Instagram As An Alternative To Traditional Travel Guides

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.


Use geotags

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.


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  1. 04/05/2016 / 13 h 08 min

    Great information Sandra I completely agree with you that we can get credible and useful information from people have already been to those destinations. Even we love browsing through the instagram pictures and they have contributed a lot to our bucketlist.

  2. 04/05/2016 / 16 h 14 min

    Hashtags are the way of the future! This is how i Planned my last vacation!

  3. 04/05/2016 / 19 h 02 min

    Instagram it’s my favorite social media, it’s just great for anyone. So easy but at the same time so fun. Helpful post, thanks for posting . 🙂

  4. 04/05/2016 / 20 h 01 min

    This is great helpful information, thanks for sharing! This is such a great read.

  5. 04/05/2016 / 20 h 22 min

    I believe instagram is a great way of broadcasting via social media. This is some great helpful tips to help me grow my instagram. Thanks for sharing.

  6. 04/05/2016 / 22 h 00 min

    I have never thought that Instagram can be a travel research tool, but reading your article, I realize that it makes a lot of sense. What better way to get restaurant recommendations that Instagram? Great idea!

  7. 04/06/2016 / 0 h 16 min

    Yes I love Instagram and use it all the time. However I haven’t thought of using it for travel tips. Thanks great post.

  8. 04/06/2016 / 0 h 29 min

    I use instagram a lot to find hiking spots in the pacific north west, US and also things to do on vacation, but I have been misled a few times, so I always back it up with a google search, but yes! to instagram, I couldn’t live without it now

  9. 04/06/2016 / 3 h 04 min

    I don’t have an instagram at this moment. Having said that, I never thought that Instagram could be use for the purposes you mentioned above. Thanks for letting us know.

  10. Malti Shah
    04/06/2016 / 12 h 10 min

    I use Instagram and Steller (which is an app where users can create and share photo stories – so you can see all their trip to a particular place) as well as traditional guides.

    Steller in particular is really good. If you find users who seem to have the same travel style/ interests as you, you can follow them and get updates on every photo travel story they publish so you can curate your Own bucket list using other people’s stories. People either do stories on their trip to “X country” or a day by day story in each town/ area. It’s fab!

  11. 04/06/2016 / 12 h 13 min

    I think Instagram is a good source of information when planning to travel. There are far more photos you can see that helps you decide. Learning how to look for relevant images and posts is what you have already suggested on this post. Still, one thing anyone could do is to search for travel forums. In key locations, there are forums where members post tips and one thing I always find out first, are warnings on scams. I can’t count the number of times I have avoided tourists traps and scams because I already knew beforehand.

  12. 04/06/2016 / 19 h 45 min

    I never thought of using instagram before I travel but that is such a great idea. I definitely get recommendations from people but rarely if ever do you get actual pictures of what has happened there!

  13. 04/09/2016 / 15 h 40 min

    Can’t believe I never thought of this idea, but using instagram as a travel tool is a brilliant concept. Great post!

  14. 08/05/2016 / 22 h 56 min

    Very nice post. I just stumbled upon your weblog and wanted to mention that I have really enjoyed surfing around your weblog posts. After all I’ll be subscribing on your feed and I hope you write once more very soon!

  15. 03/13/2017 / 4 h 52 min

    As soon as I detected this web site I went on reddit to share some of the love with them.

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