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5 Tips to Maximize Your Travel Instagram Engagement

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  • 5 Tips to Maximize Your Travel Instagram Engagement

Instagram is one of the largest and most popular platforms if you are a travel blogger, travel influencer, or aspiring to be one! The platform reached over 2 billion users in 2023, and it’s only growing. Getting started on the platform is easy. Upload a few of your stunning travel photos, caption, and post, right?

Unfortunately, growing on Instagram is trickier than it used to be, and the algorithm changes monthly. We’ve broken down the app’s functions into sections and created handy tips and tricks that will help grow your travel Instagram engagement.


Although photos seem to be on their way out with Instagram, in favor of the more popular Reels, they are still essential to building a platform on Instagram. When potential followers land on your page, they want to know what your page is about in 10 seconds or less. Having a feed of high-quality pictures that accurately represent you will help turn a potential follower into a new fan!

Travel Instagram Engagement

Image courtesy of Unsplash

Picture Quality

The quality of your travel photos will greatly affect how well they do on Instagram. A high-quality camera like a newer iPhone, Android, or DSLR will ensure you get the best quality photos possible.

Free photo editing apps like Lightroom are great for editing photos to bring out the color and sharpness of the image. It’s always best to edit photos in a separate app instead of using the Instagram built-in filters.

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Image courtesy of Unsplash

Photography Basics

If you’re completely new to photography, there’s no need to worry! Learning some photography basics can help elevate your Instagram game. Composing your photos using framing, leading lines, and the rule of thirds will make your photos look more composed and appealing to the eye.

Using contrasting colors on opposite sides of the color wheel will help the subject of your photo stand out. For example, wearing a red coat against a green forest backdrop or wearing a yellow dress in a field of lilac will make the subject stand out clearly from the background.

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Image courtesy of Unsplash


Before posting your images to Instagram, ensure the photo is cropped correctly to fill most of the feed when your followers see it. Pictures with a width of at least 1080 pixels with a ratio of 4:5. Vertical images do best with Instagram, so avoid the “vlog” style horizontal photos.

Planning your grid to look uniform and put together can help convert potential followers who land on your page into actual followers! Get started with these handy tips on Instagram grid planners to take full advantage of the tool and create a stunning 9×9 grid.

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Image courtesy of Unsplash


For photos thinking of a quick, witty caption that goes well with the picture is the best way to get the viewer’s attention. If you would like to add more information, feel free but try to make the caption short and sweet.

Engage the viewer by asking them a question at the bottom of your caption, leading them to comment on your photo. These comments ultimately boost engagement. Some examples of great questions to ask or statements are:

  • Would you like to visit Lake Louise? Tag your travel buddy in the comments below!
  • Have you ever jumped into a cenote? Are you brave enough to try?
  • International Flights: are you early or just on time at the gate?

Adding appropriate emojis to your text also helps draw in the eye and keep the reader engaged.

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Image courtesy of Unsplash

Hashtag Strategy

Instagram’s hashtag strategy keeps changing, sometimes, the algorithm prefers lots of hashtags (with a max of 30), and sometimes, it prefers less. The current standard for hashtag strategy is to pick 3-5 hashtags relevant to your post.

Try to choose medium to small hashtags instead of shooting for the bigger ones like #travelgram, which has over 170 million photos under it. For example, a replacement hashtag could be #traveltheworldwithme which has around 341k photos under it.

Using smaller hashtags increases the likelihood that your photo will be seen under that hashtag. Better yet, if it’s a well-liked photo and performs well, it may appear at the top of that hashtag, further increasing the engagement it gets!

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Image courtesy of Unsplash


You can also tag people or brands in the photo along with hashtags. This is a great idea to include other creators who may have collaborated with you or your friends and family. Tagging relevant people or brands in the photo increases the likelihood they may share the photo on their story, which will help boost engagement.

Tagging a business like a local golf course in Mexico or a small mom-and-pop restaurant can also increase their business. After tagging the business in your photo, it’s a good idea to DM them and introduce yourself. Politely ask them to reshare the picture on their story, and they will often share it. They get free content, and you get exposure and engagement.

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Image courtesy of Unsplash


On Instagram, you can also geotag a photo which is great for having your photos show up in that location. Geotagging big tourist attractions like the Colosseum in Rome or Kelingking Beach in Bali will help your photo reach a wider audience.

