I feel in this life, time is so precious, so, when we invest our energy and money into travelling it's important to spend it wisely and take a few hours, pre-trip, to organise how you'll spend your new adventure.
I am an eager explorer at heart and feel lucky that I treasure my time here on this beautiful planet (even though sometimes it leaves me exhausted and overwhelmed!). I often go on weekend trips abroad and I have become quite the expert at researching my destination and making sure that I will get the most of what the place has to offer, from food to fitness to unmissable scenery. Some people use 'TripAdvisor' or 'Lonely Planet' when it comes to researching a new city whereas I find Instagram has worked best in finding where the secret spots are. I would like to share with you a few of my tips for making the most of your time abroad .
Figure out what your priorities are when travelling to ensure you have a good time. Personally, my top three are traditional food, fitness classes/running routes, and uncharted scenic hidden gems.
Instagram would be my first choice when it comes to researching what you're looking for. It's quick, easy and with photos being the source of information I feel that all you need to know is just waiting to be documented by the keen traveller! For example for my most recent trip to Lisbon the first hashtag I typed in was #Lisbon, then #Lisboneats. The 'most liked' photos, coinciding with these hashtags, will appear first (follow the steps outlined in the above photos). I filter through these photos and then chose the most eye-catching, which have been posted by a blogger or instagrammer who have usually recently visited (in this case) Lisbon. A lot of the time theses accounts are hosted by bloggers who have large followings and provide informative content. It goes without saying that I take time to browse their account and screenshot/take notes of their regular hang-outs. A final tip here is after you've made a final list of places you plan on visiting, follow the website link usually provided in the 'bio,' in order to get an in depth sense of the place (menu, location, vibe etc). Discovering local bloggers is the best way of finding out where the locals eat. This process also applies to any other activity you plan on doing while away - #Lisbonfood, #Lisboneats, #Lisbonyoga, #Lisbonlife, #Lisbonfashionweek (I find popular restaurants are always busy during any city's fashion week) #Lisbonbynight #Lisbonfitness.
Make a Photo Album entitled 'Travel'. I find this tip in particular is quite an obvious one but for those of us who spend so much time on our phones and screen grabbing information that appeals to us, it saves a lot of time if you take a few seconds to organise these screenshots into separate files. On my iPhone I have different albums where I will save my photos to, one of which is titled 'Travel' (see photo above). The shameful hours I spend on social media can, I believe, be justified when at the end of a day I have maybe 10 screenshots of restaurants or destinations (I have unearthed through IG browsing) and saved them to my 'travel' diary. This way, if I have a spontaneous weekend getaway on the horizon I can go to this album, and more often than not I have a few places already lined up and ready to explore :)
Be tactful in your screen-grabbing and planning. When you have found a restaurant, bar or class etc you know you would love to visit, be sure to screen-grab the restaurant's IG rather than the person who has posted the photo. This way the google maps pin will feature in your screenshot photo (see photo below) and will make it a lot easier when filtering through your 'Travel' album to see the places which coincide with this particular trip you are organising. In saving the screenshots including the Google maps image, you are essentially killing two birds with one stone, saving yourself precious time. While organising your trip abroad, you can drop 'pins' on your google map and plan accordingly, with locations in mind. This way you're not going from one side of the city to the other. Another advantage of following these steps, is that you get to know the city before you have even arrived, getting a feel for happening areas etc.
Take note of a few of your favourite 'go-to' travel bloggers. These will differ from person to person, as some will gravitate towards bloggers with food as their main attraction when travelling, while for others it could be art or adventure. I have included below (scroll through) a handful of bloggers who have their finger on the pulse when it comes to the best places to eat and workout while 'globe-trotting.'
I will continue to share the secret parts of the world I unearth, that are always so rare and difficult to find. Continue this journey of observation with me on my instagram account @mymollypocket. MP x