Plan Your Travel Activities With Room For Spontaneity
If you’re setting off on your next big adventure, you’ll want to make sure that you pack as much as you possibly can into your time at your travel destination.
Is it okay to arrive at a destination with no itinerary? Yes, in the guise of being spontaneous and if you have all the time in the world! It is not in the DNA of the lean team to not plan for their travels. We love planning weeks and months in advance enjoying those micro-moments leading up to the trip, including the clever insertion of flexibility into the travel schedule for spontaneity.
Instead of aimlessly wandering around the streets hoping to uncover some of the area’s best sights and experiences, it’s always advisable to do a little background research before you leave so you have options of what your next port of call has to offer all laid out.
Smartphones are changing travel industry trends by enabling people to plan in detail but at the same time leaving space to be more spontaneous when you arrive at your destination. Here are some tips on how to harness that endless information, at your fingertips, to make the most of your next travel destination.
If you’re hoping to check out the usual tourist sights and also uncover some hidden gems, then the Internet is probably your first port of call nowadays.
Using valuable online resources such as the Lonely Planet, BBC Travel or National Geographic websites can provide you with some first-person perspective on what’s worth exploring at your next travel destination.
Travel Groups And Events
As relatively private people with minimal social media footprint, the lean team cannot stress what a gem joining travel groups on Facebook can be. You can remain passive by just reading what others have to contribute to your travel subject e.g. solo travelling, food & drinks, country, region, activities etc. Or you can actively participate in conversations by starting your own post requesting information or recommendations.
There are also several destination groups where travellers like yourself have uploaded images and details of their experiences in the area, so it's a great resource for finding out about any events or hidden gems that you can add to your schedule.
Many local festivals and events might go under the radar during a standard Internet search. Which is why, another fantastic Facebook function is “Events”. Choose the location and any dates or duration of your visit and it will list all events occurring within the search criteria.
Picture Perfect Leads
If you’re a visual traveller that’s always seeking that next photo opportunity, then you will be familiar with Pinterest where we can find inspiration on where to set yourself up for that stunning sunset shot or picture-perfect panorama.
There’s plenty of images of lots of destinations on Pinterest, but that’s not all they have to offer. Thanks to social media, travel bloggers are a dime a dozen (in a good way) and they are exploring everywhere, recording and giving us their thoughts on everything! Type in e.g. Berlin in the Pinterest search bar and you get “11 free things to do in Berlin”, “The ultimate food & drink guide” and “17 must-see sights in Berlin”. Click on any pins that catch your eye and follow it to the original article, to find out more.
Trawling through the different pins can be a way of getting “local” knowledge and tips from fellow travellers BEFORE you arrive at your destination, which is pertinent to planners like the lean team. We love to have Plan A, Plan, B, Plan C options allowing us to be flexible throughout our travels, without any hick-ups.
From restaurant reviews to must-see tourist hotspots, you can’t beat TripAdvisor for honest traveller reviews and photos.
If you see something you like the look of and feel its worthy of a visit, feel free to get in touch with the person that posted the image or review for details on how to get there and what else they think is worth a look. Nearly 2/3 of TripAdvisor forum posts get an answer within 24 hours.
After all, they’ve got first-hand experience of the area and can offer you some great advice before you leave and photos posted by travellers can provide different aspects to help you form your own opinion.
However, opinions in TripAdvisor are hugely diverse, hence the need to take what you read with a grain of salt. Most travellers have different wants and needs but if you encounter the same complaint repeatly, you will know to pay a bit more attention to that possibility. TripAdvisor is highly useful but should not be your only resource for travel information.
A quick note of commendation here for their work with PETA, as they no longer sell tickets to tours and activities where wild animals are forced to come into contact with the public. E.g. tiger "encounters", elephant rides, and swim-with-dolphins excursions etc
Google Maps Explore
We have all used Google Maps to help us get from A to B, but it has some further features many of us neglect or do not know about. One can use it to plan every aspect of our next big trip, starting with hotel reservations, all the way to predicting the weather, and planning out your transit routes. But here, we write about how you can get Google Maps exploring places for you.
Their Explore tab informs you about popular restaurants, activities, and events happening before leaving for your trip but it excels when at destination on mobile phones.
At destination, Google Maps is a very nifty little tool to help you navigate your new surrounding and discover nearby, public reviewed, attractions and bars and restaurants that you might otherwise miss as you set about exploring your latest travel destination. It also helps save you valuable time if you’re looking for something in particular as you can get directions too!
For desktop (laptop) planning before arrival purposes, type your destination city into the search bar e.g. Berlin. Berlin area will appear on the map, together with a side bar of some quick facts about the area. Type your subject matter into the search bar, replacing Berlin, e.g. attractions. Attractions pins will appear on the map with a sidebar in list form. Zoom in/out or move the map to change areas and “click search this area” to explore surrounding or different areas.