How To Use Instagram for Travel Ideas!

How To Use Instagram for Travel Ideas

Last week, we had an episode on the podcast that was all about travel. Finding travel inspiration can be hard and planning a trip can feel like a full time job, if you let it! I talked a little bit about my own trip planning methods (spoiler alert: it involves a lot of hashtag stalking and saved folders) and have gotten a few messages asking to clarify, so today I wanted to give you the full rundown of how to use Instagram for travel ideas and trip planning. It may seem strenuous but as a person who spends a lot of time on Instagram (and who travels alone pretty frequently), I find it really fun!

Whether you’re planning adventure travel to the national parks, cozy road trips, or something more luxurious, I am compiling my favorite tips and really hope these this will help you plan your next vacation and make your travel experience really different and special!

How To Use Instagram for Travel Ideas!

Browse these travel hashtags.

This is my starting point. I would love your recommendations here but a few that I love that always help me find beautiful places + recommendations: #goopgo, #prettylittletrips, #dametraveler, #beautifuldestinations, and #seekmoments. These are good and will save you time, travel planning made easy!

Follow local hashtags!

I personally find that the “igers” hashtags are great (so for example #igersatlanta #igersdallas). But you can also (and sorry if this is ultra basic/self-explanatory!) search locations. So for this trip, I found a lot of great recs just by searching #buckhead and #buckheadatlanta

How To Use Instagram for Travel Ideas

Create saved folders for all of your favorite locations.

This may be my favorite traveller tip. I did this for San Francisco and pretty much any trip I have coming up. Right now, I have 3 trips for which I need inspiration: Atlanta (right now!), Dallas (next month for our live show), and Harbour Island (for a girls weekend in December). I have saved folders set up for each of these places. I also have saved folders for all my bucket list donations (Bali, South America, Japan!) When I’m bored/in line/on the subway I will look up hashtags/people for each location. Then, save all my favs and then before I know it the folder looks something like the below, for Atlanta! (It’s mostly delicious looking food and cocktails, haha!)

How To Use Instagram for Travel Ideas

Add as you go!

It definitely takes time (a few of my folders only have one or two things) BUT over time you’ll populate tons of recommendations and spots to go and then when you get there everything is easily saved to one place!

Follow local bloggers and Instagrammers!

This takes some digging but I found that while I perused broader travel hashtags and local hashtags, I found some great accounts! For example when I went to Cuba and was planning that trip, I found (and obsessed over) the Hip Havana account!

Follow food bloggers and instagrammers.

This is less relevant to travel but always helps, especially if you are a big foodie. For example if Jeremy from Brunch Boys is traveling I know his recommendations are going to be great – I’m big into sushi and his recs are always always spot on. This is more of a long game. For example, he was in LA and I created an LA saved folder just to add his recs despite not having imminent plans to travel to LA. But now my LA folder is STOCKED

Follow The Best Travel Instagrams!

A few of my favorite travel instagram accounts to follow are listed below (but again I know this isn’t a fully comprehensive list – I would LOVE your recommendations, too!) I definitely need more travel blogger recommendations!

Beautiful Destinations

This instagram account is the gold standard/really famous one. Their content is exquisite.. they make me want to plan a European outdoor adventure.

Dame Traveler

This one is also amazing, and very female focused. The dreamiest photos. Lots of great recommendations… especially for the solo traveller.

Ana New York

Ana is a photographer who splits her time between Miami and New York. Her content is stunning and she has the best recommendations! I’ve started many a saved folder on Instagram just because she’s recommended something.

The Blonde Atlas

Whitney is a friend (she spoke at our Nashville live show) and what I love about her is how seriously she takes her recommendations! Besides her instagram she also has an amazing travel blog.

Krystal Bick

My friend Krystal is more of a fashion blogger but has incredibly gorgeous travel content. It’s stunning – she definitely inspires me to travel more (and to up my photography game!) She travels the world and does it so beautifully. I’m truly so impressed by everything she does and always find incredible recommendations.

