Social media is often more aspirational than realistic, but for those of us planning trips or even just wishing we could, Instagram’s many travel accounts still feel like a digital, personalized postcard from places we long to go. Here are nine accounts that inspire travel and broaden horizons, one 1080x1080-pixel image at a time.
Hipcamp is the Airbnb of camping, connecting people who want to get off the grid with more camping options across the country. The specialty of this ’gram? Highlighting those usually quiet, often overlooked moments that lead to the best travel memories: lounging in a hammock, soaking in a hot spring, sipping a steaming cup of coffee next to a waterfall. The brand’s photos remind me of the slow, easy feeling that comes when you’ve been staying in one place for a few days, rather than the smile-for-the-camera shots you end up with when trying to squeeze too much into your itinerary.
Jedidiah Jenkins, editor of Wilderness magazine, is one of my favorite writers to follow. His photos of everything from a surfer on an empty beach to nomadic offices are lovely, but the real power is in his captions. These aren’t your average short bouts of wit or flowery navel gazing that clutter social media. Rather, Jenkins’ words are brutally honest and leave me thinking a little deeper about my own observations when I pass a stranger on a street or see a flower blooming on a rocky trail.
I’m a sucker for color and brightly lit beach scenes, so Bryce Johnson is one of my favorite Instagrammers. The Kauai-based photographer balances photos of surfboards and campouts with the occasional cityscape or drone photo. I can’t stop drooling over the surf, sand, and plethora of palm trees every time I scroll through his feed.
If you’re like me and need a public lands pick-me-up now and again, there’s no better account than Robbie Bond’s. He’s an articulate and incredibly dedicated ten-year-old who’s on a mission to protect public lands and reduce our dependence on plastics. Originally from Hawaii, Bond travels the country to educate his followers on national parks, monuments, and environmental issues.
On She Goes is a travel-centric podcast with a mission to “help women of color travel more confidently, more adventurously, and more often.” Its Instagram account is an inspiring collage of travel imagery, doodles and art, quotes and travel advice, and profiles of women who are scratching that travel itch.
There are countless young nomads on Instagram, but what I love about Alexandra Gabrielle’s feed is how she seems to really get to know the places she travels to. She’s not constantly on the road, but rather exploring from a temporary home base. She just moved from Michigan to Moab, where she plans to spend a few months exploring the Southwest.
85 for 85 is a new literary and arts publication featuring the work of artists inspired by Bears Ears National Monument and Grand Staircase-Escalante to raise $8,500 to support the fight to preserve these public lands. The art featured on this Instagram account colorful and creative, including watercolors of mesas and crisp photography of starry skies, and I love the mission behind the project and the intentions behind each artist’s work.
Kristen and Matt, the duo behind the Hello America account, shoot exclusively on film, and I find the old-school photography style refreshing. To me, it represents slowing down and really enjoying the place you’re visiting. Bonus: Get ready for plenty of pics featuring the couple’s adorable dog, Asher.
The ’grams of the Women on the Road Podcast mix #vanlife with a varied feed of different faces and perspectives. The podcast is about women who lead nomadic lives, and the Instagram account seamlessly curates different voices into one feed, dedicating each post to a new traveler. I use it to discover under-the-radar Instagram storytellers to add to my feed.