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Some of them are professional photographers, YouTube stars, journalists, professional influencers or brands, while others simply have a great amateur eye and a desire to see the world. But you’ll find them all here, and they are all equally inspiring.
Keep in mind that this is by no means a comprehensive list. We all enjoy different kinds of photography and there are plenty of great Instagram blogs out there. Some of the ones we’ve chosen are personal and authentic travel diaries, while others have dedicated their business to a steady stream of diverse travel images spanning cultures and landscapes from all across the globe. And that’s because we wanted to include a little bit for everyone.
So without further ado, let’s dig in! These are the top Instagram travelers you want to be following in 2019.
The World is my Oyster
National Geographic and National Geographic Travel (@Natgeo and @Natgeotravel)
We’ll start off with a branded account before we switch over to personal ones, simply because there’s no going around it when it comes to travel photography. National Geographic is a pioneer at portraying the beauty of the otherworldly wonders of the world — both natural and man made — and the cultures that surround them. Our favorite Nat Geo has an Instagram account dedicated to travel, and this is precisely what we recommend for those that feel a bit restless every now and then. Nat Geo boasts the life’s work of the world’s best photographers on a scale so vast other websites don’t come even close — and every single picture tells a whole story. If you don’t want the purely aesthetic experience of some of the other Instagram travel accounts, Nat Geo is definitely a keeper.
Another staple travel brand in a vein similar to NatGeo — if you love NatGeo, you’ll definitely love this one! The photos here are made that much more beautiful by the stories they tell, so if you want a beautiful feed with a little more substance, it’s only a click away.
The world’s «most versatile camera» gives photographers and nature lovers the chance to capture the most amazing moments in previously unimaginable extreme settings, and their official Instagram page is a good place to behold the results. From breathtaking underwater adventures to extreme sports — this is one Instagram profile that has it all.
While technically Arc’teryx is a high-performance Canadian outerwear brand they maintain an active and successful travel and extreme sports related Instagram profile showcasing their products in their natural element. The end result is some truly spectacular landscape and extreme sports photography from the best photographers in the niche.
Lonely Planet (@Lonelyplanet)
Lonely Planet has easily become one of the most essential travel bibles you definitely need in your Instagram feed, because not only is their photography a sight for sore eyes, it comes with travel advice and tips sprinkled on top! The photos are shared by the site’s staff who’s always on the road, so you’ll be getting travel inspo directly from those in the know.
Top Travel Influencers in 2018
If you’re a travel partisan any quick scroll through your Instagram can turn up a solid amount of dreamy scenery, lifestyles to die for, and seemingly picture-perfect lives. The people behind the best of them have acquired the title influencer. It’s one of the newest professions out there and its gaining momentum by the minute, precisely because they show us exactly what we can aspire for. Are you missing out on any particular travel inspo gem? Then this is the list to read.
Johan Lolos (@lebackpacker)
Johan Lolos has been busy with traveling around Europe and taking photos for a project called «Peaks of Europe» — an ambitious affair which took him from Norway and Iceland to Croatia and back again, exploring Europe’s most magnificent peaks. His Instagram feed now boasts photos that will not only take your breath away — they’ll make you feel small when pondering the wonder of nature.
Paulo del Valle (@paulodelvalle)
Here’s one of the greats: an Instagram blog that’s bilingual, Brazilian-based and stunning. Paulo del Valle’s Instagram profile has an accent on landscape photography and great storytelling — precisely what you need so you can daydream about new locations.
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Marisa Hampe (@marisahampe)
Marisa Hampe is someone you want to follow if you’re up for the personal view and an incredibly refined vintage vibe. Her photography boasts unique compositions and vintage film that make her Instagram feel warm, homey, and reminiscent of the photography of yesteryear.
Murad Osmann (@muradosmann)
If you’ve been on Instagram for a while, or on social media in general (which of course you have), you’ve probably seen at least one of his works. That’s because Murad Osmann’s «#FollowMeTo photography series featuring his wife, Natalia, holding his hand as she’s leading him to explore the world’s most gorgeous locations went viral in 2012. As the campaign is probably the most iconic series of social media travel photography so far and has launched countless imitators, the glamorous pair is now considered one of the most influential pairs of travel influencers around. If you love mixing love, travel, and good marketing this one is for you.
