There is a lot to consider between a) deciding you want to travel and b) actually doing it. The main part is – where? Where do you want to go? Is it somewhere local for a weekend getaway, a more extravagant week away on another continent or a full-on five month trek through several countries? Things like budget, time constraints, weather, travel buddies, holiday preferences etc all help you make that decision but for this post I just want to talk about inspiration for destination.
First a quick paragraph on what gets me excited to travel in the first place. Apart from just feeling like I need a vacation, or I’m visiting friends/family, there are certain things that trigger my ‘wanderlust’. Watching Forrest Gump always gets me in the mood to plan trips. I remember once watching it and the next day I booked a trip to Austria and Hungary. In particular it’s the scene when he’s out running and you see the sunsets, lakes and stunning scenery. Another thing is reading The Little Prince as I relate to it a lot and always want to go on an adventure. The last ‘trigger’ is games (which I know is a weird one). I’ll be playing Ticket to Ride and see the different train routes and then end up in this mind-loop of how much fun it would be to actually be on a train right now – I know I’m crazy.
Ok so on to inspiration! First up is magazines and I read these constantly. I tend to have a few subscriptions going at once and whenever I’m in a supermarket I’ll normally pick one up. I like the ease of a magazine for carrying around, and the non-commitment compared to a book. My top travel magazines are AFAR, Conde Nast Traveler, National Geographic and The Travel Almanac. You’ll also find specific travel pieces in magazines like GQ, Cosmo, Wired and other lifestyle. Whenever I’m on a plane I’ll normally browse the Skymall or High Life, and if I’m at an airport I’ll pick up the destination brochure and check it out. I rarely read a magazine thinking ‘yes it is going to give me an awesome destination’, it’s more I’m reading it for enjoyment and then maybe something catches my eye and I’ll make a note.
Blogs, vlogs and social media are meccas for unlimited travel motivation. I think most of the time I’ll be scrolling on Tumblr or Instagram and see somewhere that looks really stunning or fascinating. Then I’ll end up in a web loop constantly searching that place and seeing if it’s plausible to go. I get jealous easily and so if I see someone having fun, I’ll want that.
Alongside the internet, more traditional media is always a staple. Listening to songs can sometimes get me going. After hearing Hilary Duff – Wake Up, I had New York, London, Paris and Tokyo stuck in my head. That doesn’t mean I then decided to up and go there but it was caught in my subconscious (and ironically I’ve now been to them all). Movies are also great, you might be watching something and the location intrigues you. Some movies are partially made as an advert for tourism – look at Frozen and Scandinavia or Lord of the Rings and New Zealand. Hollywood can cause tourism booms.
This one is a little weird but I like to look at atlases and children’s books. This Is The World is a collection of most of Miroslav Sasek’s stories. The illustrations are classic and it pretty much works as an encyclopedia (for tiny kids). Maps by Daniel and Aleksandra Mizielinska goes indepth of certain countries and includes historical, cultural and misc facts about the place. I like the variety inside it and finding out things like the most popular boys name or the most famous fictional character in that country. The pictures just make it all that much more exciting for me and it’s nice to flip through on a blustery day (how poetic). The last book featured here isn’t for children but I think stays in the same realm of ‘general travel’. The New York Times has many of these weekendesque books that feature itineraries. It is very detailed and informative and worth a flip through if you’re looking for something more specific.
Word of mouth or ‘eye of photo’ (is that a thing?) are also an option. When you see someone upload their holiday snaps on Facebook and you think ‘damn that looks fantastic’. That has definitely happened to me a few times and then I just get frustrated they didn’t invite me haha. It’s not always a bad thing though as you can ask them for recommendations and make your trips ten times better!
Hopefully this inspired you a little bit and you now have the travel bug. I think these are greats ways to figure out destinations, and then it just really depends on budget, time and practicality. If you have the destination set and are looking for help planning your itinerary, check out this post I did last month!