When you plan for a trip, you usually look into things to do, where to sleep, where to eat, fun events to join. Sure, travel guidebooks are pretty useful for that, but today, I want to introduce you to a new alternative, INSTAGRAM.
Whenever I visit a new place, I much prefer local or tourist/traveler recommendations, compared to the ones you can find in guidebooks. Social media makes it so easier to share information and to ask people for help and as a big fan, I start to use Instagram for travel research. Two years ago, I got into the joy of Instagram and I have to say that I don’t get tired of it. The popular photo-sharing application has become my favorite source for travel tips and to be honest, even in the daily life, I use it to find new restaurants, new shops, new products.
So let’s begin… Here is how you can use Instagram as a fantastic travel tool for your next destination.
Instagram hashtags researches
You can use hashtags to find nice places to visit or restaurants and bars where to eat and have a drink. Search hashtags for the name of the place you’re visiting. A country or state name will probably be too extensive, so try a city name for example #Rome. Next, to get more results, use any variations of that hashtag, like #Roma #EternalCity, #ExploreRome and #VisitRome.
Another way to find more pics is to use geotags (Geotags are the place names you see under the Instagram username when someone post a picture). It will help you to find all the pics that were taken in the place.
Follow useful accounts
On Instagram, you can find lots of accounts that will give you information about the country/city you are going to visit. First, you can look if the destination has their own Instagram account run by the local tourism office and sometimes they even use a main hashtag. For example, the Brussels tourist agency owns the Instagram account @visitbrussels and use the hashtag #visitbrussels.
Follow travel bloggers and professional photographers accounts as well ! They are full of advice and great ideas for your next trip. And it is so delightful to scroll down their Instagram feed, it just makes you want to leave sooner.
When I come across a picture that I love or that inspire me, I usually keep it in my phone by doing a screenshot. It is a good way to save the place or good eating spot and fun destinations you want to visit too. Then you can create a dedicated folder on your phone or tablet, add comments on the pics and make a visual list before leaving.
On my bucket list, Budapest holds the first place. I have dreamed about going there for years. So while waiting for this dream to come true, I am travelling through all the Instagmam treasurers and save each photo that makes me discover a place I want to visit. I tend to add comments to keep such information ready for the time when I will be able to get there.
Ask your followers and the Instagram users
Before leaving, post a photo on your Instagram profile and ask your followers if they have any good ideas or tips for you. Write something like, “I’m heading to New York for a week. Do you have any tips ?”. If you have reactive followers, you’ll get a few responses quickly. For more answers, active the public mode and add specific hashtags related to your destination for other users can find your request.
Before or during a trip, it is always a big question when you have to pack your clothes or when you wake up and have to choose your outfit. And I can tell you that half the time I make wrong choices and finish by getting cold or too hot. Now, to make sure to dress perfectly, I check on instagram to know what the weather looks like in real time. Instagram can give you a good look into almost any city and famous places in the world at any time. Throught the pics shared, you can see how people are dress if it is sunny or rainy. People like to give hints about the weather by using hashtags as #sun #rain #cold #hot, so why not taking advantage of it.
Be inspiring too
Now, it is your turn to inspire other Instagram users and dazzle them with some great pics and great tips to enrich their next trip. Don’t forget to use appropriate travel hashtags, related to your location to get more visibility, likes and even new followers. Here is an article on the best travel hashtags to use on Instagram. When you post new pics, be sure to use a location’s hashtag as well, another good move to more exposure.