Why Instagram could be the key to planning an incredible vacation

For any travel-junkie, seeking out wanderlust is a necessity. And one of the easiest places to find a unique place for vacations -- either domestically or abroad -- can be found right on your smartphone. Take it from travel photographer Kirsten Alana, who not only posts her incredible travel snaps onto her Instagram for her 200,000 followers to obsess over, but also sources inspiration straight from the app.

As Alana notes, Instagram has evolved into a travel guide, where users can find everything from restaurants to natural landscapes all across the globe. It helps even some of the most seasoned traveling pros, like Alana, plan for her next big excursion. And she has some incredible new vacations in store that fans will gush over.

We recently sat down with the incredible travel photographer to talk about how she started on Instagram, how she chooses cities and countries to shoot for her blog, and more!

YouShouldKnow is a feature that showcases up-and-coming social stars. To see more of past interviews, click here. And come back at 6 pm EST for more exclusives on Kirsten Alana, including what she's learned on her travels.

When did you begin posting your travel photos on Instagram?
I think the month the app launched I put up a photo. It was right away. And it was because it was the first social media app to be solely about photos. Even then, Facebook was about a million other things and it was so all over the place. From the very beginning, Instagram was made for people like me, people who just wanted to share photos and nerd out about photography. So I was an early adopter. Then finally by the time I was on it for three years ago, people really caught on to it. It did take me a long time to build my audience, but they're all mine. They're engaged and loyal and I built it from scratch, so it's been a fun journey.

How do you choose a place to photograph?
Cuba was a vacation trip that me and boyfriend really wanted to do. That was from a photographic standpoint since I just really wanted to get in there and shoot. I had seen the photos and I knew that I could shoot them differently than everyone else. It was expensive; we booked before all the walls fell down in terms of restrictions. I really choose locations based on what I want to photograph, it's that simple. My boyfriend is a hobby photographer and we talk about where we want to photograph and that's where we go.

What's one place you haven't traveled to that you would love to visit?
Faroe Islands because of Instagram. Everyone goes there and posts these beautiful landscape shots. Also New Zealand and I want to go to Morocco, Mongolia, Burma, Nepal, really anywhere photogenic. If you've seen great photos somewhere, I want to go and take great photos for myself.

Where do you find inspiration for choosing places to travel to?
I love geo-tags! Instagram is as much a travel guide now as it is to share photos. It's evolved as a place to start our inspiration for travel.

YouShouldKnow is a feature that showcases up-and-coming social stars. To see more of past interviews, click here. And come back at 6 pm EST for more exclusives on Kirsten Alana, including what she's learned on her travels.

For more past YouShouldKnow stars, scroll through the gallery below:

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