Young Adventuress (@youngadventuress)
Here’s a humble photo blog that manages to communicate its owner, Liz Carlson’s love for the outdoors in some truly vibrant photography. Her scenic Instagram gallery has it all — from glamping in her native New Zealand, road trips in the US, to sailing in Antarctica. She has a distinct voice, a matter-of-fact approach to travel advice, and you can always count on her to give an honest review. This girl travels a lot, usually by her lonesome, and her hilarious personality shines through her gorgeous photo updates. It makes her a definite keeper.
Daniel Kordan (@danielkordan)
What to say about Daniel Kordan’s photography other than it’s the true work of a genius? If you’ve visited his profile, we’re sure you’ve felt as if your existence must be truly insignificant to the same universe that has created the natural wonders featured in his work. His photographs often take on a meditative quality, with magical lights, blurry perspectives, and soft lines — as if the landscapes you’re seeing have come to you in a dream. He’s constantly trotting all over the globe in search for the dreamiest remote locations from all the 7 continents. That’s why you’ll find plenty of different locations to admire on his Instagram — his shots of flaming sunrises in Patagonia, the northern lights over hilltops in Norway or the breathtaking desert landscapes of Namibia.
Chelsea Y. (@chelseakauai)
Although Chelsea’s Instagram features some great photography as well, you’d want to follow it mainly for its sense of adventure and a glimpse into the goodlife this Hawaii girl is leading. You can see her braving mountain tops, extreme hiking, or enjoying a barefoot walk in the desert a tad more often than you’ll find her enjoying the sunset at a luxury seaside resort.
Travis Burke (@travisburkephotography)
Travis is a US based photographer, who travels the world together with his girlfriend Chelsea (the gorgeous Instagrammer we just talked about) and lives for experiencing and capturing the beauty of both nature and culture in exotic new places. Follow him for a thrilling glimpse into the wonder of the outdoors.
The Blonde Abroad (@theblondeabroad)
Half a million followers must know what they’re doing because this blonde Instagram is truly an amazing find! If you’re one of those people who want to scroll through some travel-candy while they’re commuting or trying to decide on a new trip, this is the Instagram profile for you. She’s got more than 40 countries ticked off her bucket list, and she’s still going strong.
Matthew Karsten (@ExpertVagabond)
Matthew Karsten is another member of the growing community of digital nomads taking over social media. He describes himself as an adventure traveler, and judging by all the hitchhiking, backpacking, and scuba diving featured on his Instagram, the guy definitely doesn’t lead a boring life — and he is great at sharing his vagabond ways.
Simone Bramante (@brahmino)
Now here is a canvas of Italy showing her in all her glory, another argument towards the fact the country is still reigning supreme as a travel destination. Breathtaking mountain tops, warm colors, a vibrant culture and the beauty of the sea — you’ll see it all through Brahmino’s artful eye, and let us tell you, his photography is somewhere between life and fantasy.
Alex Strohl (@AlexStrohl)
We mentioned dreamy landscape photography, but between Alex Strohl’s and Daniel Kordan’s we don’t know whose is dreamier. His photography is truly astonishing, and somehow both rugged and incredibly polished. It manages to depict the wilderness of the landscape he chooses to perfection.
Hello Emilie (@helloemilie)
Another Instagram profile that will make your jaw drop with its achingly brilliant composition, its subtle, almost autumnal color palette, and so carefully curated Hello Emilie’s Instagram feed feels seamless. Her work is truly the stuff dreams are made of.
Alex Block (@alexblock)
This predominantly pastel colored Instagram profile focuses on culture, architecture, and urban landscapes, as well as capturing the perfect moments of luxury travel. Take a peek — because his photos will definitely wow you!
Beth Leung (@travelsintranslation)
If you want some much needed respite from all the glamorous looking Instagram influencers who look like models and live seemingly fairytale lives, Travels in Translation offers a homier, more grounded approach to exploring the world. Beth first started her personal blog as a way to document her experiences when she was attending university in Japan, and she has never looked back. Now her addicting gallery can take you through the beauty of all kinds of amazing places. She says she’s a firm believer of turning passion into profession, and it shows on her profile.
Freya Dowson (@freyadowson)
If you want a picture of diversity, you’ll definitely want to check out Freya’s work. We all know Instagram can sometimes make you feel that if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen ‘em all, but Freya Dowson’s work manages to stand out in a sea of merely aesthetically pleasing instagrammers. She’s a documentary photographer whose take on life is incredibly refreshing, and she really takes you on a journey with her photos — from Pakistani coal miners at work to vibrant Marrakech markets.
Jonathan Irish (@jonathan_irish)
Jonathan is a NatGeo contributor and a professional travel photographer that keeps a beautiful Instagram profile inbetween working on a book on the US National Parks. We can safely say his book is going to be really something to behold, but in the meantime, you can find plenty of magnificent landscape photo art and some amazing portraits of American wildlife over at his visual blog on Insta.
