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I am a geek when it comes to travel research. Look around and I’m sure you’ll notice my love affair with travel planning. It is why I named my blog the Detail Oriented Traveler after all!
One of the more fun ways I like to do travel research is through hashtags and Instagram. While it might seem a little like falling down the rabbit hole at first, I’ll walk you through my methods of finding the best ways to discover wonderful attractions.
Instagram – How to use it
First, let’s go through a little background on how to use Instagram. If you’re a frequent iger, feel free to skip ahead.
Instagram is a photo-sharing social media account, used primarily on your phone. Like Facebook, you can follow your friends and favorite brands (Psst… I’m @dotraveler.) The beauty of Instagram lies in the hashtags. Users will post relevant keywords in their descriptions or comments using a hashtag. These are clickable and lead you to other folks who use this hashtag.
Here’s where you can fall down the rabbit hole, however. Clicking through a variety of hashtags may send you bouncing around Instagram with hours lost and nothing learned. And who hasn’t done that enough with Pinterest, Facebook or just the interwebs?
Finding Relevant Hashtags
So, where do you begin without getting sidetracked?
Start with the State Travel Bureau websites. Many states have their own signature hashtag that not only do they use but travelers all over the state use.
These are just two of the states I’ve used recently.
You can find them at the local level as well. St. Pete/Clearwater uses #LiveAmplified and my hometown of Muskegon uses #WatchUsGo.
Using visitor’s bureaus both at the state and local level is a great way to start.
The Travel Research
How do I use the hashtags to research then you ask? By clicking on the hashtag, you’ll find top posts. These are a great way to discover hidden gems in the area you plan to visit. I discovered delicious-looking restaurants this way (people love showing off their food!) as well as interesting murals and local breweries.
I typically follow the visitor bureau sites to see more of their highlights in my feed. However, if I just need a quick snapshot of what’s going on… I don’t have to follow, just use the hashtag as a starting point.
No, not the kind of engaged with a ring…engage with the other Instagrammers. Ask questions on the photo that interests you. Especially if you’re asking a visitors bureau or business, they’ll be thrilled to get back to you. It’s a terrific way of engaging with the business in an informal manner. If it’s a personal account, ask them too! You’ll get an unbiased opinion of the attraction or the area.
Even more Travel Research
Hashtags will often lead to more hashtags to browse through. And of course, you can always search a hashtag for the attraction or city directly. If people use the location in their feed, your search will result in photos at that location. Again, ask questions about what they thought. Was it worth the money, etc?
I want to hear more. Have you ever used hashtags in your travel research? What did you find? What are some of your favorite hashtags to use? Leave me a comment and I’ll share them on my Instagram feed!
Keep Reading – How to Use Pinterest for Travel Research
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