How To Plan Amazing Travel With Pinterest

During this time of Coronavirus pandemic it is hard to imagine we will ever be able to travel again. But we will. After 9/11 it seemed as though international travel was over forever, but it wasn’t. We just had new restrictions that in no time at all became our new normal. SARS 1 back in 2002-2003 looked like it would stop travel forever too, but it didn’t.

There is no knowing when we will be able to travel again, whether it will be months or years from now, but when that window opens we need to be prepped and planned and ready to go. It may only be a matter of time before another epidemic / pandemic /major world event occurs, so we may only have a short time to see the world and experience the magic of international travel before it all closes back down again. Or maybe once this is over the world will adjust to the new normal, and we will be back to traveling freely. Regardless, there will be a time when we can travel again. So let’s get ready.

Most people think of Pinterest as a social media place for recipes and DIY/Craft ideas. Although both are prevalent they make up only a tiny fraction of what is on Pinterest. Pinterest is not a social media platform, it is one of the largest search engines in the world. And it has pictures. So whatever it is you want to know you can pretty much find it on Pinterest, the difference is that when you enter your search terms you don’t get a typed list of options to click on, you get a series of pictures with text. These are called pins.

This is a pin that links to a blog post about Civita di Bagnoregio near Orvieto

When you click on one of these pictures or pins it will take you into a website, magazine article or blog, the same way as clicking on an item on a google list does.

This is an example of a pinterest travel board.
I can keep adding as many pins as I want to each board,
keeping all the pertinent information in one place,
with pictures for quick reference.

When you set up a Pinterest account (they are free) you create a series of boards which function like a cork board. When you find a pin that has information relevant to your search and that you want to keep for later reference you then pin it to the board it goes with.

If you eat a paleo diet you might create a board for Paleo Recipes, search them and then pin the recipes you like or want to try to your Paleo Recipes board.

The same works with travel and planning travel. You create boards for things that apply to your future travel plans and dreams, and then wherever you might be on the internet, whatever article you may read in any publication, you can save to its appropriate board. Almost every article will have either the pinterest symbol at the bottom of it, or if you hover over one of the pictures in the article will offer you an option to save it to your pinterest. If you take that option it will bring up your Pinterest boards and ask you which one to save it to, so all your pins are saved to their corresponding boards.

My Morocco travel board

I use this for all travel I am planning or just dreaming about. For example, I have a board for Morocco Travel and another for Jordan Travel Tips. I may never end up going to either, but both places are fascinating to me. These boards have a collection of pins with all kinds of interesting things to see and do and eat and drink in these countries, as well as information about unusual things to do there, random little towns and villages I otherwise wouldn’t know to visit.

My Jordan Travel board

You can check out my Pinterest boards here and click around to see what I have saved.

If you want a travel experience beyond the big bus tours, or if you want to get information on things to do when your cruise ship comes into port, Pinterest is a phenomenal resource.

Even better, although the regular travel agencies have a presence on Pinterest you will find vastly more incredible information from professional travel bloggers. This can save you a small fortune by giving you better and much more affordable excursion options from your cruise. This is also where you find great information about towns you had never heard of, great places you can reach easily and not be overwhelmed with tourists.

The mass travel organizations like cruise lines and big bus tours are not in the business of showing you random, interesting things. They are about whipping you round the main sites and then getting you back on the bus or the boat. This isn’t always a bad thing, but maybe you want more, or maybe you want more information about the options they are offering. You can find all of this on Pinterest.

Chances are after the coronavirus pandemic mass tourism will disappear or take a long time to come back. This will mean smaller, more sustainable travel will take the lead. There will be more small tour providers like me with my Glam Italia Tours, as well as travelers wanting to just go it alone and have the big experience but without the crowds.

If you are thinking about planning some travel on your own or doing some small tour travel, this list of The 30 Best Travel Bloggers gives you lots of great reading. It’s fun to read the stories of really interesting people heading out there in the world, discovering fantastic places to travel and telling you all the ins and outs of how to get there, where to stay and what you mustn’t miss!

Pinterest is a genius tool for planning your own travel. If you want to go to Paris but aren’t sure what to do there you can ask the Pinterest search bar What to do in Paris or Things to do in Paris and hundreds of pins will populate for you to scroll through and look at. There will be some dingbats telling you to visit the Eiffel Tower, eat a croissant and walk the Champs Elysees. But there will also be lots of travel bloggers who tell you about unusual things to do in Paris or cool things to do in Paris that take you away from the tourist crowds and show you something really special.

