Best travel hashtags for Instagram in 2019 and how to use them

Top travel hashtags to use in Instagram

Last updated on January 22nd, 2019 at 01:00 am

Every quarter I go back to my last 3 months checking what’s happened in my Social environments.

Have I been using the best travel hashtags in 2018 for Instagram? How can I improve my work and my reach in 2019?

In the last quarter, I have been quite happy with the increased number of followers, follow-up and views. I fact I was honestly extremely surprised by the results.

What is the best of this step-by-step approach?

It actually works

On Instagram I had less than 100,000 followers 12 months ago. There are now over 130,000 people following my work. Moreover, the engagement has gone up quite considerably with lots of likes and comments.

I think I was able to engage with new people on Instagram in 2018 thanks to a better use of the top travel hashtags.

In fact, I sometimes noticed that the people commenting and reposting my work were not actually following me directly but they arrived at my feed thanks to my choice of travel hashtags.

Which strategy works best for Instagram hashtags? 

The one that gives me more follow-up, I like to think.

More interaction (likes and comments). Receiving likes and/or comments help me to grow in my travel and photography work. Comments do not need to be only good, constructive critics help to improve too!

Do you need great photos?

I would say so. Great content attracts followers. You can read and download my FREE (no need to pass your email, no worries) ultimate guide for travel photography. Over 70 pages that may change your way to make (not just take) photos when travelling.

FREE (no email required) Reference Guide to Travel Photography

The best travel hashtags I usually add to a photo come from a result of this easy 3 step-by-step process

  1. Popular travel hashtags
  2. Hashtags related to the content
  3. Media and Instagram contests (magazines, competitions, newspapers, websites….basically media that can re-post or re-tweet my work)

STEP 1 – Popular Travel Hashtags

Basic Instagram Hashtags for travel in 2018

The easy winner is, as expected, travel, and by a large margin. An interesting note to add to the list below is that travelling is both reported with double and single L.

Hashtags Tagged media
travel 466M
instatravel 100M
traveling 78M
travelgram 1105M
travelling 60M
mytravelgram 25M
travelingram 32M
igtravel 30M
traveler 35M
travelphotography 65M

What do I usually do? 

I usually select #travelphotography and #travelling.

I originally used them only when physically travelling, however, I have started using them in almost all of my posts, also when I am in my hometown, St.Kilda/Melbourne.

The main reason is that I use the hashtags for people to reach me, and my photography work, and not for describing my status.

These are all very generic hashtags and I would personally suggest using just 2 or 3 of them. Except for #travelphotography, which gives more information about a type of photography, all of the others are almost the same.

Try to change from time to time. Instagram has not confirmed however it seems that it penalizes sequence of posts with the same hashtags (important, read my suggestions at the end of the post for my strategy). 

If I am in the middle of a travel campaign I sometimes post the recurrent hashtag (tourism board etc) in the first comment, as soon as I post the photo. This may be another way to avoid any possible penalty if existing

Should I use the very popular travel hashtags?

This is a great question mark.

Sometimes it is better to explain with an example.

Let’s build a scenario with the popular hashtag above, #travel. You tag your photo and it will stay in the first search page for just one or two seconds because many other people have been using the same popular travel hashtag for their photos too. Have a test, go on Instagram and search for #travel, refresh the page straight away and you will see brand new photos.

Is it worthy?

Personally, I do not think so

What do I usually do? 

I prefer to use less popular ones, at least you have more seconds in the first page, although fewer people looking for that hashtag too 😀

I have done few tests and, for these generic tags, selecting the ones with a popularity of 1M to 10M works well.

How many travel hashtags should I use?

You may argue that you can use all of them and even more. To my eyes just does not look nice to see a post with 40 hashtags, it looks confusing.

What do I usually do?

