Sometimes part of the fun in going on vacation is planning what you’re going to see, and subsequently drooling as you dream about getting away from work for just. A little. Bit.

I recently went on quite the roadtrip — Toronto to Vancouver Island and back via the USA. A lot of the cool places we saw were thanks to diligent planning, knowing where those spots would be.

How did I find them? You might be surprised, but I used Instagram and Pinterest to find cool spots and hidden gems along the way, and around our final destination as well. Today I’m gonna show you how you can do the same for your own trip.

Using Instagram to find secret travel hot spots

When we were mapping our route to the Oregon Coast, I saw we’d be passing through a town in Oregon called Bend. So I’m gonna use that as an example.

First, go to the Explore page by tapping the magnifying glass at the bottom. Once there, tap the search bar at the top.

travel hacks instagram

Next, we tap places to narrow down our search and find what we’re looking for:

travel hacks instagram

I type in Bend and there it is, second from the top. We select that and it brings us to this:

travel hacks instagram

Here we have a map, and the most popular pictures taken in Bend, OR. Let’s scroll down a little until we find something that catches our eye.

travel hacks instagram

Hey, that waterfall in the middle looks really cool. Let’s tap on that picture.

travel hacks instagram

Upon further inspection we can confirm this waterfall is, in fact, really cool.

We wanna check it out a little more. Look up in the top left corner. Looks like @chrisurizar tagged the location. Thanks Chris, you’re a real champ! Tumalo Falls. Just tap on that.

travel hacks instagram

Now again we have a map, the top posts, and most recent pictures as well. We decide we wanna see this! Now what. Just tap the map at the top, and it’ll ask you if you want to open it in Google Maps. Tap yes and you should see this:

travel hacks instagram

It’s as easy as that! Now you know where it is, you can get directions to it from Bend or wherever your nearby accommodations are, and you can add it to your itinerary.

Using Pinterest to find hidden travel gems

If you’re a guy you’re probably saying “Pinterest?? Dude, Pinterest is for CHICKS. Are you a chick?? Man-card revoked.”

man card revoked

Give Pinterest a chance. Yes, it’s mostly used for decorating and recipes, but even for guys there are a lot of practical uses.

One, which is good for Jack or Jill, is finding hidden travel gems. Looking for spots on Pinterest is just as easy as Instagram, and has a couple of nice features that may give it an edge over IG.

Once you have Pinterest open, tap the magnifying glass icon on the bottom toolbar. Then tap the search bar at the top and search for your location. Let’s use Bend again as an example.

travel planning pinterest

There it is right at the top. We tap it, and it brings us to this:

travel planning pinterest

Here we have the first cool feature of Pinterest on display.

Notice the area I highlighted in red, underneath the search bar? You can slide that to the left or right and select those options to narrow down your search further. Everything from Things to Do, what to do in Winter in Bend, where to go Mountain Biking, and there’s a lot more. It makes it very easy to find what you’re looking for.

Now looking at the search results, we see Tumalo Falls in the middle again, but this time it’s a list of things to do there. There’s a Bend travel guide in the top left, that’s cool too. But something is drawing my eye to the bottom right… Can’t put my finger on it. Oh yeah, BEER.

So I tap on that and it opens this page:

travel planning pinterest

By clicking on the enlarged picture again, it takes me to the source of this Pin, an article on Everyday Runaway that lays out the best breweries in Bend and which beers I should try.

This is an awesome list, and I don’t wanna forget about it. No problem, we have a few options from here.

In the top left corner there are 3 buttons.

  • ❤ The heart will “like” the Pin, and it will appear on the list of Pins I’ve liked. It’s ok, but I wanna narrow it down a bit more.
  • ➢ The paper airplane will allow me to send it to friends of mine on Pinterest, email it, or send it to others through my devices messaging app.
  • ●●● This button opens up 3 more options:
    – Download the image
    – Copy the link to the source
    – Report it as spam or whatever

But in the top right is THE button. The Pin button. By tapping that, you’ll be able to save this Pin to one of your boards:

travel planning pinterest

You can pick any one of your created boards or make a new one. I’ve already started a Bend board so I’m gonna just tap on that one to save it there.

This is one feature that in my opinion sets it above Instagram. Not only does it connect you with more information about the travel spot you found, but you have the ability to save it for future use.

Instagram and Pinterest helped us to plan our trip and make it even more memorable. I’m planning a trip to the Outer Banks in North Carolina for the springtime, and I guarantee you I’ll be using these apps again. Give it a try for your next trip!