Where Do You Find Travel Inspiration?

A question I am asked fairly frequently is “how do you choose where to go?”

Like most questions I get, there’s not an easy answer. My travel plans are a mix of whimsy and luck, with the occasion bought of careful planning thrown in. Usually when people ask me where I’m headed next I don’t really know- there are so many variables at work.

One thing I know for sure is that I have a list roughly three pages long of places I am just dying to visit. From Mongolia to Albania, New Zealand to Austin, Texas, the list is extensive and constantly growing. That’s not even including all the places I’ve already been and urgently want to go back to (hello Vietnam, Italy, Japan). The world is so vast and beautiful, it is sometimes difficult to focus.

So my question today is, how do you choose? How does a place move from your “that sounds nice” list to your “need to make this happen now” list?

Here area few reasons I’ve come up with:

Word of Mouth

One of the biggest influences for me are first-hand recommendations. You can read up all you like, watch Anthony Bourdain non-stop and pour over pictures on the internet, but nothing beats hearing the real truth from someone you trust. It was first hand endorsements from traveling friends that lead Mike and I to move sight unseen to Sayulita (which, sigh, I still really miss).

The Internet

Once again I’m befuddled by how anybody knew anything before the internet. 95% of everything I know about anything comes from the internet. How did you trip plan without blogs, TripAdvisor, top ten lists and all the other tiny bits of advice and inspiration floating around the web?

Articles play a big role as well, on travel blogs of course, but also on larger sites. Lately I’ve been leafing through the new Yahoo Travel website, which curates articles magazine style. This story has me convinced to go to Puerto Rico, this article reminds me I have a lot more food exploring to do in Hong Kong and this one reminds me there are things in my own backyard that I don’t even know about.

Books, Movies, TV

I never had any desire to go to Paris before I watched Midnight in Paris, but the idea of Fitzgerald and Hemingway getting plastered in 1920’s cafes really struck a chord with me and now I’m dying to go. Hemingway had already sent me to Spain by writing The Sun Also Rises, so it kind of makes sense.


All of those things are a factor, but probably the biggest influences in where I decide to go next, are the places I’ve already been. Now that I’ve visited Northern Italy, I absolutely have to go down South. I spent a month in Vietnam and barely scratched the surface of that fascinating country. I spent 9 months in South America and never made it to Peru or Bolivia. You’d better believe Machu Picchu is calling my name. The list goes on and on.

This confirms something that I’ve been saying for years. You don’t get travel “out of your system.” In fact traveling extensively has the exact opposite effect. The more you see, the more you have to see. My list gets longer and longer. I will never conquer it. I don’t really mind though, that’s part of the joy of living.

Where do you find your travel inspiration?


This article was written by me, brough to you by Yahoo Travel

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16 thoughts on “Where Do You Find Travel Inspiration?”

  1. So much inspiration from everywhere!! Typically from exciting blogs, beautiful photos, or even films and books. I often travel to places that make sense…and I feel like I try to go with the next place that just calls to me. 🙂

  2. I feel like I get my inspiration from, well, everywhere! It’s funny, but I probably get a lot of travel ideas from TV. I will watch any TV show or movie as long as travel is slightly involved. Even something as mundane as the Bachelor or No Reservations makes me daydream about traveling to the places I see on these shows!

  3. Word of mouth and Internet are huge ones for me! Typically I won’t go to a place if I haven’t gotten a recommendation from a trusted friend or blogger. From there then I go and try to discover new places and fun finds! Pinterest has played a huge role in travel for me! Definitely gives me a ton of inspiration!

  4. Flying anywhere from New Zealand is prohibitively expensive. So when I decide to travel, I pick a vast area that incorporates a bunch of places I want to visit (Europe, or Southeast Asia etc), and then use the internet to narrow it down and form a rough itinerary – leaving the trip open enough that I can change my mind on the road.

    I find travel forums (like lonely planet’s thorntree) to be really helpful for finding inspiration.

  5. The vast majority of my travels have come through things like work, study, weddings – things where I don’t really pick the destination, but build travels around that core thing. For example, when I worked in Congo, that meant I traveled to Uganda and Kenya. When friends got married in Australia, I added on time in New Zealand. Since I’ve moved to London for my master’s, I’ve been to Ireland and France and throughout England quite a bit. I love to get to know whatever place I happen to find myself and really get to know it well.
    When I do get to just pick a destination, I am almost always inspired by literature or documentaries I’ve seen. 🙂

  6. When I worked as a teacher’s aide in Spain, I took every available weekend to travel around Spain and Europe, usually finding whatever was cheapest. I saw plenty of ‘meh’ places, as well as destinations I ended up loving. I also made a list of the places I most wanted to see, and started there. Now, I usually save up for one big trip a year and take smaller trips closer to home. My last foray was India, a place I didn’t know I wanted to go to until we found tickets as cheap as those from Seville-Berlin with a layover!

  7. My travel inspiration comes from picking a time when we can go somewhere and then figuring out the cheapest place we can go that we haven’t been yet! Skyscanner helps a lot.

  8. Word of mouth is the big one for me but how different people experience places is so subjective that it’s really hard to know.
    Sometimes it comes down to something as simple as convenience or budget. I’d read a lot about india, heard many good stories from friends and blogs but still one of the deciding factors was just how cheap it was!

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