How to use Instagram to research your destination

In this day and age, the Internet makes finding things to do and see so accessible, it’s almost overwhelming. But with the takeover of social media, sometimes all you really want is just that one “Instagram moment” to share with friends and family. I am guilty of this and have honed my abilities to find “that” one pic we’re all looking for. How? I use Instagram to research my destination. I’ll use my recent trip to Cuba as an example.

Step 1: Search by location

I search the location tag on Instagram (under discover, search on the far right) and I browse through top and current photos. Sometimes you find places that don’t show up on TripAdvisor! I found a chic rooftop bar (overlooking the capital building and national theater in Havana) via Instagram! It was not listed on TripAdvisor (at the time of this publishing). My friends that came with me were blown away by this find!

Step 2: Ask people currently there

I can ask people currently there for recommendations. That’s how I found out more information about this rooftop bar. I saw someone’s picture and commented asking if we had to be guests at the hotel to get access to the bar on the roof. She responded within a day or so, letting me know that we simply had to take the elevator to the top floor and voilà!

Step 3: Screenshot!

I always try to save a screenshot so I already have a pic to show people when asking for directions. This worked later in the week when I was looking for a cute colorful cafe in Old Havana. I showed a local the screenshot and sure enough, he walked us 2 minutes back up the road and showed us right where it was! Worth it? I think so.

Step 4: Prepare to create content

Lastly, I use this time to find pose ideas. Everyone wants a candid photo, so I check out what other people are doing when taking a picture at a specific location! (Hint: you can always flash the U!*) It’s also fun to see what captions / puns people are using (“Havana great time in Cuba!”).

Step 5: Post to Instagram!

Now that you’ve picked the perfect spot, outfit, and caption, capture the moment and post your pic! And don’t forget to tag your location so others can continue to use Instagram to research their destination. You can check out my Instagram at @beyondutah. 🙂

🇺🇸 “Enjoy the music, enjoy the food, but mostly, enjoy the people.” 🇨🇺 These sweet ladies sat down with me and answered questions I had about tourism in Cuba (the topic of my research paper). They were patient with my Spanish and even asked me a few questions about my life and where I want to take my career. When we said goodbye, they did so in the tradition Cuban way of giving me a beso (kiss). I was a pleasant surprise. 😂 When I ran into them a few days later, they lit up and gave me a beso all over again (since besos can be for greeting and goodbye). By that point I had adjusted to the kisses and responded in like fashion as if I was a true Cuban.😘 #utahabroad #goadjust . 🇫🇷 pas de légende en français pour l'instant, je la ferai plus tard aujourd'hui! -
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#beyondutah #gapyear #UtahBlogger #frenchblogger #cuba #havana #studyabroad #expat #expatlife #UofU #GoUtes #JoseMarti #LaHabana #byu #bilingual #spanish #español #hispanohablante #visitcuba #fisheyejourneys #lahavane

A post shared by Paul ✈️ | Beyond Utah (@beyondutah) on

*This post was written originally for the Learning Abroad Office at the University of Utah as part of my participation as a Social Media Scholarship Awardee. It has been edited slightly to better fit the Beyond Utah audience.

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