I use around 10-15 travel hashtags (sometimes 20, but rarely). I may use the hashtags even in the description of the photo. I like to write a bit about the image, not just hashtags. The description may contain the hashtag itself. This is an example of a photo I posted a while ago:

Navigating the Yarra River, Melbourne (I usually start with a short title and the place)
Another awesome way to visit #melbourne is by #boat following the #yarra #river . Do it at sunset and it becomes #magic (I have already added 5 hashtags in the photo description)

Here below the photo

This is a snapshot, likes and comments are not updated

This is a snapshot, likes and comments are not updated


STEP 2 – Hashtags related to the content

Photo related hashtags

When I tag the photos I usually use my personal W&G process 

  • Where (where am I)

I use 2 hashtags, one for the city/town/village (the place where the photo was made) and one for the country

  • What (what am I doing)

The activity I am doing, usually just one hashtag as #walking, #trekking, #cycling, etc

  • When (which special day, if any)

I add one hashtag however only if it is a memorable day like #nye or #australiaday or #independenceday or #chinesenewyear or any other day that the photo is about

  • Why

Why am I adding the photo? I describe the image with few hashtags (4-5) as:

#market #building #street #tram #river #sunset etc

#awesome #lovely #amazing etc

The fantastic thing of Instagram is that meanwhile you write the hashtag you get a suggestion and the volume; stay below a 10M volume, if you have a choice

  • Get global

I add the two popular travel hashtags as discussed above (#travelphotography and #travelling)

  • Get local

I add two travel hashtags used by the local tourism boards (usually city/area and country). This is the most important step. You may have a great outcome if they love your photo and re-post it, which usually gives a wide visibility of your work. You may wake up the day after and have suddenly hundreds more of followers, just thanks to a re-post.

How do you find these local travel hashtags?

You need to google the travel tourism board website and see their Instagram account. As an example, #visitmelbourne is the official hashtag used by the city of Melbourne, #tourismthailand is another one if you are visiting Thailand and so on

TripAdvisor has a list of the Tourism Boards, you can also look into Wikipedia, they have usually a link to the city/country website and from there to the tourism office. Do not be disappointed if you cant’s find it. Sometimes it happens that they have still not started using Instagram 😮

I ultimately just google “<place/city/region> tourism board Instagram” and usually I get the IG account on top of the ranking

  • Get technical

Describe the type of photo from a technical perspective if you wish. Popular hashtags are #landscape #portrait #closeup etc

I use them only if I run out of hashtags 😀

  • Colours

If there is a predominant colour I tag it, otherwise nothing


STEP 3 – Media and Instagram contests

Travel blogger hashtags: Tourism Board

As a travel blogger, I consider the hashtags related to the tourism board probably the most important of all. The visibility that they do provide, if they repost, is immense.

Two the main reasons. They have usually a huge follow-up and, even more important, these followers are all interested in the subject and they want to see more photos. There is a great possibility that some of them will come to your account to see your work.

And it’s not all about repost here. These so-called “travel blogger hashtags” are actually great for much more than Instagram visibility. They are fantastic to create a job opportunity.

Let’s be honest here. It’s always hard to cold-call a tourism board to see if there is a collaboration possibility, even if you have a good Instagram follow-up, a great FB page or 50K page views per month, if not even more.

But, if they re-post your photo, you have the perfect opportunity to email/call them starting with “Many thanks for reposting my xyz photo, so glad you liked it. I am in the area for another 2 weeks and I bla bla bla”

I use this trick even when I plan to re-visit a country. I just post old photos. Things may happen and you may end up with a collaboration.

Sometimes the Tourism board does not provide a hashtag. The workaround is to include the IG account. For example, the Indonesia Tourism Board does not have a hashtag, I just include in the description the IG account instead (@indtravel). They will get a notification.

Actually, Indonesia introduced a new travel hashtag lately, called #WonderfulIndonesia 😀

Remember that the tourism boards are always searching for great content around the Instagram feeds.

TIP: if you see your photo re-posted by a tourism board then you may try to contact them and see if you can start a collaboration. I personally do it. It’s already clear they like your work, they shared your image.

They may be looking for Instagrammers. You may get an invitation for an influencer trip, and from there, your Instagram CV will grow with something more substantial than only great photos

Creative travel hashtags

In the next heading, we will write a list of hashtags with a strong relationship to publications, magazines, websites. They are all busy rooms and if you get featured then you will certainly see your engagement increasing.

