Choosing The Best Travel Hashtags For Instagram

Hashtags can help Instagram accounts get more likes, gain more traction, and connect with other like-minded people.  No matter what size your account is, using hashtags offers many great benefits as long as you pick the right ones. If you are new to Instagram or still getting a hang of it and are unsure how to choose the best travel hashtags, no worries! With these few tips, you can become a pro travel hashtagger in no time.

Even Cabo has it’s own hashtag!

How to choose the best travel hashtags for Instagram:

  1. Don’t Just Describe Your Surrounding
  2. Don’t Use Generic Hashtags
  3. Find Your Travel Niche
  4. Use Instagram to Find Specific Travel Hashtags
  5. Find The Right Size Hashtags
  6. Get Into a Hashtag’s Top-9
  7. Examples of Travel Hashtags
  8. Use Hashtag Generator Apps

1. Don’t Just Describe Your Surrounding

I joined Instagram very late in the game and when I started out, like many other people, I was completely lost. I loved sharing my travel pictures with my friends, but I had no idea what impact hashtags could have on growing an account so most of the time I wound up just throwing in a few hashtags in my captions describing the surroundings. I used a lot of random hashtags like #summer #dog #tbt #sundays #love #beach #happy or whatever else popped into my mind at the moment. Most people on Instagram resort to this which is why millions of photos are tagged under these hashtags, but it’s probably one of the worst strategies for growth. Because so many people post under these hashtags, your photo will get lost in the hashtag feed within seconds and you will be lucky to get a few likes out of it. Also, these hashtags don’t really have anything to do with travel so you wouldn’t be targeting the right audience anyways.


2. Don’t Use Generic Hashtags

When I started traveling more and wanted to learn how to grow my account, I searched through many articles online hoping to find good travel hashtags. Most of the articles I found would say to use hashtags like #travel #travelgram #instatravel so I tried that for a while. But here’s the problem: hashtag #travel has 137 million pictures tagged under it, #travelgram has 29 million photos, and #instatravel has 27 million. How in the world is your photo supposed to stand out between millions of others? Although these hashtags are more relevant to travel than let’s say #sun, they are still too large for your photo to get any traction so they won’t help too much.

3. Find Your Travel Niche

So if all these hashtags are too big or are not relevant to travel, what are the right hashtags? The first step is to understand what niche your travel account falls under. Although travel seems like a pretty narrow category, the key is to find hashtags that are as specific as possible so other like-minded people will find you. For example, a female urban traveler who mostly travels to major cities wouldn’t really want to use #mountainlife or #wildernessbabes, but a female that likes rock climbing probably would.

Exercise: I want you to take a few minutes to think about a few things that describe your travel style and write them down. This will help you determine which hashtags are the best for you.

For example, here are some things that describe my travel style for my travel account @vagablonde_laura:







So are these the hashtags I should use? Not exactly. These are some guideline words from which we are going to find more specific hashtags where we have a chance to stand out and get noticed. Instead of using the big generic hashtags try to find smaller ones such as the examples below:

#outdoors 19M posts —> #optoutside 2M posts

#girl 233M posts —> #girlslovetravel 136K posts

#oregon 6.5M posts —> #oregonnw 151K posts

#blogger 26M posts —> #travelblogger 3.6M posts

#hiking 18M posts —> #takeahike 272K posts

#mountains 23M posts —> #choosemountains 267K posts

4. Use Instagram to Find Specific Travel Hashtags

Sometimes it’s not as easy to find the right super-focused hashtags to use, but there are a few strategies that can help you out:

  • Instagram is built to help you find relevant hashtags. By going to the search bar and typing hashtag #surf we see some other choices come up beside #surf such as #surfphotography, #surflife, or #surfersparadise. These hashtags are still popular, but they are not as big as #surf which has 13 million posts tagged under it so you have a better chance to get noticed and your picture will stick around for longer before getting lost in the feed.example-of-surf-hashtag-on-instagram
  • Once you find a relevant hashtag, by clicking on that hashtag Instagram will suggest other relevant hashtags for you to check out. Example by searching #girlslovetravel Instagram will suggest similar hashtags like #girlswhotravel #wearetravelgirls #dametraveler which are all often used by female travel bloggers.example-of-female-travel-hashtags-on-instagram
  • Check out what your competition is using. Once you find other successful accounts in your niche, see what hashtags they are using. Sometimes people hide hashtags in the comment section so make sure to go back to the oldest comments and find out if they are using any hashtags and what they are. example-of-big-travel-account-using-hashtags
  • Most brands, travel companies, and feature accounts have their own hashtags that are trending and can drive traffic to your account. For example, outdoors gear company REI has two great hashtags #rei1440project and #optoutside that are highly used by outdoors travelers. What are some companies that you like and would love to be noticed by? Check out their Instagram accounts and see if they have a personalized hashtag listed in the bio section.rei-hashtags-on-instagram

