Top 10 Travel Influencers Inspiring Gen Z’s Wanderlust

Travel influencer marketing is one of the top ways Gen Z plan their trips. So what do brands need to know - and who should you be following?
Fanbytes | Travel influencer

In 30 seconds:

  • It’s almost summer; time to leave behind the world of work and enter the world of blue skies, sunshine, and travel!
  • Gen Zers have already said that they plan to spend just as much, if not more, than they did pre-pandemic on travel this year.
  • So, primed to give you the ultimate wanderlust, here are the top 10 travel influencers you should be following.

Let’s not jinx it, but we seem to be heading into a lockdown-free summer… 

For the travel industry, it can’t come soon enough – and Gen Z feels the same way. For many of them, travel outranked everything on their list of post-pandemic plans, (including ‘seeing friends’ and ‘seeing family’), so you can bet they’re going to be on the search for the ultimate travel experiences

And where better to conduct that search than on social media

Social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram are huge hubs of lifestyle inspo, and it’s where you’re most likely to find Gen Z, 65% of whom say they use social media platforms daily. 

Influencer marketing has long been known to be a significant guiding force behind Gen Z’s purchasing habits – they’re more likely to buy something based on the recommendation from an influencer. Almost half of Generation Z follow at least one travel influencer – and they’re just as likely to use a travel influencer to guide their travel plans as a travel-planning site. 

For travel brands and tourism boards, that means partnerships with travel influencers is the most effective way to reach Gen Z audiences. 

Where to find the best examples of travel influencer marketing

Travel bloggers exist across all social media platforms, but there’s no denying that Instagram reigns supreme for travel content. With hashtags jam-packed full of posts sharing beautiful places, it’s no wonder that over 40% of Gen Z give instagram travel influencers the credit for informing their holiday decisions.  

That being said, it has growing competition. 

More and more travel brands are turning to TikTok to reach Gen Z with their travel campaigns. Delta Air Lines, for example, launched a campaign encouraging users to post travel memories using the #FavoriteTripChallengeHashtag – a campaign which garnered over 19.5 million views in its first 36 hours. 

And Marriott saw similar success with a travel influencer backed branded hashtag campaign using the #TravelMakesUs hashtag, with collected videos reaching over 28.1 million views. 

@lani.baker #ad #TravelMakesUs feel so many things... Discover it all with @marriottbonvoy 🌎✨ #Travel #ad ♬ Where Can We Take You - Marriott Bonvoy

Interest in travel content is high amongst Generation Z. And content creators know just how to turn that interest into social engagement. 

Just like the classic postcards, travel influencers seem to be asking us: wish you were here? And, as their highly engaged followings can attest to – the answer is yes

The top 10 travel influencers you need to follow right now

Without further ado, get ready for some serious wanderlust with our list of the top travel influencers everyone should be following: 

1. @TheRichAuntNY

If you want a fun virtual travel partner, you can’t go wrong with “the Rich Aut” (@therichauntny). With an account name riffing on the “rich, childless, fun aunt” stereotype, she posts inspiring content about solo travelling, how to self-fund your luxurious trips, and her experiences of solo travel as a Black woman. 

From Brazil to Bali, this travel influencer’s humour and honesty pepper her travel experiences, and have made her popular with her 81k followers, who get travel inspiration and lifestyle advice in equal measure. 

@alexojeda The fastest Zipline in Mexico 🇲🇽 Would you Zipline? #mexico #puertovallarta #zipline @Tours Puerto Vallarta ♬ original sound - Sickickmusic

2. @AlexOjeda

Gen Z aren’t interested in just any old trip. They want travel adventures. In fact, more than 80% of US Gen Z and Millennial travellers have said they’re looking for a unique experience from their next trip, and that’s exactly what Alex Ojeda (@alexojeda) introduces them to. 

From the fastest zipline in Mexico to a rainbow slide in El Salvador, Alex’s page has attracted almost 8 million followers, all following along as he takes them on (his words) “the world’s most EPIC adventures”. Honestly, we’re inclined to agree. 

3. @ChrisBurkard

Travel photographer Chris Burkard (@chrisburkard) specialises in landscapes, so his Instagram page is filled with gorgeous shots bound to make you feel a sense of awe. 

Expect to find photos so high-quality and polished they hardly seem real – and maybe a little bit of artistic inspo for your next campaign shot, too. 