Before that, let’s go more into the niche of creative travel hashtags that help to describe the moment you are living when you take the photo:

  • #sunsetporn : over 2M posts here for the amazing, slightly over-saturated warm sunset photo
  • #morningslikethese : over 1M photos tagged in this room with some amazing shot describing the first hours of the day, including extraordinary sunrise
  • #amazingfood : if you love to take photos of food when travelling
  • #travelblogger : competition is pretty tough on this hashtag dedicated to travel bloggers now counting over 6M posts
  • #travelwithkids : perfect if you are a family travelling with children (almost half a million photos)
  • #viewfromthetop and #amazingview: for helicopter, aeroplane, tall buildings and other unique viewpoints
  • #amazingday : for something extraordinary
  • #NeverStopExploring : it’s a bit of a generic one but with possible great potential (over 11M posts with this creative travel hashtag)
  • #nightphotography : mostly for star photography

Every day new ones come out. From time to time I use one or more of the above. I suggest to build your own list and use it when needed

Most of these tags are not managed by anyone and this means that your photos will not be re-posted. I use these tags only for visibility.

Travel hashtags for media and Instagram contests

For the photos I like the most I use also hashtags of magazines, important websites/feeds, newspapers or ongoing competitions.

The competition here is quite high, so moderate the use to your best shots

The ones I use the most are:

  • #travellerau (Aussie newspaper)
  • #LP (Lonely Planet)
  • #fodorsonthego (Fodors Travel)
  • #RTWChat (BootsnAll’s hashtag)
  • #TLPicks (Travel + Leisure magazine, with over 2M followers a repost is pure gold)
  • #traveldeeper (AFAR media, voted the best travel magazine in USA)
  • #BPMag or #TakeMeBackpacking (Backpacker Magazine, mostly on trekking)
  • #surroundmewithwater (Islands Magazine)
  • #vacationwolf (popular feed with over 300K followers that repost the best tagged photos)
  • #theglobewanderer (you get reposted here and you will suddenly see you followers increasing in thousands – feed with over 2M followers)
  • #passionpassport (another fantastic popular feed that reposts)
  • #dametraveler (female travelling feed which repost as well)
  • #roamtheplanet (popular travel community)
  • #BDTeam (Beautiful Destinations feed with over 7M followers, hard to get reposted, however, if it happens…)

Look for locals publications and you may have a greater success. Lonely Planet is great but how many photos are tagged with #LP, well, over 4 million till now, it can be difficult to get exposure in this busy room 😀

Do not get upset if they do not report your photos. You can only try. The market is very competitive nowadays


OPTIONAL STEP  – Personalise with new ideas

Personalized travel hashtag

You can try to create your own personalized travel hashtag. This is a great way to expand your work and possibly branding it. 

It’s a common step in any marketing campaign, and if you are after more exposure to your feed then marketing is the magic word.

But what does it mean a personalized travel hashtag?

It means you create your own brand new tag which was never used in any feed before and it has a relationship with your work.

As an example, if you do travel photography and your name is Joe then you could create #TPwithJoe (avoid #TravelPhotographyWithJoe, way too long). Maybe even promise to feature someone else work in your feed if they use that tag in their photos.

Another example, if you travel mostly in one country, say Thailand, then create a personalised tag as #WonderingThailand. Again repost other people work if you can. It’s a way to increase your engagement.

People will start to know you because of your hashtag

Adding another one is not a big effort and you never know what could happen with it. Maybe nothing, maybe not and we are optimistic of course 🙂

Travel hashtag generator

The life could be awesome if a tool could generate hashtags for us. The great surprise is that there is a new website that does that.

A very simple one

And I can say that I looked for it almost on a weekly basis and I can not find anything really effective.

These are my favourites. If you are aware of any other, please, add them in the comment section below

The one I like, although still young, is called Dehaze Instagram hashtags generator (no affiliation, just what I like). They recently moved to an app version only and you may have to fork out a couple of dollars inside the app

Very simple to use.

On the left side, you select the photo style (in our case travel) and on the right side the city, or country.


As a result, Dehaze provides a list of 25 popular travel hashtags.

Interesting that a few of them overlap with mine. I guess we have used a similar process to build our databases. In fact, Dehaze is not a robot, it is a database built with human intelligence.

This project, at the moment, includes only 119 cities/countries, which is a great beginning.

