Monday, November 11, 2013

Planning for The Greek Islands: Part One

Several years ago we decided we were each going to pick a vacation destination for our 40th birthdays. Holly is a year younger than Dave so that meant two years in a row of decent trips. The year Dave turned 40 we were booked to g to Peru, but the heart doctors thought they saw something and pulled the trip from under our legs. Two years and a pulmonary valve later Dave got his trip. We tried to make Holly's trip work in 2013, but things were not fitting into place. So now we determined 2014 is her make-up 40th birthday trip - a couple years late. Her choice destination: The Greek Islands. She didn't have one sight or specific attraction in-mind.... Just the Greek Islands.
Here's what we knew about the Greek Islands:
  • They are in Europe, specifically part of the country of Greece
  • They are surrounded by water
This will be an ongoing blog series about our trip planning process. So we'll start with our first stab at researching the destination.

Since we thought Holly wanted a nice beach vacation with some iconic culture thrown in Dave started his research in a visual manner. He figured look at pictures and see what ones were appealing and go from there. He decided to turn to Pinterest to start researching.

Dave signed up for Pinterest when it first came out. The idea of photo-based social media that was easier to navigate than Instagram was appealing. Then after a couple of weeks all he ever saw were posts, by mostly women, of some cutesy baked good or an outfit layout that the poster would never wear in real life.

The bigger shock was Dave found he had 61 followers on Pinterest. how the heck did that happen?
So the search started with the simple search term "Greek Islands". One of the first pins to come up was a map - ok that's handy. Pin it! Ooh... A windmill. Pin it! Blue door. Pin It! Within about fifteen minutes he had about two dozen things that looked interesting pinned.

Dave clicked a couple of pins to explore the links behind them (pinners can post just a picture or accompany it with a URL to a webpage, or add their own story to go along with the picture). He learned that Santorini and Mykonos are the two most popular islands, Paros is the gateway to the Greek ferry system, and that we are too old to book a trip through the Contiki company. He was driven to, which had an easy-to-navigate hotel listing.
Another goal of our trip is to try to use our One World / American Airlines miles to get there for free. So far we couldn't find anything in the network to get us to Athens, but for a reasonable mileage rate we can get to Santorini via Berlin and Vienna. We'll keep digging.

We'll keep you posted on trip planning in the future. If you have any suggestions leave a comment or find us on Facebook.

Here is Part Two

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