I’ve been an active Instagrammer for quite a while now, and one thing I’ve learned about this wonderful social media is that it is also one of the best travel tools I’ve ever used. I’ve tried a good variety of travel apps to build my travel bucket lists but at the end I’ve always turned to my trusty Instagram. Every location has its own local Instagrammers sharing photos of the best city-view-points, must-see locations, must-try coffee shops and so on, depending on your interests. Then keep in mind that a lot of value can be found in every Instagram feed which is full of tips and recommendations coming from people who have found something cool, in their own city or while travelling themselves, and just want to show and share it. So why won’t you use it as a tool for planning your travels?
Since I started to use Instagram as an alternative travel guide I developed and mastered this “workflow”, if we can call it this way. This allows me to plan ahead the places I want to see and even to get in touch with lots of new interesting people while I travel.
HERE ARE ALL THE STEPS I TAKE WHEN I USE INSTAGRAM TO PLAN MY TRAVELS:
In order to write down any kind of bucket list the first thing to do is a research. Now the question may be: what should I look for precisely?
Good question! An obvious way to start can be just typing the hashtag of the place you’re visiting and browse through the pictures that pop up but the result won’t probably match your expectations.
Try a quick serch with the hashtag “#London” for example …
Foun something helpful? Don’t think so… Instead of hashtags let’s look for PEOPLE. That’s what Instagram is made of after all.
- OFFICIAL ACCOUNT OF THE CITY
Their usernames usually start with the words ‘visit’ or ‘discover’ followed by the name of the place, just like @VisitLondon. They always feature beautiful images of beautiful buildings, must-see locations, touristic attractions as well as tips for what to do and upcoming events. My favourite ones are @VisitCopenhagen, I like to have pictures of my favourite city popping up in my Instagram home, and @VisitScotland, full of stunning landscape shots.
- CITY’S IGERS PAGE
Find your destination’s Igers page, (always @igers + city name). These accounts are usually run by local photographers and they are fed by a community of photography lovers. Even though not every city has a massive level of engagement as London where it is possible to find tons of accounts related to the city such as @IgersLondon or simply @London but the list is quite long.
- TRAVEL ACCOUNTS
- LOCAL IGERS FROM THAT LOCATION
Since the previous accounts I mentioned are a collection of photos shared by other Igers (aka Instagrammers) with the hashtag linked to that page, I always have a look at the personal feed of those pictures I like the most. I like to get inspiration or get in the mood of my next destination checking out the accounts of local photographers.
And this is the moment you can go further and get social! After all, as we said at the beginning, this is a social network.
- MEET THE LOCALS
The fun part is that you can contact privately these people whose photos you admire.
And here comes another question. Everyone who is not really much into this social network always asks me “can you actually meet people with Instagram? How do you do that??”
I’ll show you how! All you need to do is sending a direct message (which is not a comment so it stays private). At the top-right of your Instagram homepage there is an icon that looks like a drawer. Tapping on this will take you to the Direct menu where you can write your private messages to any Instagram user, even the ones you are not following.
So now you can directly ask for more recommendations, maybe regarding that particular location that person has a stunning picture of, or you can ask to meet for a chat, a photo-walk, a simple walk without pictures, why not!?
I’ve done it so many times, in almost every single place I’ve been in the last years and a half. I can guarantee you will meet the most amazing, nice and friendly people ever!
- GRAB MORE INFOS THROUGH BLOGS
Some of my favourite Instagram feeds come from travel bloggers or nowadays many people have a website or blog and quite often it is likely to find travel-related topics. Just look at the bio and really often you will find a link to their personal website; I always have a look, never know what you may find.
Now that you have filled your next destination’s bucket list thanks to Instagram I’m sure you’d like to become an active part of this sharing-great-travel-tips-through-pictures system. I’ve seen it with my friends! All these inspiring people posting their captivating landscapes or intriguing cityscapes, interacting with each other in such a friendly and positive way is highly contagious, trust me! That’s how it started even for me.
But in order to be one of these inspiring Instagrammers yourself you want your travel pictures to be seen by a large amount of people. That’s why you need to use relevant hashtags and I know that a lack of engagement and interaction with people (besides friends and family) can make your Instagram-experience less fun and quite disappointing.
So I’ve created this useful guide how to choose the best Instagram travel hashtags to expose your Instagram gallery to a wider public.
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