Looking forward to seeing how it grows

Another nice hashtags generator I came across is Photerloo. It’s actually quite impressive. In this case, you do not need to go through a list or a menu, you just need to load the image and Photerloo will analyse the photo and it will propose the hashtags.

As easy as that. But there is more

You can also select your strategy when the hashtags are generated, from most to least popular (more people looking for it but higher competition, or less popular but lower competition too). I like to go for “very popular”, a sort of middle ground.

Of course, not all generated hashtags are correct, you need to filter them, it’s basically a good starting point.

Travel Photography hashtags

I have a list in my mobile called travel photography hashtags. Usually before posting anything I pick the tags that fit the best. Here below I share this list, organised by moment or type.

  • To describe Travel Photography: #travelphotography #photography #drone (there are more for drones) #video #travelpics #travelphoto #travel_captures #travelpic #dslrphotography
  • To describe any kind of exploration, mountains or islands: #explorer #explore #discover #wanderlust #traveladdict #exploremore
  • To describe the wild nature, of any kind: #nature #outdoors #naturelover #naturelovers #naturephotography
  • For the travel blogging community: #travelblog #travelblogger #travelguide

As any list in this post, it is not exhaustive and it’s something you build and change with the time.

Also remember to follow some great travel photographers as @elialocardi, @treyratcliff, @chrisburkard or even me 😉 and check beside the photos also the tags that are used. Sometimes new trends come out 🙂

You can check a more exhaustive list of photographers in my Travel Photography Ultimate Guide.

Vacation hashtags ideas

Finally it’s vacation time, finally the waiting is over, finally the planned trip is coming. I love these moments.

What I usually do before starting any trip is to build a list of vacation hashtag ideas that I will use in the future, during the trip, to describe my travel moments.

I start with the country hashtags, I move to the places I will visit and the possible experience I will have.

Here is an example I am building for my next trip to Sri Lanka.

Country hashtags: #srilanka #hashtagsrilanka #amazingSL #srilankadaily #wonderlustsrilanka #srilankadaily

Places I will visit: #sigiriya #ahangama #pinnawala #kandy #gallefort #galle

Activities: #surfpics #wlinsta (surfing lifestyle) #surfphotography #teatime (tea plantations visit) #teaplantation #earthcapture #traintrip #trainride #hikinglife #peoplewhohike

These collections help me also to be inspired for my photography in Sri Lanka and this is really what’s all about Instagram I think.

City hashtags

When not travelling I spend my time in Melbourne and I can’t stop taking photos of it. I have built a set of city hashtags that I would like to share with you:

  • About the city: #bigcity #city #citylife #megapolis #cityscape #cityscape #citylifestyle #cityview #city_explore #citypark #citylife #city_explore
  • About the urban area: #urbanism #urban #urbanporn #urbanlandscape #urbanphotography #urbanandstreet #urbanaisle
  • About architecture: #architecture #architectureporn #Design (add here more if you do architecture photography)
  • About the “objects” in the city: #skycrapers #buildings #skyline #reflection #street #rooftop #viewfromthetop #downtown #realestate

This list can be so much longer and it depends on the type of photography you do.

The message here is to build your lists, add them in a text file on your mobile and copy and paste based on the photo. In this way, you will not forget any important city hashtag

@living_destinations tends to repost quite often city photos. They have over half a million followers which could give a nice push to your account. Use the hashtag #living_destinations in case

@discover_europe_ is another good account to tag if you post about European cities (#discover_europe_)

If you tend to include also street photography during your travel I suggest to include a few tags from the list below

  • #rawurbanshots #street_focus_on #streetframe #urbanromantix #urbanstreetdreams #citylights #neonlights #urbanstyle #urbanwear
  • #streetphotographer #streetart #streetlife #bw #LensCulture #streetphotography #street #lensculturestreets #decisivemoment #streetphotographyinternational #photography #life #human #citylife
  • #streetcolor #streetbw #streetphoto_bw #streets_storytelling #storyofthestreet #dreaminstreets #life_is_street #lensonstreets #lensculturestreets #reportage #documentary #fromstreetswithlove

Travel hashtags for couples

When should we use the travel hashtags for couples? Yes, I got asked that. My suggestion is to go for them when:

  • the Instagram feed is shared (many bloggers do that)
  • when the photo includes a couple (I personally did that when travelling with my partner)

The hashtags can be very personal here, as they should describe not only what you are doing but also how you feel and live the experience.

