You are probably thinking what Instagram has to do with planning a trip? Well well well I have a surprise for you. Instagram is a great tool when it comes to doing research on a trip. When I was planning my trip to Jamaica and now my upcoming trip to Cancun I used Instagram to get an inside real people look into what I was getting myself into. Some may think this is stalking but hey if you are putting it on Instagram and you did not make it private it is there for the world to see. So here is how I use Instagram to help me plan for trips. Its called Hashtags.
In case you didn't know:
plural noun: hashtags
(on social media sites such as Twitter) a word or phrase preceded by a hash or pound sign (#) and used to identify messages on a specific topic.
"spammers often broadcast tweets with popular hashtags even if the tweet has nothing to do with them"
On Instagram you can run a search for a hashtag by clicking on the magnify glass and typing in your hashtag. In the example below I used my hashtag poorinaprivateplane and it yielded 49 photos where the hashtag poorinaprivateplane was used.
When I was planning my trip to Jamaica I wanted to see what Secrets Wild Orchid was all about so I ran a search for two hashtags: secretswildorchid and secretsstjames. This resulted in pictures of people that were currently staying at the resort and used the hashtags. This gave me an opportunity to see real time photos and video by real people. Not only did I get to see the resort in real time but it also gave me an opportunity to interact with guests of the resort which is a great resource when trying to plan a vacation.
Not only can you use this trick with resorts but you can also use this trick with places, restaurants or any other venues that you are planning on visiting. Are there any tricks that you use when planning on a vacation?
Most of the Northeast is current snowed in or in the process of about to be snowed in and although we should all have our winter gear by now it doesn't hurt to do a little bit of online window shopping for a new pair of snow boots. I actually do not have a dedicated pair of snow boots since I usually just wear my rainboots. With about a foot of snow on the ground I think it may be time to invest in a pair of snow boots. Here are some I am looking at and the best part they are all under $100.
The fact that I love to travel is no surprise however how I can manage to afford it is a mystery to some so today I decided to share with you some of my favorite travel sites that I have used in my hunt for a deal.
So Kayak is not a big secret however it is usually the first place I go when I am looking to book a flight. Kayak allows you to set the times you want to take off, land, how many stops you want and even gives you the ability to check flights a day earlier or later. I usually fly Jetblue and am willing to pay the extra money for it sometimes however sometimes there are deals that are too good to pass up and Kayak is a great resource when I quickly want to look into price options for a specific time and place.
This has become my new favorite. This app is great for people that are flexible with their travel. If you want to go on vacation but don't know where to go enter your home airport, destination everywhere and time frame whole year and the app scans flights for you all over the world that you can view by country and by price. This app is great for planning holiday weekends. For example this year we had a four day weekend for New Years Eve. I ran a search and found flights to Denmark direct for $400 roundtrip. Unfortunately DH was not very interested. It is a great tool if you are flexible with travel. It also a great way to see what time of year is cheapest to visit your favorite place.
Did you know that you can cruise for under $30 a day. It is a true story. It has been over a year since I have been on a cruise but it is one of my favorite ways to travel. I love cruises. The ships nowadays are amazing and it is great way to see a lot of places in a short period of time. Cruisesheet is a very simple site however it is a great resources to find cheap cruises. Especially if you are open to last minute deals. I have recommended this site to a lot of friends and they love it.
I just recently used this site for my birthday vacation and was able to score a trip to Jamaica at a five star resort for under $1000 per person for 9 days. This is an auction style site which can be intimidating for some however the great thing about this site is that you can work with one of their concierges to plan your trip. It was a pretty easy process and I was able to save a ton of money. It is great way to stay at luxury resorts without the luxury price
I will never book a hotel without checking it out on Tripadvisor. It is a great resource for reviewers on hotels and it has helped me to decide if the deal I am about to buy is really in fact a deal. It doesn't matter how much money you save if you end up in a dump. Tripadvisor is also a great place to get information on your destinations. I always plan my own excursions when I am away and the forums have been a great resource for me. I highly recommend everyone visit Tripadvisor prior to booking anything to make sure you are making the right decision.
Do you have any favorite travel site you like to visit? What has been your best travel deal to date?
I absolutely looove scarves. Regardless of the weather I almost always wear scarves. Not only are they a great way to spice up your wardrobe and dress up an otherwise drab outfit but they come in handy when it is freezing cold outside or inside for that matter. (Think blasting cold ac in the office during the summer). Living in New York City I have the luxury of picking up my scarves from the various street vendors that are around but I also like to thrift scarves. You can find some amazing silk gems if you dig a little bit. Today I put together a few options that can be purchased online no matter where you live and are all under $10.
I am slowly getting back to my active lifestyle which is always a difficult task in the dead of winter when it is too cold to workout outdoors and the gyms are packed with people trying to kick start their new years resolution. Today I am taking it back to San Francisco where we had an opportunity to take a day trip out to Muir Woods for some hiking. I not a big hiker or so I thought. Initially I thought it would be a fun walk in the woods. That walk turned out to be much more of a work out than I anticipated. Thank god for the jetted tub back in my hotel room. If you have never been to Muir Woods you must go. It is absolutely beautiful. These pictures do it no justice. I have been to a lot of cool places in my lifetime but I have to say Muir Woods definitely is up there on my list of faves. I am hoping to try this hiking thing again once the weather warms up. I am a fan of a cold but I am not a fan of getting lost in the woods in the cold so I will reserve my hiking adventures for warm sunny days.
Location: Muir Woods and Marin Headlands
What I Wore:
Jacket: Uniqlo. Similar here
Shirt: Unknown Similar here
Jeans: JBrand Available here
Shoes: Toms Available here ( I DO NOT recommend wearing these for hiking. I forgot my sneakers at home)
Scarf: Street Vendor Similar here
The temperatures in NYC are nearing the single digits which usually means that people start to sacrifice fashion for warmth. I am not one of those people. I think it is possible to stay warm without sacrificing fashion. My go to look when it is nothing short of freezing out is the sweater dress. Paired with a pair of thick sweater tights and boots it is fashionable and warm at the same time. The best part is that now is a great time to find sweater dresses at half the price. Add a blazer for an extra layer and you are ready to go. Here are some ways that I style my go to Winter Uniform.
Shop more Sweater Dresses here:
As I sit here (in my pjs) reflecting on this past year I have to say that I am ready for what 2015 has to offer. One of my biggest goals in 2015 is to simplify my life. I spent the majority of 2014 on the road traveling which meant that I lived out of my suitcase for probably 300 out of the 365 days last year. This taught me that I do not need much to survive. With one suitcase worth of clothes and a living space of less than 500 square feet I did fine and found that I was happier with less. I am hoping to recreate that with my home life. Less shopping, less wanting and more experience. That is what wealth is all about right? I also want to do better in documenting my life experiences. I am not saying that I am going to spend my entire life on social media but I want to bring back the 365 challenge by taking a picture a day that I can then look back on at the end of the year. I will be posting pics on Instagram so stay tuned. What are your goals for the New Year.
Who is Taima?
I am a native New Yorker that is addicted to travel and fashion. Wealth is not measured by the amount of money you have but by your life experiences.