Trip planning can sometimes be overwhelming, especially when you feel low on inspiration and not especially motivated to start a new adventure. It’s tempting to avoid all the stress of finding the right destination and the perfect hotel, or of booking your flight and packing just the right amount of clothes. However, traveling makes us feel alive and healthy, and we encourage you to cultivate the habit of discovering new places and experiencing different cultures. If you can’t quite muster the energy and excitement to get started, we’ve got you covered. Here are 7 ways to help you to find your travel inspiration again– and to get started with planning your next adventure.
1. Start your own travel journal.
If you feel less than motivated to start planning your next getaway, a simple way to put you in the right mindset is to start your own travel journal. This is essentially a diary where you can write down trips and tricks you’ve learned during your travels, describe the best places you’ve visited and why you’ve loved them. You can take notes about the activities that inspired you the most in your past travels and write about the food you’ve tasted.
There are notebooks especially designed to be travel journals, which you can buy in any stationary shop, or on Amazon, but it’s much more satisfying to create your own, using a diary you already had at home and personalizing it as you wish. You can also make a travel journal out of a photo album, inserting pictures, plane tickets and postcards into its pages. The best travel journals tend to combine photos and writing, and are an effective way to remind yourself of the excitement of your past travels, to reflect on the beautiful places you’ve seen, and to motivate you to start plotting your next adventure.
2. Plan your trip around activities that inspire and motivate you.
When you don’t know where to start with planning your trip, let your passion guide the way. Think about your favorite activities, hobbies and sports, foods you’d like to try or places that have always tugged at your heartstrings– and make a list. You can then choose one or more of the items you’ve listed and plan your trip around them. For example, let’s say you really enjoy eating pizza: you could plan a trip to four major cities in Italy and choose cities reputed for making some of the best (Naples, anyone?)
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Or maybe you’re interested in the history of Buddhism and Buddhist art: you could plan a trip to Southeast Asia or Japan, choosing places in the region that harbor breathtaking Buddhist temples and art museums. Choosing an inspiring theme or two for your trip makes the hard work of planning your adventure much easier. It can also help you find the perfect destination or destinations.
3. Follow inspiring & colorful social media accounts with a travel focus.
Social media is an amazing source of inspiration for travel lovers. There are literally hundreds (or even thousands) of interesting accounts to follow and blogs to read, which can help you plan your trip when you don’t feel like it. YouTube is an excellent place to find different kinds of travel videos and documentaries. Travel vlogs are blogs that primarily use video to tell stories or offer tips, and are often inspiring and fun to watch. They’re a good way to get you started, when you feel low on ideas.
There are many different kinds of travel vlogs: some focus on the best activities to do in a particular destination, some on the best airline to get there, others still on typical foods from a given country or region. There’s plenty of choice and you can decide which topic interests you the most.
Instagram can also be a very good source of inspiration. Many travel writers and journalists have their own Instagram account, where they post pictures about their trips and where they offer tips and recommendations. Use the hashtag search function on Instagram to find topics that interest you and follow inspiring travel accounts.
4. Think about seasonal activities to plan the perfect trip.
Look again at the list of hobbies, activities and sports you love: which are best enjoyed during a winter trip? Which are ideal for hot weather or fall getaways? For example, if you enjoy taking in natural scenery during the fall, why not plan an autumn leef-peeping trip in Canada, Europe or even New Zealand?
How about a winter adventure? If you’d love to try snowboarding, you could start your trip planning with some research about the best places to go snowboarding during the winter holiday season. You could look for the best Christmas markets in Europe, and plan a trip to the cities that inspire you the most. Alternatively, if you don’t like the snow, plan a winter trip where the weather is hot in December and you can swim in the sea, enjoy the sun and go snorkeling. Greece, Southern Europe or even Central America might be just the ticket.
5. Look for your dream self-catered house or other accommodations.
Here at The Loftus Guides, we frequently recommend that you choose self-catered accommodations, because they allow you to experience your destination like a local. You can shop from local markets, learn to cook some local specialities, and even meet a neighbor or too.
The advantage of starting your trip planning process this way? No one said you have to choose your dates and destination first. Instead, you could look online for your dream accommodations, then build your trip around them. Most vacation home websites are extremely easy to use these days, and you can refine your search according to country, city, price and other criteria.
Visit this page for some great tips on how to book a self-catered house or apartment online, including advice on the most trustworthy websites to book with. While Air b N B has become very popular, it’s not always reliable, depending on your destination, and in some countries it has run into complicated legal problems. We recommend you book with other self-catering companies if possible.
6. Visit the travel section of your favorite library or bookshop.
Reading books and travel guides is an effective and time-honored way to get you inspired for your next trip. A whirl through your favorite bookshop is often the best way to start planning your next journey. If you don’t have the time to read a whole book, simply look through the titles of the travel section. This could spark your interest in a country or a city you’ve never thought about visiting before. Take some time to go through the books that capture your attention. Photography books and travel essays can also be inspiring, giving you plenty of ideas and expanding your sense of what’s out there.
7. Ask yourself what was missing in your last trip.
Starting your own travel journal (see tip # 1) can also help you to think about what was missing in your last trip, providing you with some crucial inspiration for what to do differently next time. Go through all your memories, pictures, notes and tickets and then ask yourself a simple question: what was missing?
Maybe you would have liked to spend more time in the great outdoors. Perhaps you’re an art lover who didn’t see as many museums and galleries as you would have liked to. Or you didn’t sample the local delicacies you hoped to because you were staying at an all-inclusive resort where meals were all covered. This time, you’d like to experience your destination in a more authentic and local way.
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Taking this sort of inventory is a good way to feel inspired again, and to start planning your trip around something you’ve never tried before. You may find out you’d like to try a new water sport, or a different kind of food, or even to explore a museum you didn’t have the chance to visit.
We hope these tips have been helpful– and that inspiration comes knocking again soon!
About the Author
Anna Maria Colivicchi is an Italian writer who is interested in travel, art and food. She lived in Rome and in the UK, which is her home away from home. You can follow her on Instagram to see more of her stories and photos.