The Planet D (@theplanetd)
A pair of adventurers, 20 years of traveling and more than 100 countries together. Meet Dave and Deb who have traveled across the 7 continents and created the virtual bible of travel advice that goes by the name of Planet D. With more than 2 million followers, this awesome travel blogging team are definitely one of the heavy weights in the travel blogosphere. Follow their channel for the best travel tips and advice, inspiration, a light sense of humor, and some truly stunning photography. Their motto? Adventure is for everyone, at any age!
Krista Rossow (@kristarossow)
Just another National Geographic photographer? Far from it. Krista has the unique gift of being a great storyteller, and the detailed descriptions will make you follow her Instagram compulsively just as much as her photographic skills. The context she provides makes her work truly come alive.
Stefan Haworth (@stefan_haworth)
Here’s a New Zealand legend who travels solo, but manages to share his personal experience with the world. Stefan Haworth is a New Zealand legend whose travels are most often to exciting off the beaten track destinations, generally alone. His sense of adventure, that perfectly Instagrammable car he drives, and his eye for capturing exciting new locations will have you hooked in no time.
Chris Burkard (@chrisburkard)
Chris Burkard is another landscape genius that is only a click away from gracing your Instagram feed — if you value the authority of his 3 million followers. Everything he points his camera at seems to turn out perfect, but he has a special affinity for the coldest regions of the world. And surfing.
Jarrad Seng (@jarradseng)
Jarrad’s photography will leave you speechless — it’s that incredible! Aside from his self portraits (mostly involving his photogenic long hair), Jarrad’s use of light, depth of field and unique compositions make him stand out as one of the best. If you take a look at his portfolio, his aerial series stand out the most because of their otherworldly appeal — as if someone took a brush and splashed watercolor on the world’s most exotic landscapes.
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Kristin Addis (@bemytravelmuse)
Still not enough travel inspiration for you? Well, Kristin Addis and Be My Travel Muse might do the trick. Kristin followed the trail of other big names in the travel influencer industry and quit an investment banking job so she could pursue her desire to travel, and by the looks of things over at her Instagram, she’s made the right choice. She’s now a full time travel writer blogging about her experiences.
Johnny Ward (@onestep4ward)
Here’s what this Irish bloke has to say about himself: «Started broke 📝Taught English 🎒Backpacked 👨🏼💻Blogged 💸Made $ 1m+ or 2 🌍197/197 countries & North Pole 🙏🏻Started a charity 🌱Plant powered» — and all those amazing experiences show on his Instagram, which feels incredibly vibrant and full of life. You’ll find everything there — some landscape photography, some extreme sports, the occasional interesting local story, along with gorgeous architecture — both urban and rural.
Lauren Bullen (@gypsea_lust)
Lauren’s blog boasts some serious drool-worthy potential, something that 2 million people can’t seem to get enough of. Her Instagram is the perfect combo of travel glamour, golden-hour photography, exotic places, and a beautiful twenty something blonde to take you through it all. What to do when faced with such beauty? Exactly what she advises: «Let's get wander-fully lost.» Her 2 million followers certainly are.
In a world of trendy Instagrams, this one is truly one of a kind. Paperboyo is an account where the landmarks and scenery are not in focus at all — they are pieces of the puzzle Rich (a.k.a. Paperboyo) uses to prop up his paper cut outs and create something fresh, and, more often than not, hilarious. Wanna see more of it? He recently made available an entire book on it — «Around the world in cut-outs» and it’s amazing!
Michael Christopher Brown (@Michaelchristopherbrown)
In a list that features glampers and fashion-editorial-esque Instagrams, here’s one that takes on far more serious subjects — political and social issues, but in a travel diary format. Photographer Michael Christopher Brown travels all around the world to document social phenomena in different cultures, for example his 2011 work titled Libyan Revolution is the visual description of him witnessing a war zone.
Now, all that is well and good, but what happens with us mere mortals who can’t afford to go glamping or enjoy luxury hotels and make a living out of them? Well, it turns out there is a whole niche in the travel blog industry dedicated to this tiny problem.
If you have a love/hate relationship with travel Instagrams and all those picture-perfect seaside brunches taken every other week on a new exotic location, the following few accounts might be just for you.
Damon and Jo (@shutupandgo)
The Brazilian-American pair has managed to make a social media presence that really stands out by merging great visuals and inspirational quotes, and if that’s not enough incentive for you to just «shut up and go» somewhere already, nothing could ever be.