5. Find The Right Size Hashtags

One of the most important aspects of choosing the best hashtags to use on Instagram is finding the right sized ones. As we mentioned earlier, hashtag #travel has 137 million photos posted under it so you probably don’t want to use it because you will have too much competition. On the other hand hashtag #travelismyjam has only 60 photos posted under it so you don’t want to use it either because nobody will see your photos. So when you are searching for good hashtags to use, not only should you try to find hashtags that are relevant to your style, but to your account size as well.

6. Get Into a Hashtag’s Top-9

When you search for a hashtag, most will have the “Top 9” pictures in that hashtag featured at the top. Your ultimate goal should be to get into these Top 9’s by targeting the right sized hashtags. If you can be featured in a Top 9, every person who searches for that hashtag has a potential to see your photo which can lead to more likes and followers.example-of-top-9-on-instagram

The way Instagram chooses photos for this Top 9 is based on how many comments and likes a photo receives compared to other photos under that hashtag. The more your followers are engaged with your account by commenting on and liking your photos, the better your chances of getting into these Top 9’s. Before choosing to include a hashtag, check out your competition – go into a specific hashtag and see how many comments and likes the Top 9 have, and compare it to the engagement of your typical post.
Great, Laura! I am ready to find some awesome hashtags, but I still have no clue where to start!

To help you out I have put together a few travel categories with examples of relevant hashtags under those categories. Don’t be afraid to experiment when choosing hashtags and switch them up once in a while until you start seeing growth in your likes.

7. Examples of Travel Hashtags

Outdoors adventure

These hashtags are perfect for outdoors, camping, backpacking, hiking and mountain pictures:

#getoutstayout #wildernessculture #getoutside #getoutdoors #exploretocreate #choosemountains #hikelife #everytrailconnects #lifeofadventure #neverstopexploring

Gloomy travel photos

If you like posting gloomy travel photos, these are some great hashtags for you to use that share similar style:

#peoplescreative #visualsoflife #thevisualscollective #agameoftones #illgrammers #artofvisuals #thecreative #moodygrams #justgoshoot #createcommune #way2ill

Female travel blogger

There are many great female travel communities forming and growing on Instagram. Use these suggested hashtags to build an audience within other female travelers:

#wearetravelgirls #girlslovetravel #dametraveler #travelblogger #globetrotter #travelgirl #sheexplores #sheisnotlost #darlingescapes  #radgirlslife #andshesdopetoo

Location specific

Most countries and states have their own sets of hashtags and feature accounts on Instagram. For example, when I travel around Oregon instead of using #oregon that has over 6 M photos tagged under it I use some of the following smaller hashtags:

#oregonnw #oregonexplored #bestoforegon #traveloregon #oregoncoast #oregonlife #pnwonderland #upperleftusa #pnwcollective #pnwlife #pnwonderland #pnwisbeautiful

Feature travel accounts

A great way to build an audience on Instagram is by being re-posted on large travel feature accounts. Use their hashtags for a chance to be noticed and featured:

#beautifuldestinations #discoverglobe #earthfocus #earthofficial #passionpassport #earthpix #theglobewanderer #discoverearth #roamtheplanet #nakedplanet

Travel brands

Most brands and companies have their own hashtags on Instagram that often gain a lot of traction. Here are some examples of brands that have popular hashtags:

#natgeotravel #lonelyplanet #outsidemagazine #travelchannel #patagonia #gopro #tentree #sonyalpha #optoutside #huffpostgram #canonphotography

General Travel

These hashtags are great if you don’t have a specific travel style yet:

#travelbug #traveladdict #worldtraveler #aroundtheworld #seetheworld #aroundtheworldpix #teamtravelers #tourtheplanet #neverstopexploring #exploremore

8. Use Hashtag Generator Apps

If you have tried all the methods mentioned above, but are still having a hard time figuring out which Instagram hashtags are good for your travel style, try using a hashtag generator app like Focalmark to lead you in the right direction. Focalmark is available for download on iPhones and Androids, but can also be used on a desktop if you like to schedule your posts through a third party app like Hootsuite, Later or Planoly. By selecting a few categories that represent your photo style, Focalmark will come up with 30 creative travel photography hashtags for you within seconds. The best part about this app is that it was designed to stay away from the typical generic hashtags like “follow4follow”, “like” or “cute” that won’t do much to grow your audience or engagement. By selecting multiple categories that represent your photography style, this app can really narrow down into the best creative hashtags that will represent you and add more likes to your photos.

