Instagram is an incredible resource for travel information and inspiration. How many times have you scrolled down your feed to discover a new destination that you never knew existed? How many times have you used Instagram to help you plan a future trip? There’s no denying that Instagram is the ultimate online destination for travelers these days. There are plenty of photos, quotes, videos, and captions to feed your wanderlust until your next trip. As a travel blogger, it has been rewarding to build connections with a small audience on the app. Here are some useful tips on how to grow your travel Instagram account.
People are now utilizing Instagram as a tool to connect. You can find or create an online tribe full of people who share the same interests, and that’s pretty awesome! This might help you improve your photography or simply have a creative outlet to express yourself. As a travel blogger myself, it’s pretty neat to discuss travel with thousands of strangers who love traveling just as much as I do. In fact, I’ve turned a few of these online relationships to real-life connections. Instagram is a platform that can lead to some pretty opportunities IRL, so just keep reading.
1Find A Niche
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Curiosity is the secret to a bigger life. As I wandered around a new city today, I spent alot of time thinking of the role ‘curiousity’ has played in my life. I’ve always been curious about people and places, and it’s led to some pretty magical experiences thus far. If you ask me, it’s the biggest key to making the most out of your travels and life itself. . . . . “Curiosity disrupts your point of view. It can make us more successful, connected, and adventurous. It’s a spark for creativity and inspiration, a way of motivating yourself, a tool for independence and self-confidence, is a key to storytelling and is a form of courage. It gives you a quiet superpower. We are all trapped in our own way of thinking, trapped in our own way of relating to people. We get so used to seeing the world our way, that we come to think the world IS the way we see it(spoiler alert: it’s not). This is both dangerous AND boring. You’re born curious and no matter how much battering your curiousity has taken, its standing by ready to be awakened”. – a few words from the Super Soul Sunday podcast I listened to today with B. Grazer & O. Winfrey. . . . . Travelers are naturally curious, but the cool thing is that you don’t have to go far to indulge that childlike part of your mind. Curiosity is the key to authentic connection. When is the last time you spoke to a stranger? When is the last time you tried a new food? When is the last time you intentionally searched for new information? When is the last time you asked someone in your life how they’re genuinely doing & actually sat to listen? When is the last time you truly indulged your curiosity? Do you consider yourself a curious person? #googlemaps #constantlycurious #whplandscape
Instagram is the perfect tool to experiment with your creativity. You can play around with different angles, props, lighting, etc., to figure out your own personal style. If you want to grow your audience, it’s important that you find a niche and stick to it. Are you interested in adventure travel, budget travel, travel fashion, European travel, or solo travel?
I personally focus on solo travel, experiential travel, and storytelling. I incorporate other photos and topics, but the bulk of my content relates to solo travel. Finding a niche will help you serve your audience while creating content that you know and love.
2Create A Cohesive Feed
There are plenty of travel-related accounts floating around Instagram, so you must find a way to stand out amongst the crowd. A cohesive feed is a great way to keep someone on your page after they’ve landed on it. A compelling aesthetic is what keeps people scrolling. The longer someone stays on your Instagram page, the more likely they are to press the follow button (and double tap your pics).
3Connect Through Captions
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Random, silly mems from Bangkok: The City everyone told me to skip. 1. I never expected to get food poisoning from a water gun in Bangkok, but when hundreds of people are squirting you in the face with water during the Thai New Year(Songkran Festival) it’s not far-fetched. . 2. When you’ve been drinking, it’s easy to confuse food poisoning with a really bad hangover…until you realize it’s lasted for 3 days. 3. Even in Bangkok, you get what you pay for. Pay $6 for a pedicure, expect a “struggle pedicure” LOL don’t wanna talk about it. . 4. A real Thai massage isn’t necessarily supposed to feel relaxing in the traditional sense of the word. In fact, you’ll probably leave feeling like you just got jumped but you’ll eventually reap the benefits (at least that’s what they tell you) . 5. If you get food poisoning in Bangkok, Gatorade, activated charcoal, and rice could potentially save your butt; literally. . 6. If you EVER go to Bangkok, make a stop at Mont Nom Sod. I passed by this place because it was packed & was dumbfounded to realize people were lining up for literal slices of bread with sugar. Let me tell y’all, don’t let the simplicity of this dessert fool you. THIS IS THE BEST BREAD EVER. I ordered to go, took a bite as i was walking out of the store, and literally made a 180 turn to reenter for a second order before the door could close behind me. As you can tell, this has been one of my favorite things about Thailand – bread with caramelized milk & sugar. Revolutionary. . 7. The rooftop bars are LEGIT! Sure, we paid an outrageous $20 for a mediocre drink(what is this, NY?) but honestly the view & swankiness of the rooftop was worth it. . 8. Best thing about cities is that you usually have to search for the magic. I visited a coffee shop with another solo traveler & we happened to discover @pimwa singing live. She’s basically Nora Jones Thai lil sis & her voice gave me chills. . 9. The food. Go to Rot Fai/Ratchada night market & never leave. Skip Bangkok, they said. It’ll be hot, dirty, & crowded, they said. Glad I didn’t listen. What an adventure. PS- Do y’all like to hear these stories? Or one-liner captions?
Many people think Instagram is all about photos, but it’s ultimately about connection. You’re telling a story through your photos, and captions are another way for you to get your message across. Some will find that their audience enjoys witty puns, while I’ve found that long and insightful captions resonate deeply with my audience. Captions are just a bonus in the Instagram world when it comes to finding your tribe. Use them wisely!
