Sometimes we don’t always make time for the things that make us happiest. Sometimes life just gets in the way.

We all know taking some time for ourselves is important, but we may sometimes struggle for inspiration on what to do or where to go.

Thankfully there are tools and resources out there that can make finding inspiration for your next adventure easier. Over the years, we’ve tried and tested a lot of these with varying levels of success.

So, we want to share with you our best advice for getting out and about and making memories worth keeping.

Let the adventure begin!

Step 1. Imagine Your Ideal Adventures

Emily and I love nothing more than exploring ruins, churches, and woodlands. They’re a chance to feel like you’re stepping back in time and gaze in awe at the architecture of previous generations/nature.

Think back to places you’ve been as a child and what memories you treasure most.

For me, it was riding my bike through the woods and visiting the Roman baths near where I lived, learning all about how they were made.

These memories lead to my feeling of peace when visiting old buildings, ruins, and woodland.

Maybe you have fond memories of riding roller coasters at local amusement parks. Maybe you remember hiking up hills with your friends or family, pretending to be a famous explorer.

Whatever your memories involve, there’s no reason you shouldn’t continue making more of these as an adult.

If you’re not sure or simply can’t remember any, try looking around at the links in the next step to see what stands out to you.

Remember, it’s not about planning the perfect trip at this stage, it’s about getting started.

Step 2. Search for Nearby Places

We primarily look for new places to explore in 4 places:

Tripadvisor – Not just great for finding hotels and events, Tripadvisor also lists a whole ton of gardens, churches, halls, natural wonders, and more. This is normally our go-to place for planning a trip. The comments are also very helpful for learning about parking, any charges, and how much time to plan to spend there.

Google Maps – Almost as useful as Tripadvisor, Google maps also has a ton of places listed on it, but don’t count on every place you want to visit being on there! The reviews will be especially useful for planning your trip in step 4.

Travel Blogs – Some Googling can help uncover fantastic travel blogs that you might have never found otherwise! Try searching for “{location}” + “travel blog” (replace {location} with where you want to visit, e.g. “norfolk” + “travel blog”).

Local Facebook Groups – Simply asking in a group can reveal a lot of recommendations. This is especially useful if you are looking to explore local areas (we’ve found some fantastic walks near us this way that aren’t on Tripadvisor, Google Maps, or Travel Blogs!).

Try searching for your favourite kinds of trips or locations using these four resources. As you find ones that stand out to you, follow step 3:

Step 3. Pin Them on Google Maps

How you do this step is optional (e.g. you can always write them in a journal), but we like to plan out our trips using places we’ve pinned on Google Maps.

This is great for visually planning the drive and getting as much into one day as possible

To pin somewhere, simply tap the pin for the place you want to visit (or long tap if the place isn’t on Google maps but you know the location), and tap ‘Save’, then ‘Want to go’.

Once you’ve visited that place, you can change the list it’s in to something else such as ‘Favourites’ or ‘To visit with {person}’, etc.

Step 4. Plan Ahead (Very Important!)

This step is very important to avoid disappointment.

We’ve learned to plan ahead the hard way. By not being able to find parking, visiting somewhere at the wrong time of day, and learning on the day that somewhere is not dog friendly!

So, however you like to plan your trips ahead (whether writing in a journal is your thing or if you prefer the flexibility of an app), do some hunting around to find the following:

Parking – Is there parking? Does it have a vehicle height limit? How much does it cost? Does it open/close at a certain time?

Pricing – Is there an entry charge? Do you have to pay for some parts but not others? What payments types do they take? If you’re unsure, pack a few notes and coins just in case – better to have them and not use them!

Opening Hours – Don’t always trust Google on this, make sure to visit the place’s website or Facebook page if they have one. If you’re unsure and it’s somewhere that has opening hours, give them a call or message. Better to have a quick 2 min phone call than be disappointed on the day.

How Long to Spend There – Is it somewhere you can spend 30 mins? An hour? An afternoon? The whole day? See what people say in reviews for this information.

What to Take – Is there a café or pub nearby? If you’re planning on spending a while out and about, it’s worth planning ahead and bringing food

Capturing Memories – A lot of us like using Instagram to keep memories of our trips, but this might not suit everyone. Some people use time outside to reflect and journal. Some like to collect things for memories (e.g. serviettes from cafés). Some prefer using an old-school camera and getting the photos printed. Whatever suits you, be sure to capture some memories you will love to look back on.

Some places you can find this information:

Google’s ‘Popular times’ widget (in the search results).

Reviews (Google, Facebook, Tripadvisor, Yelp, etc).

The website for the place you’re looking to visit.

Posts on Travel blogs about the place you’re looking to visit.

Step 5. Set Some Goals and Create a Habit

Now the next thing to do is keep the momentum up! Setting goals can be a great way of doing this.

Remember, the best goals are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely) – an example of this could be:

“Over the next 3 months, I’m going to visit 12 places I’ve listed to visit”

Great!

If this works for your lifestyle then feel free to copy it, just keep in mind how much time each place will take to visit (without rushing through them!).

Set one of these goals every 3-6 months and keep yourself accountable (tell your friends or family about your plans, maybe even invite them along for extra accountability).

You’ll be well on your way to becoming a seasoned explorer with a priceless collection of memories.

Conclusion

Now it’s your turn: Hopefully you should now have a list of places pinned on Google maps and a plan for your next trip.

Where are you going to visit first?

Are you going to check out some local ruins you’ve just found? Or maybe a tea shop you’ve been dying to try for a while?

Let us know by leaving a quick comment below (bonus points for any recommendations!).