Travel Hashtags: Optimizing Instagram

One of the most asked questions I get about Instagram is about travel hashtags and which ones to use. Believe me when I say, finding good, quality hashtags that fit your photos does take some work, but the payout can be great.

If you are looking to grow your travel Instagram account, finding the right travel hashtags is going to be crucial in finding that success. Sometimes I can see photo analytics where over 15,000 people found a photo through travel hashtags alone. That in itself is worth doing the work to find them and having them work for you.

travel hashtags: what are they, where to find them and how to use them.

Travel Hashtags: What Are They & How To Use Them?

The dictionary definition of hashtag: “a word or phrase preceded by a hash or pound sign (#) and used to identify messages on a specific topic.” Knowing that definition is going to be key for you finding the travel hashtags that will work for you. The main takeaway from that definition is “specific topic.”

For travel hashtags, everyone seems to gravitate towards #travel or #traveling. It is a good way to note that it is a travel photo in general. I would recommend using hashtags with less people using them so that more eyes can be seen on your photos. I look for a variety of different size travel hashtags ( more on that later) to use together.

Instagram allows you to use up to 30 hashtags per post and I recommend posting them as a comment under the photo and not in the caption. There is various rumors that posting as a caption or a comment is better. Travel hashtags are working for me as a comment, so that is what I am going to recommend. PLUS it looks cleaner when people are reading your caption.

Tip: Only use travel hashtags specific to the post. Don’t waste your allotted hashtags for something that doesn’t even work for the photo. If you are posting a photo from Venice, don’t waste your time with travel hashtags like #Singapore. You aren’t in Singapore, it’s misleading and you aren’t helping your case to attract new followers.

Travel Hashtags: What Not To Use

If you are getting serious about upping your Instagram with travel hashtags, the first thing you want to know is what not to use. There is a misconception that using #travel is effective for your post. The reality is that currently over 356+ MILLION people have used this travel hashtag (and growing) and you will just get buried in it.

Since you have 30 hashtags you can use per post, you want to find the ones that really go with what you are posting and try to find majority of them that do not have more than 100K tags (when you look up a hashtag you will see the number next to it showcasing how many photos are tagged).

Here are some examples of using travel hashtags wrong:

Using travel hashtag #dametraveler, which is for photos of women in travel scenarios. Your photo doesn’t have you in it and its not even travel related. If you look at the Dametraveler account, you can clearly see there is a theme: women travelers. There is no selfies, no nudity, and Tagging anything else with this hashtag will never get you a re-post on their account.

Using the hashtag #Iceland when your photo is of Antarctica. Sure, they SEEM similar, but they are not the same.

Travel Hashtags: Finding Ones That Fit Your Photo

I always use 30 hashtags on each photo (almost always). When picking hashtags, I look at where I am going, the content I am shooting and what re-post pages the content will fit. For example, My content tends to fall in line often with Passport By Forbes, Coastal Living, Travel and Leisure, Hotel re-post pages, etc., so I ALWAYS use their hashtags on travel photos. Which HAS landed me re-posts from them several times.

I stay in a lot of hotels in my travels and share quite a bit of content from there. It takes a bit of research but if you take a hotel like Atlantis in the Bahamas, I recently stayed in The Cove. which has its own Instagram page, as does Atlantis, who is part of Autograph hotels and Marriott. Between all the travel hashtags you could get for this collection for one photo just based on the hotel brand, is about 10. That is 10 chances to get re-posted by these hotel accounts if they like your content.

How to find travel hashtags for photos:

  1. When in the Instagram platform, in the search bar type # and then whatever you are looking for. You will see a series of tags pop up and a number of how many times it has been used.
  2. Look at what other accounts who are posting photos from the same place or style are using.  I would not copy their entire hashtag list because some may not fit. Try and only use ones that are specific to your post.
  3. Search within Instagram for tourism boards in the destination you are going to. Often they have their own hashtag AND they are usually following re-post accounts for the city and state. I always go through and see who tourism boards are following because I can find food accounts for the area, re-post pages I did not know existed, etc.

travel hashtags: what are they, where to find them and how to use them.


