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Traveling under the influence of social media

Traveling Under the Influence of Social Media

Lots of people love to take vacations—but could you do it for a living? For a handful of top travel bloggers, the answer is an enthusiastic yes. Many of the biggest influencers in the travel world are independent bloggers who showcase their travels on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and other social media outlets. Some give us witty and surprising chronicles of far-flung destinations; others offer more focused glimpses into a specific city or culture; and many offer practical trips to travelers (and would-be travel bloggers, too).
The best travel bloggers are sought after by hoteliers, airlines, and destination marketing organizations (also known as DMOs) to promote their cities, hotels, and resorts. Travel brands are increasingly looking for inventive forms of brand storytelling that reach a large social media audience, and the photo-centric, spontaneous content that travel bloggers provide does just that. Here are a handful of online influencers who are making a career out of exploring the world.

Food travel

What's a great trip without great food? These bloggers focus on getting-there gastronomy.
  • Migrationology: Bangkok-based food blogger Mark Wiens has eBooks and city guides ranging from Amman to Singapore, all dedicated to experiencing local, authentic food. Fun read: The Best Airplane Food from 10 Star Alliance Flights
  • Eating Asia: Robyn Eckhardt is a New York Times food writer based in Malaysia who writes extensively about Asian and Turkish food. Fun read: I Don't Like Brains
  • The Travel Bite: A foodie travel blog focused on curating extensive guides from South Africa to Asia and beyond. Fun read: Plant to Plate Dining in Hawaii

Budget travel

You can still see the world without paying first-class prices. These bloggers show you how.

Adventure travel

No 5-star hotel rooms here: These backpackers stay happily off the beaten path.
  • Triphackr: Clint Johnston is a photographer who has visited a whopping 100-plus countries over the past decade and focuses on “travel hacking,”—ways to find the best resources for booking a great trip. Fun read: Everest Base Camp Guide
  • Expert Vagabond: Matthew Karsten is a photographer who specializes in covering outdoor activities, natural landscapes, and cultural experiences. Fun read: My 30 Best World Travel Tips
  • Nomad Revelations: João Leitão has backpacked across nearly 150 (!) countries in Africa, Antarctica, Asia, Europe, North America, South America and Oceania, since 1999. Fun read: Peek Inside a Full Passport

Couples travel

These bloggers are experts at having double the fun.
  • The Planet D: Dave Bouskill and Debra Corbeil are a globetrotting couple whose average guy and gal personalities and “anyone can travel” philosophies have garnered them a huge following. Their extensive couples travel tips section is a must-read for anyone traveling with a sig other. Fun read: 6 Ways This Introvert-Extravert Couple Makes Travel Work
  • Murad Osmann: In 2012, this Moscow-based photographer posted a series of Instagrams of his wife Nataly's back, holding his hand, in front of different locations. The series, later dubbed “Follow Me To,” became one of online travel's biggest media sensations and has spawned TV and book deals, as well as partnerships with brands outside the travel sector. Fun read: Murad's Instagram
If your company has any sort of travel-based product, a great way to connect with these influencers is at the annual TBEX (short for Travel Brands Exchange) conference. These bloggers (and the hundreds like them) offer great lessons in innovative content creation across social media channels that may spark new ideas for promoting your own brand. You might even find a cool new vacation spot along the way.

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