You probably have an Instagram account set up to share photos of your day with friends and family.  But did you know Instagram can be used as a travel planning tool as well.  With so many advances in technology, you no longer need to purchase travel guides or maps because more than likely there is an app already on your phone with such information.  Instagram can work in the same way, you can research accounts and find information on places you are planning on traveling to.

Most of our accounts hold pictures of yummy food we ate or that of our families and friends.  When we have the opportunity to travel somewhere we share photos of beautiful beaches and breathtaking views.  These same pictures can serve as expert destination advice for others traveling to that same location.  The following information can help you use Instagram as a travel tool to your next destination.

Planning Your Next Trip With Instagram

  • Follow locals, not just your friends

The best way to get the inside scoop on what you must see and do in any large city is by following locals.  Instagram offers many of us the chance to display our hometowns by sharing the best local spots.  Following these kind of accounts before your visit lets you have helpful information at hand.  If you want better interaction and feel comfortable you can direct message followers of these accounts as well for advice and travel suggestions.

  • Find tourism board

If you do not find much information shared by locals the cities tourism board account will hold great tips and ideas.  You will not only find information about places to visit but also upcoming events and safety information.

  • Click on geotags

Instagram allows you to tag your location in posts and stories.  This feature can be added when you upload a picture or even after by editing photo.  By clicking on geotags, you will see a location on a map such as a hotel, restaurant or attraction.  You can also see what is nearby by swiping through photos taken by others.  Also, you can find out more about a location by leaving comments on a photo asking others about their experiences.

  • Explore destination #hashtags

Like geotags, hashtags are used by many of us as a reference for major destinations and sites.  Organizations such as festivals, tourist attraction sites, restaurants and outdoor events designate hashtags so followers can share the experience.  Clicking on hashtags allows you a faster way to sort through photos of sites that you may want to visit.

  • Follow travel experts

Following travel publications or television shows on social media gives you the opportunity to receive freebies or access to free travel advice.  Travel sites with Instagram accounts post daily information on special offers or tips for their followers.  Viator, for example, a tour site offers discount codes or sweepstakes information for subscribers to their social media accounts.

Travel to a city or country not because it is Instagram-worthy, but because you truly want to go.  Safe travels!