4Hashtag It Out
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I almost skipped Puebla, Mexico’s fourth largest city. That would have been a huge mistake because it ended up being one of my favorite stops in Mexico. It was hard to leave the comforts of @casareynapuebla, but I was beyond impressed with the city after a few days exploring. The colorful rows of houses, the ‘tranquilo’ atmosphere, the tasty mole poblano, the baroque architecture, the elaborate cathedrals, the cute Talavera tiles, and the antique shops were all a pleasant surprise. The best part? It’s still a little under the radar for foreign visitors. Being only 2 hours from Mexico City, I’ve already plotted my return. Sometimes the most unlikely places leave us feeling refreshed & inspired. One of my biggest travel tips is to travel with no expectations – in this way, you’ll often find yourself more impressed than disappointed. Have you heard of Puebla, Mexico? Have you ever been to a place that turned out to be better than you expected? #plantsonpink
Hashtags are the most powerful way to see and be seen on Instagram. You can search hashtags to find likeminded travelers, or you can use hashtags to help others discover your feed. When you use hashtags, your photos will reach those who aren’t already following you. This will give you a chance to connect over similar interests, and it’s a great way to find your people.
You can gain even more exposure by using hashtags for popular travel communities like #passionpassport and #dametraveler. These communities might repost your photos to their large audience, and you’ll receive more exposure as a result. (Tip: Feel free to add the hashtags in the first comment so that things don’t look messy.)
5Serve Your Audience
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A few things worth doing in Bali: •A Local Homestay – Seriously, Balinese people are so chill. They’ll talk your ear off and share everything about their culture even if you don’t speak the same language. As my host said, Bali’s landscapes are beautiful, but the culture is special. • Traditional Balinese Show – You can find one on every corner in Ubud, the country’s cultural hub. I didn’t expect much from this show but it was actually so entertaining. •Swim in a waterfall. You’ve got so many to choose from. You can’t leave Bali without swimming in a waterfall. •Ride on the back of a motorbike. Rent a bike, if you dare…otherwise, order a “GoJek” to hop on the back of a local’s bike. It’s a cheap way to get around and it’s definitely the most fun. • GO SNORKELING AT WEST BALI NATIONAL PARK. You’ll seriously cry. • Hike Mount Batur at Sunrise – I didn’t make it bc I got Bali Belly. See next point • Stock up on Black Charcoal tablets and Gatorade bc Bali Belly • Take a yoga class – they’re everywhere. This isn’t just a western thing. Balinese people have been practicing yoga and meditating for centuries. It’s a part of their culture. I took a meditation class and cried, I can’t explain how beautiful it was. • Eat Healthy – I’ve gotta admit that i wasn’t a fan of Balinese food(don’t kill me) but I spent plenty of time nourishing my body at Bali’s many health & vegan cafes for only a fraction of what I’d pay in the US • Walk the rice terraces. Better yet, sleep above the terraces if you can find a cool Airbnb treehouse to do so. • Take a cooking class if you find yourself liking Balinese food • Go shopping at the market! You’ll find plenty of fruits you never knew existed. Dare you to try Durian ? • Take a flower bath or treat yo self to a massage . It feels even better than it looks on Instagram • Embrace the green, the fresh air, the rice terraces. Go for walks and just breathe in the air. • Do you! If you feel drawn to Bali, don’t let others tell you it’s not worth visiting. We’re all different!
At the end of the day, people choose to follow you because of what you have to offer to them. They will follow you for inspiration and/or information. Think of ways that you can continue to serve your audience, while you enjoy the process.
I love serving my audience through storytelling. It’s always a plus when you can help someone plan their trip or give them the boost to take their first solo trip through a simple Instagram caption.
6Enjoy The Process
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No IG husband here. LOL so when my twitter thread about solo travel went “viral”, I found it funny that so many people doubted I was traveling solo bc I had photos of myself. Tens of thousands of people who don’t follow me on Instagram just couldn’t understand how on earth I could have photos of myself if I claimed I was traveling solo. “It’s not solo travel if you have a photographer following you.” and “So um, how is she getting photos of herself then?”, were a few of the comments that were made haha. Firstly, why would I lie about solo travel? Secondly, bro…I WISH I HAD A PHOTOGRAPHER. Do you know how easy this IG thing would be if I had an IG hubby following me around(seriously, lol you people have it made.)? Do you know how much more possible it would be for me to execute many of the photo and video ideas I’ve had? Do you know how much more consistently id be able to post & share with you guys if I had that help? NOT having an IG husband/friend, like most of the other bloggers/influencers you see, makes it way more challenging to really create the content I’d like. On one hand, it’s great…because I don’t have the option to waste hours getting the “perfect shot” like many others, I’m able to just enjoy my destination as is. On the other hand, there are times when I leave my destination without the photos I really want. I actually enjoy curating quality images and I always have long before IG was around, but sometimes thats just not possible. And at this point, it’s how I am able to share the journey with you all. I make it work, but it’s not easy. I simply ask strangers/people I meet and hope for the best! It’s served me well but don’t be fooled lol I leave PLENTY of destinations without photos of myself. For example, I didn’t get many photos in Mexico at all. I just try to remind myself that I don’t travel for photos and they’re just an added bonus. Just a reminder that these IG squares aren’t as simple as they look! Also a reminder to work with what you have! I’m proud of the images I’ve been able to share with you all and hope you all like them too! Shoutout to all the strangers who’ve helped me out along the way!
Instagram should be all about fun. You shouldn’t have to compromise your creativity or happiness for the sake of growing a following. It sucks the fun out of things when you’re worrying about the small details. Think about the bigger picture and post what your heart desires. Stay true to yourself and spread your wings. With the right intentions, you can build a platform while having fun.
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