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Plan Your Vacation From a Photo

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Jeff Whitfill

September, 17 2o16

One of the questions that every traveler must answer is "where should I go?" Sometimes there is an obvious answer, but sometimes you just don't have a clue! How do you decide? Where do you start? You need inspiration!

 

Inspiration can come from lots of places. For example, right now, we are planning a vacation where the only requirement is that one of the kids is able to go shark diving. We literally selected a destination (Hawaii) and planned the entire 10 day vacation around our ability to do that one activity. Sharks were the inspiration and everything else fell into place from there. But what if sharks are not your thing? Don't worry! I have another, even better source of inspiration for you: photographs.

 

Every so often I come across a photo that strikes me in a particular way. Just the other day, this picture came up as a wallpaper image on my computer. I looked at it and thought to myself, "I would like to walk down that street". I especially liked how there was a walkway on top of the roofs of the buildings. The street almost looked like it could be in a scene from Harry Potter. Perhaps I could get Chocolate Frogs or a magic wand from one of the shops below? I clicked on the Info button to find out where it was.

 

The name of the street is West Bow and it's part of the historic Grassmarket shopping district in Edinburgh, Scotland. In a twist of irony, I was disappointed to find out that, just three months prior, I was only two blocks away from this very spot! This summer, when we visited Edinburgh Castle, we walked the Royal Mile, which is just a couple of streets over. Oh well, maybe someday we'll make it back and I'll be able to walk down that street after all.

 

Another photo that spoke to me was this one of Mont Saint Michel. I came across it months ago on the Disney Travel Agents website while looking for photos for my web page. At first I thought it was a castle, but it is actually a monastery, with its surrounding commune, built on an island off the coast of Normandy, France. This time around, I found the photo BEFORE our summer cruise, where we just so happened to have a stop in Normandy. I was excited and really wanted to go, but due to our limited time we had to choose between this and the D-Day Landing Beaches. Without regret, we chose the D-Day Landing Beaches and decided to save Mont Saint Michel for another day. There is so much history, and so much to see in Normandy, that I'm certain we will be back and that I will get to enjoy the scene in this photograph in person.

 

These two instances got me thinking. Why not chose your travel destination based solely on a photograph? Certainly the photo doesn't have to be the entire focus of your vacation, but it could definitely be used to inspire you or connect you to a particular place. In my shark diving example, we planned the vacation because of shark diving, but are certainly going to enjoy several other activities the other 9 days we are in Hawaii. The same thing would apply to planning your vacation around a photograph. Use it to pick a place, but enjoy everything else the destination has to offer.

 

I also think that planning your vacation this way puts an exciting twist to it. There's an added sense of adventure, as you set out on a quest to find the location in your photograph. There's the feeling of accomplishment when you find that exact spot and get to experience your photo in person. Perhaps you could even find more inspiring photographs from nearby areas and add them to your itinerary, making a sort of scavenger hunt out of recreating the photos yourself.

 

Finding your inspirational photographs is quite easy to do. In fact, while preparing this article, I found a dozen more myself. While there are certainly countless places on the Internet to find beautiful photos, I recommend starting at the Bing Gallery. They have tons of quality photographs that you can filter by category, region or even a specific country. National Geographic and TrekEarth also have great travel photos to draw inspiration from. You don't even have to go looking for your photos. You can just wait to stumble across your photograph in your daily life. Simply take note of it when you do so you remember when it's time to plan your travel.

 

Using this technique you will find that the question changes from "where should I go?" to "how am I going to get to all of these places?"

 

That's it. Your mission is to find a photograph that speaks to you, go to that location, and take the same photo yourself… this time with you in it! If we can be of assistance getting you there, let us know. We'd love to help!

 

Please share your comments and inspirational photos in the comments below. What inspires you to travel?

© Rory McDonald / Getty Images

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