1. Instagram

Instagram is my go to app to find interesting places I should visit when I'm traveling. There are a couple of ways that I find locations I should go to. The first is dependant on where I'm going, I'll go to a personal Instagram profile of someone who I know lives there or has traveled there before and go through their pictures. 

Another way is available now thanks to instagrams update where you can search for specific places in the search page. For instance I can type in Kraków in the search and flick through photos people have uploaded. I found an amazing church to visit in krakow that I otherwise wouldn't have known about if it wasn't for Instagram! I also found a lovely blog run by a traveller who was exploring Europe in 90 days who uploads a new post every day with pictures of where he went. 

Here are some photos from my personal instagram account @julia.trotti I have been posting images as I travel and writing where and what each place is in the hopes that someone else finds it helpful! 

2. Google

This seems like the most obvious option, but I need to mention it as I use this the most! One way you can use Google is to type in your destination and all the main attractions will pop up in your search with pictures and information of each one. This is a great way to familiarise yourself with all the main landmarks of a city you are visiting so you can keep an eye out for them while you are exploring. 

While I love visiting popular landmarks I also love to go to lesser known places. To find these I google more specific terms. Instead of googling a city name, I could search for "secluded beaches malibu" or "secret beaches sydney" or "flower fields poland" to find something a little different. These are the more secluded type of things I love seeing when I travel:

- forests

- waterfalls

- lakes

- secluded beaches 

- flower fields

- abandoned buildings

- lookouts

- country towns

- parks

The list could go on forever! 

Also under the same category, TripAdvisor is another great place to search for your destinations. On Trip Advisor you can look up the location you want to go to a see reviews and pictures taken by people who have travelled there. I would sometimes take the reviews made by travellers with a grain of salt though, as a place that was a drag to one person, could be the highlight of your trip for you!

3. Blogs

Blogs - travel blogs especially - are a great place to learn about some interesting places to visit while you're traveling. I have a few go-to blogs that I love visiting when I'm traveling such as Tuula Vintage, but you can find so many by heading over to Bloglovin and having a flick through their travel blog section. That's the easiest way I find them! 

Tumblr is another great tool, where you can search what city you are going to and browse through all the images and jot down anything that you would love to see yourself.

4. Ask a local + information centres

When traveling, I usually like to stay at accommodation via airbnb. Not only can it be really cheap, but you have so many beautiful home-like accommodation options rather than staying at a hotel. With airbnb accommodation usually being someone's home (which you can either rent their entire home or a private room in their home), it means that you get to meet and talk to the people who own the place and have usually lived there their whole life. We got to have a chat to the person who lived in our Venice Beach accommodation as well as San Francisco and got to learn about so many wonderful non-tourist things to do and places to eat that we would have otherwise no idea about. The lovely lady whose place we stayed at wrote out an amazing list of things to do in San Francisco that I kept pressed inside my journal:

Sourdough + clam chowder
[Boudin Bakery]

Brunch Places on Cortland Ave:
- Moonlight Cafe
- B Star

Places to eat:
- Piquenos Peruvian Tapas
- Namu Gaji [new style Korean]
- Right next door: Bi-Rite Creamery (where there is always a line)
Must try salted caramel with balsamic vinegar ice cream

Mission & Valencia are hipster hangouts +
anything on that street is worth trying

Craftsmen + Wolves on Valencia @ 18th
Try Rebel Within savoury muffin and half boiled egg

More on Valencia:
- Ritual coffee
- Blue Bottle
- Sightglass coffee
- Samovar tea lounge

With us only being there for two days we tried to cross off as much of it off as we could but didn't quite make it through the whole list. I guess it just means we have to go there again one day! 

While I was in Poland with Dan, we were very lucky to be able to stay with his family is Gdansk, where Dan's cousins Karol & Pawel and Dan's uncle would take us around to show us their city. In Krakow we were able to stay with Dan's family friends who also took us around to show us everything! It was really great being able to walk around with locals who knew what places to go to, what time is best to visit them and knew all the history about all the places! It was especially helpful for me in Gdansk where not many things are translated to English like in Krakow. So if I didn't have Karol or Dan around I would have no idea what it was I was looking at/visiting!! 

Information centres

When my friends and I headed to Joshua Tree for the weekend, we really didn't have anything in particular in mind to do aside from randomly exploring the National Park. On our first day there, we went to get lunch and had a lovely helpful lady let us know that she recommends us to go to the information centre to pick up a free map of the park. We did just that and on the map was a list of locations and hikes you can do in Joshua Tree National Park. 

Since we ended up going in the middle of summer, it was ridiculously hot during the day so we left all our hiking for the afternoon. In this case we didn't have time to do everything, so with the help of the information on the map we picked a few things we did have time for that sounded the best for us!

5. Get lost

Don't be afraid to throw the map away, don't have a plan for yourself for a day and just wander around. I mentioned in a previous blog post how the first thing I like to do when I arrive in a new city is to get out there and walk even if I don't know where I'm going. You can find the most interesting things by accident when you do this. Serendipity! 

Below we were driving in San Francisco in the mountains and there was fog in the distance but the road was clear. We park the car and start taking some photos of the view before we realise that the cold wind was pushing the fog towards us. Before we knew it everything around us was a white wonderland and you couldn't see more than a few metres in front of you. It was magical.

The picture underneath that, my friends and I hopped into an Uber to take us to the markets in Brooklyn. The Uber driver was so nice and really excited that the four of us from Australia wanted to go and explore in Brooklyn, where he grew up and still lives. He goes on to tell us about the history of Brooklyn and how it's an up and coming city developing so fast with a plethora of new places; restaurants, bars, places to hang out - popping up now because of the youth culture in the area. We started our ride in Manhattan and he took a detour to show us his favourite place to sit on his time off where he can watch the sun disappear and the lights of New York start to glimmer through the Brooklyn Bridge. This park is where he dropped us off after our ride and I had to snap a photo to remember what a lovely experience it was hearing how passionate he was about his hometown and showing us around.

I hope you found this helpful! I think next I'm going to blog a travel guide of sorts from my personal experiences from particular cities such as places to eat and things to see and do. j x


How do you find interesting places to visit when you are traveling?