How to search on Instagram #IGTravelThursday

August 22, 2013 Katja Presnal

How to search travel photos on Instagram

Two weeks ago I announced I will be speaking at TBEX conference in Dublin, Ireland, about Instagram strategy for travel brands. Today I am thrilled to announce I will also be joining as a panelist at the Social Media Week event Travelling with Instagram: how can travel brands make the most of it? in London, UK. I hope to see you in Dublin, and I hope you can attend the Social Media Week event in person – I will be participating via video.

Want to know my Instagram secrets without participating to a conference? The secret is that anyone can become a travel expert on Instagram.

You can become your own travel expert by searching travel destinations and travelers like you on Instagram, and you can share your own travel experiences on Instagram and show your own travel expertize. Maybe you are an expert of your own home town or the coastal town where you have vacationed the past 15 summers, but most travel expert nevertheless.

Tips how to do basic travel search on Instagram

You don’t have to wait ’til next week, just read all of the Instagram travel posts already published or get my book. I honestly wanted to write all of my Instagram tips as blog posts, but realized I had so much to say, so I wrote an ebook. Now I am slowly publishing some of my tips from the book, starting from the basics. I will also give out a free copy of the book for the Skimbaco newsletter subscribers on next week, and read my simple tips for Instagram search.

The search function on Instagram doesn’t work like typical search engines, and sometimes it can be frustrating to try to find something specific.

My best tip: be open for new adventures.

You might be set on visiting a certain travel destination, but be open for new adventures as well. This applies whether you are insta-traveling, aka. day dreaming of traveling via Instagram, or making your own travel plans. Instagram is a wonderful resource for finding places to visit that you would have never even thought of visiting. Being open to new adventures and trying new things is living life to the fullest to me.

There are three ways to find specific travel photos on Instagram:
1. searching by username to find photos from specific users
2. searching by different hashtags used by different users
3. looking for photos from a specific location on the map. (explained in the book)

How to Search on Instagram

You can search on the Instagram app by clicking the compass needle icon on the bottom of the screen. The screen will show you random popular pictures and say EXPLORE on the top. You can type in what you want to search by typing in the search box where it says “Search users and hashtags,” and once you click on it, it will open you up a new screen where you can choose whether you want to search for Users or Hashtags.

Search by Username

When you search users, tap on the “Users” on the Instagram search screen.
This is easy if you already know of the travel destinations, tourism boards, travel experts or even cities, hotels or restaurants posting photos on Instagram. All you have to do is type their username and find their account and you will immediately find all of their photos.

It takes time to find the people you want to follow, and sometimes your best source for local travel tips can be a small local business owner, instead of a large chain hotel or even tourism board on Instagram. Sometimes even the national tourism board Instagram accounts don’t tell the story of how amazing the country is, but luckily many local tourism boards and Convention and Visitors Bureaus are already on Instagram.

Once you find a great user who shares photos from a certain location, you might want to check whom that person also follows and you might be able to find other great local users.

If you are planning on a trip to a certain location, you can often find a local tourism board with a username {visit}+{location name} for example VisitMexico, VisitCalifornia and so on.
However, all local tourism boards are not on Instagram yet, and other local experts might be much better help for you. Finding these people is almost impossible by searching based on usernames unless you have a magical ability to guess the usernames.

Search by Hashtags

People tag photos on Instagram so they can be found later on by using a # symbol in the front of the tag. When you search hashtags, tap on the “Hashtags” on the Instagram search screen.

Start with popular hashtags

You can find a lot of travel related inspiration with popular travel-related hashtags such as #travelingram #travelphotography, #TravelGram, #destinations or simply #travel, or using different location-named tags like #paris or #newyorkcity.

The problem with the tags is that anyone can use them anywhere from the world
– a guy can be in Australia and take a photo and tag it #london, and that’s exactly what people do – they overuse tags just to get more people to look at their photos, and it’s annoying and makes it little more difficult to find what you really are looking to find. Sometimes searching with these popular hashtags feels frustrating and useless.

This just means you have to try to find a little bit more specific tags to find more targeted photos.

A great way is to use less popular tags, and check out some of the ones Instagram suggests for you. When you type in #borabora for example, it shows you several other often used tags as well, such as #boraborabeach, #boraboraisland and so on and you can try to use them to find pictures and places you like. (For the record, I didn’t find any ugly photos from Bora Bora, so please feel free to proceed with any of these hashtags.)

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!

This is especially a good trick when you are not familiar with the location you are searching. When looking at the #stockholm photos you will not get the entire picture how beautiful the city is, but when you find more specific tags like #gamlastan, #stureplan or #östermalm, you start seeing why Stockholm is an amazing place to visit. You just have to find that one good photo of something that interests you and click to see if that photo has more hashtags that you can click and then see more photos. And it’s always a good idea not to just follow the hashtag trail, but also look if the user whose photo you just found has other photos from the same location.

Twitter Party

I would like to invite you to our Instagram Travel Thursday community to share your travel photos with #IGTravelThursday hashtag on Instagram and join us on Twitter next week to discuss how Instagram and travel intersect.

Instagram Travel Thursday Twitter Party

WHAT: twitter party to discuss about Instagram & travel with #IGTravelTh
WHEN: August 29, 2013, noon EST, 5PM GMT (that’s noon in New York and 5PM in London)
WHO: Join the #IGTravelThursday hosts
@skimbaco, @luxurytravelmom, @elenasonnino, @childmode, @houseofanais, @hinessightblog and @satuvw
Also @Finnstyle_com will be chiming in and they are giving away a Marimekko iPhone case for a Twitter party participant.
PARTY PRIZES: free copies of Instagram as your Guide to the World – How, What and Who to Search and Follow on Instagram to Help You Travel the World ebook, and Marimekko iPhone case.

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Join the Instagram Travel Thursday Linky

Join us! Bloggers – add your blog post to the linky. Not a blogger? No problem. Join us at Instagram by using hashtag #igtravelthursday and share your travel photos. But sorry- no linking to Instagram images from the linky, just to blog posts. Get email sent to you when the Instagram Travel Thursday linky post is up (subscribe it here) and add your Instagram profile link in the Instagram Travel Thursday page and follow other travelers who have left their links there as well.

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My mission is to inspire you to live life to the fullest and find your own "skimbaco," how you enjoy life where ever you are in the moment. For ideas for travel, home, food and fashion, subscribe to weekly Skimbaco Lifestyle feed on Mondays and I hope you get my newsletter as well that I sent out sometimes on Fridays.

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Katja Presnal

Katja Presnal shows how to live Nordic inspired life to the fullest and plan your dream life. Katja owns Presnal5 strategic marketing intelligence agency and wants to help marketing professionals to combine a dream career and dream life via freelance work.Katja is an award-winning marketing strategist, and a well-known speaker. Katja has lived in five different countries, and seven states in the USA. Her three children were all born in different countries within three years. When not working or jet-setting the world, Katja is at home cooking big family dinners.She has been featured in NY Times, Glamour, Redbook, Fodor's, Forbes and Woman's Day magazines among many other national and international publications and written for MTV3 and Lifetime TV networks.

Comments (15)

  1. Great tips! And side note: A few weeks ago I joined this linkup for the first time- and searched the destination that I was heading to in Spain- I found someone who only IG’d where we were going, used her photos, and ended up meeting her and her husband who owned a charming bar while we were there! It was awesome and so cool to meet someone in real life who you had chatted with and appreciated on IG.

  2. Satu Vänskä-Westgarth

    Great post again Katja, I love doing virtual travels via Instagram and like Reeta, this is exactly what I’m doing now too while preparing for our “big trip “early next year!

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