TrovaTrip Blog

How to Become a Travel Influencer: Your Strategic Roadmap

Turn your passion for travel into a profitable profession

Group of Travelers taking photo on influencer trip in Thailand.

Have you ever wondered how some people turn every corner of the world into their personal playground? Chances are they're not just traveling; they inspire others through their content, creating waves through stunning mountain-top views or crystal-clear turquoise shores. So, what are the secret ingredients to their success? Well, it's less about secrets and more about mastering the steps to becoming a travel influencer.

If this resonates with you, you may have wondered if you can really "make it" as a travel influencer. As in, is my social media game strong enough? Am I taking enough trips and capturing enough of the world to stand out? Maybe you're even making a name for yourself as a micro-influencer, but you're ready to step it up a notch. You’ve seen other Creators on social media getting paid to travel, but now it's your turn. 

We've got you covered. Check out this guide to help you transform your love for travel into something bigger than just beautiful photos and stories.

What does it mean to be a travel influencer?

Being a travel influencer today goes beyond sharing mesmerizing landscape photos and captivating Instagram reels. It's about capturing the ‘feeling’ of each destination through your personal experiences, and offering something to your online community. With each post and story, travel influencers offer a unique set of tips that is specific to their follower’s interests, from must-try dishes and cozy hideaways, to airline hacks that save you $$$, to off-the-beaten-path spots that only a local would know.

But here's the cool (and lucrative) part: your personal narratives can also be a passport to getting paid to travel. How? Travel influencers make their passion a profession by collaborating with travel industry brands, tourism boards, and other travel-centric partners. Beyond just adding pins to a map and saying, "Been there, done that," becoming a successful travel influencer is about carving out your own niche in the vast expanse of the travel industry.

To be a travel influencer is to be a guide, a storyteller, and an entrepreneur all rolled into one. It’s about your stories and insights igniting the wanderlust in others by bringing the wonders of the world to life, and allowing your followers to come along for the journey (virtually at first… and then with you as a travel Host, but more on that in a bit 😉).

Person holding camera like a travel influencer in Turkey.

7 steps to becoming a travel influencer

While some are lucky enough to post a viral reel and gain a following overnight, many Creators take a strategic approach toward becoming an established travel influencer. With passion, dedication, and creativity, you can start making waves in the world of travel content creation. Here's how.

1. Carve (and own) your niche

Being a travel influencer might sound pretty niche already. But to truly stand out, you've got to dig deeper. You might be thinking, "But I love all kinds of travel." Nothing wrong with too! 😅 But specializing will help you cut through the noise and stand out. 

Are we talking luxury escapades where the champagne never stops flowing? Or maybe your vibe is more about conquering mountains and chasing waterfalls? Here are some examples to get your wheels turning:

  • Outdoor adventure: Dive into the heart of nature — recreating breathtaking hikes, serene camping spots, and discovering off-the-grid spots people will beg for the coordinates to. Oh, and don't forget to show the less glamorous side of "leave no trace"... people love that sh*t! (Pun totally intended).
  • Culture and heritage: Invite your community on a ride through history and culture, uncovering the awesome diversity of global traditions, mind-blowing historical wonders, and ancient stories just begging to be shared again.
  • Luxury travel: Step into the world of opulence, showcasing the crème de la crème of travel, from plush retreats to the most exclusive experiences that spell "luxury" in timeless fonts.
  • Voluntourism: Blend travel with purpose, spotlighting journeys that give back to communities, support local causes, and make a trip at a time.
  • Agritourism: Celebrate the rural beauty and simplicity of farm life, uncovering the charms of agritourism, from vineyard tours to cozy farm stays amid rolling hills.
  • Budget-friendly travel: Be the go-to travel influencer for cost-conscious adventurers, offering valuable nuggets on how to see the world without breaking the bank, from hidden gem hostels to hack-worthy travel tips.
  • Family voyagers: Build content that caters to the young and young at heart, focusing on destinations that create memories full of giggles, (less rigorous) adventures, and "firsts" for all ages.
  • Ecotourism: Champion eco-conscious journeys, highlighting destinations and practices that honor Mother Earth, promoting sustainability in every stamp on your passport.
  • Thrill-seekers: Feed the adrenaline junkies with content that makes the heart skip a beat, from skydiving highs to the rush of bungee jumping, capturing the essence of daring and adventure. Just remember to pack your GoPro!

