If your social media life wasn’t confusing and time consuming enough, Instagram has stolen the basic premise for “Stories” from Snapchat. On August 2, Stories was rolled out. Instead of posting carefully chosen photos, Stories lets you post a bunch of photos or short videos throughout the day. At the end of 24 hours, those photos disappear (just like Snapchat). Here are the basics for using Instagram Stories for travel bloggers & travel writers.

How to use instagram stories for travel bloggers

The Basics: Instagram Stories for Travel Bloggers

Making Stories is a lot like Snapchat

Stories are videos or photos that are strung together to form a gallery that are meant to tell a story, but will disappear in 24 hours.

Here’s how to create a Story:

  1. Tap on the home button on the lower left of your screen.
  2. Tap on the plus button found on the top left-hand side of the homescreen. You can also get to the Stories recording screen by swiping right when on the homescreen.
  3. Tap the circle button at the bottom of the screen to take photos or tap and hold to record a video.
  4. Edit the photos or videos with text or add a drawing. If you hit the pen icon, there are three types of pens. The third one makes your sketch look like a neon sign.
  5. Tap Done to save your Story.
  6. Tap the check mark button to share to your Story.How to use instagram stories for travel bloggers

Want to add more than one photo or video to your story so that it plays like a slideshow? Just keep repeating the steps. Each photo you add using the steps will be placed in your story.

The photos and video you chose for your Story will now be a series that people can swipe through for 24 hours. A colorful circle will appear around your profile photo to let your followers know you have a Story for them to view and your profile picture will also pop up at the top of your followers’ Feeds. All they need to do is tap on your face to see your Story.

Master Instagram

If you have a habit of adding things to your social-media accounts that you later regret, good news! Stories can be removed. Tap on the three dots at the bottom right of the photo or video you’d like to delete, hit Delete and then confirm.

You can upload photos, Downloaded Snaps and Boomerangs

Use your saved snaps from Snapchat as Stories. After you take a snap, tap the Download button. It will save to your camera roll. Then, open Instagram, start a story and swipe down. Any photo you shot (or Boomerang you made) in the last 24 hours can be uploaded to your Story. A gallery with all of your recent photos will pop up. Tap on your snap and post as usual. You can only use photos that you’ve added to your camera roll in the last 24 hours.


After shooting a photo or video, swipe across the screen for the filters to appear. There are seven filters right now.

Add stripes and polka dots for more photo fun

Tap on the Drawing Tool, tap on the pointed marker on the left at the top of the screen , choose your color and tap on the three-dots button on the bottom left side of the screen. With your finger, pull the the line that appears upward toward the top of the screen. This will make your marker huge. Now to make polka dots, just tap your finger on the photo wherever you want them to appear. Hold your finger on the screen to make an even bigger dot.

To make stripes, go through the same steps, but choose the angled marker instead of the pointed marker. Then just tap the screen. Perfect little stripes will appear on your photo.

Add thought bubbles

Some Instagramers are using the polka dots trick to make thought bubbles on their photos. You can do this by creating a large polka dot above the person in the photo and then creating several smaller dots that trail down below the thought bubble. You can fill in the thought bubble using emojis or text.

How to use instagram stories for travel bloggers

Flipping through Stories is pretty easy

Searching for a particular accounts Story isn’t possible, but navigating through Stories is super easy. While browsing the Stories of your friends, swipe right to go to the previous one, left to go to the next one and tap to skip a photo or video.

If you want to linger on one photo, you can pause a story by tapping and holding your finger on the photo. To start the story again, just lift your finger. This also works for video. If you hold your finger too long on a video it will stay paused, even when you lift your finger. To start the video again slide your finger back and forth in short strokes across the screen.

Hiding Stories from Selected People

You can choose who gets to see your Stories and who doesn’t. Want to prevent specific people from seeing particular stories? Go to your profile and tap the sun symbol (iOS) or the three dots (Android) in the top right of the screen. Choose Story Settings from the menu and then tap on Hide My Story From. Select your who you want from the list and tap Done. They will still be able to see your posts and profile, but won’t see your Story.

FREE Instagram Tips

You can’t comment on Stories, but you can message

You can send a message to your friend directly from that person’s Story. At the bottom left-hand corner of the screen you’ll see Send Message. Tap on it and type out what you would like to say and hit Send. This only works for people who have comments enabled, though.

Story Setting (Everyone or Friends)

Go to your profile and tap the sun symbol (iOS) or the three dots (Android) in the top right of the screen. In Story Settings, select an option from the list. You can choose Everyone, which will let everyone comment, People You Follow to let just those you follow comment and Off to prevent anyone from commenting.

Save your Stories from disappearing

If you don’t want your Story to disappear forever you can download it to your phone (similar to Snapchat). Open your Story and tap on the three dots on the bottom right of the photo or video. Then, tap Save Photo.

Share your Story as a Post

You can add saved Stories to your profile grid. Open your Story, tap the three dots at the bottom right of the photo or video and tap Share as Post. You can then add filters, captions and locations to jazz it up a little. Once you’re done, tap Share.

The photo or video will appear in your profile grid. Just beware, whoever can see your profile grid will be able to see the photo or video. It will no longer have special protections that you can add to Stories.

Story followers (whose giving you the IG love!)

Curious to see who’s looking at your story? Open your story and swipe up on the screen. At the bottom of the screen will be a view counter and the names of the people who viewed your Story. Shy about your numbers? Don’t be. Only you can see this information.

If there’s someone viewing your Story and you decide you don’t want that person to see it, just tap the three dots beside the person’s name and select Hide Story From [username].

What’s Coming Next?

If you remember the first version of Snapchat Stories, it didn’t have all the crazy stickers, geofilters and lenses you’re so used to today. I doubt Instagram will keep things as is, so expect more features to be added soon.

Next up is a piece on Instagram Story Strategy for Travel Bloggers. Stay tuned! 

How to use instagram stories for travel bloggers

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