Every time I go on vacation, I’m surrounded by people taking phone pics. But I only recently realized that this vacation annoyance could be useful: Before you book a hotel, campground, restaurant table, or museum tickets, look up the place on Instagram. Not the place’s official account, but all the photos taken at that location. (Just run a search within Instagram and click the result with the map pin icon.)
The official site for a travel destination will only post the most flattering shots, often carefully lit and edited in post. Instagram pics will still be a little flattering, but much more realistic.
Instagram shots show you how people tend to interact with the place, and what the highlights are. (Does one signature cocktail crop up a lot? Does everyone in this national park head toward a particular mountain? Ooh, what’s that popular burger stand on the beach?) To discover nearby attractions, click through some of the pictures and see where else those Instagrammers went.