Vision Boards Are Trending—Use Them to Manifest Your 2024 Travel

Here's how to take your next trip from fantasy to reality.

The new year is a time for setting your goals, identifying what you want to manifest, and declaring your dreams—especially your travel dreams. One of the tried and true methods of doing all of this is through the creation of vision boards. I've made some form of one or the other since I was in middle school. Sometimes it's a simple list with a few pictures. More recently, I've created a collection of Pinterest boards. I have boards for my 2023 trips to Paris and Colombia, and boards for 2022 trips to Miami and Rome. It's one of the main reasons I use the platform. When I can't actually travel, I imagine trips I want to go on. I look at delicious plates of food and sunsets, and add them to boards for much-hoped-for future adventures.

I'm far from alone. Travel manifestation is the second most popular type of manifesting taking place on Pinterest—only behind new job manifestation. In general, searches for "power of manifestation" have increased by 280% compared to 2022, according to the platform. These travel vision boards aren't only on Pinterest. They're popping up on TikTok and Instagram as well. And while simply amassing a collection of images of where you want to go is fine, there are strategies to help create a January vision board that will result in you actually taking that trip you're dreaming of taking.

Cecilia Sheppard, content programming editor at Pinterest, gave Thrillist insight on the value of travel vision boards, and how to make them as effective (and enjoyable) as possible. "Visuals are so powerful," Sheppard says. Part of that power is that the visuals can help make the trip a priority.

"If you can visualize the trip, and you see all the things you're excited about, the food you want to eat, the architecture you want to see, everything that makes the trip, you're not going to put it off for a couple more years," Sheppard says.

Actual manifestation and mindset coaches agree. "The benefit of manifesting is that it helps you to focus your thoughts, intentions, and actions to bring your goals and dreams to life," Kari Sayers, founder of Gorgeous Mindset, says. "Creating a vision board for travel, like any other aspect of your life, can help you stay focused and create more clarity around your goals."

But alright, you're on board for making a travel vision board. How do you make a good one? If you don't have specific plans in mind, start a bit more generally. You don't have to know where you're going in order to imagine what kind of trip you wanted to go on.

"At the beginning of the year, I make mood boards for different types of trips I'm excited about. I'll make one for a beach vacation. I'll make one for a road trip," Sheppard says. "When you start making just different types of boards, you don't have to even be specific."

Sheppard says that after she makes these boards, destinations start coming to mind. If your beach vacation is skewing more Caribbean than European, you can start looking into destinations in that region. But whether you want to take a beach vacation in Aruba or take a mountain hike through the Appalachia, there are a few key tips Sheppard advises to make the best board possible. These tips directly relate to making a digital vision board, but most of them apply to making a physical one as well. Just make sure to grab some glue and scissors for the IRL version.

1. Get used to typing 'aesthetic' in your search.

This might seem like obvious advice for avid pinners, but for those new to digital vision boarding, finding the images that are the most evocative typically means searching for the images that are the most… aesthetically pleasing. So, instead of searching for cozy mountain cabins, consider making the search "cozy mountain cabin aesthetic." Sheppard says this is actually her number-one tip for making a board.

"If you're searching for 'Mexico City aesthetic,' you're not just getting one type of image," Sheppard says. "You're getting the food, you're getting the clothes, you're getting everything that makes it come to life."

2. Think about all of your senses.

It can be easy to pull together 70 images of white sand beaches, but that's not very inspiring or evocative. You're not going to look at those pictures and be able to picture yourself there. Sheppard says to think about it like it's a movie, and you're the main character.

"Then you start asking yourself, OK well if I'm in a movie, what are the costumes? What's the food I'm eating? What is the architecture that's there? And when you're making a board that's not just the food, but it's everything coming together," Sheppard says.

For instance, if you're hoping to go to Mexico City, don't just seek out pictures of the main attractions. You want details of the street food and fine dining you want to eat there, the linen pants you'll wear in the warm weather, the details of the street art you'll walk past. If you're hoping to go to Cape Cod, Sheppard says, you could add pictures of shells and sea glass. These are small details, but when you look back at the board, it can help you picture the feel, sounds, and maybe even smells of your trip.

Sayers echoed this advice. "So yes, find images and add those to your vision board. But more importantly, how can you add imagery or words that really connect with how you will feel once you arrive?"

3. Turn your vision board into a planning tool.

If you're making your board on Pinterest, this next tip is inherent in the platform. But if you aren't, you can still take advantage of the advice. If in your vision boarding for Paris, you start pinning beautiful baked goods, you might find they are from the same bakery. Suddenly, you have a new place to visit on your list—bringing this trip you're manifesting just a bit more to real life.

"It is a way to add new ideas for your trip and also discover the specific things that you're excited about," Sheppard says.

4. Bring your vision board to life.

You've pinned your shells, pastas, and beautiful vistas. You have added a new donut shop to your fledgling itinerary. So how do you bring this beautiful board and turn it into an unforgettable trip?

"The benefit of manifesting is that it helps you to focus your thoughts, intentions, and actions to bring your goals and dreams to life," Sayers says. So once you’re focused, it's time to take the next step. Research flights and hotels, set a budget, and make a savings plan. Use travel advice like the best time to book flights and hotels, and start squaring your dreams with reality. Maybe you can't afford a stay at the Four Seasons in Paris, but you can find budget flights or find a hostel in the neighborhood near some of the top sites you want to see to make your getaway more realistic.

Looking for more travel inspo?

If you're ready for an adventure but not sure where you'd like to go or what to do, we're on it. The best new hotels opening up around the world. The most exciting places to travel without a passport. The world's best beaches, as ranked by travel influencers. It's all here along with all the travel news you need to stay informed and inspired.

Want more Thrillist? Follow us on Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and YouTube.

Opheli Garcia Lawler is a Staff Writer on the News team at Thrillist. She holds a bachelor's and master's degree in Journalism from NYU's Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute. She's worked in digital media for eight years, and before working at Thrillist, she wrote for Mic, The Cut, The Fader, Vice, and other publications. Follow her on Twitter @opheligarcia and Instagram @opheligarcia.