Kash Bhattacharya (@budgettraveller)
Kash Bhattacharya, (apart from being the National Geographic Travel Blogger of the Year that is) seems to know what he’s doing when it comes to budget friendly travel. His profile on Instagram is full of all kinds of useful travel tips — from top free museums to #luxury hostels. His photography doesn’t disappoint either.
Dani Heinrich (@globetrottergirls)
Dani Heinrich is the very definition of a digital nomad — no home base and endless experience on the road. Plus, she also followed the quit-your-job-go-travel routine and it paid off big time.
Her most important tip for travel budgeters is very simple — house sitting, and let us tell you, her tips are nothing if not well-tested.
Budget travel (@budgettravel)
How lucky can you be to have landed the brand name that is also the name of your niche?
This Instagram has a corresponding magazine published six times a year, but their social media is where you interact with the budget traveler community. Using the hashtag #mybudgettravel, users can browse through fellow travelers' photographs and get inspiration for their next trip. The magazine’s digital site publishes long-form guides to the most affordable spots worldwide, giving you all the info you need for money-savvy travel.
Vins & Josh (@thepoortraveler)
Another rags-to-riches success story, The Poor Traveler markets itself as «the rich blog for the budget traveler». Run by travelling duo Yoshke and Vins, the Instagram is a preview of the longer-form content found on the eponymous blog. There, you can find extensive budget travel guides to virtually every country in the world, so when you’ve had your fill of inspiring beach photos you can head over to the site to figure out how to make your dream beach vacation happen.
More and more people are choosing not to abandon their travel plans once they have kids, instead opting to bring them with them. It’s a niche that’s proved surprisingly successful, with some pretty big influencer names involved. Here is a top pick.
Eric Stoen (@TravelBabbo)
Eric has 180,000 followers across his social media platforms. His Instagram and website are full of some pro tips on how to travel with your kids and even tips on how to let your kids plan a trip themselves. His personal travel motto? Take your kids everywhere!
Food travel is a subgenre that deserves an entire article of its own. Food travel bloggers explore exotic locations, and take a little bite of their culture, and the true veterans among them don’t hesitate to try out local cuisines the way they were meant to.
Driven by our passion for travel and gastronomical adventures, we went on a hunt for the best travel food bloggers who are living everyone’s ultimate fantasy- globe-hopping to gorge on delicious food. So expect drool-worthy Instagrams, and a lot of ethnic cuisine.
Girl Eat World (@girleatworld)
This one has a Murad Osmann #followmetoo meets food vibe going on, an awesome mix of stunning photography and drool-worthy treats from all over the globe. Mel, the girl behind it, states that she’s «eating her way around the world» and man, does she do it with style and a dedication to great composition. The whole project started because Mel felt awkward asking strangers to take pictures for her so she was forced to fully embrace the food selfie. Now it’s her travel blog’s signature look — a gorgeous backdrop and a particular local food item as the yummy centerpiece — perfect to give you some context about the food she’s eating.
Mark Wiens (@migrationology)
Mark Wiens is no professional photographer, but he’s a true veteran of food blogging. You won’t ever find perfectly composed shots or a distinct Instagram aesthetic in his feed, but one thing’s for sure — it will always make you hungry. Based in Bangkok, Thailand — this food connoisseur has been the true vestern authority on East Asian and Southeast Asian cuisine since forever, with his feed, blog, and YouTube channel boasting exotic spices and authentic local stories. Recently, he has started spreading his wings to new countries — which means you can now find him eating local culinary delights in even more odd corners of the world
There’s something very likeable about his personality is well — he’s a guy trotting around in one of his telltale T-shirts featuring goofy slogans like «If it’s not spicy, I’m not eating» or «Tom Yum» and gushing over any opportunity to explore a night market or a low-budget food vendor stall to discover a new culinary gem.
For the Travel Bloggers Out There
Okay, you have an ulterior motive for your interest in Instagram travel influencers and it’s because you want to inspire yourself with some fresh content ideas. But blogging is hard work. Really hard work. It takes a lot of time and effort to keep going after a few years. But despite being frustrating at times, it’s also very rewarding when you get great feedback from your readers. Travel the world, write about your journeys and before long the sponsors will be lining up to get their ads on your blog, providing you with ample cash to fund your globetrotting lifestyle.
Sounds like a dream job, doesn’t it?
The market is there, but creating content that resonates with global audiences isn’t as easy as you might think, so here are some functional tips that might help you along the way.
