Guest post by Katja Presnal, the author of “Instagram as your Guide to the World”
Imagine if you could get realistic photos of almost any travel location in the world before visiting. Or if you could chat with someone who has just been there to ask more questions. What would be a better way to see if you really want to travel somewhere than seeing other people’s vacation photos or get tips from people who know the location? That’s why you like reading blogs instead of glossy magazines – the first person perspective gives you something that major magazines or the travel brochures never can.
Good news for you: you can get this and much more on Instagram. In the past year I have traveled in 15 different countries using different methods of Instagram search to discover new places to visit. The past few months I did more research and wrote a book about the topic. The bad news is that you have to be creative when searching Instagram and it’s not as easy as searching on search engines, but once you get the tricks down, it will be easy!
Today I would like to share 3 simple tips with you how to get started by searching Instagram with different hashtags.
1. Start your search with popular travel hashtags.
You can start looking for travel inspiration or great travel accounts to follow by searching popular hashtags, for example #mytravelgram, #vacation, #igtravel, #travelinggram, #tourist or #trip.
2. Try forming hashtags.
Form hashtags with your preferred destination name in it and adding “visit” or “insta” in the front of it, or “gram” after it. For example #visitcalifornia, #instaparis or #texasgram. Sometimes these work – sometimes they don’t, it really depends on the destination. Other possible hashtags could be mixing words like “trip” or “explore” with the destination names, and try hashtags like #floridatrip or #explorecanada. Of course simple name of the destination works the best, for example #outerbanks or #hamptons, but the larger the city, state or country, the more irrelevant, non-travel-related photos you will get with those hashtags.
3. Follow the hashtag trail.
Following the hashtag trail means that once you find a pretty picture using one of the popular hashtags, click on it to see if there are other hashtags in the photo that can be more specific. Click on the hashtag in the comment section of the photo and you will see all of the other photos tagged with that particular hashtag.
For example I used #thailand and found a cool travel picture that also had a hashtag #phuket and by following that hashtag I found other great photos, which had hashtags like #phangnga #khaotapu and #jamesbondisland and I found the “James Bond Island” the Ko Tapu or Nail Island, that was in the 1974 Bond film “The Man with the Golden Gun” – sounds like a bucket list place to visit!
The key is only to look at the photos you find interesting, and then follow the trail with the good quality photos. Who took the photo? Does that person have more photos of the same destination? Could she/he possibly answer some of your questions about the location? Is she/he following other people who post pictures from the same location?
This is just a very short start on how to use Instagram as your travel guide. My book “Instagram as your Guide to the World – How, What and Who to Search and Follow on Instagram to Help You Travel the World” is now available for the introductory price of $4.99 on Amazon.com. And above all – I hope you join me on Instagram and share YOUR travels, I’m Skimbaco at Instagram.
Katja Presnal is the owner of the SkimbacoLifestyle.com online magazine with a mission to inspire you to live life to the fullest. She has partnered with TV networks in the past, featured in New York Times, Forbes, Glamour, Woman’s Day and other national and international media and won Addy Awards for her work as a social media strategist. Her first ebook “Instagram as your Guide to the World – How, What and Who to Search and Follow on Instagram to Help You Travel the World” published in May 2013. Currently she holds a temporary residence in Sweden with her husband and three children.