If you are sharing tips about that location, it’s always good practice to geotag the photo. If the information you have to share is high value and helpful to other travelers, the user will likely save your photo for future use. Instagram is highly visual and appealing, so many travelers like to use the platform for travel research.

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Image courtesy of Unsplash

Geotagging a business or hotel is also a great way to gain exposure when building your travel Instagram. If you and your friends are going to live it up in a hotel in Tulum, tagging the photos with the business and adding the geotag will increase the likelihood that the business will share it. Not to mention it helps out a small business, win-win!

There are certain instances when you shouldn’t geotag a location, and that’s when it’s an ecologically sensitive area or a hidden gem that the local population would prefer to stay hidden. Geotagging beautiful “Instagram-worthy” locations help bring people to that location, which can be great for businesses but bad for the environment. Knowing which locations are good to tag and which ones should remain under the radar takes practice.

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Image courtesy of Unsplash


As other social media platforms like Tiktok and Facebook move into video content, Instagram is following suit. Instagram Reels have blown up in the last year, and more and more users prefer this type of content, meaning travel creators are preparing to switch gears.

Learn more about how to use Reels to your advantage to help boost your travel Instagram account! Remember to leverage your travel video content on Tiktok or Facebook by creating content on those platforms too! Putting leads to follow you on Instagram in captions or video text can help boost your engagement on Instagram!

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Image courtesy of Unsplash

Video Quality

Video Quality, like picture quality, should always be as clear and smooth as possible. Check your camera settings to ensure they are of the highest quality possible. Help maintain video quality by not passing your clips through any editing software. Edit in the photos app to brighten the colors or define lines.

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Image courtesy of Unsplash

Video Clips

Video clips are what you need to stitch together the perfect reel. If you are new to taking videos, look at some of your favorite content creators and see what kinds of clips they take when they make their reels.

The algorithm favors videos that fit the entire phone screen, so video clips should all be shot vertically. Clips should be short, but sometimes it’s easier to set the camera on video mode on a tripod and walk into the shot to get some motion. Longer videos can be turned into shorter clips in the editing process.

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Image courtesy of Unsplash

Trending Videos

On Instagram, there are video formats that become trends, and it seems every influencer takes the opportunity and jumps on these trends. Watch for emerging trends, and don’t be afraid to try them out! Videos that are trending and do well usually see a massive boost in engagement for the creator.

Trending Sounds

On Instagram, you can save different sounds. While searching for sounds, you can see how many videos have used that sound. Aim for one with between 5k and 25k videos unless it’s a trending sound. This usually indicates a trending sound.

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Original Sounds

Creators can also create an original sound, usually their voice or a sound effect. These sounds can also go viral and can be used by other creators. Try using an original sound if you come across one in Reels that you like, and that fits your brand.

Editing Style

Creating a unique style of editing can help build your travel Instagram account! Do you enjoy shooting videos with quick, punchy clips or longer shots with calming music? Try to define what kind of videos you’d like to show and incorporate more of those into your reel posts. Don’t work about stepping out of your box to try trends, though!

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Image courtesy of Unsplash

Reel Content

Different content styles will get you different followers, so before you go out and shoot, think about which kinds of content you would like to post on your page.

Show And Tell

Show and tell kind of content is when the creator shows the locations of the places they travel in a beautiful, “Instagram aesthetic” kind of way. This kind of content can be made with soft music in the background or punchier pop hits, depending on your style.


Informational videos share tips, tricks, and hacks related to traveling or unique destinations. The creator can choose to be in front of the camera and speak vlog style, do a voice-over in editing, or use text and text to speech options to deliver information. Usually, videos where the creator is in front of the camera work better for getting views.


Funny videos are where trends and micro trends can fit in! If something funny happens in your travels, you can turn it into a funny video and add text or situational music to increase the laugh factor.

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Image courtesy of Unsplash


Instagram stories are a must when building a travel account, although they have fallen out of fashion recently as Instagram heavily pushes reels. Having a set of story highlights on your page also helps the page look complete.

Creators can still get great engagement from Stories if they are posting daily. Try to post relevant stories at least once a day and use some of these great tricks to help keep up engagement.

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Image courtesy of Unsplash

Engagement Tools

Using different tools on your stories will help boost overall engagement. Tools like questions, polls, slider bars, and add yours can help make your stories fun and increase overall engagement with current and new followers.

