Pinterest is the hottest new social network that is burning up the Interwebs. Over the last eight months, the number of people using the site has skyrocketed by more than 2700 percent. That’s 2700 percent. As with any new social network it’s hard to figure out just what you can do with it. I can tell you that the handful of people who are following my pins are probably pretty disappointed so far.
Here’s Pinterest in a nutshell: It allows you to find images anywhere on the Internet and “pin” them to your Pinterest account – people use it to organize redecorating ideas, tantalize their friends with mouth-watering pictures of cupcakes and make destination wish lists.
You’re not necessarily going to get a great depth of information on Pinterest, but you are going to get ideas – it’s impossible to read an article about Pinterest without seeing the word “inspiration.” The incredibly visual aspect of Pinterest will get most people’s juices flowing.
Here are five ways you can use Pinterest to make your trip better – before, during and after your travels.
- Do your preliminary research. Pinterest is like an always-growing brochure of great destination locations. It’s a great way to gather some initial ideas about where you want to go, where you want to stay and what sites and activities you might be interested in while you’re there. For instance, I searched “Rome hotel” on Pinterest. As you’d expect, I got back gorgeous pictures of spectacular hotels, including the Cavalieri. I refined the search to the Cavalieri Hotel, got back more great photos and now I’m hooked – that’s where I want to stay. I can also pin those photos to a file on Rome vacation and invite my friends to offer their opinions.
- Crowdsource your vacation. If you’re headed to a place like Paris or Rome for the first time, there’s no way you’ll be able to see everything. Ask your followers for their recommendations and use them to shape your plans. Also, you’ll notice that as people contribute to your vacation board, some activities, events and sites will show up more frequently than others – these are probably your must-sees.
- Get your travel companions excited for the trip. You’re basically creating a guidebook for your trip that everyone in your traveling party can flip through whenever they want, collaborate with and use to help shape your vacation. Whether you’re traveling with children, family or adult friends, the combined visual and social nature of Pinterest will get them pumped up.
- Buy gear and supplies. Right now, you can do some shopping through Pinterest in the “Gifts” section. More is sure to come.
- Keep a travel diary. Some folks decide they want to blog about their travels – it’s a great way keep family and friends back home informed about your vacation. But it can quickly become tedious – both for the traveler and the folks back home. Pinning your vacation photos as you go is a quick and easy way to let people know what you’re doing without turning your trip into a writing marathon. And of course, when you return home, Pinterest is a great way to share photos of your trip.
While Pinterest has been exploding in terms of the size of its audience, it’s still just getting started. What you’re able to do with now is certainly nothing compared to whatever you’ll be able to do with it a year from now. But for now, it can be a useful – and fun – tool for planning your travels.