4. @VoyageFox

If it’s luxury travel you’re interested in, it’d be a good idea to start with Nathalie (@voyagefox) – That is, of course, if you can handle the envy. Both Nathalie’s TikTok and Instagram accounts feature high-end hotels, luxury resorts and bucket list locations. It’s a glimpse into how the other half travel. Check out this video from the Maldives.

This social media influencer might stretch the budget of your next trip, but since Gen Z are the generation most willing to spend more on experiences than possessions, it’s no surprise her videos have surpassed 9.3M likes. 

5. @GirlEatWorld

For a change of pace, and for those travellers led by their stomachs, Mel (@girleatworld) is a must-follow. This travel influencer posts aesthetic shots of beautiful views… with a tasty treat or drink held up in the foreground. 

As well as providing a glimpse into a location, Mel’s Instagram feed offers a taste of the culinary experience you can expect to find in some of the places she highlights: like onigiri in Japan’s Karasawa Hyutte, or giant pretzels on the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City. It’s a fun way to engage with new cultures. Along with captions that offer a brief history of food and place, so you can expect to learn something while you make yourself hungry. 

6. @Gypsea_Lust

Lauren Bullen, previously of the hugely popular @doyoutravel (which she ran with now-ex Jack Morris), has moved her nomad travel content to a new moniker, @gypsea_lust – though she’s still sharing travel pictures geared to inspire your wanderlust

Summer inspo is kind of Lauren’s speciality… Follow her for classic Insta-worthy shots of sunrises, sunsets, white sands and palm trees – and destinations like Australia, Hawaii and the Maldives

7. @FromAnnetteWithLove

For travel content with a message, Annette Richmond (@fromannettewithlove) is the account for you. She’s the creator of the successful #FatGirlsTraveling movement, which seeks to prove that you don’t need the stereotypical “summer body” to live freely and enjoy exploring the world. 

Gen Z are big advocates of body inclusivity. It’s one area of social change that they’re particularly passionate about, and it appears across pages concerned with food, fashion, travel and more. 

For Annette, being a travel influencer is about more than just sharing the perfect shot; she’s also sharing an empowering message for many of her followers. 

8. @TravelBabbo

Declared #4 on the Forbes’ list of Most Influential Travellers, world traveller Eric Stoen (@travelbabbo) is known for his beautiful posts and for always taking his children along for the ride. His travel guides are ideal for family travel – which is handy as one fifth of Gen Zers would still prefer to travel with their family this year.

Eric posts his travel tips on social media and his travel blog. Popular posts include tips on ‘The 10 best places in the world to get your kids outside’ and ‘Where to travel with your kids at every age’. With the tagline ‘Take your kids everywhere!’, you can bet he’s providing a hopeful glimpse into the future for many Gen Z audiences and current parents alike. 

9. @AsainMapleLeaf

Travel writer Barry Hoy (@asianmapleleaf) doubles as a travel blogger and shares, according to his popular blog: “Destinations, Must See’s & Do’s, Local Experiences: Off the Beaten Path, Vacation Planning Tips”. 

One in five Gen Zers identify as LGBTQ+ – the highest of any generation. Travel is a great way to learn about new cultures, but this can sometimes make life difficult for the LGBTQ+ community, as not all cultures are accepting. This is where travel influencers like Barry can be particularly helpful.

Barry has also written for magazines like Man About World, Out Traveler and many more, sharing his experiences travelling the world as a gay man. Gen Z gayest generation

10. Flying the Nest

Gen Z loves video – they watch over an hour of video content each day, and 91% of them prefer video to any other kind of marketing content. That’s one reason why Stephen and Jess’s Youtube Channel, Flying The Nest is so popular. The couple have well over a million subscribers all following along as they document their journey travelling the world full-time

Having moved from a house to a van, these content creators have no shortage of travel tips and tricks to share. Expect to find vlogs showing off-the-beaten-track locations, as well as family-friendly resort ideas. Something for everyone!

How to work with a travel influencer

For brands, finding the perfect travel influencer for a collaboration can mean reaching hugely engaged Gen Z audiences. 

As hugely influential forces across social media, travel influencers understand what Gen Z wants to see, and how best to present it to them. Plus, as trusted voices in online travel communities, your brand could benefit from increased sentiment by virtue of their reputation – something well worth the effort of the campaign. 

And, of course, you don’t need to pick one of these big names in order to win big. Our industry-leading tool Bytesights is the world’s first platform for analysing TikTok influencers in any niche. We can find them before they go super-viral – which means engaged audiences, platform expertise, and a much more manageable budget. 

Get in touch to find out how we can help. 

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