It’s another way to engage with your followers, expose part of your private life (with some limits though LOL).

Here below some of my favorites:

  • #couplegoals : probably the most famous hashtag
  • about love: #loveauthentic #lookslikefilm #loveintentionally #coupleshoot #thatsdarling #friendshipgoals #coupleselfie #instalove #loveyou #lovequotes #lovebirds
  •  about feelings: #cute #love #motivation #sweet #happy #romance #romantic #kiss #hug #feeling
  •  about the relationship: #relationshipgoals #relationship #relationshipquotes #proposal #engagementshoot #engaged #couples
  •  in case you have a wedding: #destinationwedding #weddingdress #instawedding #weddinginspiration #bohowedding #hippiewedding #indiebride #indiewedding #weddinginspo #adventurouswedding #weddingphotography #intimatewedding

The @authenticlovemag magazine is also a great source of inspiration (they include mostly photos of people in love), use their #authenticlovemag tag and you could be reposted of course, which is great because they have over 175K followers.



Top Australia hashtags

Here below a table with the top travel hashtags for Australia (I travel a lot here)

They are mostly related to the tourism boards.

Remember to use them if you are down under 😉

  IG Account Hashtag
Tourism Australia @Australia #SeeAustralia #RestaurantAustralia
Australian States
Victoria @VisitMelbourne #visitvictoria
New South Wales @VisitNSW #NewSouthWales
Queensland @queensland #thisisqueensland
Tasmania @Tasmania #DiscoverTasmania
Northern Territory @ausoutbacknt #NTaustralia
South Australia @southaustralia @southaustralia
Western Australia @westernaustralia #thisisWA
Australian cities and areas
Sydney @Sydney #ilovesydney
Melbourne @VisitMelbourne #visitmelbourne
Canberra @VisitCanberra #VisitCanberra
Perth @experienceperth #SeePerth #TastePerth
Gold Coast @visitgoldcoast #visitgoldcoast

Another popular hashtag I tend to use is #discoveraustralia.

I usually build a similar table before I visit any country. At least I have a ready to pick bucket for my photos.

Top Melbourne hashtags

I usually travel a fair bit, however, once back in Melbourne, I can’t stop myself going out and do what I like the most, photography.

As a result, I have a considerable amount of photos about this beautiful city which I regularly post on Instagram.

Here is a list of Melbourne hashtags I often use with my posts.

  • #VisitMelbourne (City Tourism board)
  • #VisitStKilda (tourism board of StKilda, the beach area)
  • @3182_stkilda (it’s not a hashtag however you can tag it and they may repost it)
  • #melbournecity
  • #melbournesights
  • #reallymelbourne
  • #melbournetodo
  • #onlymelbourne
  • #southgate (a popular area for photos)
  • #melbournelife
  • #melbournecbd
  • #melbournenow
  • #melbourneILoveYou
  • #melbournegraffiti
  • #melbourneblogger
  • #igersmelbourne
  • #Melbourne_insta
  • #Melbonpix

These hashtags are mostly related to popular IG accounts that have re-posted my work in the past, and consequently made my account more popular in the city.


EXAMPLES to be inspired

Real examples of travel photos hashtags

This is a snapshot, likes and comments are not updated

This is a snapshot, likes and comments are not updated

  • Where: #thailand
  • What: #trekking
  • When: not applicable
  • Why: #temple #sunset #khmer
  • Get Global:  #travelphotography #travelling
  • Get Local: #tourismthailand #amazingthailand
  • Get technical: none, I had already enough tags on this photo
  • Colour: #red (the sunset colour)
This is a snapshot, likes and comments are not updated

This is a snapshot, likes and comments are not updated

  • Where: #thenetherlands, #leiden, #amsterdam (Leiden is a beautiful town outside Amsterdam)
  • What: #walking
  • When: not applicable
  • Why: #lane #church #cathedral #pub (on the right corner) #bluehour
  • Get Global:  #travelphotography #travelling
  • Get Local: #ontdekleiden #iamsterdam (in both cases the tourism boards do not have an Instagram account, I used the twitter hashtag)
  • Get technical: #lightrail
  • Colour: none that stands out, no hashtags

In the last example, I could not find an Instagram profile for the tourism board. I added instead the Twitter one. My Instagram account is connected to Twitter.

