How to find the best things to do while traveling

Seeing the monkeys who lounge around the hot springs in the countryside was my all time favorite memory of Japan. Planning ahead is necessary to make sure you get to experience all the most amazing activities in the area you visit.


Not many people realize this, but Pinterest is best used as a search engine. Yeah it’s great for creating digital vision boards and saving photos of pretty things too. I have been organizing travel plans for years and have created a system through trial and error. This is a process, so it may take a couple days to complete—get started on it early! But if all else fails find a boyfriend who comes up with crazy ideas and your trip will essentially plan itself.

This is my step-by-step process to finding travel activities:

  1. Make a cup of coffee or tea, grab a bag of skinny popcorn, and find a comfy spot to sit (my necessity).
  2. Create a GoogleDoc and title it the location and dates you are visiting then share it with your travel buddies.
  3. Download the GoogleDrive app to your phone so you can update it easily on the go.
  4. Head to Instagram and follow accounts and hashtags near the region you are visiting. Also follow a couple influencers of the region who do/value things you do too (i.e. vegan food, yoga studios, bars/pubs, etc.).
  5. Make a rough list with word-of-mouth recommendations on your GoogleDoc for your upcoming trip including things you’ve seen on Instagram.
  6. Log on Pinterest and check your travel/bucket list board to see if you’ve previously ‘pinned’ anything for that location. Click the posts to read the blogs or articles linked to them.
  7. After checking out your saved pins use Pinterest as a search engine and search “activities to do in...”, “things to do in...”, “tours to take in...”, “places to go in...”, “things to see in...”, “non-touristy things to do”, or “secret things to do” finishing the sentence with the place your visiting.
  8. Open a few new window tabs and scan the linked articles and photos. You may find blogs will list similar activities—keep searching for gems.
  9. Copy & paste titles and/or paragraphs explaining things that sound interesting to your GoogleDoc.
  10. After spending some time repeating the last couple steps using Pinterest revise & edit your GoogleDoc. Read through your copy & pasted list and delete: things you pasted more than once, things that now don’t sound as fun compared to other things you pasted, and things that you realize aren’t in the area you will be visiting.
  11. Edit the number of activities down to around the number of days you have on your trip.
  12. The next thing you need to do is refer to Google and Trip Advisor to compare ratings, reviews, and analyze which activities are tourist traps.
  13. Revise & edit your GoogleDoc again using the information you learned from researching on Google and Trip Advisor.
  14. Repeat this research & edit process until you’ve found the activities you can’t wait to enjoy on your trip!

Am I alone out here organizing or do you plan your travel activities with such tenacity and passion?!