When it comes to travel I get a little obsessed with lists. I always think, "if I'm only in a place for a short time, I want to make sure I'm going to spend my time eating and exploring only the best places!", so I then spend hours and hours collecting info about my exciting destination.
The process can be a little tedious, and incredibly time consuming. I enjoy it, so it doesn't bother me, but it made me think that there must be a better way. So, that's what I'm trying to explore now.
We're going to go to Berlin for a week in mid Jan. I can't wait as everyone says how great Berlin is, plus it's where my mum is from. I haven't been back since I was 11, so it's going to be pretty amazing. I wanted to use this experience as way of documenting what I do to find the places I should go, and how I go about curating the content I find. Not much of a design post, potentially not very interesting, but pretty critical to finding a better solution!
- Ask friends who have been what they can recommend
- Follow up friends vs SMS, email, Facebook etc to ask them to send me lists
- Jump online and research (and create a bookmark folder for Berlin)
- Berlin Bloggers
- Travel blogs
- Trip Advisor
- Vogue Travel
- Key words about Berlin & what I'm looking for
- Research the area we are staying in
- Timeout Berlin
- Ask my mum to send me a list of places
After I've done all of this I suddenly have a very long list of different things to do and try. A lot fall under food as that is my first priority! I then look over the list of recommendations and do a little more research about each online to figure which I should prfioritize. To do this I read reviews, look on Google Maps etc
Once I've got a slightly shorter list I'll put it into a Google Doc and star all the places on Google Maps so that when I'm walking around I can see if I'm close to any of my preferred destinations.
I'm in the process of creating my list, so once it's ready I'll be sure to post it.
My biggest issue however is that on Google Maps all I have is a map of yellow stars. I can't 'turn off' all the food stars when I'm looking for clothing shops, or colour-code different cafes either with good coffee or only food. It means I spend a lot of time looking at my map, clicking lots of different stars to try and figure what I'm wanting to find.
I guess this depends on everyones travel style, but I often like to start at one destination on my map, and then freely walk as I please knowing that I can redirect myself to another star if I am close by, or want good food (for example). It gives me the freedom to find new gems as well enjoy the ones I'd pre-picked out.
Now you might be asking, Saskia, why not use something like FourSquare. Good question! I've downloaded the app and have tried using it a little bit, but I don't naturally enjoy the flow of events as I create my list, so I'm less likely to use it. I'm going to try to push myself to use it this trip though, as I think it's good user research.
Next to come, my long list of places!