journalist traveling the world, uncovering one hidden gem at a time

How to make the best travel itineraries

Every time I’m telling my friends and family what I’ve done on a great getaway, they ask, “How did you hear about that?” That’s me, the ultimate guru of finding the weird and unique and quirky sights to see on my vacations. (Hence the blog name, Quirky Globetrotter!) Here are a few tricks to get you started on making the best travel itineraries: 

Social media is your best friend

Many of my unique and quirky travel finds I’ve stumbled upon on social media. Whether it was a Facebook video or a #wanderlust post on Instagram, I save all these little gems in a wish list folder and use them in my future planning. I’m often taking a gander in this folder to inspire new trip destinations and itinerary ideas. 

Ask the locals

I’m always met with shocked looks when I say, “I never plan 100 percent of my trip itinerary before I board my flight.” (Read more about that here). In reality, I probably only have about 65 percent planned. The rest is planned on a whim. I do this so I’m able to take the time to check out the local hot spots that actual residents endorse as a must-see. For example, I swam in a waterfall tucked secretly in the Puerto Rican mountains on my trip in February after a local recommended it. Best cool water dip I’ve ever taken!

Stalk travel blogs

I can’t endorse this enough. Travel bloggers, like myself, look for the beauty in everything. We have a talent for finding the extraordinary in the ordinary. Whether that be a hidden gem just meters away from a hot tourist attraction, or a hidden oasis located hundreds of miles away, we’re able to sniff it out. We’re also extremely talented at letting ourselves truly wander, which leads me to our next point.

Embrace your wanderlust

So often, people don’t want to venture away from the hotspots. They’re so worried about not getting that lust-worthy Instagram post. It isn’t about experiencing the culture and wandering away from those tried and true attractions. Walk down a street on the other side of town to see how the locals truly live. No itinerary required. 

Seek out your true passions

You look happiest doing what you love. That couldn’t be any truer. So embrace that while traveling, domestically and abroad. In every country and state, I try to learn something new — that’s my passion. While in Puerto Rico, I learned how to snorkel. In Colorado, I learned to hike in the snow. In the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, I learned how to kayak on large, open water. Those were some of the happiest moments of those vacations, embracing my love of learning.

Browse guidebooks 

This is usually the last step for me. I usually turn to travel guides if I’m going to a destination that I haven’t read a lot of diverse content about, or I’m not finding cultural highlights that fit my interests. What I love most about travel books is the broad perspective they paint of each region of a country. It helps me learn about each region which ones I should visit during my trip. A few of my favorite brands are Rough Guides, Top 10, Fodor’s and Lonely Planet

How do you create your travel itineraries? Leave your tips and tricks below!

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