There are always pins linking to blog posts that tell you how to do things in any city, from which events you need to book in advance to how to use public transport. You can find out how to use the metro to get around (it’s super easy) and how to see some of the famous sites without booking a tour. Why pay extra to do a package tour of Versailles when you can buzz out there on the train, pick up an audio guide and make your own way around the palace and its gardens?

If planning a trip to Italy (my specialty) set up a variety of boards for different regions and/or cities you are interested in seeing. You may also what to set up a travel packing board. Just type What To Wear in Italy in April into the search bar and endless pins will pop up with outfit ideas and packing tips.

This is my travel packing board.
I’m pretty much set for what to pack for any country ant any time of year!

One of my favorites is to search Unusual Things To Do In (add city or country). This will vary from simple things to do that are not on the mass tourist radar, to really offbeat and unusual things.

Type in What To Do In Rome and you will see endless pins about the Colosseum, the Vatican, the Trevi Fountain and the Pantheon. Type in Unusual Things To Do In Rome and you will discover fascinating things to see such as Domus Transitoria, the Porticus of Octavia and the Pyramid of Cestius. Even better, when you actually go to these places you will not only find them amazing, but there will be very few tourists there so you won’t be squashed in with crowds and will actually be able to see and experience these amazing places. For more fabulous things to do in Rome check out my international best seller Glam Italia! 101 Fabulous Things To Do In Rome, available world wide on Amazon

It is always good to be planning your next trip, even if it doesn’t happen for years. It gives you something interesting to do (especially while on quarantine!) and gives you something new to dream about and look forward to. Pinterest makes it much easier.

You can get really specific too, so maybe you want information on camping in national parks in the US, or travel with small children, youth hostels in Europe or 5 star hotels in Singapore, hiking tips in Peru or ski trips in New Zealand – it’s all there. No matter what your travel style or travel dream is, there is something here for you, with pictures.

So even if it feels like a fantasy right now, and you can’t see how you could ever pull it off, have some fun exploring the world on Pinterest.

Happy pinning!

Not sure where to start with planning travel either for now or for the future? Download my Free Resources pdfs to help you get started building your perfect trip. You are welcome to print off as many copies as you need. Get your Free Resources HERE

Want more help planning a trip to Italy? My book Glam Italia! How To Travel Italy (Secrets To Glamorous Travel On A Not So Glamorous Budget) is an international best seller, available world wide on Amazon.com

10 Important Airport Hacks You Need To Know For Busy Travel Days

If you are flying during any busy time, from the holiday season to regular busy days/hours the key to avoiding stress and making it to the other end unscathed is to utilize these professional traveler, tried and tested airport travel hacks.

1. Always Check In Online

Checking in online 24 hours prior to your flight gives you several advantages. You are less likely to be bumped from your flight and you will already have your boarding pass. When you arrive at the airport unless you are checking a full sized suitcase you can move straight to the TSA checkpoint.

Airlines will let you gate check oversized bags for free, so you can save yourself $30 checked luggage fee by doing it at the gate.

2. Arrive Early

You may be able to get away with arriving later for flights during non-busy times, but during high traffic periods plan on arriving at the airport 2-3 hours early. The most stressful parts of flying on busy travel days are getting stuck in long lines either at check in or at the TSA check point. It doesn’t hurt to have some extra time up your sleeve – worst case scenario you have a coffee or something to eat once you have gone through the TSA check point.

3. Use The TSA App

Use the TSA app to see how long the wait times are. If they are looking excessive you can leave home earlier than planned.

4. Pack Your Carry-On Properly

One of the reasons that TSA gets so backed up is that travelers don’t think ahead when packing their carry-on luggage.

image via Smartertravel.com

If you don’t have TSA pre check you know up front that your liquids and laptops will have to be taken out of your bag before going through the x-ray machine. Save yourself (and everyone else) time and aggravation by having your liquids/skin care/makeup products packed together in see through bags packed at the top of your carry on.

RELATED POST: HOW TO PACK A SUITCASE LIKE A PRO

5. Be Ready For TSA

Another reason that lines get so backed up at the TSA checkpoint is travelers arriving not ready to proceed through.

*If you don’t have TSA Pre Check be sure to wear shoes that slip on and off easily.