Are you still having trouble finding the right travel hashtags for you? Leave your IG handle name below and I will be happy to help you out more!

Written by Laura Sausina

Related Article:

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15 thoughts on “Choosing The Best Travel Hashtags For Instagram”

    1. Hi, Andy! Have you tried to use hashtags like #backpackerlife #backpackerstory #backpackersworld #backpacker_photography #solobackpacker? These are all smaller, more niched hashtags that are more focused on backpacking travel. Try to socialize with other people from these hashtags (like, comment) and you might get some more likes and comments back in return. Socializing on the right hashtags is a great way to get more likes, connect with like-minded accounts and grow on Instagram. Hope this helps!

  1. hi Laura,
    I got started on Instagram even later than you (October this year). Thanks for sharing all of your information! I’ve been experimenting with different hashtags, times of day, etc. I’ll have to try some of your suggestions and think through some new hashtags for me too. Your account (vagablond_laura) was one of the early ones that I found and started following, which then led me to your site!
    My IG is NatParkJunkie

    1. Hey Matt! Thanks for your comment. I looked through your account and you have some great pics! I visited Zion this year too, such a beautiful place. Looks like you are already using a good variety of hashtags from small to big so that is a very good start. One of the best ways to get a kickstart on social media is by interacting with other similar accounts like yours. I would recommend to go through some national park related hashtags and try to like and comment on other people’s pictures. It’s a great way to get noticed and to get some likes back! I also test different times of the day for posting and I have found mornings are best for me because most people are just getting up, or getting to work and check their Instagram before getting the day started. Hope this helps! Cheers!

      1. Thanks for taking the time to check out my account and offering some feedback Laura. I really appreciate it!
        Happy New Year to you!

    1. Hi, Patrick!

      Great Instagram account and good job on the hashtags that you are already using. I noticed that you have a great mix of small to large hashtags. The large hashtags like #vsco and #beautifuldestinations might add a few likes initially but won’t do much in the long term because so many people post under them. The small hashtags like #dcsunset will land you in Top 9’s, but if the hashtags are too small, might not lead to many likes. Having a good mix of both is great to balance that out, which you definitely have.

      If you are trying to grow your account, I would suggest interacting with people that use similar hashtags to yours (like, comment, follow etc). It’s always helpful to establish relationships with other Instagrammers with similar interests because it will lead to higher engagement and likes in the long term. Hope this helps!

      Cheers, Laura.

    1. Hi, Laura! Good job on the hashtags that you already use on your posts! I noticed that you use a lot of PNW hashtags and that has worked great for me in the past too. In my opinion, it’s better to use a smaller targeted hashtag like #pnwisbeautiful that has 118K posts and a small community built around it than like #travel that has 175 million posts under it about various subjects. The narrower and more targeted you can get, the better it is for starting off.

  2. Hi there! We are just starting out, fairly new with our blogging and instagram feed. We are just having a hard time getting started. This article really helps, but could use all the tips we can get. We run @ispyoutdoors on Instagram

    1. Hi there!

      Since your account is fairly new, I would suggest trying out smaller hashtags. I keep a few different sets of hashtags on hand and when I first started, I would notice that the smaller hashtags helped me better than the big ones. Location specific hashtags are great too because a lot of times people will look to them for travel inspiration for their upcoming trips.

      I noticed on the last few photos that you guys are using Sony a6000. Sony cameras are my favorites! My tip with using photos from your camera is to crop them vertically with 4:5 ratio before posting. This provides the maximum possible photo size for Instagram. If you are new to photography, what helped me the most is watching tutorials on especially on Photography 101. It helped me take my camera and photography skills to the next level.

      Hope this helps!

    1. Hi Zahra!

      Awesome photos! It looks like you mostly share fashion and makeup style photos so I would focus on finding hashtags in those niches. Whether it’s fashion, makeup or travel, I usually like to stick with hashtags that are not too big otherwise your photo gets lost in the hashtag feed between the other millions of photos. Hashtags like #makeupislife #makeupisart #fashionmodels #igmodels would be a few smaller hashtags to start with. Hope this helps!


  3. Hi Laura and thank you girlfriend! I put the C in clueless when it comes to this stuff but I want to grow my IG without having to pay an expensive professional. This article is amazing and I’m gonna try this Focalmark and Hootsuite. Wish me luck 🙂

    1. Hi Kyia,

      Glad the post was helpful! All the best wishes with growing your account : ) I would definitely try a few different hashtags and experiment with them until you find ones that work the best. I try to stay away from hashtags that are too big and overcrowded and I usually focus on smaller ones that fit my account style and audience. Good luck!


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