Steps to Plan the Perfect #Instacation
Instacation: A holiday in which one constantly takes out the best shot to add to their Instagram feed.
Not gonna lie. Despite having just 200 followers on Instagram, I did the installation as a boss. It is one thing to make food beautiful, and another thing to find the most beautiful food. Both are valid things to spend time on, but this is what really happens.
Is this a crazy thing that happens two to three times a week, months before your trip? Yes. but it's worth it. This is not just a way to find food on Instagram, but a way to organize a trip with food and sites that you know you want to see in one place. This is especially helpful if you have any dietary restrictions. Many times I have traveled to places wondering what I would do when I got there, then I was planning to waste time while I was already there. Do it ahead of time, your future will thank you now.
1. Create a Google map for your trip.
The easiest way to do this is from your desktop. Assuming you have a Gmail account, you can easily access the map on your phone because you are out and about as well. Go to Google Maps, select "My Places" from the menu on the right, then "Maps" in the top right of the menu, then on "Create a new map" below
Another great feature about this is that you can create custom layers and color coding. This way you can be without being overwhelmed by the sweet spots, amazing scenery, brunch spots, hike, shopping and more.
2. Search like a beast
Google is always something like "most institutional restaurants in ______" or "most established place in ______" for big cities, usually buzzfeed or trhillist. Sadly, many of these lists can be outdated and just thrown together. The most Instagrammed location is not always the best
Pinterest is a favorite search tool, mostly because you can't find what you're looking for. Before I moved to LA I searched for "Vegetarian LA" to find the best restaurants, for Seoul I searched for "Seoul Food". Here it is not a spontaneous search, simply because it is already pinned with a photo.
Instagram Gave us the ability to search not only a location, but a geospatial hashtag such as #veganla or #seattlefoodie. I usually use Instagram to cross reference places that I find on Pinterest and Google and to make sure that this is exactly the food I want to eat. I got through a post that had #veganla, then I clicked on the location to see other photos taken at the restaurant. From there I knew we were going there. I was so confused that I had never heard of it before.
Instagram is also great because there are few accounts and bloggers specific to a region. Some examples of foods are Bestfoodsal, AustinMymouth, and Lofoodyugi. You can go through their feeds to find your favorites, and find people who follow the same dietary restrictions as you.
3. Save each location to your map, and begin the plan
It gets heavy at first. My map for Seoul is human. But by saving almost everywhere that I like (all places for the most part) I was able to decide what I definitely wanted to do, and see what I wanted to be in the area. You can add images to each saved location, and a brief description to remind yourself why you want to go there. If you read a blog post later, saying that the foot-tall ice cream you've been dreaming about is disgusting, you can bump it up to the place that makes ice cream sculptures. If food is not your thing, it is still a great resource for exploring the outlook, walls, amazing architecture, and more.
This map is also how we decided where to book hotels. To be around things we knew we wanted to do, and easily reach other areas for day trips. This is how I decided on what day and where we had our first and second breakfast (not enough food in the day!), Where we should spend money, where we should spend a day, and where our first, second Was, and the third dessert. The pictures below are the first and second breakfasts in Santa Monica when we flew to LA for the new year.
Dude, why don't you just use the trip advisor offline map? Man, because whatever it is. The Trip Advisor app for Seattle doesn't have most of my favorite spots, and the top sites compare to the things I've found on my own. However it is super helpful in situations where you did not plan ahead, and you are looking to do something or eat nearby.