Many of us (especially the ladies) have probably heard of Pinterest. I started an account about two years ago, where I mainly used it for online window shopping and designing my fake future apartment. Pinterest can be a great time waster, but when used right, it can also be a huge time saver! In the last year or so I’ve started using Pinterest to plan my trips, and it has been so incredibly helpful. In this post I’ll explain how you can use Pinterest to plan your travels, and save hours of precious time.
What the heck is Pinterest?
I realize that some of your reading this may have no idea what Pinterest is. Pinterest is basically a fancy bookmarking website, combined with social media, with a large emphasis on visual images. Once you create an account, you can make “boards”, where you can store relevant articles. Many people have boards for fashion, apartment decorating, wedding planning, travel and much more. You can name your boards whatever you want, and the amount of boards you can have is virtually unlimited. I’m sure there is a limit, but I have 60 boards and haven’t had any issues.
60 boards?! What is wrong with me?
You can also follow other people on Pinterest and see their pins. You can do this by going to a person’s profile and clicking “follow”. If you don’t want to follow all of their boards, and are mainly interested in their board on Thailand (or recipes, or wedding dresses, or knitting patterns…) you can just choose to follow the boards that interest you by clicking “follow board”.
Once you follow a few people, you’ll have a main page of pins pinned by you and all of the people you follow, sort of like a Facebook or twitter newsfeed, but prettier. If you’re interested in a particular pin, all you have to do is click on the picture, which will increase in size, covering your screen. Every picture is linked to a web page. To view this linked page, you can click the picture again, and the webpage will pop up in a new window.
Sometimes the web pages are extremely relevant, other times it’s just junk. For example, the picture above is one of my own photos on Pinterest. If you click on it, you’ll be linked to my post I’m a Chinese Beauty Anomaly.
It varies whether or not it’s important that the picture links to an article. If you are hoping that a picture of a casserole links you to a recipe, you might be disappointed if it links you to someone’s Flikr photo account. But if you’re using Pinterest just to look at pretty pictures of clothes or travel destinations, it’s not too important.
If you do want to save any of these pins to other boards, you can simply hover over the image and click the red “Pin it” button. You can then decide which board you’d like to pin the image to!
What if you want to pin a website you find outside of Pinterest? Just download the Pin it button off the Pinterest website, and it will appear as one of your bookmarked sites. If you see a page you want to save, click your bookmarked button, and you can choose a photo to use for your pin. After selecting an image, you can choose a board and write a relevant caption. This can be a huge timesaver if you want to save an article to read later on. It’ll be categorized and ready for you when you need it.
Many websites and blogs (like mine) are optimized for Pinterest. This means that if you hover over an image, you’ll see a “Pin it” button. You can click that button and save the photo to one of your boards, with a link back to my post. It’s that easy!
How to use Pinterest for Travel Planning
Now that we’ve established how to use Pinterest, how do you use it for travel planning? Pinterest has gotten a bad reputation in the travel world lately, mainly because a lot of the beautiful images of tropical beaches or stunning mountains link to websites that are not helpful for planning your trip. While looking at beautiful pictures can cure symptoms of wanderlust, it’s not so great for trip planning.
I definitely agree that typing “Thailand” into Pinterest search may not be too helpful, but there are plenty of other ways to make Pinterest work for your trip. Here are my top three:
1. Pin articles and websites you find elsewhere
Are you doing trip research on a bunch of websites? Blogs, Lonely Planet, tour companies, top ten lists, hotel reviews, trip advisor, flight information… the amount of websites you need can be overwhelming!
This summer my mom was planning a trip to South Africa. I noticed she literally had about 50+ tabs open on her computer (sorry mom). When I confronted her about the insane amount of tabs she had, she told me she needed them all for trip planning. That’s when I introduced her to Pinterest. I helped her make an account, and we went about saving all of her 50+ tabs into relevant boards. That way, she could have all of her South Africa information in one place, without slowing down her computer with a million tabs open.
2. Make very specific boards
Are you heading to Thailand soon? Make a “Thailand Trip” board, and pin any important articles or blog posts you find. This way, when you go to plan your trip everything will all be in the same place. As a frequent traveler, I have boards for many different countries. Whenever I think an article may come in handy for me in the future, I pin it to the relevant board. For example, I know I want to go to India someday, but I have no distinct travel plans to visit anytime soon. Regardless, I have an India board so if the time comes when I have an opportunity to visit, I have a ton of travel planning resources already saved.
In the past I used to create word documents for trip planning to save relevant websites. That’s a huge hassle! Pinterest is way easier and much more visually appealing. Plus, you can share your awesome trip research with others!
3. Follow travel bloggers
If you have a few travel bloggers you like, be sure to follow them on Pinterest. Most of us are traveling all the time, and are constantly linking to relevant articles. As a travel blogger, I read a lot of blogs. I probably read 10+ travel blog articles daily. Whenever I find something relevant or interesting, I’ll pin it on Pinterest. I have boards on travel in China, Japan, Thailand, Cambodia, and Taiwan, just to name a few. I also have boards themed around photography, travel hacking, travel gear and travel fashion.
Travel bloggers tend to be very careful about only pinning pins that link to relevant articles and blog posts. Although I am guilty of pinning pretty pictures in my Explore the World board. I have to have some place to put them! A lot of us are also part of group boards, where you can find other travel bloggers and active pinners. You can tell if boards are group boards because there will be a little multi-person icon. This is a great place to find other people to follow.
Have I converted you into a Pinterest lover? If so, be sure to follow me on Pinterest. I promise I only post good stuff.
Do you use Pinterest for travel planning? Any other websites you’ve found helpful? Share your insights below!