Travel influencing is about embracing your niche and combining it with your unique style to welcome like-minded followers into your circle of exploration and storytelling.

2. Define your brand identity

We’ve all been here: You're scrolling through Instagram, lost in a sea of travel pics, when you come across a post that makes you stop and say, "Wow, I want to go there." or "This is the exact trip itinerary I’d use." It's not just the places these travel influencers visit; it's their vibe, their style — their brand. That’s right, there’s marketing involved, and it's likely the post was edited in a way that makes you feel like this Creator just “gets you.” In the world of travel influencing, your brand is everything.

Travel influencer Cedric Wood on beach in Thailand.

Defining your brand identity isn’t just about designing a sleek logo or choosing the most clever hashtags. Those are important, but you've got to get deeper than that. Based on how you define your niche as a Traveler, develop your distinct, authentic brand and build a consistent online presence across your website, blog, and social channels. Express yourself with visuals, colors, filters, fonts, and a voice that cohesively reflects your brand identity and sets you apart. Show your followers the unique journey only you can offer, distinguishing yourself from countless other explorers.

Your brand tells your story without words — it’s what people remember when they close their eyes at night, dreaming about their next adventure. So ask yourself: “What do I stand for?” Maybe it’s sustainability in travel or showcasing local cultures untouched by tourism hype. Whatever it is — own it. And embody it. Because when folks come across your page, you want them nodding along, thinking, “Yes. That's exactly what I’ve been looking for.” Your brand identity resonates with them. And just like that — you’ve got a genuine connection.

The thing is, defining your unique selling proposition or "USP" (as business people call it) takes time. But believe us when we say — it can pay off big time down the road.

3. Create valuable content

So, you've carved out your niche in the vast world of travel influencing. But what next? Your audience is tuning in, but you have to keep them hooked. So, you need content that's not just good — it needs to be amazing. Think about it: What makes your followers smash that "like" button, leave a comment, and have them sharing or saving your content?

First off, understand this — your followers are keen on what's original and what's overplayed. They’ve seen the typical sunset shots and #hotdoglegs selfies. They crave something new that they haven't scrolled past a hundred times. What does that look like to you? Could it be the thrill of discovering secret spots in cities that feel like they've been fully explored? Maybe it's tips on how to safely experience a destination as a solo female traveler? Or perhaps something more lighthearted like where to find the cleanest bathrooms in Rome? Whatever it is, find your angle and stick with it — consistency is key.

  • Fresh: Dive into uncharted territories or lesser-known aspects of popular destinations.
  • Engaging: Start conversations around travel myths or underrated experiences.
  • Exciting: Share thrilling adventures or serene escapes that ignite the imagination.
  • Actionable: You're the expert who your followers look up to. Give them something to take away from your content, whether it's sharing travel influencer tips or destination-specific resources.

Travel influencer having photo taken in Cappadoccia, Turkey.

People are drawn to your distinct viewpoint because they crave experiencing the globe from your perspective. So ask yourself why they chose you among thousands of other Creators. Maybe it’s your knack for finding beauty in overlooked places or how you can turn any trip into an adventure worth telling. 

How you package and deliver your content is just as important as what you convey. To truly stand out, mix up your content types. 

