app like Instagram as pretty pictures are a quick way to figure out what you’d like to see in person.
Instagram is how I discovered Gocta Falls and Gocta Falls Lodge. An infinity pool surrounded by lush mountains and a jaw-dropping waterfall in the distance? All seemingly in the middle of nowhere Peru? How could I not be interested!
Don’t forget, check out my Instagram page for more trip ideas!
Find Your Relatives
I am lucky to have family in several countries around the world. How about you? Ask your relatives and find your cousins! The bonus about having family overseas is (generally) a free place to stay! Oh yes, and nice people to visit 🙂 For real though – this is how I’ve been fortunate enough to visit places like England, France, and Trinidad multiple times.
Dig Into Your Ancestry
Do you know your family stories? Have you ever considered doing a DNA test to determine your ancestry? Between those two things, there are a wealth of trip ideas just waiting to be mined.
I’ve always known that places like Trinidad, Guyana, and France were a part of my heritage. Dominica is another part and I even had a relative who had been the president there for ten years. Of course I had to visit!
Remember Your Childhood
Do you have any half-remembered childhood dreams about going to an “exotic” somewhere?
Back in high school, I took three years of Spanish. I don’t really remember much from that class but I do remember reading about the state of Oaxaca, Mexico. For some reason, it caught my fancy and I said right there and then, one day I’ll visit Oaxaca! Perhaps it was the cool sounding name? Whatever it was, when I finally had an opportunity to visit Mexico, spending time in Oaxaca was high on my list of things to do.
Hit Up Your Friends
Unless all your friends are wananbe hermits, chances are at least one has had a fantastic trip in their lifetime. Ask them about it! More than likely, they have recommendations to make about a place they’ve visited – restaurants, lodgings, and what sites to see or skip.
A friend of mine put me on to the Rainbow Stairs in Istanbul as she had visited the city a few months before I did. It was a unique sight, one that was tied to the country’s political atmosphere at the time. Since my visit, I’ve heard the stairs are now painted over so I’m happy I got to see them!
Pick Up A Book
Fiction is a great way to get ideas on what to see in this big world of ours. In Marseilles, I took a boat out to Chateau D’If. Yup, the same fortress prison in The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. Legend also says that the Man in the Iron Mask was prisoner here but that is very probably not true. Still cool, though.
Another time, my mom, sister, and I stumbled across the Cornish smugglers’ inn made famous by Daphne du Maurier’s book, Jamaica Inn. Seriously – we were driving along country lanes and I said, “Wait a minute. Is that…?” Sure enough, it was!
Indulge A Hobby
Is there a specific activity you love to do? Cook? Dance? Hike? Whatever it is, build a trip around that!
Lately, I have been trying to build in hiking time into my travels. So far, I’ve been able to hike in Trinidad, Peru, Australia, and the USA. Doing so has allowed me to see parts of these countries that many people don’t see!
Chat With The Locals
If you like talking to people, definitely ask locals about the best things to see and do in their city/country. They tend to be a goldmine of information. For example, the guy running my hostel in St. George’s, Grenada, told me that the best view over the harbour and city was up by the 18th century fort/modern day police station. So off I went. Also, on another trip, I spent three months volunteering in a Guyanese village; through the people there, I learned of a region called Berbice in northeast Guyana and managed to do a day trip out to it via their connections.
Okay, so full disclosure: I don’t use this particular tip a lot. As I’ve said, I’m pretty anti-social. My loss, I’m sure, but eh.
Always Be Curious
My last tip is simple. While travelling, or even at home, it is important to be curious about anything and everything. If something catches your eye, learn about it. That is how I stepped onto the path to one of the best experiences of my life.
It was on a trip to Rabastens, France that I first learned about the Camino de Santiago. I was wandering around the small market town when I came across a yellow shell painted in the middle of the road. My uncle explained what it was and bought me a book about The Way. I spent the next seven years dreaming about walking the Camino before I finally carpe’d the diem and walked my 800km!