We are officially in the social media age where nearly everyone shares at least some aspect of their life with the rest of the world. This trend has increased exponentially to the point where people have multiple accounts and use them to connect to different groups of people in their lives. It’s commonplace to find that someone has a Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram account, all of which see regular updates and content – it’s just how we live life now. Today’s post is going to focus on how you can use one of these social networks to your advantage. Let’s see how you can plan a trip with Instagram.
How to Use Instagram to Plan Your Trip
You’re going to need a phone and you’re going to need an Instagram account. That’s it. After logging in, the first thing you’ll want to do is start following Instagram accounts that focus on travel or a similar category. What this is going to do for you is start showing you your options. You’ll get a flurry of new ideas about locations that you can go to, many of which you might have never heard of before. Tap “heart” on the pictures that fit what you’re looking for, as this will trigger Instagram’s algorithms to show you similar accounts. Give yourself a wide scope, so that you’re not limited or seeing the same things over and over again.
Head to the looking glass icon on the bottom of the app to begin the search process. You’ll be taken to a page that allows you to search through four categories: Top, People, Tags, and Places. Top and People are two categories that are helpful for finding likeminded individuals or accounts. The Tags and Places categories are the ones we want to use once we already have an idea of what we like and where we want to go.
Tags is short for Hashtags. If you’re unfamiliar with hashtags, they are akin to keywords that correlate to something in the picture. For example, a picture of the Eifel Tower might be tagged with the following hashtags: #paris #france #eifeltower. These tags are helpful for us because we can use them to search for similar imagery and thus get a better idea of what a location looks like, what you can do there, and when it is best to go.
Some useful hashtags that we like to take advantage of are the following:
Places will provide us with similar information as the tags, usually, but the key difference is that we can find other useful info that might not be in a tag. If you wanted to go to Orlando, Florida, for example, you could search for all of the pictures that were taken in that city and see what the people there are doing. You’ll certainly find imagery of the theme parks that the area is known for, but you’d also find something much better: what the locals are doing. You’ll be able to see what bars people frequent, which parks they use, where they like to go on a regular basis. This will give you insight that a travel guide or trip advisor cannot. Furthermore, you are likely to find things to do that are less expensive than things oriented at tourists. You’ll be able to travel like a local and save a lot of money doing so, while experiencing the authentic culture. This strategy is particularly helpful when visiting more remote countries or ones where there is a language barrier – remember, a picture is worth a thousand words.
Very quickly you’ll start developing a list of the top spots you’d like to visit. It would be wise to write these down somewhere, like in your Notes app, so you can keep coming back to it and editing it. Here’s a tip: to see all of the photos you’ve liked, open the app, click on your icon that’s on the bottom right-hand side of the screen, hit the settings button, and finally click “Posts You’ve Liked”.
3 Things to Pay Attention To
You’re there. You’ve figured out how to plan your trip using Instagram. Here are some things to keep in mind while you’re doing this.
- Not every picture is what it seems. Remember that Instagram users can apply filters or effects to their images, thus potentially making a place look much more attractive than it is in reality.
- Take note of the date. You might want to experience just what the user has, but if the picture is not current, you won’t have the exact same weather when you go. If the date is unclear, or you need advice on when to travel somewhere, simply ask. Instagram users like me love to answer comments from other users.
- Do your due diligence. Research a place before ultimately adding it to your itinerary. There may be useful information about a location, such as any entrance fees or restrictions that you might need to know.
By taking advantage of Instagram to plan your trip, you can find new, untouched places to visit. You’ll discover insights you wouldn’t have otherwise, and you’ll gain access to what is likely a location that is not well-known. If you’ve ever wanted to get a leg up on the average tourist, this is definitely the way to go. Let us know in the comments if you have any other tips for scouting new locations and planning your trip. Good luck on your journey to travel!