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Your Name is Your Brand
So take the time to really think it through, make it count and pick something unique. Generally speaking, you want to avoid names that are too generic such as: Traveller, Nomad, Vagabond, Journey, Adventurous. We know that half this list is made up of words like that, but they are the established names in the business that will make everyone else sound forgettable. As Young Adventuress puts it over at her blog:
«How do I phrase this? They are taken. They are oversaturated. They’re unoriginal and boring. They’ve been claimed by top serious bloggers already who have been established for years and years. When I am introduced to a new blogger with one of these words in their blog name, I usually forget what they are called before the conversation is even over.»
And remember that your name should be broad enough to fit any future plans and aspirations, so pick wisely if you don’t want it to hinder any future shifts of travel focus and style.
Make a Content Marketing Plan Using a Social Media Tool
Here at Amplifr we’ve made it our business to make social media content management for solopreneurs as easy as possible — and that includes travel bloggers. While it goes without saying that when it comes to growing an audience, «content is king», you do need to have a content calendar to make it work, and our best recommendation would be to save yourself the trouble and get a social media tool that will make your life easier. And here’s how it works.
Don’t be Afraid to be Niche
Take the word of La Carmina, a Gothic Lolita traveler :
Be Inspired but Don’t Copy
Most travel tips have been shared thousands of times over. It’s your unique story that is memorable and will set you apart. Of course you need to look at other blogs in your industry for inspiration (that's what this article is about), but you have to find a way to make your content your own.
Decide What’s Going to be Your Photography Style
It’s no secret that Instagram is all about the visuals, so creating a distinct aesthetic is going to be very important if you plan on making it as a travel influencer on your own. There are the professional photographers who’s blogs are all about beauty and perfect framing and composition, there are blogs like Ryan Godzilling's that revolve around a single goofy idea funny enough for people to want to follow it, and there are the blogs that we follow simply because of their stories, because they’re useful, or because of the unique personalities of their creators. In other words, you don’t necessarily need to be a pro at photography, you just have to be unique enough to stand out in a community where thousands of people are trying to make it.
All that being said, Instagram is still a platform where visual identity is very, very important. If you want to go after the stylized, editorial-looking vibe, you can either start practicing (there are plenty of photography tutorials for beginners that will only need a bit of your time, and a lot of your passion). But if you’re not a photographer yourself it might get hard to set up photo sessions when you’re travelling about, so we’ll give you a pro tip here — rent one! WanderSnap is one such service focused on locations in Asia. It lets you rent a photographer at the local destination you’re traveling to, and it’s an easy no-fuss affordable method to get the job done. WanderSnap’s Instagram account is not too shabby when it comes to travel photography either, which goes to show it might be worth your while.
Our Most Important Point — Create Things That You are Passionate About.
What truly sets apart the real gems of the industry from all the rest is passion. And in today’s digital world, where blogs are popping up here and there, your passion is what’s going to make you stand out.
Don’t copy other bloggers or travel magazines, be yourself! Find the things you enjoy, the things that move you, and make you want to write about them. At the end of the day, blogging or vlogging is a lot of work, and for a good while you won’t be making any money out of it — so if you want to eventually make it, you have to love it first.
Last but Not Least — Stay Authentic!
If you do stick around in the business, the more you grow, the more people will start to contact you. You might even get to influencer status, and with all the hype around influencer marketing, you’ll start getting heaps and heaps of emails from people asking you to the moon and back. You’ll get invited on amazing trips. People will offer you «free stuff».
Now this is important. We know that every opportunity to get free stuff marketing a business or a location might sound like a dream come true, but you have to learn how to tell people to get lost. Say no to the things that don’t fit your blog. Don’t just take something simply because it’s free.
Unless it’s something super relevant to your blog that you think might fit the picture just right — ignore it! People will start asking about linking to your blog, guest posting, affiliate marketing, and all kinds of marketing techniques — tell them no. You just link to the things you genuinely find relevant and important, the things you think your readers can actually benefit from. That’s what the gods at Google like, and that’s what’s going to convince your readership that you’re trustworthy. The more selective you are, especially early on, the better your blog will be in the future.
So, to keep things short — don’t sell out!
Over and Out!
It’s amazing how powerful Instagram can be to find out new places and follow the journeys of such inspiring people all around the world. It’s not about the number of likes or followers, it really is all about using the power of image to share amazing experiences.
In case we’ve missed an important time let us know in the comments below, or tell us who’s your favorite travel Instagrammer? Do you prefer landscapes or cultural photos? Anything goes!