For Bonus Points, Add all your spots to Google Maps!

This has nothing to do with Instagram but I had to include it as it is another trick that never fails me. As I’m adding things to my saved folders, I also add them to my google maps (just save them as your favorites!) That way you’ll be able to see where things are, and maybe add in a last minute trip! An example of this is that I’m getting my hair done in Atlanta today, and realized there’s a super cute coffee shop right nearby. Boom. It really helps to map things out and plan.

Do you use Instagram to plan your trips? I’d love to know. Tell me your favorite accounts (and hashtags) for travel planning!

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  1. Omg this is so me, I have a huge collection of saves on my Instagram specifically for Instagrammable places to go haha! It’s the best! ❤️✨

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

    10.23.19 Reply
  2. Megan:

    After listening to this episode of your podcast, I immediately made a saved folder for my upcoming anniversary trip to Beacon! So much better than spending 30 minutes on yelp when we get to our airbnb, only to end up at whatever restaurant/bar/etc that is closest. Thanks for the tips!

    10.23.19 Reply
  3. Oh, Grace, this is such a useful post! Thanks! I do use IG for travel ideas, but mostly on a random basis. I go to a lot of travel sites to take note of ideas! And Design*Sponge travel guides are always a great go-to, too!

    10.23.19 Reply
    • I am so happy it is helpful!!! It’s changed my trip planning process so had to share!

      10.23.19 Reply
  4. OMG Grace I love this as I relate to every single point so much. Now that Instagram has folders I’ve been using it so much as it relates to travel. I was able to plan my last 2 trips and know what to look forward to mostly because of Instagram. Following pinned locations and seeing it in real time via other people was quite helpful and I discovered quite a few restaurants by following hashtags related to the city.
    I also follow Travel and Leisure and Conde Nast Traveler for ideas as I think their write ups are always pretty solid.

    10.23.19 Reply
    • Aw I am so glad it’s helpful – and yes you are so right! I follow both of those accounts; really helpful!

      10.23.19 Reply
  5. mary:

    #weloveatl is also a good Atlanta hashtag to follow and include on posts. Excited for your visit! The weather should be beautiful–finally!

    10.23.19 Reply
  6. Dana Mannarino:

    These are such good tips! I also love using Saved folders on Instagram!

    Dana | The Champagne Edit 

    10.23.19 Reply
  7. Elle:

    Love the map suggestion. I start a map when I’m planning a trip and plot my hotel and other main destinations and save restaurant ideas, touristy things, etc. so I can look at it and roughly plan a day/afternoon/whatever or like you see that the random recommended restaurant is right next to my event.

    10.23.19 Reply
  8. Mackenzie:

    Wow this is so incredibly helpful!! I didn’t even know you could create folders with saved posts on Instagram (I’m a millennial so this is embarrassing). This is a game changer, thank you for sharing.

    10.23.19 Reply
  9. LOVE LOVE LOVE this post.

    I highly recommend checking out @PassionPassport #PassionPassport

    10.23.19 Reply
  10. Cynthia:

    I like to search the city name followed by “foodie” or some iteration of that to find cool places to eat.

    10.23.19 Reply
  11. Ashley:

    Such a cool way to prep for a trip! I’ve been a Pinterest devotee when it comes to planning trips, but I’m excited to give Instagram folders a try 🙂

    10.24.19 Reply
    • Yay I’m so glad. I like this even more bc then everything is just saved right in your phone!

      10.25.19 Reply
  12. Melissa:

    This is really helpful! The maps idea is a game-changer for me. I just tried it out for my upcoming trip to NYC for Christmas and its already so nice to see where everything on my list is in relation to each other. Also have to add that the travel episode of the podcast was one of my favorites!

    10.24.19 Reply
  13. I totally do these, except I’ve never thought of using Google Maps! That is such a great idea and I’m doing this for our next trip.

    Stephanie Vainer

    10.25.19 Reply
  14. Blog voyage:

    I love Instagram… especially when I am traveling. It’s very useful. And very inspiring…

    2.21.20 Reply