By Crystal McCormick
A tropical vacation can bring on a lot of exciting things: a new tan, much needed relaxation, and unforgettable memories – that, of course, you post on social media. Honestly, does a getaway even count if it’s not on Instagram?
It's true that when you’re in locations as beautiful as Jamaica and Mexico it’s not hard to capture a ‘gram-worthy shot, but let’s face it - everyone’s feed can always be a little more interesting.
From hashtag overdose to perfectly proportioned pics, we’ve got you covered on how to have the Instagram vacation feed that even the haters can’t help but like… or heart.
Keep it Interesting
You picked a cool location to visit, so why wouldn't you share a peek into what it's like there? Try taking pictures of exotic foods (like fresh coconuts or jerk chicken), local street markets, and interesting historic landmarks.
Stay away, however, from posting boring things from your vacation that you can do at home. In other words, if you hit a typical American drive thru in Cancun, nobody needs to see it.
Avoid Selfies, Do Your Own Thing
Skip the Selfies
What’s Instagram without selfies? While this is true, too many flicks of you, taken by you, is just not that interesting.
Instead of dozens of selfies or too many posed shots, share a candid moment of you and whoever you’re travelling with on your feed. If you’re sans travel companion, (politely) grab a hotel employee or fellow tourist to help snap some uncontrived pics of you on holiday.
If you absolutely can’t resist the selfie urge, just avoid the ones posing in front of the mirror in your hotel bathroom. Trust us, your followers would much rather see you swimming or hiking than looking into a mirror.
Just because your friends took a photo posing on the hotel balcony doesn't mean you have to do the same. Same goes for the staged “cheers” of drinks or making hearts with your hands around some local landmark.
Go for something more interesting, like cool underwater shots, weird angles, and different times of day (sunrise or the dead of night) to make your photos stand out.
Divide and Conquer, But Not the Locals
Divide the Backdrop
Your sunburn has finally dissipated, your vacay outfit is on point, and your hair has that idyllic beach-y vibe, but there’s just one thing missing - the perfect backdrop. To make your photo stand out on your feed, incorporate some of that tropical scenery around you… the right way.
Whether a row of perfectly lined palm trees or an amazing sunset, using the rule of three (dividing the image into thirds, both horizontally and vertically) creates more interest in your images – it’s even been known to make the photo more likeable.
Be Respectful of Locals
Nobody knows the Caribbean better than the people who live there. While you don’t have to be shy about taking photos of local people on your travels, always ask. All cultures are different, and some people may be flattered if you ask to photograph them, while others will be more cautious.
“It's always a good idea to ask permission if you feel you are intruding upon someone’s personal space. If you’re lucky, locals are more than excited to show their personality,” travel photographer Marianna Jamadi explained to AFAR Magazine.
After all, would you want some strange tourist with a camera running up on you at your neighborhood Starbucks while you’re enjoying your morning latte?
TMI and Easy on the Hashtags
We get it - you’ve worked hard at getting that body beach-ready, so why not show it off? Though you’re slaying in that new Brazilian two piece, try to avoid uploading those gratuitous skimpy bikini shots on Instagram.
Not only do you come off completely vain, but we’ve all seen the whole sexy bikini beach post a million times on our feeds. So, while you may get a good number of double taps out of it, most likely, you’ll get more secret eye rolls from your followers.
If you must show off what you’re working with, be creative. Instead of the whole here are my sexy bronzed legs by a pool, try candid bikini shots while being active. Trust us, it’s way more interesting seeing a hot body surfing or zip lining while traveling than lounging around.
It’s natural to be enamored and inspired by the majestic sunsets and relaxing atmosphere of the Caribbean, but please resist the urge to over hashtag your posts – especially when they’re not that exciting.
Do you really need to hashtag #instagood #nofilter #blessed #yolo on a picture of your hotel room? No. No, you don’t.
Instead, give context to where you are, why you’re there, and what makes it special and unique, and save the unneeded tags for those mediocre car selfies.