Exploring Pinterest: How & why travelers should use it

Okay, so maybe we’re not all slaves to trends, which is good. I say, let your freak flag fly and do only what works for you. After all, that’s what initially inspired me to travel; I wanted to see the world from a different angle.

But in my field, public relations and social media, it’s important for someone like moi to monitor the latest online crazes and figure out how to best utilize them. Even though it’s a good idea to regulate the amount of time you spend on social networks while traveling, if I find a rising social site like Pinterest that works for a multitude of online audiences, I better damn well share it. (Hint: This is the part where you resist the urge to be a non-conformist.)

So I’m putting my own freak flag at half-mast and suggesting how travel junkies can explore “The Pinterverse” when planning your next voyage, as well as using it while trekking across the globe.

What the heck is Pinterest?

As Mashable so brilliantly put it, Pinterest is “a visual feast of images and ideas.” Essentially, it is a unique, organizational twist on traditional social bookmarking sites for listing and categorizing things you love on digital pin boards.

How? Find images and videos you come across online and “pin” them to your profile, manually upload your own, or “repin” others’ pins to your own board(s). Simple.

Like Facebook and Twitter, you can follow other Pinterest users with similar tastes or just their individual boards. It’s a huge hit for several online communities in areas of fashion, beauty, design, DIY, home décor, travel, recipes, and more. So it’s easy to share what you like and create boards that visually represent you and your interests.

Rise and Roam… with Pinterest

As travelers, we capture so much by writing about our travels or with the quick click of a camera. But if you’re someone who hates even scrawling out your grocery list and the very idea of writing a travel journal gives you physical pain, then recording your adventures through images is probably the way to go. Pinterest is proving to be a great way to share your life experiences visually, and what better life experience is there then going abroad?

So how do past, current and future travelers get in on and make the most out of Pinapalooza? A few ideas:

1. Organize and archive

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked back on my photos and thought, “Wait, where was I again?” or “What was the name of this building, beach, church, or restaurant?” (Yeah, poor planning and record keeping on my end.) But with Pinterest you can upload your photography before, after, or during your trip (whenever names and dates are still fresh in your mind), and add brief or descriptive captions to your added pins. You can even thread your posted pins by adding hashtags, much like tweets on Twitter.

2. Make a board bucket list

Discover new places you want to visit by using the “search” bar, browsing newly posted pins, or creating a collaborative board with another user to double your travel photo pinning frenzy. It’s easy to figure out some cool places to explore when you have first hand photos taken by fellow travelers. (Beware: my own bucket list is getting ridiculous.)

3. Food and drink memories

I still remember how I would get the same panini from the same café on the way home from class in Florence… every day. (Don’t judge.) I swear, it made every other panini in Italy taste like Wonder Bread. But, gosh darn it, I forgot to take a picture of this drool-worthy sandwich. My point is that it’s fun to look back on all your chow down adventures overseas, whether they were exotic and unusual, or just make the American version seem seriously mediocre. (Can we say gelato?)

Get an invite

Unfortunately since Pinterest is still in the beta-testing stage, if you visit the site to sign up for an account, you have to request an invite. And it takes a long time to receive an official invitation. However, since I’m already a member, I can send invites to anyone looking to gain access and create a profile right away. Comment below with your email address and I’ll send you one ASAP.

Happy pinning!

Jacque Smith, aka “Jack-attack,” is a self-proclaimed social media/tech geek originally from the DeKalb, Illinois area. She graduated from Illinois State University in December ’09 with a B.A. in Public Relations and a minor in French. Additionally, she earned a minor in international studies after attending Scuola Lorenzo de’ Medici in Florence, Italy during the summer ’09 semester. An avid traveler since high school, she’s also visited Costa Rica, Jamaica, Australia, and New Zealand, with hopes to explore South Africa and Asia in the future. Jacque is currently a freelancer and also works pro bono on her local humane society’s social media efforts. In her free time, there’s a 50/50 chance she’s either watching “Family Guy” or eating something spicy and delicious.

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2 thoughts on “Exploring Pinterest: How & why travelers should use it

    1. Thanks, I’m glad you enjoyed it!

      I am definitely considering starting PA: Pinterests Anonymous. After all, the first step is admitting you have a problem. (YAY, I’m past the “Denial” stage!)

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