Social media has without a doubt become a bulletin board of our life’s highlights. As I scroll through my Instagram news feed, I envy all the people taking these amazing trips and sharing their oh-so-perfect vacation captions. And there we go, my wanderlust is fueled once more, and I just want to put everything else aside for a while and drive straight to the next airport.
But Instagram users posting dreamy snaps can be so much more than just inspiration —they can also serve as great destination advice.When planning a trip, I head to Instagram before I even Google a destination because users share up-to-the-minute photos that search engines could never give us. That urge to share personal highlights has created a new form of travel resource on the web: personalised, location-based searches to different destinations, giving you an unfiltered look at a city through multiple perspectives. I love using the photo-sharing app before traveling because of the unbiased opinions and picture other users share. Even with the rise of influencers, most users are not paid to promote a location or company; they simply love the product or destination.
Together with hashtags to geotags, your itinerary will eventually be brought together.
Like many of my fellow millennials, I have used Instagram in the past to prepare for trips or vacations. Here’s how to take the app to the next level as a travel tool, and how to make the most out of Instagram when planning your next vacation.
Follow location-specific accounts for the ultimate inspiration
Accounts dedicated to a single destination show you the best of the place, giving valuable insight into gorgeous locations we never knew we would want to travel to. Simply type the name of your destination into the search bar of Instagram; featured accounts are often among the first to pop up. Most major destinations around the world have a feature account, so you shouldn’t have to look too far.
Use Instagram’s geotag to plan your itinerary
I always check location tags right before I get to the destination and see which recent posts are most popular. When doing a search on Instagram, head to the “places” tab and simply enter a term, no matter whether that’s as broad as the country or more something specific you want to do. Geotags show exactly where a photo was taken on Instagram and makes it easy for you to plan your trip. Plus, if you come across a beautiful image on your feed, check to see if it has a location tag on top of the image. Should the geotag be present, click it and you will land on a feed full of images shared by other users who tagged the same location. This is a great way to discover new places and locations, and gives you a graphic map in real time, which you can go through to decide whether a place is for you and make up your own itinerary. Now tell me that’s not much more revealing than any other guide.
Explore hashtags popular in your destination
Along with geotags, you should explore the good old hashtag, more specifically the ones that are popular in your destination, such as tourist attractions, outdoor events and festivals, food scenes. Often, these events have a designated hashtag that becomes popular on social media, and will allow you to see the experience from all angles.
Use save buttons to store tips
In the bottom right-hand corner of other people’s Instagram pictures, the bookmark feature allows you to “save” a picture to your bookmarks, to access them later from your profile. If a destination gets you excited, bookmark your favourite photos or the ones with useful information in them so you can come back to them later. This will leave you with more than just inspiration – once your trip comes closer, you will have specific locations, and a list of activities you want to see or do.
Thanks to Instagram, every dream destination on the planet is just a hashtag away. Now don’t forget to Instagram your own adventures to leave tips and advice for the next wanderer..