Thinking about where to go for your Big Trip? Here’s a list of sources of inspiration that I keep coming back to when I want to fill in the blanks: Where’s my next Big Trip?
National Geographic Traveler 50 Places of A Lifetime issues: I rely on the 1999 one, which is now my travel inspiration bible, but they just issued a new 10 year anniversary with a whole new list of places. I think Nat Geo is suffering like the rest of the print industry because the new version is rather sparse on photos, but it’s a still a great source. You can also find the list online.
The Travel Books and Travel Magazines at your local bookstore: Go there, pick up a bunch of books and magazines and sit at the cafe for hours and just browse your selections. I look to the big pictures books in the travel section or the DK travel books instead of the guide books. Why? The guidebooks are practical filled with helpful suggestions, but they lack the dreamy quality and feeling of “anything is possible” by getting into the details. (Note: They are invaluable and a crutch on the road).
The big picture books entitled “Italy” or “India” are huge, heavy, over $50, and the best sources of inspiration. I react to pictures and seeing full pages of crystal turquoise blue waters of Bali send chills up my spine and these places make their way into my travel vision. Go and load up your arms with as many five pound books you can carry to the cafe and sit and dream.
If you get chills while reading… Don’t ignore it! f there’s a lot of those chills going on, especially around one place, then that place or experience represented in that picture needs to be a part of your Big Trip.
Inspirational Book List: These books been my sources of travel inspiration as I think about and plan my big trips. All these links go to amazon.com. This means that if you buy them through this link, I get an affiliates kickback of 15%, which helps fund my travel!
- 1,000 Places to See Before You Die: A Traveler’s Life List: I like this book after I’ve decided on a country because it highlights less-popular-but-still-spectacular sights and experiences (i.e. the Pushkar Camel Fair)
- Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia: I was inspired by author Elizabeth Gilbert’s nomadic lifestyle and courage to follow her heart.
- Journeys of a Lifetime: 500 othe World’s Greatest Trips: Gorgeous picture book and out of the way journeys. It’s a little Euro-centric, but beautiful, inspiring pictures.
- Once in a Lifetime Trips: The World’s 50 Most Extraordinary and Memorable Travel Experiences: I’m a visual person so these pictures inspired me by showing less well-known destinations.
- The Travel Book: A Journey Through Every Country in the World: Oh Lonely Planet, is there anything you can’t do. More encyclopedia than coffee table book, it highlights facts on every country in the world.
New York Time’s Travel Section (or any newspapers Travel section) I read the New York Times at nytimes.com every morning as a part of my getting ready routine and this newspapers online travel section is an exceptional source of inspiration. It has in-depth travel articles on every place around the world. Their yearly lists spark new travel thoughts and there’s always a frugal traveler article on how to make it happen on a budget (again, which we’ll get to). I love the Frugal Traveler blog and I enjoyed his exercise of “My goal is to go around the world in 90 days on the cheap.” as a source of inspiration for round the world budget travelers.