Important tip – Alternate hashtags, if you can

I used to post my photos using the hashtags as described above. Lots of them.

Lately, I have changed slightly my approach, mainly for two reasons:

  • too many hashtags can be perceived as confusing, take the attention off from the photo. Sometimes can be even seen as spammy by followers
  • Instagram is said that penalizes feeds using the same hashtags over and over. For example, I used to add always #travelphotography  and #travel in all my posts. Not anymore. Is this IG penalty a myth or a reality. Let’s say that there is no proof about it. My approach? I assume that IG does penalize (just in case LOL)

How is my new approach?

Before visiting a city, or a country, I build two sets of hashtags which I use every second day.

For example, on my Cuba trip I built these two sets:

  • Odd days : #Cuba #cuban #cubano #cubalibre #ig_cuba #igerscuba #cuba2018 #cubanlife #igcuba #loves_cuba #igers_cuba #cubaphoto #loves_united_cuba #lovecuba #ilovecuba #cuba_vacations
  • Even days : #travelcuba #cuba_gallery #visitcuba #discovercuba #instacuba #cubatrip #explorecuba #unlimitedcuba #Cuba2Day @unlimitedcuba

I have also organised two groups of creative travel hashtags (used on top of the location ones) that I again use every second day

  • #travelblogger #amazingday #vacationwolf #theglobewanderer #BDTeam
  • #NeverStopExploring #TLPicks #traveldeeper #passionpassport #roamtheplanet

I feel this approach has improved my visibility.

In a nutshell

Using the top travel hashtags help immensely to spread your work around.

Build up your own process and optimise it based on the outcome.

What described above did not come overnight for me, it took a bit of time to refine it and it works well for me.

In true honesty, I find very hard nowadays to grow in the 10K/month. Instagram is becoming more challenging. It’s more of a slow and consistent growth.

Happy hashtag and remember to follow my Instagram feed 😉

Travel Photography Stefano FerroStef Ferro is the founder and editor of MEL365, a travel & photography website made to enhance the travelling experience and improve the photography work.

Stef is a professional travel photographer with past experience in the cycling and film industry. 

Stef runs travel photography workshops in Melbourne and around the world. 


Stefano Ferro
Stef Ferro is the founder and editor of MEL365, a travel & photography website made to enhance the travelling experience and improve the photography work.
Stef is a professional travel photographer with past experience in the cycling and film industry. 

Stef runs travel photography workshops in Melbourne and around the world.
    • Planet
    • February 11, 2019

    Respected Team

    During my research for the article Best Travel Blogs of 2019 to Read and Follow we came across your website and find that really helpful for my article as well as the reader we are targeting. In order to provide the best available information over the internet,.

    Team FDS

  1. Reply

    thank you for all these valuable information

    • Roman00 - Hashtag generators
    • November 5, 2018

    As an experienced Instagram blogger, I recommend everyone to use a hashtag generator. Hashtags are an important part of blogging, thanks to hashtags you declare yourself to the whole world.

    • Clipping Path - Great post on travel hashtags
    • September 20, 2018

    A detailed description of travel hashtag. I am going to use it for sure and big claps for the writer of this post. Very informative, a must read.

    • zigzag whitsundays
    • August 13, 2018

    good site thanks for sharing 😉

      • Stef
      • August 13, 2018

      No worries guys!!

  2. Reply

    Really good information. It’s very logical and doesn’t seem so spammy like other suggestions. Thanks!

    • Reply

      No spammy at all, you are right. My view is that you can’t trick these systems nowadays. So better doing things as you feel more than to bypass the system. Of course, you need ideas and organisation and this is what’s the post about.
      Many thanks and have a great trip

    • Jim
    • July 26, 2018

    Great list of hashtags! Great working process. Thanks for that

  3. Reply

    Well I must say your article is really helpful and easy to read.. it can be seen that you have put nice efforts to explain and you have done it wonderfully.. thanks a lot!!! I am traveling to thailand, hence was seeking for relevant hashtags. Your article served my purpose. Thanks again! Cheers!

