How to use Instagram to plan your vacation

When it comes to travel, social media can be a double-edged sword. On one hand, it’s a wonderful way to discover new destinations and indulge your armchair wanderlust. On the other, images shared by local hotels, venues and influencers are often designed to draw you in with a particular slant of glossy appeal. The result can be a gap between personal impressions and reality.

But when employed as a strategic research tool, Instagram, with its user-generated content and real-time images and video, can be a big help. Chelsea Martin, a luxury travel planner and the founder of the travel lifestyle brand Passport to Friday, says the platform often plays a role when she is researching for herself or clients. “To a degree, I’m using it as a vetting tool, to see what real travelers are experiencing,” Martin says. “It also serves as inspiration and a way to find and bookmark restaurants or hotels for later.”

Start with geotags

Knowing you want to go on vacation and knowing where you want to go on vacation are two separate things – something I discovered when my fiance and I were planning a honeymoon last year and waffling on which country we wanted to visit.

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