Travel Inspiration and Travel Planning
My days are filled with travel inspiration and travel planning. Sometimes they’re mutually exclusive. During the COVID-19 lockdown there was definitely a lot more inspiration going on than planning! But most of the time they intertwine – I’ll see a hotel on Instagram for example, or a city in a guidebook, and then start researching, becoming more and more certain that I want to visit, and trying to figure out the best hotel for us and what we would do as a family if we visit. I may go out to my Facebook friends and as for suggestions as well. The process is messy and imprecise, but I’m used to it and it more or less works.
Except that there’s now a better way.
For the past month I’ve been using the new TravelBirds app and loving it. At first glance it’s a place to review businesses and locations. But diving in I love everything that it adds to the travel planning process, and it’s fun as well.
How I use TravelBirds:
I Recommend Places I Love
There’s no room in TravelBirds for negative reviews, or complaints or individual praise. It’s nice and simple: if you like a business, recommend it to others. In the process you categorize it – e.g. how expensive it is, whether it’s good for families, whether it’s handicap accessible and how easy it is to park – and then you can expand the recommendation page to dive into specifics for restaurants, experiences and hotels. It’s fun to think through why we love a place. Is it because it’s laid back, or because it’s an amazing place to watch the sunset, or because the food is great? Or all of the above? Check anything that’s applicable and then click on Submit Recommendation.
I See Recommendations from Others
When I search for a city, I now see the most recommended places, whether it’s a hotel, a park, an activity or a restaurant. I don’t need to sort through 1,000 places – if it’s on the first screen with multiple reviews (you can see how many reviews immediately), people like it. And then when I click on a place, I can see why people are recommending it.
I Can Save Places to My Wish List
I’m always discovering places around the world that I want to go. Now I save them all within TravelBirds, categorized by area.
It’s Local…and International
When I think about travel, it typically involves destinations 10+ hours away…by plane. But this is looking like the summer of the road trip, and we’re using TravelBirds to sketch out an itinerary between California and Colorado and to keep track of everything my kids want to see. I also rate places as I’m experiencing them, in order to help future travelers.
I Have a Flock!
One of my favorite things about TravelBirds: I can invite friends and family to join my flock. That lets me prioritize their recommendations (exactly the same reason I post on Facebook looking for suggestions) and it’s a great tool for organizing a trip. If I’m meeting up with a friend in Florence, we can both have wishlists and I can look at his/her wishlist (and vice versa) before the trip so that we can buy tickets or make reservations accordingly. And if it’s a family trip, my wife, kids and I can all have Naxos Greece folders, for example, and I can check out what they want to do and see during our trip. Much easier than sending messages and links back and forth.
There Are Badges, and Every Location Has a Founder
This is where a lot of the fun comes in! For every recommendation that you make, you earn badges, and you can compete with others in your flock to rank the highest. But also, if you are the first person to review a location in a city, you become the Founder of that city, and when you’re the first person to review each location/activity/attraction, you become the Founder of that place. Forever. I find myself trying to think of random amazing places I’ve been where no one else has likely reviewed yet just to be listed on more as the Founder! And sometimes I’ve been able to grab a big one, like the Taj Mahal. I’ll never be a king. It’s not a bad backup…
Where to Download TravelBirds
When you sign up, add me to your Flock! I’m here (clickable from your mobile device). I’ve had a head start building my badge numbers, but it’s always possible to pass me! And see how many places you can become the Founder. Hint: start with your hometown.
Note: This post was sponsored by TravelBirds. The text, photos and excitement are mine.