I, like most people, started using Pinterest to look at pretty pictures and procrastinate from whatever I was supposed to be doing.

I am the queen of procrastination! Supposed to be cleaning the house? Look at all these beautiful decor pins! Supposed to be making dinner? Look at all these yummy food pins! Supposed to be writing a blog post? Look at all the amazing travel pins! Supposed to be going for a run? Oh…don’t look at the fitness pins because it makes me think that I’ll never look like that…may as well stay in and have another brownie. Did I tell you about that fabulous brownie recipe pin I saw?

I have, however, found it to be very useful as I plan our upcoming trip to Japan. Here are five ways to use Pinterest when trip planning:

  1. Pure Inspiration. In the beginning I searched Pinterest for any pins with reference to Japan. I was hoping to find websites and blogs that write about Japan so that I could get some personal stories of where people went, what they did and maybe even some secret hide-aways.
  2. Find Interests. Then I began pinning sites that had anything of interest to me. I didn’t sort them at all (other than pinning them to my Japan board); I was just looking to see what types of things were catching my eye. In this way I learned what parts of Japan that interested me. I could easily see that I am interested in landscapes (gardens, nature, mountains), food (all kinds of food pins!), sake, culture, and temples. It was this process that helped determine our final itinerary – find the things your interested in doing and then figure out where you can go to meet those interests.
  3. Track Accommodation Finds. I started a Japan Accommodation board. As I searched using various methods (Lonely Planet, Agoda, travel blogs, and more Pinterest) I weeded out hotels, ryokans, hostels and inns I was interested in staying in and pinned them to this board. If I included a price in the description it flagged the price for me too so I can see at a glance how one place stacks up over another.
  4. Keep Track of ‘Want To Do’s’. I haven’t yet but will soon soon start a board for each destination of our trip. On these boards I will keep track of things I want to do, or places I want to see, at each of the destinations. We may not do all of them but I can pin them as I come across them and not have to wonder where I saw that great idea.
  5. Use As A Trip Journal. In much the same way as the ‘Want To Do’ board, I will start a board for each destination detailing what we actually did in a certain place. Hotels, restaurants, sake breweries, gardens, and temples will all be recorded with details and a small review. This way I will have all the information I need to write about a place without having to search for it all again.

I love the visual nature of Pinterest. It’s much better than simply bookmarking as it reminds me of exactly why I bookmarked that page just by looking at it.

And now I have reason to be wiling away the hours searching through pins – it’s not procrastination, it’s trip planning!

You can follow me on Pinterest at: Pinterest.com/gillianduffy I’m trying to find a way to have a board that other people (like you!) could pin to also. I would love to have a ‘Japan Tips’ board for people to add to as a way of sharing a tip with me. Does anyone know how to do that?


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