Travel on Pinterest

by Sandra Foyt on February 17, 2012

in Travel Ideas

My husband doesn’t get Pinterest. I showed him Albany Kid’s family travel boards, and even shared my roundup of Pinterest tutorials, but he still wants to know what it is and what’s in it for him.

In simple terms that even my husband can understand, Pinterest lets you make pinboards online.

“Like message boards?”
“You could use a collaborative Pinterest board as a message board, but that’s not what most people do with it. Remember when I used to tear recipes out of magazines, and we talked about putting a corkboard on the kitchen wall so you wouldn’t lose them? Well, Pinterest let’s you keep a virtual pinboard. You can add recipes to a board by pinning an image found online, and the pin will link to the website where it was found.”
“Oh. Anything else?”
“There’s a ton more that you can do on Pinterest, but how about if I show you what travelers can do?”

5 Ways to Use Pinterest for Travel

  1. Travel Inspiration
  2. Travel Planning
  3. Travel Shopping
  4. Travel Collaboration
  5. Travel Education
  6. Entertainment

yellowstone-vacation-pinHow to Use Pinterest for Travel Inspiration

One popular way to use Pinterest is for travel inspiration. The would-be traveler sets up a pinboard and gives it a title such as, “Places To Go When My Ship Comes In,” and then looks for images to put on that board.

The first place the traveler might go to is Pinterest’s “Travel and Places” category where they will find all the pins streaming through in real-time that were placed on boards assigned to this category. Other great categories to check are “Outdoors” or “Photography.”

The problem with this approach is that it’s a little overwhelming and it only gets worse if you try to look at everything.

Fortunately, Pinterest gives you the option to only look at pins streaming from people or boards that you follow. Thus, you might follow pinboards such as  Family Travel Inspiration or Natural Parks, or travel writers such as Sandra Foyt (Albany Kid Family Travel.)

How to Use Pinterest for Travel Planning

Say you’re inspired to go to Yellowstone National Park this summer, how do you use Pinterest to plan the trip?

Family-travel-pinYou might start out by creating a pinboard titled, “Family Vacation at Yellowstone National Park,” and then add pins as you come across information related to your trip. On the Family Travel Inspiration board you might want to borrow the following pins:

It’s easy to add them to your board, as you can repin these or any other pins you find on Pinterest onto your board. By now you might be thinking of turning your vacation into a camping trip. Try searching for “camping list” and you will find many, many great camping list pins on Pinterest. Repin the best on your board.

But that’s not all. Just about any image you find anywhere online can be pinned to your board.

campsite-reservations-YelloFor instance, you might head to the National Park Service’s Campgrounds in Yellowstone page. Now, if you’ve added the “Pin It” Bar to your bookmark bar, all you have to do is click the button and any available images will pop up so that you can pin the one that you like onto your board. (If you don’t have the “Pin It” button, you can add the pin using “Add+” on your Pinterest navigation bar.)

You might, for example, pin the image associated with Campsite Reservations. But it almost doesn’t matter which image you choose, when you click on that pin on your board, it will bring you back to the Campgrounds in Yellowstone page on the website.

But wait, there’s more. Using “Add+” you can upload any image on your computer! So now, when you make your packing list, you could include images of your own gear, outfits, whatever. Imagine knowing at a glance what’s stored in the attic. Won’t that make it much easier to pack for a camping trip, or to make a shopping list for missing items?

How to Use Pinterest for Travel Shopping

Someday, I imagine that it will be possible to use the Pinterest navigation pane to shop for camping gear that has been sorted by price and category. Right now, there is the option to look at items under the “Gifts” tab that have been sorted by price. But that brings up any pin that has been tagged with a price.

You could visit brand pages. So, to follow our “Family Vacation at Yellowstone National Park” example, we might go looking for a tent on the following brand pages on Pinterest:

But not many brands have a presence on Pintarest – yet. However, you can still find their pins. Put in the brand name into the search bar to bring up their pins, and then look at any items pinned from the brand. So, for example, type “REI” and you will bring up anything with that term, but click on on one of them to see “Pinned via pinmarklet from”

Alternatively, plug in the item you’re looing for – sleeping bags, tents, backpacks, to name a few.

