Travel Miscellany

Do You Need To Up Your Insta-Game?

Do You Need To Up Your Insta-Game?

Question: if a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to Instagram it, does it actually happen? We all love a bit of an Insta-brag every now and then (never more so than when we're on holiday) and making sure you get the perfect angle, have the filters ramped up to the max and enough hash tags to fill a dictionary has become something of a fine art. The upshot of all this is that even the most creatively challenged of travellers can take beautiful holiday snaps with just the flick of an iPhone. And if you're among the 700 million-odd monthly users of Instagram and want to up your holiday snap game, here's a few of the most Insta-braggable destinations on the planet...


Yosemite National Park, USA

Nature and wilderness lovers everywhere will no doubt have California's Yosemite National Park on their bucket lists; this is high drama of the geological variety with towering ancient sequoia trees (pictured), vertical granite cliffs, cascading waterfalls and deep valleys. What's more, Yosemite combines brilliantly with San Francisco, one of our favourite US cities due to its vibrant metropolitan population, exciting foodie scene and iconic landmarks.

Top Tip: Suffer for your Art - Angles are key and taking a photo from a perspective other than eye-level makes a big difference, whether that's lying on the floor or finding something to stand on.



Santorini, Greece

If we didn't know any better we'd think Santorini had been created specifically for Instagram - crisp white buildings framed by impossibly pretty pink bougainvillea sit against a backdrop of deep cerulean sea. And if that wasn't enough to whet your photographic appetite, there are few views more Insta-worthy than that across the caldera at sunset.

Top Tip: Contrast is King - A stark contrast between the colours in the foreground and background of your photo makes for a particularly eye-catching image.



Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Speaking of sunsets, Santorini's caldera may have met its match in Rio de Janeiro. The Brazilian heavyweight sports perhaps the most aesthetically stunning setting for any city on the planet (although Cape Town may have something to say about that) and the view at sunset or sunrise from Santa Teresa is a vision that will stay etched on your memory for many a year, not to mention your Instagram feed.

Top Tip: The Golden Hour - The hour after sunrise and the hour before sunset are known as the 'golden hour', when the light is perfect for photography.



The Makgadikgadi Pans, Botswana

It's said that you can see the earth's curvature on the vast expanse of Botswana's Makgadikgadi Pans and there are few places on the planet where you will feel such an extreme sense of peace and isolation. Sleep out underneath the stars for maximum effect and marvel at the sheer desolate beauty of the place. The above image was taken by our very own Miranda Boord who was there just last week.

Top Tip: Filter Fiend - Want more likes? Go to town with Instagram filters for maximum effect; contrast, saturation, brightness - turn them all up to 11.




If culture's the name of your holiday game then Vietnam has it all - electric green rice paddies carved into rolling hillsides, charming traditional villages dotted across the countryside and chaotic cities that enliven the senses with a smorgasbord of sights, smells and sounds. Our Asia expert Katie has just returned from Vietnam with a plethora of amazing photographs and stories to boot. She took the above photo while on a street food tour in Hanoi, ""I tried the best of the best and without the guides I would have never known it was there.""

Top Tip: Don't be Afraid to Cheat - Ever wondered how people capture such sensational photos on their iPhone? They don't. Take your photo on a proper camera and upload to your phone later.



Samarkand, Uzbekistan

While the Chinese section of the Silk Road steals most of the limelight, the central Asian stretch is no less enchanting and can be enjoyed without the crowds. The beautifully preserved city of Samarkand in the south of Uzbekistan is a perfect representation of how the silk road was not only a means of transporting goods but of ideas, philosophies and design, evidenced by the breathtaking Registan Square, flanked by three madrasas (Islamic schools). This huge complex of gleaming blue and emerald tiled buildings is guaranteed to render even the most hardened travel nut utterly awe-struck.

Top Tip: Imitation is the Sincerest form of Flattery - Get inspiration for the perfect shot by searching Instagram for photos tagged with the destination or site you're visiting.