  • Short-form videos: It's not easy to become a travel influencer without leveraging the mass appeal of share-worthy reels and TikToks. An inspiring 10-second time-lapse with trending audio or a comical take on what NOT to do can cast your social media reach on where it matters most.
  • Photography: An inspiring photo has universal appeal. But photos tell one part of the story. Master storytelling — visually and verbally — to weave tales so captivating that no one can scroll by without pausing.
  • Blogging: Consider this the foundation of your brand; the hub that connects everything you do. With a bit of SEO-savvy, your blog posts can be potent avenues for organic traffic.
  • Graphics: Chop up your best photos, captions, and travel discoveries to create eye-catching visuals that engage with users on Pinterest or add value to your website.
  • Newsletters: Personalized email content can include travel tips, updates on upcoming trips, exclusive content, and personal anecdotes that foster a closer connection with your followers.
  • E-books and guides: Share in-depth travel wisdom and tips in a long-form way with comprehensive travel guides or themed e-books that can be packaged in a downloadable format.
  • Collabs: Teaming up with other travel influencers or brands for cross-promotion or contributing content can help you reach new and wider audiences.

Remember: Keep exploring, keep engaging, and most importantly, keep surprising. Crafting valuable content that truly stands out is the key to success as a travel influencer — it's what brings their creations to life and sets them apart in a bustling digital world.

Travel influencer holding a camera.

4. Photos speak 1,000 words

Remember the saying, "A picture is worth a thousand words?" That overplayed cliché couldn't be more true when you're showcasing a destination as a travel influencer. 

To make your mark and stand out in a sea of Content Creators, developing your photography style is key, even if you're just using an iPhone. And snapping pretty pictures isn't enough. Leverage editing options to make sure your pics are polished and uniform.

Stellar photography invites people into the frame of the moment you captured. It tells stories without uttering a single word, evoking emotions and planting seeds of wanderlust for those who lay eyes on it.

5. Captivate with memorable videos

Videos have a spellbinding ability to capture attention, mesmerize viewers, and extend your organic reach if viral-worthy. If done correctly, Instagram reels, YouTube videos, and TikToks are more than just content; they're your ticket to becoming a memorable (and relatable) travel influencer. But just like with your photos, video creation takes some finesse.

Telling a story through quick clips is an art and the secret sauce that makes followers stick around for more. And guess what? You don’t need to be the next Spielberg or have fancy equipment. Your smartphone and a keen eye for content are enough to make your reels ✨ shine.

In today’s fast-paced world, videos hold someone’s attention span longer than any other media format. They’re dynamic, engaging, and, if done right — unforgettable. But, again, depending on the video type, a “long attention span” might still be only a few seconds — typically under 15 seconds if we’re being exact.

  • Master optimal video length: Easier said than done, but having a full understanding of optimized video length is key. Too short will have people questioning what they just watched, while too long will have them bailing before you get to the good stuff. 
    • 💡Creator Tip: Use your Instagram Insights to check how long people view your reels on average, once you get that number, strive to create more content around that length.
  • Include yourself in your content: People connect with people. So get your face on cam and engage with your followers. Show yourself experiencing the food, culture, stunning scenery, etc.
    • P.S. At first, everyone feels a little silly setting up a tripod and videoing themself in public — you’re not alone! But getting the shot is the name of the game in content creation, so tell those haters to kick rocks while you create something amazing.
  • Showcase destinations vividly: Bring destinations to life by capturing their essence in motion – from bustling cityscapes to serene sunsets and use them as great b-roll.
  • Tell stories that resonate: Share personal anecdotes or interesting facts about places you visit that make viewers feel connected with you and the journey.
  • Provide viewers with tips or fun facts. Some ideas: 10 not-so-touristy spots you can’t miss in Bali. How to navigate public transport in a bustling city like Tokyo. Showcase a day-in-the-life video from different destinations. Or create comparisons highlighting the differences between popular tourist spots and hidden gems in the same city.
  • Demonstrate authenticity: Spill your smoothie on your white shirt? Take a picture. Slip on a rock while visiting a waterfall? That is comedic GOLD. Post it. (if you need some inspo, check out this post from Trova Host @jeffreybinney that will make you cringe… in a good way 😂). Real-time reactions and unfiltered experiences add layers of authenticity that your followers love. After all, we’re all humans and sometimes, sh*t travel happens!
  • Utilize trends and trending audio: Look for trending indicators to discover popular audio that might expand your presence in people's feeds. Instagram and TikTok both have trending audio recommendations available for Creator accounts right in-app to make it easy. Format trends, like stitches, video memes, and perpetually evolving TikTok trends can help lift your algorithm appeal. But what was trending last week might be old news today, so stay at the forefront and be timely.
  • Hone in on your editing tools: Ever spend 30 minutes creating a reel, and the Instagram app glitches out and loses everything? Yep, us too. Every. Damn. Time.  Elevate your editing game (and save yourself from rage) by using more trusted editing apps like CapCut. And no, we’re not getting paid to say this. We’re just genuine fans. 

