When I travel, my main objective is to try new restaurants, dive into the local scene, and find great photo opportunities. Before I leave for a trip, I typically spend a couple of hours researching unique places to go, things to do, places to eat at, and things to see. With the help of social media, I’ve developed a system to how to find unique travel spots in each city.
My top five resources for finding unique things in new cities lie with that specific city’s CVB (Convention & Visitors Bureau), location scouting through Instagram, searching #(insert your city here)foodie on Instagram, polls on my Instagram channel, and blogger recommendations from their personal travel guides.
Why I love recommendations from CVBs.
No one knows a city better than a CVB, Convention Visitor’s Bureau. Since I’ve had the opportunity to work with multiple CVBs throughout blogging, I know how involved the media and public relations department is of each CVB and how each one is committed to documenting important and up to date events in their particular city. I think CVBs don’t get as much credit for their usefulness because generally, they don’t have the most artfully appealing photos. However once I see what the CVB recommends me to do, I head to Instagram for the “visual” and “real-time” local applications of their suggestions from the local community.
Why I location search CVB recommendations through Instagram
Instagram is hands down my favorite platform for finding inspiration in a new city. After I’ve researched some must-visit attractions through a CVBs website, I head to Instagram to find “real time” and professional photographer photos of the locations. The great thing about Instagram is it’s a constant collection of every changing perspectives. So I can see the professionals interpretation of a meal versus a hobbyist at the same location. If the food/attraction/location/ etc looks appealing on both fronts (and the captions confirm what the photo portrays), then I add said location to a list of “must-dos”.
Pro TIP: When I’m searching a location on Instagram, I save everything (both amateur and professional photos) to “Collections” and make a new board for each city. Each time I visit a location and capture the essence of my time in that spot, I remove the photo from my collection so that if I travel there again, I can remember what I haven’t done.
Why I search #(insert your destination city here)foodie on Instagram
Part of the perk of traveling is discovering new restaurants along the way. I like to search the hashtag of the city I’m traveling to plus the word “foodie” because amateurs and local Instagram food bloggers will post their best places to eat for their followers. This hashtag, which helps me find these local “influencers”, can lead me to discover new food locations or attractions within their Instagram feed that I hadn’t previously considered. Being on the other side of media creation I can tell you that most times the places that large food bloggers post on their Instagram feed have given them free meals in exchange for posting, it doesn’t necessarily mean that will sway their opinion of it, but I generally look for a non-food bloggers recommendation on Instagram for the same place to make sure that what I’m reading isn’t just a sponsored post from the larger Instagrammer.
Asking my Instagram Audience
*Note- this tip only works if you have a public Instagram account. Even if you don’t have a large following and are looking for recommendations, polling the public through a special Instagram post on things to do in a city I’m visiting is extremely useful. I like utilizing local hashtags in all combinations (#atlfoodie, #atlphotographer, #atlanta, #atlantaIGers, #discoverAtlanta, #weloveATL, etc and so forth) to attract locals to get involved with my request. Since Instagram is such an instant community, a lot of people love to voice their opinion what is the best in and will probably share a small anecdote on what they love about it in your comment section! I will then take those recommendations and utilize Tip #2 to location search them for visual inspiration.
Blogger Recommendations through their curated travel guide’s found via Pinterest
As a blogger, I still love looking at other bloggers recommendations from their personal experiences in a city. There are bloggers explicitly committed to documenting travel and some go very deep into their guides with a lot of words, while some are just visual travel guides. I love seeing both to see a myriad of perspectives and bonus is if they highlight one of the locations I’ve saved from utilizing the previous tips. I also like to find similar bloggers to my photographic aesthetic in different cities to see what they recommend that I may like. To find these new bloggers in a new city I always utilize Pinterest. Pinterest is a visual search engine, which means it is a photographic guide to your search queries, and for someone who is visually inclined, it’s my favorite platform to use for travel inspiration.
At the end of the day, it’s important to know what you are searching for when you’re looking for recommendations for a unique destination within your travel spot! I am always looking for photogenic opportunities so will spend hours scouting the right location virtually to make sure I’m well prepped when I get there!