Please tell me you’ve done it, that I’m not the only one? Chosen a destination you think will be just what you need, only to get there and find letdown and regret akin to never learning that second language ’cause you always wanted to be bilingual… (Or is that just me?) I wish I were kidding when I tell you this, but the last not-so-great place I picked was based ultimately on how cozy the linens looked in the photos. Listen, I’m a sucker for interiors, and I will NOT stay at a place that has mishmash crapola passed down from Buck’s-grandma’s-cousin’s -friend. Life is too short and my due diligence ensured this was NOT that kind of place. Only thing was, it was quiet- maybe a little too much so?
What happens next? You’re there, you’re semi-bummed and it is what it is. Listen up, travelers. All is not lost, but you are going to need wifi or a cell signal.
Airbnb Experiences Even if you’re not a devotee of their platform for short term rentals, their experiences options are legend. From chainsaw carving Sasquatches in Oregon to a Castaway Coconut and Island Survival workshop in Puerto Rico, to learning the ukulele on beautiful Bondi Beach , there are some kooky opportunities that never would have made it onto your itinerary otherwise. You’ll laugh, you’ll meet some fun people and you’ll make some exceptional memories. This is one of the easiest ways to get going, as the host of the experience is a pro in what is being offered. They handle everything from the equipment to the expertise; you just pay and show up. C’mon who wouldn’t want to extract their own DNA and turn it into a pendant? This is experience on demand, that’s a concept that speaks my language.
Investigate Instagram Basically, every location on earth is accessible online now, and on Instagram, the keys to the kingdom are the hash and geotags. Stumped for things to do in ….Marrakesh? Easy. Go to the magnifying glass icon at the bottom of the main screen and when the search bar appears, type it in (also spelled Marrakech, who knew!?) Boom, you’re off and running. Your best bet is to go to the geotag heading which looks like a teardrop shape with a dot in the center. Once you click that baby, a list of close by locations pops up. You didn’t know about that undiscovered souk right down the road did ‘ya? Lucky for you, someone on Insta did and they’ve tagged it. Get going. Hashtags are also your friend, so pick your poison. With the hashtag though, you’ll be relying on what others have said before you, and how they’ve tagged photos. Use caution. (A full post is in the works on using Instagram to help you plan outstanding trips.)
Pick Pinterest If you’re not on Pinterest, you’re missing out. Be warned in advance, it’s a rabbit hole of insight and genius. You’ll be sucked into the vortex like a French cigarette, cause there is DAMN GOOD STUFF HERE, Y’ALL. Think of Pinterest like a bulletin board or a stack of travel brochures, but much more updated, organized and voluminous. If a picture tells a thousand words, then Pinterest never shuts up. Create a [free] account and then simply enter a keyword in the search bar up top. (Even Mr. Twos has an account and he eschews anything that may be even remotely considered ‘social media.’) Maybe you’re in Vernazza, Liguria? Simply type in Vernazza Liguria (or Vernazza Italy), and you’ll be rewarded with a screen chock full of eye candy. Most photos will have an abbreviated description under them, and you’ll click on the ones that speak to you. Bloggers and tourism boards love this tool because they can tell a story not only with words, but with images. Although you can certainly use this platform to add some tszuj to a trip already underway, you are doing yourself a disservice not using it in advance to plan. I won’t go into a blow by blow on using Pinterest for that in this post, but you’ll see one soon that will teach you how to use this sensational tool to make your trip perfect for YOU. Planning ahead on a trip is so much less stressful, especially when big money is involved, and Pinterest is uber user friendly. In the photos below, you’ll see what appears on your device, when searching Pinterest…. Create a [bulletin] board and click ‘save’ or send to share your itinerary. I know, right? Genius!
Surrender, just give in to what is That trip we took recently that I chose because of the linens? It turned out to be a boon for our sanity. Maybe I knew that all along, just at the edge of my Type-A suffering subconscious? It was a gorgeous location. Loamy green and isolated and quiet. We had no TV. We read, and we drank wine; we talked, we laughed and ultimately ended up at the most interesting ‘Mexican’ restaurant because it was the only thing open. (The outside of it, from the dirt rutted parking lot to the multicolor Christmas lights strewn across the rough hewn barn like exterior was more reminiscent of Gilly’s in Texas than anyplace I’ve ever seen. Obviously I saw Urban Cowboy too many times as a child.) We went to deserted beaches and lighthouses, and we met a man who kindly lent us his binoculars to see whales in the [not-so] distance. Feeling our feet in the sand, in winter, with only the gulls and one another to witness it? I dare say that was a bit of heaven, and I’ll be working on that surrender more often. Maybe you should try it too.
Tell us, traveler. Have you made a misstep when planning your getaway? Maybe you found out later, like I did, it wasn’t such a mistake after all. How did it turn out? Are you a surrender(er) – it’s my blog, I can make up words if I want to …… or do you work toward filling your time with photo op worthy adventures?
Lorraine @Not Quite Nigella says
I usually put a call out on my Instagram or Instagram stories and inevitably some good suggestions come up! I’ve found some real local gems that way.
That’s such a great idea-
Very entertaining and informative!
Why thank you, JJlalala!
Allyson Young says
We hated our first cruise that we planned and planned for. It was all hurry up and wait in line. Then you are forced to share your dinner table with total strangers, and we were paired with a couple who wore ball caps to dinner and scratched their backs with their fork (not kidding). We so wished we had just gone to the beach. We did try cruising again several years later. We went on a larger ship and sailed to better destinations. We loved it. We had to learn from our first experience. Don’t go for the 4 day cheap ones, you’ll get what you paid for!
That is so interesting, and what I wouldn’t give to have seen your faces at dinner! It’s totally true, you do get what you pay for. Really glad there was another experience that wiped those crap memories away. That was pretty brave to try again!