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The ‘hidden gem’ is content gold for travel bloggers. Not only because offers you the chance to experience and write about something unique – but also because it can help your content stand out, and increase your blogger cred and following. Any blogger can write about and rehash the top three activities listed on Trip Advisor… it’s those who go the extra mile to discover something extraordinary and unknown who build a truly loyal fan base.

Uncovering hidden gems isn’t always easy – which is why we’ve put together out top suggestions for getting the scoop on the road less travelled.

Keep an Eye on the Local News

Most towns and cities have some online equivalent of their community newspaper, so do a little browsing during your pre-journey research, then pick up the print paper when you hit town. Look for stories about local business, opinion pieces and columns from local writers, puff pieces about where the local school went on their recent field trip, and even advertisements. Anything that’s important to the community can offer a clue to gems other travellers may overlook.

Ask Your Social Networks

If you’ve already built a network on social media, put the word out to fans and followers that you’re about to visit a new location and ask them what spots they’d recommend checking out while you’re there. If your readers enjoy your content, they’ll be more than happy to contribute ideas – and by engaging them for pointers they’ll be even more excited to read your posts when you write about your journey.

Still building your following? Reach out to locals already talking about your next destination via Twitter and ask them if they have any recommendations. Chances are, if they live in the city you’re about to visit, they’ll have the inside scoop on new and little-known hotspots not covered anywhere else.

Ask Your Accommodation Provider

Similarly, don’t be afraid to ask staff working at the hotel, hostel or bed and breakfast you’re staying at what their favorite off-the-beaten-path sights, attractions, eateries and markets are. They’re well versed in giving tourists the skinny on the most popular spots to visit, but taking an interest in what they like to do as locals can uncover a gem no one else has written about.

Leave Room to Explore

Pre-planning your itinerary can help you cram as many experiences as possible into your trip, but leave a little time – be it an hour, an afternoon or an entire day – to explore part of the city on foot. Just wandering around a new place with no predetermined destination can offer a new perspective. It can also present great opportunities for discovering gems not mentioned in your guidebook. Enjoy a leisurely pace, keep your eyes peeled, and don’t neglect the unassuming. That little coffee shop or vintage store or community museum that every other backpack-wearing traveller is walking past could be jammed with stories waiting to be told.