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How Trover Helped Me Plan My California Road Trip

In the months before I joined, I’d heard the name “Trover” bandied about quite a bit by other travel bloggers. This social network, designed as a resource for travellers rather than just being another photo-based social network, sounded interesting…but I just wasn’t sure if I could handle updating yet another social network.

View Kristin Repsher’s photos on Trover

Eventually, curiosity got the better of me…and as soon as I started exploring the site I was sold. I realised that it was more than just a treasure trove of gorgeous vacation photos — something that Pinterest already sends me emails of weekly. It’s a collection of photos with a purpose — inspiring others to travel.

How exactly do they inspire people to travel? First of all, every photo is geotagged so you, too, can find that spot when you visit. Most of them also have an insider tip about the area, whether it be an interesting anecdote or a local secret. The goal is to help others get the most out of that spot rather than just showing them where they can take a similar photo.

Trover - Big Sur

What it looks like when you search for a specific location, in this case Big Sur, on mobile.

Conveniently, I was really in the need of inspiration for my California roadtrip after Coachella, which was quickly creeping up on me. I’d worked out all the logistics of Coachella itself with my brother, but I hadn’t gotten any further than that. Between the two of us, we couldn’t even really decide whether we wanted to take the inland route (via Death Valley and Yosemite) or the coastal route (via Big Sur) between Indio and San Francisco. I’d been leaning a bit towards the coast due to the fact that it was 400mi less driving, but I couldn’t let go of the fact that I felt like I was missing out by not going to Yosemite.

Once I’d gotten a feel for Trover and had posted a few photos of my own, I started exploring one of their main features — the map view. I searched for Santa Barbara and began scrolling through gorgeous photos of missions, hidden alleyways between colonial Spanish buildings, and expansive beaches — all organised by how far they were from the centre of Santa Barbara. I did the same for Big Sur, then San Francisco, then Indio until I felt like I’d seen half of California in snapshots.

It showed me that there would be plenty to pack into our short road trip and that I certainly wouldn’t feel disappointed that I’d skipped Yosemite, which seemed more and more to be a trip that required much more than the 4 days we had available.

California Road Tripping

A snapshot of the desktop view of my California Road Tripping list, complete with map to find each spot.

The best part of this browsing is that I could store my favourites in a list, which was then accessible both as a map and a list of photos organised by distance from my current location. So, rather than thumbing through a guidebook filled with post-it notes trying to find that one spot I had my eye on weeks and weeks beforehand, I was able to pinpoint it with one click — and see if there were any closer places to visit at the same time.

We certainly didn’t solely adhere to this list; the goal of our trip was to be without obligations and to stop wherever and whenever we felt like. We did just that, but we were also able to make sure that we weren’t stopping at the expense of seeing somewhere that we’d both agreed we didn’t want to miss. By the end of the trip, we’d been able to see less than half of the spots I’d found recommended on Trover in the weeks prior…so I’ll have the other half as a starting point for my next Californian trip (which will hopefully be sooner rather than later!).

The Arcades and Back Alleys of Santa Barbara

As much as I’d heard Santa Barbara was a great town, we were significantly behind where we’d hoped to be by the time we arrived in late afternoon. I would have been tempted to just grab a quick bite and not explore had I not seen so many recommendations to explore the arcades and ‘back alleys’ of the city.

Since I’ve been home, I’ve been adding photos of what I saw/recommend to the list so it can become a reference for any other traveller wanting to travel the same road. I will be including this specific list as a sidebar widget in all of my California-related trips as well just to make sure other travellers have as many resources as possible to do their own road trip.

While some of my future trips may be a bit more planned out than this road trip — using guidebooks, other travel blogs, and the like — Trover will still be a key element in my initial research. I can’t wait to see what the community has in store for my next trip!

Have you used Trover? Do you think it would be useful to you for planning your future travels? And are you a “it all needs to be planned beforehand” sort of traveller or one that likes to fly by the seat of their pants?

Disclosure: I won second prize in the #TroveOn contest last week, but that is in no way related to this article, which was already in progress.

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  1. Kristin Repsher’s “Adventures For The Uncoordinated” | Trover Blog

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