The Best Travel Photography on Instagram: 10 Accounts to Follow

When it comes to travel inspiration, we can’t get enough of these 10 Instagrammers, whose beautiful shots spark our wanderlust and offer a unique perspective on the world.

by Nell McShane Wulfhart

Travelling vicariously through Instagram is a pleasure. Sometimes getting a peek at new places through someone else’s lens is nearly as good as going there yourself. Whether planning a getaway or simply hoping to escape momentarily to somewhere extraordinary, tap your way to the accounts of these 10 travellers, who inspire us with their beautiful travel photography and stories from around the globe. They go to all the destinations we love, and as expert travellers they know the best ways to spend time there.

Here, meet the Instagrammers behind the images as they show us their favourite photos from the road, and offer tips on what to pack and how to take the best photo once you arrive.

Lesley Murphy, @LesleyAnneMurphy

Argentina-based travel blogger Lesley Anne Murphy, of The Road Les Traveled, journeys around the world, visiting destinations as varied as Bali and Bolivia and capturing the beauty of each on her Instagram feed. Here, she explores Bolivia’s Salar de Uyuni, the world’s largest salt flat. Photography courtesy Lesley Murphy
“Casa del Arbol will turn you into a kid again, making you feel on top of the world, young and invincible,” says Lesley, who visited the popular site when she was in Bañnos, Ecuador. “A giant swing takes you over the edge of a cliff, but once you’ve looked down, don’t forget to look up! The scenic mountain and volcano view to your immediate left is unforgettable. I don’t know what your play sets were like as a child, but this beats any of mine.” Photography courtesy Lesley Murphy

Why we love her: Lesley is based in Argentina, and her travels take her from near (Brazil) to far (Israel) and nearly everywhere in between. Her feed offers a combination of beautiful destinations and fun travel snapshots, so you feel like you’re following a friend.

Her favourite destinations: “My favourite thing to do at any Four Seasons property is to get lost in my senses,” she says. “From the moment I walk in the door, so many aromas, sights and sounds overcome me in the best way possible. Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris, is especially good at creating a unique atmosphere for the sophisticated traveller.” Another favourite is Patagonia: “I’ve been four times since I moved to Argentina two years ago (once for each season), and it continues to impress me with its views, cuisine, vastness and friendly locals.”

Travel tip: Always pack a few scarves. “Not only can they make any outfit look elegant, but they’re so versatile—turn them into a makeshift pillow or an eye mask to block the world out for a few minutes of privacy,” Lesley says. “And comfy shoes. My Nikon camera and a sense of adventure cannot be forgotten.”

Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris

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Alex Strohl, @AlexStrohl

Alex Strohl is a French adventure and travel photographer whose unique style is reflected in the beautiful images that fill his Instagram feed. Photography courtesy Alex Stohl
“This is my partner, Andrea Dabene, standing on the edge of the Preikestolen, 600 metres (1,969 feet) above the Lysefjord in southwestern Norway,” Alex says. Photography courtesy Alex Stohl

Why we love him: Alex is most at home in Vancouver, and his shots of the great outdoors have an almost otherworldly quality. His feed is packed with enough stunning photos of snowcapped mountains, wild animals and isolated cabins to make even the most dedicated urbanite want to head for the hills.

What’s always in his bag: A mix of high-tech and old-school tools. “I travel with my noise-cancelling headphones, a Canon 5D Mark III, a Macbook Pro, two hard drives for photo backups, a Swiss army knife and a headlamp.”

Number-one tip for travellers: “When arriving in a new country I always hold off 24 hours before I start shooting. I prefer to see how life works there and how people interact. And I try to meet knowledgeable locals—it’s always a great experience to hear about their stories and secret spots,” he says. “I also like using Google Earth to scout for great photo locations.”

Where’s next on his travel list: “The Faroe Islands, because they are still wild and untamed, and tourism is still in development.”