  4. Reply

    I love the way you have explained everything in the article! I absolutely love it!!

    • Rose
    • March 3, 2018

    Wow, really wonderful article! Super helpful for aspiring travel photographers/bloggers using instagram.

  5. Reply

    Super helpful! Thanks for sharing and compiling a list 🙂

  6. Reply

    Hello Stefano, this was definitely the best article I have ever read about the subject! Thanks!
    I have a travel IG (@MondayFeelings) as part of my travel blogging strategy, but I never gave too much importance to it (quite a stupid move, I know).
    As part of my new year’s resolution, I decided to take Instagram more seriously and your article helped me a lot – thanks!
    All the best luck for you and happy new year 🙂

    • Reply

      Happy new year to you Fernanda and thanks for your words 🙂 Really appreciated

  7. Reply

    Thanks for all your information, Blog is very nice.

    • Turgay Uzer
    • October 22, 2017

    Dear Stefano, yours is the only blog which comes through with suggestions I can use.! I have checked whether my photo was shadowbanned, as you suggested, and it is not. That comment you made about photos with Melbourne trams earning more likes cheered me up. There is no accounting for tastes. This is true in so many areas of life! Many years ago I worked with a Nobel Prize winner at Caltech and I asked him which one of his publications was his favorite. He named one which I had never heard of. He replied that I was not alone; in fact no one had ever heard of it, although he worked so hard on it, and he was proud of it. On the other hand, he said, the paper that got me the Prize was a routine investigation which he did fairly quickly and he couldn’t see what the big deal was when it became viral ( by the standards of the 1960s).
    I will go on posting the shots that I find worth showing, and hope for the best then!
    Thank you again,

    • Turgay Uzer
    • October 15, 2017

    Dear Stefano, after you commented on one of my photos in my Instagram feed (upgrademeforfree) I wanted to try out the effectiveness of your suggestion about using the hashtags of local tourism boards. I failed completely! I am aware, of course, that, as the saying goes, “failure has many parents”, but would you please take a look at this case? I am talking about my most recent photo and number four in my feed. For a control experiment, I posted them at the same time of the week (Saturday mid-morning). The main difference in the hashtags is #COmetolife in the most recent one, which is the hashtag the State of Colorado is encouraging to use. I looked into hashtag generators but what they generated seemed quite irrelevant. To my mind, the pictures are quite similar in subject matter, and, although this is totally subjective, number 1 (which has many fewer likes) is a bit more creative whereas number 4 is a fairly conventional postcard view. Not only did I not get more likes, but the few I got seem to have nothing to do with Colorado, plus I got many fewer follows. Would you please decode the situation for me? Thank you

    • Reply

      Hi Turgay,
      I must admit that a one by one analysis is really hard. There are way too many components and probably not even Instagram itself would be able to give you a proper answer.

      The first thing I would checked is to see if you have been shadowbanned for that period or that photo (sometime shadowban on old past photos do not appear though). Check this website for more info ( This may give you an answer in 1 minute.
      If it all sounds good than it could be a combination of many things. It must be said that I noticed also on my account that I do get more appreciation/engagement with sunsets for example even if I have photos that I do love, they are fantastic, they catch the moment but they are not “popular”. I used to ask myself the same question….much less now.
      We should all remember that Instagram likes are a sign of popularity and maybe and possibly not a better photo. As an example I have a friend that has built an account around Melbourne photos and he gets a tons of likes when trams are into the photo. Why? I do not know to be honest. I guess because trams are the main mean of public transportation in Melbourne but I can’t believe so many people have a fixation with trams LOL.
      What you think it is a better photo (with a photographer eye) may be different from someone else that has an untrained eye.
      I hope I was able to give a sort of explanation 🙂
      Enjoy your photography and do not get crazy for how many likes and followers will come. From time to time I want myself to delete my account as I understand it influences the photography style 😉

    • Sue
    • July 16, 2017

    Hi Stefano
    I have just finished reading your wonderfully, informative piece on hashtags – everything I need to know and more! Thank you so much.
    Have you been to Sri Lanka yet – if not I can give you the contact for our fantastic driver – guide who made our time in Sri Lanka so special.
    His website is

    • Reply

      Hi Sue. Perfect timing for this question. I am flying to Sri Lanka next week 🙂
      I have most of the things already organised however I will keep in mind your guide if things evolve differently.
      Thanks you so much!!
      Cheers Stef

    • V
    • May 28, 2017

    This is one of the best hashtag articles I have read- with clear step by stem instructions- Thank you!!!