I expect that most major brands will be on Pinterest shortly, and wouldn’t be surprised to see shopping on Pinterest options change soon.


How to Use Pinterest for Travel Collaboration

What if you decide that you Family Vacation at Yellowstone National Park is a perfect opportunity for a family reunion? This is where Pinterest gets really interesting because you can set up collaborative boards.


When you set up a pinboard, you can select to add contributors (just make sure that they follow you first.) Now you and anyone you designate can help find and pin the best deals, tips, and resources for your trip.

How to Use Pinterest for Travel Education

So far, we have created a “Family Vacation at Yellowstone National Park” board, added travel planning and shopping content, and invited the rest of the extended family to collaborate. What else can you do?

Well, you might want to create separate boards for pre-trip education on subjects like plant or animal identification. Add in images and videos, found either already in Pinterest under categories like “Education” or “Videos.” Or add in items found online such as the National Park Service’s Yellowstone InDepth Series or How Do Geysers Work? from How Stuff Works.

Think about what you might want to know before you go, and pin it.

How to Use Pinterest for Travel Entertainment

Using Pinterest for entertainment is almost inevitable. Follow a few folks, and before you know it you will be bombarded with funny posters and videos. Head to any of a number of categories on Pinterest – Humor, Technology, Videos, and many more – and you will be surprised at how fast time flies.

If you need more travel entertainment, visit the Travel Channel. But watch out, Pinterest is addictive!

You Might Like:

| Sandra Foyt is a storyteller, photographer, and road trip junkie. A veteran of six cross-country road trips, she drove Route 66, the Lincoln Highway, the fossil freeway, the extraterrestrial highway, and even “the loneliest road in America.” Find her on, an award-winning destination guide to extraordinary travel in and from Northeast USA, on her portfolio site at, and in freelance gigs on Family Travel 411, Minitime, Huffington Post, and Matador Network. Email:, Twitter @SandraFoyt.

Linda Sherman February 18, 2012 at 1:08 pm

Nice meeting on PinChat Sandra. I pinned this article and the Journey Mom article it links to. My comment over on Journey Mom is probably stuck because I put 2 links – one to the pin and one to this article. Can you please take a look.
Linda Sherman recently posted..BlogWorld Video Interviews and Great MemoriesMy Profile

Aaron @ Aaron's Worldwide Adventures February 20, 2012 at 5:51 pm

Interesting… I haven’t gotten into Pinterest as I never really saw the point. Even my sister-in-law, who is a Pinterest addict, tried to disuade me from it… Glad it’s got some good uses!
Aaron @ Aaron’s Worldwide Adventures recently posted..Approaching Religious History in TzfatMy Profile

Sandra Foyt February 20, 2012 at 6:22 pm

Well, Aaron, I’m just getting started. I could write another post – and I will! – on the many ways that I’m using Pinterest for travel blogging, but it’s just a tool. It happens that this particular tool appeals to me, allowing me to do what I want to do, but it’s not for everyone. Hmm… I think that’s what I said about Twitter back in 2008.

Justin Mewse February 23, 2012 at 10:38 am

Hi Sandra. Just to let you know that I found your post extremely useful. As a UK tour operator, we’ve just started using Pinterest this week and looking to educate our Facebook fans on the concept. So, have posted your blog to our FB page ‘TropicalSky’ as a way of explaining how users can engage with Pinterest. Best regards.
Justin Mewse recently posted..Grand Canyon, ArizonMy Profile

Natasha Gopinko March 7, 2012 at 5:23 am

I am totally clueless about Pinterest and am excited to learn about it and how I can use it..
Thanks for sharing.
Natasha Gopinko recently investmentMy Profile

Cassie May 15, 2012 at 12:00 pm

I’m just getting started playing around with Pinterest. I see it is great eye candy and inspiration, but this shows me it can be much more practical. I look forward to using it for trip planning. Thanks for the tips!
Cassie recently posted..Lessons in Street Photography from Vivian MaierMy Profile

Comments on this entry are closed.

{ 4 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: