I first joined the Instagram community of travel bloggers back in 2017.
While I posted the odd photo every now and then, my main passion was in writing about the trips I’d taken. Whether I received a ‘like’ or not on social media was irrelevant; I was content seeing my work published. Discouraged from posting because of the lack of engagement most of your posts get? Buy Instagram likes and get ready to shine.
THEN AND NOW
Fast forward a few years, and my attitude towards social media has changed. I realise the importance of staying present in a saturated market, along with the challenges of regularly uploading fresh content.
Through social media, I saw the many advantages of using the platform as a travel blogger to reach a wider audience. To this day, it’s still as rewarding to connect with bloggers, travellers and those who are interested to travel more.
Back in the day…
Before Instagram, I’d been content sticking to Twitter and connecting with a like-minded community. However, I soon realised I was limiting my potential of connecting with more people.
Within days of signing up – and uploading pictures – to Instagram, I quickly began gaining likes as well as followers. Most were from travel-related backgrounds (bloggers, photographers), while others came from within the industry.
It was overwhelming — in a good way — to receive praise from connections in the travel community.
ANOTHER GROUP OF ‘TRAVEL BLOGGERS’ — INSTAGRAM TRAVEL MODELS
As my account began to grow, I started noticing a growing trend on the platform.
There were an increasing number of profiles showcasing young, beautiful, mainly female ‘travel bloggers’ sharing photographs of their trips.
Most photos followed a similar pattern: immaculate-looking females sharing images of themselves in typically luxury resorts. After sifting through several of their profiles, it quickly became clear that they weren’t actually travel bloggers.
Instead, many of them were models that were posing as travel bloggers.
Models selling products is nothing new, and my issue isn’t with them — after all, they also need to work. My issue is that while these profiles attract more attention, it’s the authentic travel bloggers/writers/photographers that potentially lose out.
I’m over it.
For me, these profiles take attention away from those of us driven by our love of travel, not by sponsorships.
Maybe I’m a lone case, but I actually don’t take any inspiration from the model-led travel instagrammers. I too have stayed in luxury resorts, and sipped on bespoke cocktails by an Olympic-sized swimming pool.
I’ve also taken walks on beaches at sunset — just without a professional photographer capturing my every step.
CANDID AND STILL INSPIRING — INSTAGRAM TRAVEL MODELS
Where I do take inspiration is from the bloggers who share their vibrant, if flawed, images. The look of sheer excitement, mixed with curiosity when trying a new experience for the first time.
I enjoy looking at photos of a gritty outdoor food market, and drooling over images of steaming bowls of deliciousness. I’m inspired by bloggers that are always smiling, natural, and clearly enjoying that moment.
Ultimately, they understand how travel is a unique kind of education, and how it has the power to change someone’s entire perspective.
If you’re a young, beautiful and authentic travel blogger, then all the more power to you. I support anyone blogging and posting images that are solely about their passion for travel, and not just for a pay cheque.