Putting Instagram to the Test as a Travel Tool

You’re likely guilty of using Instagram to dream about vacations, home renovations and outfit ideas, but did you know that you can also use it to make those swoon-worthy images a reality? Instagram has quickly become one of the easiest and most effective travel planning tools  - and the best part - it’s conveniently located right in the palm of your hand!

These days, the whimsical snapshots taken by Instagram users all over the world have turned into much more than online inspo - they can also serve as first-hand travel advice! We recently decided to put this theory to the test and use Instagram as our sole travel tool for a busy, fun-filled work trip to NYC. Here are our top tips on how to do it:

1. Follow the Locals. Getting the inside scoop on desirable, highly-trafficked spots in a city is as simple as following the right influencers on Instagram. By following those in-the-know, you can get visual insight and genuine reviews on the newest, hottest and most photogenic places in town. Checkout this eye candy restaurant we discovered, @WhileWeWereYoungNYC, solely from local recommendations.

Tip: To find the locals, first try searching for location-specific hashtags, like #nyc and #newyorkcity. From there, you can see who’s posting relevant content and can quickly deduce the influencers, usually based on photo quality.


Side Bar: We spent close to $200 on lunch here for our team of three. Now you can’t tell me Instagram doesn’t drive sales!

2. Go to Geotags. Geotags help to locate precisely where a photo was taken. Clicking into a geotag not only brings you down a rabbit hole of images and information on that spot, but allows you to bring it up on a map so you can get a good idea of what is nearby and other desirable places in the surrounding area. While in your map app of choice, make sure to pin it for when you’re exploring nearby!

After visiting the @Glossier showroom (which btw is a fresh young start-up that has built its entire cultish empire on Instagram efforts alone, with 726K followers and growing!), we used geotagging to lead us to this gorgeous and extremely scrumptious treat from the folks at @TaiyakiNYC.


3. Hone in on Hashtags. Along with exploring geotags, you should hone in on popular hashtags in your destination. Tourist sites, unique food scenes and local festivals generally have designated hashtags that you can discover and use to get a good grasp on the vibe of the place or experience. We’re bowing down to hashtags for sending us to one of our favorite meals of the entire trip, @CafeHenrie!


4. Pics Are the New Review. Reviews, testimonials and user-generated content are critical in the decision-making process by providing an unbiased, original opinion. Instagram has a built-in, user-curated stream that lets you look up brands, restaurants and companies and see what others are posting and writing about it - consider this the visual review! Simply go to the brand’s page and click on the “users” button - the icon next to the feed display options that’s square and has a little person on it. That’s how we were won over when we decided to do our first-ever #revelbeauties fitness at the gorgeous @NewYorkPilates.


When the trip and travel tool test came to an end, we had one major takeaway: Using Instagram as a travel tool isn’t only beneficial to us globetrotters, but is especially to the places we’re visiting.

Planning our entire NYC trip via Instagram provided us the proof that Instagram can truly translate to real life sales! Ready to up your Instagram game and skyrocket sales? Get at us.