Cole Rise, @ColeRise

Whether posed and styled portraits or awe-inspiring shots of some of the world’s most beautiful destinations, Cole Rise’s Instagram images reflect his talent and perspective as a professional travel photographer. Photography courtesy Cole Rise
“This shot we did in November 2012 on the salt flats in Utah as a part of a series called ‘Distant Hills.’ It’s inspired by that cardboard-spaceship-making child in all of us, and what everyday people might imagine space travel to be (hence the shoes), set in otherworldly landscapes you can find right here on Earth,” Cole says. “I picked up the 1970s-era Russian space helmet on eBay for the shoot. It now hangs in my living room.” Photography courtesy Cole Rise

Why we love him: Cole’s feed combines the fantastic (people floating metres above landscapes) with the everyday (a cow in a field), but each photo has a sense of unreality that’s highly addictive. Plus there’s the occasional shot of a cute puppy.

Best souvenir: The ones you can’t buy. “I have a tiny sliver of rock—an early knife—shaped by human hands 9,600 years ago, found near the site of a Neolithic village on a recent trip to Jordan. That’s back when humans first left their nomadic lifestyle and learned to cultivate the land, the crux of a concept we call ‘civilisation.’”

Trey Ratcliff, @TreyRatcliff

Trey Ratcliff is known for his unique, almost unbelievable travel photography, captured using techniques that he shares on his blog, Stuck in Customs. Photography Trey Ratcliff
“Just before I took this photo, I was hand-feeding a puffer fish,” Trey says of this breathtaking Bora Bora shot. “It was one of the strangest things I had ever done. First, I picked up a sea urchin off the bottom and held it loosely in my hand. Then the puffer fish came over and started tearing into it! They have big and hard teeth, those guys. Right after feeding the fish, I looked up through the water and saw these crazy clouds. I got out of the water, nabbed my camera and shot away!” Photography Trey Ratcliff

Why we love him: Trey’s sense of adventure comes through in every photo, whether he’s camping inside an enormous, jungle-filled cave in Vietnam or crossing the Antarctic ice in a Hägglund tank.

His favourite destinations: “One of my favourites is Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora, because I was able to be there with my whole family for a week. I think my favourite times were the parts in between, when I was sitting there with my wife, looking at the amazing view, having a drink and doing absolutely nothing,” he says. “I also go back to Iceland again and again because it’s so rugged and beautiful there.”

Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora

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Pro photo tip: Forgot your tripod? “You can use a scarf as a makeshift tripod to get steady photos,” Trey says.

Erica Connolly, @TheOneWithWanderlust

Erica Connolly has travelled to 31 countries—from Malaysia to Singapore to Germany to China—and shares her experiences travelling abroad and living in Madrid on Instagram. Photography courtesy Erica Connolly
“I loved this view across the Bosphorus of the Karaköy neighbourhood in Istanbul,” Erica says. “These hills were full of so much flavour, heart and liveliness, and it killed me to know I wouldn’t have time to explore every one of Istanbul’s corners and side streets.” Photography courtesy Erica Connolly

Why we love her: A Texas native and Madrid resident, Erica takes photos of Spain’s quirkier side—like peacocks in city plazas—that fit neatly alongside architecture shots of the city’s gorgeous buildings and castles in the countryside. Warning: Don’t scroll through unless you’re prepared to book a flight.

The destinations she can’t stay away from: “Growing up, I visited Salt Lake City, Utah, and Tucson, Arizona, dozens of times because I have so much family in both locations,” Erica says. “However, I love returning as an adult because now I see these once-mundane places as destinations with wild landscapes and endless corners to explore. They look completely different through my camera lens!”

Number-one tip for travellers: Be flexible. “When things don’t go according to plan, which happens a lot, it’s up to you to decide how to handle the situation. It’s always best to find the humour in every circumstance,” she says. “With a positive outlook, it will probably make for a good story to tell when you arrive back home. I once helped catch two of Penang, Malaysia’s most wanted criminals. That definitely wasn’t a fun day, but I made the best of a sticky situation and now it’s one of my favourite travel stories.”

