5 Tips for Optimizing Travel for Follower Growth

It's no secret that we're living in Airbnbs and out of suitcases lately and will continue so for the next year while we live in London as our home base to travel Europe (follow our journey here). One of the biggest things I've learned is that travel is a really unique way to grow your following on Instagram! 

Where are you traveling this summer? How about you optimize this travel to boost your Instagram account... here's how!

Grow Instagram with Travel

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm all about unplugging while you're on "holiday" as they say here in England, but I don't want you to miss out on new follower opportunities with some pre-holiday prep work! These tips will help you optimize your travels in advance of going so things are easy while you're traveling. BOOM!

First off, if you're not using Saved Collections on Instagram to help plan your travel, start now and thank me later! Whenever you see a picture of somewhere you would like to visit, press and hold the little flag below the post on the right to save it to a Collection so you can put that restaurant, park, landmark, or even someone in that town who you would want to collaborate with on your itinerary. No one can see your Saved Collections, so don't fret there. Here's what my collections on my personal account look like for example: 

Saved Collections on Instagram

Also, if you're not following hashtags like #goopgo then go do that now too. SO much inspiration and new discoveries for our travels come from following hashtags like that one, especially the #prerttylittlelondon for London. 

1. Hashtags

In advance of your trip, do some research and save relevant hashtags to traveling and where you're going to Planoly (note, this is a referral link) or if you don't use that, save them to your notes. Then use them on your travel posts! Use the search bar at the top of Instagram to look up hashtags that relate to the town, city, country, travel in general, and other related topics and then choose the best 11-26 (max is 30). 

This will help you get discovered by others traveling to these locations, living in these locations, and those with wanderlust in general. See my note at the bottom on if these are the right followers for you. 

It's also a great way to get word of mouth recommendations if someone is talking to another person traveling to your destination. I know you've been at dinner with someone before and they mentioned something and you said, "I saw this girl on Instagram..." :)

Hashtag Searching

2. Location Tagging

You have a 79% chance of more engagement if you use a geotag (aka tagging your location). Woah! Make sure you're adding locations to your feed posts and to your Stories via the Location sticker. 

Location Tagging

3. Use Stories!

When I'm traveling I usually use my iPhone camera to shoot things around town and then once I'm sitting down I put them in Stories using tags, stickers, gifs, writing, etc. to make them more interesting. It also helps me be present so I'm not trying to post the Stories on the spot while I'm with my family and friends! 

Aim for a minimum of 3-5 Stories a day to see an uptick in your engagement and following! Don't forget to location tag and use hashtags in your Stories for discovery!

4. @ Tagging

Tag the businesses and local city accounts for places you're visiting! In Stories, make sure you've clicked the Instagram account and it is underlined. They may just share your content and you get exposed to their audiences. Even if they only have 4,000 followers, that's a new batch of 4,000 people you potentially don't have following you. 

Just like with hashtags, do research in advance via the Instagram search bar to find these accounts and keep a list in your notes. 

@ Tagging Instagram

5. Collaborations

Look for other business owners or influencers in the city you're going that you would love to collaborate with. Just like above, they have a whole slew of followers that aren't following you yet so set up a coffee date, photoshoot, or playdate and snap some photos together. Look for people within your same follower range - don't expect someone with 30k followers to collaborate with you if you have 5k unless you have another value-add to give them than your own exposure. 

5. Schedule your content

Get in Planoly or the scheduling tool of your choice and schedule your posts in advance before you leave on vacation. Then you don't have to think about what to post or go dark during that time. You can even add placeholders with your hashtags in them if you want to use real-time images during your trip. 


Now, the above can totally help you grow your following, make sure you pay attention to by how much! But are they the right followers? If you are a local boutique who is looking to use Instagram purely for local sales, then this probably isn't as important to you. But if you're looking to grow your following overall and potentially gain new brand ambassadors for life, then try out the above on your summer travels!

What other things do you do to optimize your social while you travel?

Erin Phillips