Picking the best social media travel influencer is tough for a whole variety of reasons. First, what makes up social influencers is often hard to grasp. You have to be part blogger, part photographer, part salesperson, and part adventurer. The world of Instagram travel influencers and bloggers is peppered with fashion models posing as bohemian vanlifers and everyday people posing as adventure-seeking fashion models. The lines are certainly blurred and, yes, something is being sold to you via sleek (often hidden) marketing.
Still, the power of social media (and Instagram in particular) can’t be dismissed. Millions are spent sending social media influencers and bloggers to the best hotels, trendiest restaurants, and most picturesque islands — all to entice you to do the same one day. And it works. Right now, influencers are pretty much powering the travel industry.
We all have our favorites among this insanely #Blessed, “my god, you do that for a living!” crew. Their feeds fill our heads with travel and foodie dreams, as we swipe and scroll on our smartphones. Thus inspired, we fritter away money until we too can post about #MaldiveMondays. Below, you’ll find some of our picks for the best travel bloggers and influencers on Instagram to follow. Some lean more heavily towards the outdoors or fashion, some lean towards fitness, others food, or photography, or… the list goes on.
Whatever your interests in travel may be, there’s a feed here for you.
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CHELSEY LUGER — 13.5k Followers
Chelsey Luger combines fitness, health, sports, and travel through the lens of a young Native American woman fighting for a better world for her people. Luger’s feed is a deep look into a life devoted to staying healthy through diet and fitness, positive mental health, and spirituality around Indian Country.
Luger’s feed is a great place to see Native artists like Wakeah Jhane and fashion designers like B. Yellowtail highlighted, providing a glimpse into the Indigenous side of America that remains very elusive to most Americans. This makes Luger’s feed an essential follow to highlight Native American-focused travel and Native Americans through a positive and renewing lens that’s helping fight stereotypes while also fighting to help Natives live better, healthier lives.
ONEIKA RAYMOND — 63k Followers
Oneika Raymond is traveling the world and asking the tough questions. Let’s face it, the world of international travel is lacking in people of color and that’s just not good enough for her. She’s striking out on her own path and bringing a new voice to the travel conversation.
Raymond’s feed is a bright trip around the world, with a distinctly fresh eye on travel. Raymond’s travel photos are positive endorsements of the places she visits — with plenty of local flare and people. Seriously, this feed will brighten up your daily scrolling with photos of some of the most beautiful corners of the world.
GIARO GIARRANTANA — 422k Followers
Giaro Giarrantana feels like he’s cheating a bit. Yes, he’s an actual fashion model that should immediately be cast as Chris Cornell in a biopic. That doesn’t change the fact that his Instagram feed is dope AF.
Giarrantana’s feed is what the platform was made for when it comes to marketing — beautiful people living beautifully. We can’t help but want to smoke the cigarettes in bed in fancy hotels, eat on far-flung beaches, and live the life of a rockstar when we put Giarrantana in our feeds.
Yes, it’s a fantasy. But that’s the point. We all need a little fantasy in our lives.
DANI CHASE — 14k Followers
Dani Chase works as a photographer out of Los Angeles. Her Insta feed projects a deft beauty and wisdom that’s 100-percent worth following along. Chase’s travels and photography are a balance of introspection and vivid scenes of intimate life around the world. You truly feel like you’re there with her in every shot. That’s huge in this world.
Overall, Chase isn’t trying to upsell you on postcard perfection in every shot. She finds the beauty in the foggy, misty days that happen in the real world. The feed has a nice balance of Chase experiencing the good life as well as Chase turning her lens on the world and people around her. It’s crisp, deep, and refreshing.
ELONA KARAFIN — 54k Followers
Elona Karafin is a cancer survivor in her mid-twenties who found herself with a growing internet audience when she started a travel blog. This turned out to be a blessing, as it allowed her to do a lot more traveling and gave her a platform for her charity: Checkmate Cancer. When it comes to her feed, it’s all gorgeous shots of Elona and female friends in various exotic locales, so it satiates travel, style, and photography fans.
Karafin’s feed will make you anxious to take a trip and the fact that she advocates for mini-breaks and weekend jaunts makes that a genuine option. You can thank her when you are snapping up a $69 ticket to Iceland for a three-day weekend.
GREG CAYEA -– 3k Followers
Greg Cayea doesn’t have a lot of followers on his Instagram account, which makes him a hidden treasure. He is currently the Guinness world record holder for the longest road trip and he just returned from a largely unplanned trip across South America. He knows travel. He is also brash and totally open, and that means his travel photos come with big long, oversharing tales of things like skinny dipping with random women from Canada and Belgium.
As a writer published places like Playboy and Elle, it’s clear Cayea can spin a yarn, and his Instagram is just another vehicle for his amazing travel writing, as well as his drawings. Seriously, we love him and get giddy every time he posts.