By Liz Buechele
Anthony Bourdain, renowned American chef, author, and fellow traveler, once said, “If you’re twenty-two, physically fit, hungry to learn and be better, I urge you to travel—as far and as widely as possible. Sleep on floors if you have to. Find out how other people live and eat and cook. Learn from them— wherever you go.”
There is something innately beautiful about travel, the way it opens you to new experiences and forces you to step just beyond your comfort zone. Whether you are planning your sixth backpacking trip or buying a passport for the first time, these eight Instagram accounts will give you the inspiration you need to explore the world around you.
From left to right (Tower Bridge, London) (Havasu Falls, Arizona) (Denali National Park, Alaska)
National Geographic hosts the perfect blend of nature, animals, people, tourist attractions, famous landmarks, and more. With no particular focus on any one facet of travel, this account is a must for anyone looking into the world of wandering. On top of that, each photo is captioned with an interesting fact or a bit of history making Nat Geo earn our “most informative account” award.
Cole Rise is a self-described travel photographer and escape artist (whatever that means) from New York City. His photography ranges from the back roads of America to the people of Jordan. He uses humor to spin fantastical stories and isn’t afraid to go out on a limb (or on the rim of unsupported concrete) for a photo. For that, we award him the “most daring account” award.
From left to right (Eiffel Tower, France) (St. Stephen’s Basilica, Hungary) (Cliffs of Moher, Ireland)
Gary Arndt is an accomplished travel photographer and his Instagram account is a stunning testament to that. Not only is his work dynamically colorful, but he sets up his photos in non-traditional ways. Did you recognize the Eiffel Tower in that first photograph? Rarely are shots taken from underneath the famous structure. Finding beauty in perspective has earned Arndt our “most artistic account” award.
Left and middle (Rhododendronpark Kromlau, Germany) On right (Eibsee Garmisch, Germany)
Christoffer Collin is a Swedish photographer who is, in his own words, “trying to capture beautiful things with his camera.” Filled with haunting shadows and dark overtones, his photography is full of mystery and natural intrigue. He produces photographs of sunrises that, rather than making you think as though they are overdone, make you feel like you are seeing the sun for the first time. Make sure to follow this account, our winner for the “most natural” award.
From left to right (Wat Pho, Thailand) (Roy’s Peak, New Zealand) (Mana Pools, Zimbabwe)
Passion Passport is unlike the last few accounts in the fact that it does not belong to any one individual. Passion Passport is a collection of travelers who have been united by their love of the world. Created in 2013 by Zach Glassman, the company now boasts an active team of photographers and explorers across the globe. The pictures on this page not only tell a geographical location, but also the story of the people behind or in front of the camera. This account truly has something for everyone, earning it our “most diverse” award.
From left to right (Fort Greene, New York City) (Chinatown, NYC) (Las Vegas, Nevada)
Coming off of the Passion Passport, it would seem unfair to gloss over its creator. Zach’s Instagram feed has a way of evoking powerful images from the mundane. In the middle above photograph, what could simply be taken as a rainy day is now a beautiful array of colored umbrellas. For finding the picture in an ordinary moment, we award Zach the “most creative account.”
From left to right (Machu Picchu, Peru) (Wawa, Northern Ontario) (Gold Coast, Australia)
Our “most unique award” goes to Dave and Deb, the adventure couple that makes up The Planet D. Dave and Deb work to be motivation to those who fear that their traveling days may be behind them. According to their website (and as evidenced through their Instagram account) they are proving every day that all you need in order to travel is desire. “Over the past 6 years we have proven that you don’t have to be an uber-athlete, adrenaline junkie, or part of the ultra-rich to be an adventurer,” says Dave and Deb. No matter where you are in your life, The Planet D has an important message that is well worth hearing.
From left to right (Siargao, Philippines) (Key West, Florida) (Phinda Game Reserve, South Africa)
In the fall of 2010, Matt quit his job, left his girlfriend, sold everything he owned, and bought a one-way ticket to Guatemala, intent on collecting experiences over material wealth. He has been a constant nomad ever since. His Instagram account is an inspiring ode to adventure and his blog is one of the most all-encompassing sites on the topic of travel. For these reasons, Matt has earned the “most helpful account” award.
These Instagram feeds do a fantastic job of highlighting some of the world’s most beautiful wonders; however, staring at a phone screen all day will never be able to replace the real thing. You have the inspiration and all the resources at your fingertips. It’s your turn to book a flight. Who knows, you may even make the list someday as one of the top 8 Instagram accounts for traveling.
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