Social media travel influencers have changed the whole game. Instagram has created a space where the old-school worlds of Lonely Planet guidebooks, modeling, advertising, travel TV, and even the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue collide. At their worst, travel influencers are vapid and destructive. At their best, they offer would-be adventurers all the resources needed to go out and hit the road.
The nature of this particular beast means that “magazine” beauty often reigns supreme in the Insta travel world. But unlike the old days of glossies, there are no gatekeepers. Today, anyone can throw pics up at their favorite destinations. For the first time in the industry’s history, people of color, people with varying body types, and LGBQTI travelers can reach mainstream audiences without having to fight a system that’s slanted against them. That’s why we find the platform so positive overall, despite its obvious flaws.
If you visit Uproxx often, you see that we work with travel influencers on the regular. So we feel like it’s our duty to lay down a list of the best travel influencers on Instagram to follow right now. These are the vagabonds, mad ones, and wanderlusters who are out there on the open road, taking risks, and shining a light on a way of life that many naysayers will tell you is impossible. Remember, everyone featured in this article is a real live person. If they can manage to live big, bold, adventurous lives on the road, perhaps you can too!
Karl Watson — 10.6k followers
Karl Watson is killing the travel documentary game. His YouTube channel is a must follow for practical and down-to-earth travel tips all over the world. That makes Watson’s Instagram feed another must follow for anyone looking for a healthy dose of inspiration and information.
Karen Ramos — 11.5k followers
Karen Ramos is part of the next evolution of social media influencers. Ramos — an Indigenous American from Oaxaca — offers a unique perspective on the travel experience that few ever hear or see. Ramos’ feed bridges cultures while embracing nature, natural wonders, adventure, the van life, and Indigenous issues. Following Ramos’ travels is a chance to see the world through Indigenous eyes.
Erin Rose Belair — 13.8k followers
Erin Rose Belair’s handle, Rose Blacque, is a repository of artistic musing about life, travel, art, love, and the open road. Belair’s Instagram has a subtle nature to it that veers into artfulness and thoughtfulness, making it one of the most unique experiences you can have on Instagram.
If you want more of Erin’s shine, check out her articles for Uproxx.
Hope Lane — 14.9k followers
Hope Lane’s handle, Hopeisdopee, offers a refreshing bit of realism. The whole feed is alive with outdoor adventure front and center — cliff diving in particular. Clearly, this is a woman having a blast with her adventure crew while embracing the wonders of the great outdoors. Hope Lane’s feed is pure fun at every swimming hole, waterfall, and hot spring.
Want more of Hope’s insight and vibes? Check out our interview with her.
Josh Campbell — 17.7k followers
Josh Campbell works around the world with his partner, fashion influencer Zoë Isabella. Campbell’s feed touches on his travels with Zoë Isabella while highlighting his deep love of the outdoors and adventure. While there is a clear around-the-world lean to the feed, some of our favorite shots are of Campbell romping through his home grounds around southern Utah.