What she never leaves home without: Her Converse shoes and Canon camera.

Katie Dillon, @LaJollaMom

Katie Dillon is based in California but has lived in Hong Kong and London, and is known for her expertise in luxury family travel. Photography courtesy Keith Tsuji for Flytographer
“My daughter and I recently visited Hong Kong’s Po Lin Monastery,” says Katie. “While it is a popular tourist attraction, we were deeply moved by how the important religious site is still cherished by locals and devout Buddhists who travel long distances to worship here.” Photography Katie Dillon

Why we love her: Katie’s a frequent contributor to and an expert in navigating travel with kids. Her photos of soup dumplings make our mouths water, and scenic shots of junks in Victoria Harbour are interspersed with charming scenes from her family life.

Where she shops for souvenirs: Tokyo. “When in Tokyo a few years ago we bought more bento supplies than we could carry. Most of them were from a store in Ginza called Tokyu Hands, about 15 minutes walking distance from Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Marunouchi. On the same shopping trip, I loaded up on beautiful Japanese paper goods at Ito-ya, ranging from washi tape to hand-painted cards.”

Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo

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Travelling with kids? ”Schedule at least one thing a day that appeals to kids so that they are more patient with doing things you like to do,” Dillon advises. “I also never pack a day with back-to-back activities outside of the Hotel. My daughter needs downtime in the hotel room or at the pool in order to reboot from touring. Plus, if you’re staying in a Four Seasons, it’s a shame not to enjoy it!”

Kobe Chanel, @kobechanel

Kobe Chanel always seems to be somewhere beautiful, and her Instagram feed is filled with images of some of the world’s most enviable destinations, from Paris to Capri to Bora Bora. Photography courtesy Kobe Chanel
“After arriving at the hotel by seaplane, you disembark onto a jetty surrounded by magical shades of blue that leads you to your personal island,” says Kobe of her arrival to the Maldives. “Each hotel in Maldives is its own island, and the service provided to you is ultimate luxury. The beauty you see here is not just above the water; a whole world [exists] below the water with a variety of species of fish, turtles, eels and sharks. Snorkelling here is a golden opportunity.” Photography courtesy Kobe Chanel

Why we love her: Kobe’s Instagram feed is the stuff dreams are made of: turquoise waters, gorgeous accessories, mouth-watering cocktails and much more. They give us serious Insta-envy.

Pro travel tip: “If you are celebrating a special occasion, mention it! Whether it’s a birthday, anniversary or honeymoon, hotels always try to enhance your stay as much as possible when you are celebrating something special,” she says. And don’t forget to utilise your phone and its apps. “I use Instagram for everything from checking the weather at my destination to getting tips on how to get to out-of-the-way spots.”

Her favourite destination: “One of my absolute favourite travel destinations is Italy. From the ancient cultural sites of Rome to a hike along Cinque Terre, dining at Michelin-rated restaurants in the Amalfi Coast or boating at Lake Como, Italy has so much to offer for every kind of traveller—the museum-goer, the backpacker, or the luxury traveller,” she says. “In Maui, my favourite hotel is Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea, because the property is absolutely stunning—beachfront with beautiful pools, including an infinity pool, and a view of Haleakala in the distance.”

Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea

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Matt Long, @LandLopers

A photographer, blogger and writer specialising in luxury adventure travel, Matt Long shares his stories, tips and images on his blog, LandLopers, and on Instagram. Photography courtesy Matt Long
“Driving along Alberta’s Cowboy Trail, I expected to find plenty of ranches and cowboys, mountain foothills and rolling streams,” says Matt, “but I wasn’t prepared for the quiet moments of almost spiritual beauty like this one here. While on a morning horse ride I stumbled across this lone cabin on the Albertan frontier gazing bravely into the distance. It brought everything into perspective, especially the sheer size and magnitude of the region. There’s a beauty to be found in that massive expanse of space, and I found my own personal example of it that morning.“ Photography courtesy Matt Long

Why we love him: Matt calls Washington, D.C., home, but eye-catching photos of romantic German towns, the Northern Lights in Norway and pony-size Icelandic horses are what you’ll find in his colourful Instagram feed, along with the occasional goofy selfie.