Profile Set Up

Setting up your profile to accurately represent you while being professional and fun is one of the first steps to creating a fantastic travel Instagram. Check out some of these quick tips to ensure your profile looks sharp!

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Image courtesy of Unsplash


This is the most commonly overlooked aspect when people create a profile or overhaul an old one. Pick a handle that accurately represents you and helps you stand out from the crowd. Avoid cliche handles that include words like “traveler,” “wanderlust,” “abroad,” or defining characteristics like hair color, job title, or location, as those things might change in the future.

Profile Photo

For your profile photo, choose a picture that clearly shows your face. This picture can be taken anywhere, but it helps if it was taken on one of your adventures and shows an exciting background or movement.

Profiles with faces are seen as more relatable and less spammy. This helps build trust with your audience. Try to keep your profile photo the same, as followers might not be able to recognize your profile as quickly.


Creating a short and punch bio that accurately describes you is a great way to tell people what you’re all about. You only have 150 characters to express yourself, so try working it around in your notes app before finally setting it. Remember to add emojis for visual effect!

Use the bio features to your full advantage by filling out your category, contact options, and link to any website or other social media you may have. Using a link tree or link.bio is a great way to add multiple links to your bio.

Story Highlights

Add a cover photo related to each highlight when creating story highlights instead of using the default first story image. This will ensure your profile looks clear and uniform. If you want to use something other than real images, you can design story highlight covers in Canva.


When people head to your profile, one of the first things they see is your 9×9 photo grid. Making sure this grid is uniform is ideal for travel creators. Whether you feature reels, photos, or both in your grid, you should be sure that the crop is correct and that it isn’t cutting out anyone’s face or landscapes.

In Reels, you can add a static photo as a cover or choose a clip of the video you want to feature on your cover. For photos, try to crop the photo to the ideal ratio before posting to Instagram.

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Image courtesy of Unsplash

Instagram Business Profile

If you’ve switched to an Instagram business profile, you have access to post insights. These post insights give you an inside look at what is doing well regarding your posts, stories, and reels. These metrics can help determine what style of posts are doing well and which ones you can cut.


Having a general engagement strategy and knowing what not to do can help boost your following. Engagement strategies are often overlooked as new influencers and creators think they will get good enough reach from reels. A set engagement strategy is one of the best ways to remain consistent and grow!

Target Audience

Try to tailor your posts to a target audience. Younger generations like Gen Z prefer less curated, more raw-feeling content (even if it’s still curated). Older generations like Millenial and Gen X prefer more curated “Instagram-worthy” content. Knowing which audience you’d like to target will help determine what type of content to create and post.

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Image courtesy of Unsplash

Engagement Strategy

An organic engagement strategy is the best way to build an audience, especially when starting out on the platform. Find similar creators who have smaller accounts or are just starting out and like and comment on their posts. This helps build a connection with these creators that you can use for future collaborations!

Each day before posting on Instagram, try to engage with accounts in the travel niche and the people you follow. This will help boost engagement as Instagram will detect that you are active on the platform.

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Creating a “cold calling” template text is a great way to manage your DM’s when reaching out to businesses or other creators. Try to make your template sound like your authentic voice and not like spam. Feel free to use emojis and casual language to help create this effect.

Strategies to Avoid

Certain Instagram strategies might work in the short term but are detrimental to your account in the long run. It’s best to avoid any Instagram groups collaborating on or off the platform to engage with each other’s accounts. These engagement groups or pods boost engagement temporarily, but you run the risk of Instagram thinking your account is spam and blocking it.

“Follow-for-follow” is another strategy some creators use to help boost their following. Follow-for-follow can be used through engagement groups or various follow-for-follow hashtags.

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Image courtesy of Unsplash

Instagram users tend to follow and then unfollow later, which is an annoying, ineffective strategy to build an audience. In fact, it does the opposite. Finding out the psychology behind why people follow and unfollow can help you better understand this Instagram game and avoid it altogether.

Similar Accounts

While looking through the explore page, try to find accounts that are similar niche to yours. For example, if you are creating content around budget or solo travel, try to find other creators doing the same thing you are! This helps build your presence in the travel sphere and grow your account with people who love seeing your content!

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Image courtesy of Unsplash

Final Thoughts on Travel Instagram Engagement

Building an Instagram account from scratch can be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be! Following these handy tips and tricks, you should have a unique and professional travel Instagram page set up and ready to display your incredible travel adventures.

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