* Remove all jewelry, belts, small change from your pockets, jackets, hats, scarves prior to entering the TSA line. Ideally do this before you leave home, and put on belts and jewelry after passing through the xray machines.

*Have your bags and coats ready to go through the xray prior to getting to the front of the line.

If you watch frequent flyers/professional travelers you will see that they have all of this thought out and prepared prior to arriving at the checkpoint.

6. Turn Left

Most people are right handed, so after having their I.D and boarding pass checked they turn right to the x-ray machines. The lines are always quicker to the left.

7. Bring Snacks

On busy travel days and busy flight times the lines at the terminal snack bars can get long. It is much easier and less stressful to bring your own snacks and just proceed to the gate.

RELATED POST: HOW TO LOOK FABULOUS AFTER A LONG FLIGHT

8. Bring A Phone Charger

Always arrive at the airport with a fully charged phone and a fully charged phone charger. You can’t rely on their being power socket/charging stations available, and even if there are phone charging ports at your seat on the plane there is no guarantee they will be working.

9. Bring A Refillable Water Bottle

Bring an empty water bottle and fill it at a filling station once you have cleared TSA. Should you encounter delays you will be glad you did!

RELATED POST: SUBSCRIPTIONS THAT MAKE GREAT GIFTS FOR TRAVELERS

10. Gate Check Bags

Most domestic flights now are fully booked which means they run out of overhead bin space. Save yourself the hassle of wandering up and down the aisle trying to find space for your carry-on bag by checking it at the gate.

There is no fee for gate checked bags and they get walked directly down to your plane, so unless you have a connecting flight you can be relatively certain your bag will arrive when you do.

FREE RESOURCES! Download my free travel resources PDFs. Check lists, planners and questionnaires as seen in my book, international Best Seller Glam Italia! How To Travel Italy (Secrets To Glamorous Travel On A Not So Glamorous Budget) GET YOUR FREE RESOURCES HERE

How To Avoid Getting Sick When You Fly This Winter

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If you are planning any air travel this holiday season or winter you need to have a game plan in place to prevent catching something nasty inflight.

 Airplanes are hermetically sealed germ incubators. Whatever time of year you are flying you are always at risk of contracting whichever virus or infection the person next to you is carrying or the person before you left behind. Winter just seems to make it worse.

I have spoken before on this blog about getting a vicious upper respiratory infection on a flight to Australia several years ago. I thought I was going to die it was so bad. The doctor in Noosa who treated me told me that several times per week he sees upper respiratory infections like this, caught on planes. He also gave me advice on how to make sure it doesn’t happen again, which I will re-share in this post.

I have had multiple friends and acquaintances in the past three years contract the highly contagious Norovirus. Some on cruise ships, some on planes. All of them have had gastrointestinal problems and mad diarrhea for months on end, and have been very, very sick.

RELATED POST: AIRPLANE GORGEOUS _ HOW TO LOOK AND FEEL FABULOUS WHEN YOU LAND

This got me to thinking about all the people traveling by air this holiday season and this winter, and what you can do to prevent getting sick, allowing for the fact that no doubt multiple people on your flight will be sending their cold, flu and heaven only knows what other illnesses through the recycled air.

Before You Fly

Wellness begins before you board your flight. Staying on top of a few items can make all the difference in the world.

Sweet Dreams

Try to get a decent night’s sleep the last couple of nights before you fly. A tired body is more susceptible to opportunistic infections.

Avoid Bad Foods

You already know this but it is worth repeating. Foods that are high in sugar and/or salt, and junk foods should all be avoided at least in the 24 hours prior to flying. Airports are notoriously full of eateries selling high sugar, high sodium and essentially junk foods. Eating these means your body has to work overtime to break them down and deal with them instead of using its energy to fight off germs.

RELATED POST: 8 CRUCIAL THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT TRAVEL INSURANCE

Load Up On C

The days before you fly, the days you are away, and the first few days you are back home you should load up on extra Vitamin C. Take much more than the recommended daily dose – Vitamin C is the best fighter vitamin, and can be your best friend when you are exposed to colds and flus.

In-flight Tricks

There are also several important steps to take once you are on the plane. Some might surprise you!

Disinfect

This is the big tip the doctor in Australia drilled into me when I was so sick. Take disinfectant wipes onboard the plane with you and disinfect everything.

Arm rests, seat belt buckle, tray table- front and back, head rest. Everything you will touch during your flight. Assume the person occupying your seat before you had something highly contagious, and clean that thing down!