      • Stef
      • May 29, 2017

      Thanks you so much. That’s a great feedback!!
      Enjoy your travelling 🙂

  8. Reply

    Such an awesome post thank you for demystifying some things for me and also providing good guidance and reminders. Greatly appreciated!

    • Reply

      No worries Kennerly, and let me know how it goes.
      Cheers. Stef

  9. Reply

    Hi there. I am using Instagram quite a while… Gave me a new idea how to reach more people… Thanks for the post…


    Greetings from Nicaragua

    • Reply

      Great to hear that. Have an amazing trip Martin!!

    • Egita
    • February 27, 2017

    Hi Stefano!
    Came across your great blog and Instagram feed! Nice to read you 🙂 and amazing photographers! And of course-thank you for useful tips! Will make sure to include some in my next travel photographers as well as in my blog!
    Stay golden!


      • Stef
      • March 1, 2017

      Thank you so much Egita,

      great to hear you found some interesting tips and information on the website.

      Good luck with your next trips and remember to share your photos with us 😉

      Happy travelling

  10. Reply

    I stumbled across this post after finding your instagram account. We have been discussing this evening our plan to grow out audience effectively and with interaction this year and so this post is quite timely. It is great to hear tips from someone that has managed to grow their social media so significantly over the past year. We will be looking more carefully at our hashtags going forward and love the link to the hashtag generator this is something we have spent time looking for so could turn into a great help.

    • Reply

      Thanks Tamason,
      the hashtag generator is most definitely a great help. Keep in mind however that, as any generator, it is a great tool, however it tends to please everyone with good results but not customised ones.

      I usually use it as a starting point. From there I build by own lists.

      As an example when I was lately in Indonesia I built a list of hashtags from the generator and added them to my Google Sheet file. From there I added more hashtags specifics to the area I was visiting (smart hashtags). I spent maybe 3-4 hours for building this list however after that I had all the hashtags useful for my trip.

      As I knew I was going to visit 3 islands and a city I built 4 groups of hashtags based on Indonesia generic and local hashtags.

      When travelling I was just copying and pasting them based on wher I was. I than added few others based on the photo subjects.

      Few Indonesian feeds re-posted my work on that trip and I had a nice increase of followers from that area of the world which is awesome.

      Happy travelling and good luck with the organic growth


  11. Reply

    Hey Stefano! We find your post thanks to a like you gave us on our IG account @vamossomewhere! Thank you for such an interesting post with wide information. We’ll keep following your work and we hope you will follow our process aswell! The best travel vibes 😉

    • Reply

      No worries Lina and Mauro,
      so glad you enjoyed the information. I am working on new hashtags policies and I am building a new small list to use with some great suggestions that may help even more to increase the following. Stay tuned 😉

      Happy travelling 🙂

  12. Reply

    Stefano, a great article thanks for the heads up and incredible insight of using the 5W’s!

    I appreciate your post.

    Cheers from Africa.

    • Reply

      No worries Martin. Love your intro photo, wish I could be in that campsite 😀

  13. Reply

    Really informative,I just bookmarked this post,I have to come back and have another read because it’s full of really practical tips. I particularly love the methodical thinking that informs the choice of hastags for a post.

  14. Reply

    What an interesting read, really helpful, now ive got to apply it!


    • Reply

      Thank you so much Casey and let me know how it goes!!
      Cheers. Stef

  15. Reply

    This is such a great post with detailed information. It really comes in handy for a newbie blogger like me. Thanks again!

    • Reply

      Than you so much Joanne. I really hope the post will be useful for you to decide on which travel hashtag works best.
      Happy travelling

By clicking on the "Submit your comment" button you are giving permission to store your data (name, email and website, if added). You can always send a request to delete or collect your stored data anytime in future. Read more information on the Privacy Policy. This message has been added to conform with the European Union GPDR Policies 

Leave a Comment