The other day, I posted a blog on gaining Instagram followers which ended up becoming my most-read post on this site. I figured I’d try switching it up from my usual travel blogs and writing a few more posts on social media growth, which has been my area of expertise long before I started traveling frequently.
Since I started with my travel page on Instagram, I have experimented with hundreds of hashtags and have basically narrowed it down to about 15 hashtags that I use for every post and then having a little bit of freedom with the other 15 to use based on location and the content of the picture.
In case you missed my post on gaining Instagram followers, I covered how crucial hashtags are to growing your Instagram following. You can use up to 30 hashtags on a post, and by using the 5 dot trick, no one will even notice the annoying block of hashtag text on your post.
Anyway, this post will be relatively brief as hashtag usage is pretty self-explanatory. It’ll be as comprehensive of a list as I can come up with, but obviously everyone is going to have different accounts and therefore have different combinations that will work best for them. However, you can never go wrong with certain travel hashtags, and these are some of my favorites.
For Travel Photos In General:
Any variant of the words “travel,” “explore,” or “wander”.
- #Travel #Traveling #Travelers #Traveler #Explore #Exploring #Explorer #Wander #Wanderer #Wanderlust
You can add any word to travel honestly.
- #TravelBug #SoloTravel #TravelBlogger #TravelPhotography #TravelDiary #TravelersJournal #TravelLife #TravelPics #TravelTips #TravelGirls #TravelMore #TravelAddict
I’ll get to location later in this post, but adding location after #Travel or #Explore also make for good hashtags
- #TravelUSA #TravelEurope #TravelPH #ExploreCanada #ExploreAustralia
Adding “insta” or “gram” as a prefix and suffix, respectively, are also popular hashtags.
- #Travelgram #Travelingram #InstaTravel #InstaTraveler #InstaExplore #InstaPassport
Taking advantage of daily hashtags is also a good idea. Most days have their own theme, but for travelers, the best ones would probably be:
- #TravelTuesday #WanderlustWednesday #ThrowbackThursday #FlashbackFriday #SelfieSaturday #SelfieSunday.
Some don’t really fall into clean categories but some good miscellaneous hashtags include:
- General terms related to travel like #Passport #Vacation #Paradise #Trips #Tripstagram #RoundTheWorld
- Random hashtags that gained popularity a while ago and remain popular like #DoYouTravel #TravelWithMe #TravelDeeper
- #PicOfTheDay #PhotoOfTheDay are extremely general but extremely popular hashtags.
Using Location Hashtags To Your Advantage
When you’re traveling, you’ll be all over the world. People are always looking through hashtags to see what might be going on in a certain part of the world or to fuel their wanderlust. Always dedicate a few hashtags to where you currently are.
- #Europe #Eurotrip #France #Paris #EiffelTower #TourEiffel
Adding “insta” or “gram” work well here also, as well as “igers” to signify that you are an Instagrammer in that area. As always, you can’t go wrong with using #Travel either.
- #InstaParis #IGersParis #Parisgram #IGersFrance #InstaFrance #Francestagram #Europegram #IGersEurope #InstaEurope
- #TravelParis #TravelFrance #TravelEurope
Getting Featured By Larger Accounts
There are tons of large travel accounts on Instagram. Some are large travel companies and brands, others are accounts that just became big as an aggregator of other people’s submitted pictures. While it kind of sucks to let larger accounts use your photography (and get way more likes than you), it can be a good way to get followers. I’ve had photography featured by GoPro, BBC, and The Guardian, as well as dozens of city-specific or country-specific accounts.
Some popular hashtags to try and get featured by larger accounts (or just get more exposure in general) can be:
- #NatGeoTravel #NatGeoYourShot #ForbesTravelGuide #BBCTravel #GuardianTravelSnaps #PassionPassport #TravelStoke #BeautifulDestinations #BestInTravel #GirlsWhoExplore #AwesomeEarth #AweSupply #TheGlobeWanderer #LonelyPlanet #TravelDeeper #TravelStoke #ABMTravelBug #Worlderlust #TravelAwesome #ExploringTheGlobe #CNTraveler #TravelDames
Also try to find country or city-specific accounts that are known for featuring other people’s photography in that area. For example, while I was in Peru, I was featured a number of times by @IgersCusco. I’ll use Peru as an example, but you’ll have to find different ones for every country.
- #IgersCusco #IgersPeru #DiscoverSouthAmerica #ExperiencePeru #UnlimitedSouthAmerica
Hashtags Specific To The Picture
Hashtags can also be useful in describing the picture. Using hashtags is kind of similar to how taking advantage of the alt_text function helps SEO. Basically, by using text to describe your picture, you’re making it more likely to be found. For example, if people are looking for a picture of mountains for whatever reason, #mountains makes it possible to narrow their search.
You can start with hashtags related directly to the scenery of the picture.
- #Mountains #Sky #Snow #Blue #Nature #Alps #SnowCapped #Winter #Cold
Or hashtags related to the type of photography:
- #GoPro #GoProHero #Fisheye #WideAngle #PerspectiveShot #GoProPhoto #GoProOfTheDay
I have yet to buy a real DSLR, but there are popular hashtags for popular cameras as well:
- #Canon #Canon6D #CanonEos #CanonPhoto #CanonPhotography #CanonUSA
The hardest part of hashtags is picking just 30. You don’t want to be too general otherwise your pictures will quickly get buried by other pictures. With hundreds of millions of people using Instagram per day, you want to make sure yours stand out, so along with general hashtags, throw in some more specific, less popular ones. They’ll require more specific searches, but will be less likely to be buried as quickly.
Think of it like a Google search. If you write a blog called “Travel Tips”, people will be searching for “Travel Tips” all the time, but you’ll be competing with thousands of other (and probably more popular) websites offering travel tips. However, something titled “Ten Tips For Solo Travelers Going Backpacking For The First Time” will require a more specific search, but will have less competition. Hashtags are like titles and keywords for your photo. The better the mix, the more effective your hashtags will be.
Playing around and experimenting with hashtags is something that you’ll need to do on your own if you want to find your perfect mix. I change mine for every picture I post and it is definitely good to be flexible if you want yours to be as effective as possible. I have my hashtags pre-written on the Notes app on my iPhone, and just change a few up before I copy and paste them into a comment immediately after I post the picture. Posting your hashtags as soon as you post the picture guarantees that your picture will show up on the hashtag’s feed. If you wait too long to post it, it might already be buried by newer posts before it even gets seen.
If you up your hashtag game, you up your Instagram game. Hopefully this guide to hashtags helps you out and helps you achieve whatever goals you might have for Instagram. Like I mentioned in my blog post on gaining Instagram followers, there is a lot of potential to make a lot of money from a large Instagram following, and hashtags will be crucial to this growth.