His favourite destinations: South Africa and Australia. “South Africa is just a very special place, it has a spirit that’s impossible to define—it just has to be experienced to be understood,” he says. “Australia is interesting to me because it’s so very large. It would take a lifetime to see it all, and there are many interesting surprises in the least likely of spots.” Another favourite? Hawaii. “Four Seasons Resorts in Lana’i hold a special place in my heart, and returning to this beautiful island really is like going back home again.”

Best tip for travellers: Embrace spontaneity. “Don’t over-plan your trips—instead, allow the random moments to happen,” he says. “They’re usually the most treasured memories you’ll take home with you.”

Four Seasons Resort Lanai

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Olga Dubrovina, @olgadubrovina

Olga Dubrovina’s photography shows a distinctly feminine bent, with many of her shots on Instagram illustrating the irresistible and romantic nature of Paris. Photography courtesy Olga Dubrovina
“Paris is the most beautiful in the morning,” Olga says. “Still a little sleepy, it rejoices in the beginning of a new day and spruces itself up, getting ready to enchant.” Photography courtesy Olga Dubrovina

Why we love her: Olga might have the most feminine travel feed on Instagram, and we can’t get enough of her flowers, desserts, sunsets and pink-hued everything.

What’s always in her suitcase: “When I’m going on a trip I always pack a pair of high-heeled shoes. No matter what the destination, whether mountains or sandy beach, I will always find a reason to take my shoes for a walk!”

Best souvenirs: It’s all about the scents. “Wherever I go, I always buy a new perfume and some local spices as souvenirs, so that when I come back home I can smell them and remember happy days. Smells are memories in a bottle.”

Her favourite destination: “The Côte d’Azur is the place I go back to again and again. Once you fall in love with Nice or Cannes, you will never forget it.” And we couldn’t agree more: The new Grand-Hôtel du Cap-Ferrat, A Four Seasons Hotel, already has us dreaming of an escape to Provence.

Grand-Hotel du Cap-Ferrat, A Four Seasons Hotel

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Kim Hopkins, @Kimhopkins

Kim Hopkins is based in Abu Dhabi, but her summers take her to the Hamptons and Italy and her travels take her around the world—so there’s plenty of inspiration to be found scrolling through her Instagram feed. Photography courtesy Kim Hopkins
“Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at the Bosphorus has the most beautiful pool on the Bosphorus,” says Kim. “The views are stunning, and it’s far enough away from the restaurant to be private and relaxing.” Photography courtesy Kim Hopkins

Why we love her: Kim is based in Abu Dhabi and knows how to travel in style. Her Instagram showcases her photos of camels and souks at home, summers in the Hamptons, and vacations in Italy, from tiny villages to the Boboli Gardens in Florence.

Ingenious travel tip: “On every flight, I take a twin-size fitted sheet to cover my seat. It fits perfectly, is flexible when the bed is flat, and covers any germs. It’s my best travel secret!”

Her favourite travel destination: Istanbul. “I have stayed at Four Seasons hotels all over the world, but one of my recent favourites is Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at the Bosphorus. It’s a magical location with breathtaking views of the Strait. Locals and tourists alike come for sunset drinks on the terrace.”

Her favourite travel companion: “My other ‘must-have’ on all of my trips is my stylish 6-year old son, Brady,” she says. “He has been to 17 countries and even has his own Instagram account.” Follow him @bradysworld.

Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at the Bosphorus

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