For the female traveler:

If you find you are in a lot of your photos (if not all) and they aren’t nude, a good block of travel hashtags would be: #dametraveler #sheisnotlost #darlingescapes #girlsabroad #girlslovetravel #gltlove #wearetravelgirls

For the Iceland photos:

Have Iceland content you want to share? Here is a block of Iceland travel hashtags: #iceland (this is the most used Iceland hashtag) #topicelandphoto #absoluteiceland #guidetoiceland #igersiceland #everydayiceland #inspiredbyiceland

Photos of doors:

Lets face it, doors around the world are what breathe life into Instagram and these travel hashtags work great: #doorsofinstagram #findthisdoor #doorspftheworld #doorlovers #myanthropologie #verytandc #mydomainetravels

Random travel hashtags UNDER 100K:

These hashtags tend to work in most travel photo scenarios and are not over-saturated: #weekendgetaways #lovetoexplore #travelmoreworryless #travelhappy #wanderwisely #travelhere #globetravelgram

Travel Hashtags: Best Tips

Since I am a travel photographer and writer, I spend my life on the road promoting and visiting destinations. Which means I am sharing photos a lot and need hashtags to go with my photos so that they can be found by a wider audience that is not already following me.

Tip 1: Before I ever leave my house to go to a new destination, I look up all the local hashtags that are applicable to my travel and save a note in my phone so that I can easily copy that info and paste into Instagram when I share a photo. That may a sound a bit laborious but I promise you, I don’t spend more than 10 minutes creating a travel hashtag block for a destination. I am not looking for 30 entirely new travel hashtags because I already have a block of 10-20 I use on every photo that I have found success with.

What I am looking for is local tourism board hashtags, destination specific hashtags, what local bloggers are using (because this is a great way to connect with new people while you are there and/or get tips for the area), and re-post hashtags.

Tip 2: When looking for the travel hashtags I will be using, I look to see how many people are using it. If its in the high millions, I write it down but look for smaller ones that I can be easily found in. I don’t want to drown in a sea of photos. My goal is to find a mix of hashtags, some that are under 100K, some in the middle, and just a couple above a million.

Tip 3: A lot of travel accounts share various types of photos. What I do is keep several blocks of hashtags in my notes section of my phone:

  • Travel hashtags for eating in Washington DC – this will include local DC hashtags, food hashtags for the city, global food hashtags, and so on.
  • Travel hashtags for Phoenix. I visit the area a lot so I keep a block of hashtags for when I visit in my phone that cover the area, the state, my standard travel hashtags (below), and then a few random re-post pages.
  • Standard travel hashtags that I use everywhere (#verytandc #wanderwisely #postcardplaces #mytinyatlas #tlpicks) etc.

Using Travel Hashtags To Find Your People

Travel hashtags are also a great way to find like-minded people that you can connect with or find content you want to see more of. there are a few ways you can implement this strategy,

  • follow the travel hashtag so that some of the photos will populate to your Instagram feed or ..
  • manually look at the hashtag whenever you want to and scroll for inspiration or finding new accounts to follow

Instagram rolled out the ability to follow hashtags to everyone to save them time of manually doing it themselves everyday. One of my favorite travel hashtags to follow is #beautifulhotels. Millions of people use it, but as a hotel connoisseur, I have found quite a few bucket list properties I never knew existed.

Travel Hashtags That I Love!

You are probably asking yourself “why is she giving away her favorite travel hashtags??” You could technically look for yourself, but here’s the thing, I want us all to succeed. So I never want to hide anything from you.

#passportbyforbes – it has been used currently just over 10K+ times and belongs to the Passportbyforbes re-post account. Because so few people are using it, I have had several photos re-posted here. Re-posts ultimately lead to new followers. Even if its only 5, its 5 you did not have before.

#kayaktravelhacker – it has currently been used less than 5K times and belongs to the Kayak page – who re-posts photos from travel destinations.

Bottom line on travel hashtags: use these to your advantage! If you aren’t using ones to get re-posted and found by other accounts, then you aren’t going to gain new visibility and followers in this way. All it takes is one page to re-post a photo and it could go viral, leading you to a ton of new followers. I remember when Anthropologie re-posted a photo of mine and then a ton of other pages did too. I don’t remember how many followers I gained but it was in the high hundreds. And to think. just from using travel hashtags!

Travel Hashtags Printable:

I created a PDF printable to help you find hashtags for your posts. There is room for 30 hashtags and a place for notes. You can use these printables for each new set of content, brainstorming new destinations, lining up sets of travel hashtags, etc. Just click the link below for the PDF:

Hashtag Planner Printable


travel hashtags: what are they, where to find them and how to use them.

Hashtag Planner

travel hashtags: what are they, where to find them and how to use them.


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