From Route 66 to the Pacific Coast Highway, the USA’s reputation as the home of the road trip is well documented. With so much ground to cover and so much to see, nowhere does a road trip quite like the USA, as stories of weird and wonderful roadside attractions are passed along through generations. The freedom of hitting the open road with miles ahead of you has inspired hundreds of songs, and more than 39% of vacations taken by Americans in 2016 were road trips – the popularity of an All-American road trip shows no signs of slowing down.
Thanks to Instagram, documenting your travels has never been more important or competitive. How do you combine the nostalgia of a classic USA road trip with the modern expectation of keeping up with your friends on Instagram? You turn to social media for vacation inspiration, ensuring everywhere you stop is picture perfect.
The Science of the Insta-worthy Trip
Luckily, science has done the hard work for you, analysing the #roadtrip hashtag on Instagram to pull out the best cities, states and routes for a perfectly ‘grammable’ trip. With over 3 million hashtags in the USA to look at, California came out as the top state for a road trip with just over 1.1 million posts. California’s popularity is thanks to its sun kissed beaches and coastal bluffs – with #westcoast the most popular road trip hashtag in the world. Florida, Arizona, Nevada and New York rounded up the top 5 most popular states according to Instagram. With such a variety of landscapes from deserts to skyscrapers, the USA has everything you need to curate an envy-inducing Instagram feed.
On the Road Again – Best Routes according to Instagram users
The key to any Instagrammable road trip is to have plenty of places to stop and take a snap along the way. As the author Greg Anderson once said, “you should focus on the journey, not the destination”. According to Instagram travelers, the top road trip route in the USA is Seattle to San Diego. Starting out in the Emerald City known for being surrounded by greenery, this route takes in two states heading south into Wine Country, where you can take a picture of yourself living your best life with a huge glass of the good stuff. You’ll then take in the world-famous Golden Gate Bridge and the majestic Big Sur (surfing anyone?!), finishing up in San Diego, where you can sit back, relax and enjoy the warm weather.
The second route most loved by Instagrammers is the classic LA to Las Vegas trip. Starting your journey in the City of Angels, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to ‘do it for the gram’ from Hollywood home tours to posing up a storm at Venice Beach. Taking to the road, you’ll wind through the forest before capturing that #artsy snap at Bottle Tree Ranch and exploring the abandoned Calico Ghost Town – #spooky. Last stop is Sin City, where the photo ops are plentiful – Elvis has not yet left the building.
Vegas makes another appearance in the top three with the classic Las Vegas to Grand Canyon road trip. A shorter trip than most (at just over 300 miles), this is one you shouldn’t miss if you find yourself in the area. Don’t worry, what it lacks in miles it makes up for in Instagram moments – from the neon lights of Vegas to the breath-taking view of the Hoover Dam – climb to the Pat Tillman memorial bridge for the best shot. When you’ve had a break, lace up your hiking boots and get going again to capture the Mount Tipton Wilderness Area. The golden desert valleys and maroon spires are a sight to see. Then it’s time to get your kicks on Route 66 with a stop at the nostalgic Ash Fork Route 66 museum, before continuing to the supreme Grand Canyon, one of the Seven Wonders of the Natural World.
Road trip survival tips for the Insta generation
Now you know where to go and what to snap, so here’s how to make the most of your Instagrammable road trip.
- Use a mixture of travel hashtags to get your amazing photos SEEN – think #travelgram, #instago, #wanderlust and of course, the classic #roadtrip.
- Geotag your location to drive discovery of that picture you worked so hard on.
- Use the multiple photo carousel to create a mini road trip guide.
- Have fun – don’t worry too much about capturing the perfect snap and live in the moment too.
Explore the USA’s Instagram #roadtrip routes, cities and states by checking out the interactive road trip map created by Europcar.