Insta-Holidays: A snapshot of how our holiday experience goes social

In the modern era, the holiday experience doesn’t just live in the moment and in the memory, it isn’t even resigned only to traditional photo albums… Because now, the holiday experience lives and breathes through Instagram. If you have an account, it’ll be one of the first places your holiday photos will probably go. Filters, hashtags and captions all seizing your holiday snaps and turning them into the envy of your friends.

This all got us thinking, if Instagram is the new home of the holiday photo, where is the most Instagrammable destination? Where in the world has been Instagrammed more than anywhere else?

Taking this further, and using the idea outlined here, that people are now travelling to certain destinations in part because they will gain them a higher amount of ‘likes’ on social media, we also wanted to find out which destination would do just that. Where is the most ‘liked’ destination in the world? What else can we learn about the world’s most popular holiday destinations through Instagram? Here are the answers.


Above, are the most Instagrammed destinations in the world, in addition to how many photos have been posted per destination – correct at the time of writing. To put this in perspective, there are around 150,000 Instagram photos posted in New York City per day. We, however, saw little to no movement in these rankings. The 50 destinations used and detailed here are taken from the top 50 tourist numbers per destination in 2015.


Here are the top 25 holiday destinations that achieve the highest amount of ‘likes’ on Instagram, with ‘like’ numbers being compiled over different days and times to eliminate any concern over time-zone or location-specific events. So if you’re in search of a tan AND a holiday that will guarantee a lot of likes, go for Los Angeles or Bangkok!


Here we took some of the most popular types of image found on Instagram, and tracked each per destination, garnering some interesting results. Two types of photo synonymous with Instagram are of course selfies and photos of food, with London taking the mantle of most selfied location in the world. As for food, we can easily see that we all love the look and taste of Asian cuisine, with the top 10 being dominated by destinations from this area of the world.

As for the U.S, the country’s biggest Instagram influence was found in posts that had a ‘sexually suggestive’ nature – something they may be overly proud of. Another interesting finding was that only one destination was outside of Europe when it came to the 10 most popular locations for photos of couples on Instagram, possibly confirming Europe as the most romantic continent in the world! 


Finally, above is a closer look at some of the most popular holiday destinations in the world and just how things change between destinations. Almost half of London’s Instagram photos are taken up with selfies, while Paris sees a large amount of scenery, food and of course couples.

Interestingly, both Paris and London paled in comparison to Los Angeles when it came to marketing based Instagram posts, painting a picture of just how commercialised the West Coast, and the United States as a whole can be.

Conducting this research showed us two things: the first being just how much holiday experiences actually do now live through social media, and in particular, Instagram. Many of the results per destination weren’t wholly shocking, such as the likes of LA and Amsterdam ranking highly for sexually suggestive snaps, in addition to Paris, Milan and Venice showing a high velocity of romantic couple’s shots. Instagram is essentially a vision into our world online, so we shouldn’t expect anything too different from it!

That’s not to say we weren’t surprised by some of the results though, and finding where the most selfies are posted on Instagram in the world was of course hugely interesting and threw up a couple of shocks!

Above all, we’re most interested to find out whether holidaymakers will emanate to destinations that will provide them with more social media interaction. Will how many ‘likes’ your post achieves on Instagram or Facebook end up playing a part in the next generations holiday choices? Will the ‘like’ end up making the world go round? Only time will tell!


To find the data detailed in the report above, we firstly took the 50 most travelled to tourist destinations that can be found here. This gave us a basis for the holiday destinations to look into on Instagram. Following this, 1,000 photos per location were categorised into the categories detailed in the report (selfie, scenery, food, sexually suggestive, marketing, shopping, wildlife, alcohol, group photos) over the course of one month. Researching the photos and compiling the results for each destination was carried out on separate days of the week, and at varying times to provide the most rounded results possible – eliminating concern over time zones, peaks and troughs in Instagram usage and any large events that may have been taking place on a particular day.

The same method was used to detail Instagram likes per destination. With likes per ‘popular photo’ in the ‘Top Posts’ section of Instagram, per destination recorded each day and averaged out at the end of the data compiling. This achieved a well-rounded snapshot of how ‘liked’ each destination was.

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