Ten years ago, when I was a travel agent, our local rep from Contiki talked to us about the next big European destination. He said that since Prague has become more expensive, Croatia is now “the place to be.” This is where Europeans vacation and we need to go – now. I trusted him because we were good friends and he wasn’t trying to sell me on trying to sell a Contiki trip to Croatia. He just came back from his own vacation and attested to its beauty, beaches, people, and food.
But, sometimes a friend’s recommendation just isn’t enough. Croatia has since been on my list, but was never a priority
How Croatia jumped to the top of my “Must Travel To” List
Back in June, I started following Rachelle from The Travel Bite on Instagram. Shortly after I started following her, she left for a tour of Croatia. When I scrolled through my account, I had to stop when she posted her latest photos. I mean, seriously, look at this place.
I looked up flights to Croatia and started thinking about when our family could go.
Meanwhile, I started lusting after the images of Montenegro that my friend, Jenny, at A Taste of Travel was posting on her Instagram account. I’m embarrassed to admit that I’m not too familiar in the geography of places I haven’t seen myself. I compared costs of Croatia with Montenegro. Surprising to me flying into Dubrovnik in Croatia was the best choice. Even while researching other countries, Croatia was wiggling its way to my plans.
Then Jenny left Montenegro and headed north to Croatia. The timing was perfect. She was getting there just as Rachelle left. My Croatia stalking continued without a hitch.
I wanted to “heart” every Instagram Jenny posted. She even posted lots of pictures of food I know I don’t eat and I wanted to eat it. It was like her photos were a personal invitation from Croatia to me to visit. (Side note: In a local expat forum another American with two kids exactly my kids age posted that her family was going to Croatia and asked if anyone else wanted to join in on their road trip (Side side note: we can’t go. :). Then one of my favorite family travel bloggers, Passports and Pushchairs, posted a THREE part series of her friend’s travels in Croatia. As if one post wasn’t taunting enough.)
Here are some of my favorite images from A Taste of Travel. I’m pretty sure the only thing missing in this paradise is me.
Learning more through Instagram
Since first talking to the Contiki agent 10 years ago, I could have researched Croatia for myself to discover its beauty. But, I didn’t. I always had someplace else I was researching. With Instagram, because of other people’s travel, I saw Croatia first hand without research. To put it simply, the combination of the water, landscapes, and cities were exactly what I’ve been looking for, but never found when I researched vacation destination. A place with history, and a place to relax. Cities and buildings to explore, and a variety of outdoor activities. Cities and beaches filled with tourists, and others more isolated from the masses.
I haven’t planned any details of my Croatia trip yet. However, I already know that I have to give our family ample time to visit several of the locations that I’m not willing to miss. I can’t wait to learn more about this country through other sources now.
Trips are temporary, here are other ways to stay connected to new places on IG
I do have a complaint about Instagram for travel inspiration, though. Rachelle and Jenny aren’t going to be there forever. In fact, Rachelle has already left to explore other areas of the world (and somehow her recent pictures make me want to go back to the city I left to move to Germany). So what to do when your heart and mind are still in the country your resources of inspiration have left? Look for people living there! Chasing the Donkey is an Australian Expat and she’s documenting her family’s life in Croatia both on her blog and via Instagram.
If you want to follow these Instagrammers directly, you can find them here:
Travel Turtle: Hey, that’s me. Ok. I haven’t been to Croatia yet, but when I go you can bet I’m going to Instagram it.
or follow these hashtags:
#croatia, #visitcroatia, #essentialcroatia, #Travelturtlewantstogotocroatia
Now it’s your turn. Make me even more jealous, have you been to Croatia? If not, where have you been that you didn’t realize was so beautiful until you saw it for yourself?
Source for Featured Image: Croatian Tourist Board, Photographer: Damir Fabijani
This post is part of the new Instagram Travel Thursday linky hosted by Skimbaco Lifestyle, Destination Unknown, Child Mode, Hines Sight Blog, Live.Do.Grow., House of Anaïs, Luxury Travel Mom. Click on any of those links to access all Instagram travel posts.