Airplanes don’t get disinfected in between flights. At best the tray table might get a wipe down overnight, but judging by the early morning flights I’ve been doing, don’t hold your breath!

Trust me, just one savage sickness caught on a plane and you too will be a convert! In all the years since I got sick on that flight I have never, ever boarded a flight and not disinfected everything. I couldn’t care less if it makes me look weird.

image via NY Times

Bathroom Rules

If you are on a shorter flight do whatever you can to avoid using the airplane lavatory. Pee before you fly and then hold on til you land if at all possible. Airplane toilets are more germy than you think.

On top of all the infections waiting to happen via the bathroom, recent studies have shown the water you wash your hands with is actually quite perilous too. Dangerous levels of Ecoli and Salmonella have been showing up in the water tanks, so dangerous in fact that it was recommended you not wash your hands, instead opt for handwipes and hand sanitizer.

RELATED POST: HOW TO AVOID BEDBUGS WHEN YOU TRAVEL

Hydrate

Before, during and after your flight drink loads of water. Part of the reason we get travel fatigue (that exhausting, headachy, feel like crap thing that happens after flying) is because we dehydrate so much in flight. I have read that we lose an additional 8 ounces of water for every hour we are in the air.

Either buy a bottle of water once you have cleared the TSA checkpoint or bring an empty bottle with you and fill it at any of the filling stations inside the terminal

I often add Airborne or EmergenceC to bottled water when I fly, just for the extra boost of the good stuff.

Hose Your Nose

Once you are in flight the pressurized cabin of the plane makes the air really dry. Dry air makes you more susceptible to colds, so doctors recommend using a nasal spray to keep the area hydrated.

Nasal sprays are also super helpful to travelers who suffer from allergies, sinus problems and headaches.

Neosporin Nostrils

One of my makeup artist friends who is constantly flying across the country and around the world for work always puts Neosporin on her nostrils when the plane takes off. Her theory is that she is killing germs on their way in. I don’t know if this works or not but I have started doing it too just in case!

RELATED POST: HOW TO PACK LIKE A PRO

Stay Warm

Airplanes are notoriously cold so it is important to plan ahead and stay warm while you fly. The days of taking bulky sweaters and coats when you travel are well behind us now, the better option being super fine, thin merino layers and easy to fold, super warm puffer jackets.

Although I am from New Zealand I am a relatively new convert to the benefits of merino wool. As a rule I can’t wear wool – it’s too itchy scratchy on my skin. Merino is an entirely different experience. It is super thin, incredibly warm, wicks away both moisture and smells, and can be layered. Merino is also good in warm weather as it keeps you cool, making it the perfect travel fabric. It is also super soft and doesn’t itch.

Whether you invest in a base layer long sleeve Like This One from Icebreaker or a merino dress Like This One (there are loads of merino products for men too)

Merino is a great way to help fight off catching cold on the plane. An added benefit of wearing Merino when you travel is that it is cool in warmer climes.

Puffer jackets are still a big deal for travelers. They keep you really warm, even in frigid temps (especially with a super thin Merino base layer underneath!) and they fold down to nothing, so you aren’t trying to haul a heavy coat on and off the plane with you.

I’m in love with this one (pictured) from Michael Kors. It is available on Amazon, but I found it online for much less at Nieman Marcus Last Call here. I also like this one from Calvin Klein, available on Amazon. There is a huge selection of affordable puffer jackets on Amazon, including their most famous one, which you can see here. It costs less than $50!

My Secret Weapon…

This one may be a little much for some, but again I swear by it. I don’t always get to do it but invariably make it happen before all international flights.

Vitamin IV therapy basically takes vitamin protection to an entirely new level. Whether you choose a Myers Cocktail or a Super Immune blend, the practitioner adds to saline solution intense quantities of Vitamin C, B complex, minerals, everything from zinc to magnesium to selenium – all the fighter vitamins and minerals. These then make their way directly into your bloodstream via an IV drip.

Vitamin IV therapy has all kinds of beauty benefits. Your skin will glow, the whites of your eyes go super white, your hair gets really glossy and healthy. You start feeling amazing as soon as the drip gets going. It has been my saving grace when I travel and also when I am just working an extra punishing schedule here at home.

The easiest way to find IV Vitamin therapy places is to google Myers Cocktail and your city. You can read more about Vitamin IV therapy here.