The key takeaway? Immerse yourself in crafting concise yet impactful visual tales that captivate your audience and pull them into the heart of your travels. Because when you nail storytelling through video, you'll level up in the travel-influencing game.

TrovaTrip Hosts hugging on group trip.

6. Connect with your followers

While it's easy to get caught up in boosting your follower count, building your audience is not just about numbers; it's the bedrock of turning your passion into profit. So, what's the secret for transforming those who just breeze through your content into loyal supporters? It's all about connection.

  • Make it personal: Every comment and every message is an opportunity to spark a conversation. Think of it as chatting with friends rather than broadcasting to followers. Why? Because connections are how you turn your followers into life-long supporters.
  • Share the real you: Show them the person behind the lens. Had a travel mishap? Share it. Found yourself lost in translation but ended up discovering something amazing? Tell that story. People love rooting for someone they can relate to, not just admire from afar.
  • Engage consistently: Navigating this part is where the challenge and thrill intertwine. Schedule regular posts and live sessions — but don’t stop there. Surprise live streams or impromptu Q&As can make your followers feel like they're part of your journey, not just spectators.
  • The power of polls and questions: Quick polls on Instagram stories are golden for gauging interest or making decisions together — like choosing between two destinations. Similarly, ending posts with questions isn’t just good etiquette; it invites dialogue and shows you value their opinions.

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is a solid follower base. But by consistently showing up authentically and genuinely engaging with those spending time with your content, you'll build a following grounded in trust and mutual respect.

Last but certainly not least, listen closely to what they have to say through comments or direct messages — if you get trolls, that's a different story. In that case don't listen and tell them to go back to their caves. 🧌

Follower feedback is the key to refining what works best — for you and them. Being seen is good; being remembered is the goal. By connecting on a personal level, you're not only building an audience but creating a community. And that, my friend, is priceless.

TrovaTrip group on an influencer trip in Costa Rica.

7. Become a Travel Host

Group trips? With your community of followers? Absolutely. 

This is where TrovaTrip enters the picture, making collective travel experiences seamless and easy. You choose the itinerary and theme based on what vibes with your brand and community— be it yoga retreats in Bali or foodie tours in Italy — and Trova helps make it happen.

So, why become a travel Host through Trova?

  • Connect deeply: There's something magical about sharing real-life adventures that turns followers into friends (and even superfans).
  • Create epic content: Imagine the Instagram stories. Every journey brings its own unique stories and visuals, offering content that's unparalleled and utterly original.
  • Get paid to travel: Yes, you read that right. Hosting trips opens up new revenue streams for influencers like you who love wandering but also like to keep your bank account happy.

There are more benefits to hosting, and this is just the tip of the iceberg. Beyond merely acquiring accolades as a travel influencer, hosting group trips is about crafting fulfilling experiences for yourself and your followers, who seek novelty and connection in their travel journeys. Hosting is simple, and Trova helps you turn your travel dreams into a shared reality without breaking a sweat (or the bank).

Here's to self-actualizing your travel influencer identity

Becoming a travel influencer is a journey marked by passion, creativity, and the desire to share the world through your eyes. It's about crafting stories, forging connections, and inspiring wanderlust with every post and adventure. While it demands dedication and a strategic approach, the personal and professional rewards are boundless. Remember that your unique perspective is what makes your content compelling and your experiences unforgettable. Here's to turning your travel dreams into a reality that resonates with adventurers around the globe.