Social media is everywhere. Sometimes people complain about it taking over our lives or having a negative impact on our wilderness. While those people aren’t necessarily wrong, there are still some very positive things about social media. For starters, there’s the whole process of scrolling through Instagram photos to find some inspiration to get yourself outside. Facebook is also great for connecting with others, via your friend groups, local groups or ‘beta’ groups for destinations.
Those are all great aspects of social media, but one of the things social media is great for is trip planning. Yes, the planning! Not just inspirational quotes or photos that elicit serious FOMO [Fear Of Missing Out]…actual planning assistance. Let’s take a peek at exactly how a few social platforms can help you get ready for your next adventure.
Scenario: You’re planning a trip to Iceland in April. You have about five days on the island. You want to see as much as possible, obviously.
Resources: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest.
Goal: Create a basic, flexible list of ‘to-do’ items to seek out while you’re on the island. Find the best places to eat, great places to camp + the best companies to give your hard earned travel funds to.
Now that we know what we’re up against…how do we use each platform to its fullest potential?
Even if it’s months in advance, start scrolling through hashtags associated with Iceland. You’ll find beautiful photos of black sand beaches, glaciers, waterfalls + so much more. Many of these photos will be tagged with locations. Write down those locations for future reference. Once you have a list of specific places you’d love to see on your trip…start doing some more traditional research. Determine if these areas are accessible during your trip, removing the ones that are not from your list.
We only made the trek out to the Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon because Instagram made it look amazing — we ended up watching an iceberg calve then flip over, as the sunset.
Find a few travel or Iceland based groups on Facebook. There are *so* many travel groups on Facebook you’ll probably be overwhelmed! Find a few that work with your overall interests [adventure travel vs city tours]. Once you’ve joined the group join in on the conversations. Search the group for previous conversations about various locations, read up on what recent travelers have to say about the area + ask questions. You’ll end up with some real-time beta on the area. You may also get into some great in-depth conversations about what to expect during your April travels from someone who was there during the previous April. Facebook groups are fantastic for detailed discussions.
But social media isn’t foolproof — the Solheimasandur Plane Crash was supposed to be a ‘must see’ but turned out to be the least exciting part of the entire trip…for us.
If you have an adventurous following Twitter can be a great place to start discussions about specific aspects of your upcoming trip. Due to the character limitations, broad topics are harder to cover, but Twitter is great for finding company recommendations for rentals, accommodations + tours. You may also want to start following hashtags related to Iceland so you can pick up on news articles or recent blog posts that may be packed with information.
**hit up the #hikerchat crew if you’re in search of a posse of adventurers!**
I wasn’t so sure about the Solheimajokull Glacier, but the dramatic black sand on the snowy ice was incredible in person — I spent most of my time there staring at it in wonder!
When you venture over to Pinterest while trip planning you just might be overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information. There will be itineraries for a few days in Reykjavik, tips on how to save money, detailed beta on hiking trails + so much more. Start a board dedicated to Iceland then start pinning everything that looks interesting. Once you’ve narrowed down your trip through Instagram locations, Facebook discussions + Twitter recommendations head back to the board you created. Now you can start going through the information you’ve found + really digging into the details. Many of the pinned items will link you back to fantastic blog posts with more details than you ever imagined possible. Read up on all of the things!
The hike up to the Reykjadalur Hot Springs was actually *not* recommended to us because the spring runoff made them ‘sorta warm springs’…we did it anyway [but didn’t jump in]…even in the driving rain, it was completely worth it as you walk OVER bubbling springs!
As you work your way through these various social media channels keep a list…a long list. Some people have a notebook where they scribble down tidbits, others prefer something like Google Keep. Do whatever works for you, but keep a list!
Throughout this process you’ll come across so much information you won’t know what to do with it. One day you’ll find something incredibly exciting that you ‘must’ do. Two days later you will have completely forgotten about it because your brain is overwhelmed with other information. You’ll remember that great planning epiphany about two weeks after you return, completely bummed your missed out on it! Not that we know from experience or anything…
Happy planning + enjoy your traveling! Don’t forget to share your experience when you get back so you can help the next ambitious adventurer plan out their own trip!