New Delhi: Planning your trip in advance is getting easier with travel-enabling websites and apps being available to hand. Instagram is one such treasure trove, which can be used to check out locations and fellow travellers feedback, says an expert.
Aurvind Lama, co-founder and CEO, Travelyaari, an online bus booking platform which leverages technology solutions to simplify and streamline bus ticketing processes, suggests how you can make Instagram your best buddy for trips:
* Follow locals: Following a local, especially someone who shares your interests, is a great way of receiving tips and trivia about the place you want to visit. Popular or quaint local spots, cozy cafes and exciting local events - all this and more can be accessed through interacting with someone from the city on your itinerary. Do a quick online search on the top Instagram accounts of the city you are planning to visit. Browse through their feed and follow them to stay updated on the best ways to get an authentic taste of your destination.
* Click on Geotags: These tags display the name of the place where a particular photo was taken. By clicking on the location, you can find out more about the area, including details about the neighbouring region. In addition, you can choose the ‘Open in Maps' option, to view the tagged location in Google Maps or any other navigation app of your choice. Along with virtually exploring the place, the map option allows you to save the location for later when you are exploring in real time.
* Put the ‘social' in social media: You can do this by reaching out to people who can provide valuable information. Interacting with interesting accounts unearths a goldmine of information about locations and activities, helping you plan your trip with more efficiency. The key is to follow accounts, which will encourage people to return the attention. This will also prompt related accounts to follow, allowing you to discover local advice and vacation tips.
You can even send a direct message to an account after following it for some time for quick queries and useful suggestions. Most Instagram users who post avidly on food, travel and shopping are welcoming and eager to help their followers out.
* Explore hashtags: Exploring hashtags that are popular in potential travel destinations is a handy way of tapping into featured festivals, tourist attractions and gourmet options. A simple click will reveal all the posts users have put up about the hashtag. Planning a trip to Bali? Just search for #bali and you'll be able to see where most people are partying, what are the most scenic spots, what you should be eating and where you should be shopping.
* Follow experts: In addition to following locals, exploring official accounts is a smart way of charting out your itinerary. Tourism boards, celebrity travellers, event accounts - all of these offer not only great advice and tips, but also potential deals and discounts.