It’s easy to get swept up in the travel planning and overlook the details of what to do when you get there. You will end up spending a lot of money wandering around town without a plan and it can also compromise your safety if you’re a solo traveler. Here’s a quick how-to on how to research your destination before you arrive. You’ll have a basic idea of how to research norms, find a few local suggestions, and gather a pile of lust-worthy travel guides.
Customs and Norms
As you venture to farther lands, you’ll find that researching cultural norms matters a little more than when you’re going on a four hour road trip. In places like Morocco, and oh how we all love Morocco, you’ll find it helpful to know what’s proper for women to wear in the public square. In Japan, you’ll want to know how to proper dine among others without drawing unnecessary attention. Finding reliable information on what is “normal” can be pretty tough since it’s relative. Start with Google: cultural norms in [your destination]. You’ll find how acceptable it is to arrive late, keep your shoes on when entering living spaces, eating with your hands and even tipping servers while dining.
Awesome Resource: Cultural Norms in Denmark
This is often the most effective way to research what to do when you arrive at your destination. Travel guides cover everything: food, lodging, transportation, and attractions. I must admit that not until I looked at a Travel Guide for my own city did I realize how helpful they are. If you think about it, you can have a list of five things to do your first day in town but as an outsider, it’s tough to know what’s nearby so you don’t end going an hour out of your way without cause. Travel Guides often suggest how to soak in the most of the experience with the time limitations you have. Some of my favorite travel guides come from My Domaine where they cover travel guides suggested by celebrities, locals, or just pure wanderlust.
Awesome Resource: The Only Marrakech Travel Guide You Need to Read
One of my favorite ways to research my travel destination is to look to Instagram. Instagram is this giant image pool easily navigated by hashtags. Since most travelers are Instagrammers, you’ll often see their adventures before you set out on yours. It’s a great way to see the views and see which you want to do before you arrive. Go a step further by using the Places filter under Search. You can easily search for photos taken in an area where people may not have specified a particular hashtag. In my experience, I can get a quick overall tone to a city by swiping through hundreds of uploads to see how people spend their weekends and what the general vibe is like.
Depending on your comfort level, you can always reach out to people whose photos you enjoy and ask for some on-the-ground suggestions. “What neighborhoods are worth visiting? Any brunch suggestions?” You’ll find that you receive far more of an offer than you requested and get a personal taste of hospitality.
Favorite Pick: I fell in love with Naomi Ann’s Instagram (@naomi4nn) a bit ago simply because I get a strange tickle in my heart that I think they call wanderlust. She often tags her uploads with locations so it’s easy to find your next travel destination if something catches your eye.
See more of naomi4nn uploads on Instagram.
There are actual people behind those Twitter handles. Real people with knowledge. I never hesitate to send out a vague tweet asking people questions like, “What’s there to do in Montreal?” and I hashtag the heck out of it. I am pretty sure every Twitter user has at least once searched Twitter for tweets about their hometown. I don’t think it’s just a Texas thing. Even more bizarre, people are always ready to boast on their city. You can expect local insights and tons of restaurant suggestions. It never fails.