Young people are shunning Google Search in favour of TikTok to plan travel itineraries. But paired with Google Maps, Arlo O’Callaghan (age 21) says it’s a ‘killer combination’.

In recent years, the takeover of short-form video content has been hard to miss. With almost every social platform offering its own version, from Instagram Reels to YouTube Shorts, rapid, real-time information is everywhere.

With this in mind, it doesn’t come as a surprise that we are now turning to TikTok for travel advice. Research from Tourism Australia reveals that nearly half of British adults (47%) are using TikTok to plan trips. A picture may be worth a thousand words but short-form content is clearly saying more when it comes to travel.

Last year, after being bombarded with TikToks of the stunning Portuguese summer, I decided that I would take a solo travel trip from north to south of the country this spring and naturally I headed to TikTok in preparation.

@natalie.chaban There’s so much much more than Lisbon & Porto Go to: Nazare – the famous coastal town renowned for its gigantic waves Obidos – charming medieval city with picturesque cobblestone streets Aveiro – Venice of Portugal ‍♀️ Peniche & Baleal Island – the ultimate surf destination in Portugal #portugal #portugaltravel #thingstodoinportugal #nazare #obidos #peniche #balealbeach #balealisland #aveiro #aveiroportugal ♬ El Layali – Barry Can’t Swim

Planning a trip in the past has proven stressful and overwhelming, riffling through pages of five-year-old blogs trying to decide where to go and what to do. However, with TikTok, it couldn’t have been easier.

After a day or two of the algorithm picking up on my impending trip through Portugal, casual scrolling on my “For You” page started to feel productive.

It meant that every few videos I was able to save a “must visit” spot to my “Want To Go” on Google Maps and when the time came for me to depart for Portugal, my navigation app was a sea of green with Want To Go pins spread across the country and I had months of research done like it was nothing.

I must say that TikTok paired with Google Maps is a killer combination. On my train from Lisbon to Lagos, I even saw someone dancing between the two apps with “Lagos dinner spots” in their TikTok search bar so I’m clearly not alone in this.

I have also found tips and tricks for the navigation app itself through TikTok, such as being able to see the incline and decline of different walking routes to get around Lisbon’s endless hills and stairs, which worked wonders in the city.© Arlo O'Callaghan, PortugalWhen speaking to a friend about visiting Lisbon and her recommending a trip to Sintra, I was only a “Day trip from Lisbon to Sintra” TikTok search away from everything that I needed. What I love about TikTok is that you receive a wide range of recommendations with such great quality videos.

The ability to cross-reference locations and things to do on TikTok is unmatched. While many talk down on the rise of content creators with pages such as “Influencers In The Wild” garnering over 5 million followers on Instagram, I think we forget that these are the people providing entertainment for us, short-form content is arguably one of the primary sources of entertainment in the current age and I have a lot of respect for the creators behind it.

TikTok has changed the way that I plan travel entirely, whether it’s casual scrolling or a last-minute search on the train to my destination, it covers all bases for me in preparation or in real-time travel.

The ability to save videos into named folders is also top tier, by saving and separating videos into folders by location, I can have all I need to refresh my memory on the way to a destination.

While searching for sunset spots in Porto, I came across many recommendations for Jardim do Morro, yet once there, I found it crowded and quite overwhelming as a solo traveller. I found a video romanticising Porto evenings which included a recommendation for Jardins do Palácio de Cristal and I found it to be such a peaceful and picturesque sunset spot to unwind and reminisce on my last night in Porto.

I find videos by lesser-known travel creators to be my favourite. Although I don’t have many profiles that I follow religiously, their recommendations seem to be the most trustworthy and you can often find the best spots away from the crowds through them.

I also think that “spend a day with me in [location]” videos are really helpful when researching, as you can get a feel for a city through the creator’s experience and find some amazing recommendations. I’ve found so many great solo travel Day In The Life videos on TikTok that have helped me plan my days, picking up my favourite ideas from multiple videos.

@margmarg123 Should i… move here? (Me for the past 7 yrs fr) #lisbonportugal #fypシ #travelvlog #lisbonvlog #thingstodoinlisbon #lisbontips ♬ original sound – margi *:・゚✧*:・゚ – Margi

There is so much travel content to choose from on the app and with the mass of information and TikTok’s fast learning algorithm, taking in what style of videos you personally like too, it’s no wonder so many of us are using it to plan travel.