There was a time when showing people your vacation pictures meant inviting everyone over under the guise of some sort of “dinner party,” subtly pulling out a slide projector after dessert, and watching everyone feign interest in your adorable couple's pics in front of the Golden Gate Bridge.
So thank you, Instagram, for saving us all from any more of that nonsense.
Now, you can post pictures of your entire vacation -- complete with nifty filtered effects -- and let your 572 followers decide whether or not they want to look. But not all travel Instagrams are just people’s clichéd vacay shots; some are educational, artistic, and occasionally inspiring. Here are 20 of the best travel accounts, organized by category.
Best iconic (food) pictures: @girleatworld A major advent in Instagram efficiency, the person (literally) behind this Instagram takes one well-polished picture of the two things you’re guaranteed to post from any travel destination -- its most famous food and most famous view.
Best bird's-eye views: @ontheroofs Also the award winner for “Most Obvious Handle,” this is, quite literally, people on roofs looking down on or out at cities, rivers, oceans, and mountains.
Best budget travel: @budgettraveller Kash Bhattacharya posts pictures of places all over the world that look too expensive to visit, but aren’t at all.
Best public service: @passengershaming Have you ever been on a plane, seen someone take off their shoes, use two armrests, then pass out on the total stranger sitting next to them and been like, “Damn, somebody should publicly humiliate that a-hole.” Here’s your wish come true.
Best use of filters: @theplanetd Sure, the filtering here is heavy, but this isn’t a list of the best darkroom SLR photographers in the world. And if technology is but another tool to making great art, Dave & Deb have mastered it with some of the most eye-popping vistas you’ve ever seen.
Best pure travel photography: @joshlibermanphotography Proving that sometimes the best theme is no theme, pro photographer Josh Liberman’s Instagram is like a social media National Geographic with pictures of oceans, children, wild animals, and cities from across the globe. And the occasional South Florida iguana.
Best food: @migrationology You know those international foods like fish head soup and monkey brains that you hear about and are like, “Ewwwwww… I would NEVER eat that"? Mark Wiens makes them look appetizing. Also, amazing burgers.
Best in-depth photography: @uncornered_market Some Instagrammers are content posting one great picture from a location and letting it speak for itself. Not Daniel Noll. Nope, he digs much deeper into an area, showcasing the buildings, people, and nature that make it special.
Best “single girl wandering around the globe": @theblondeabroad What’s not to love about a woman who travels around the world and occasionally takes pictures with puppies?
Most artistic: @nirl In the world of travel Instagram, this is as close as you'll get to a museum of modern art. High heels on a glass floor observation deck? Sure. A storm trooper LEGO and an iPhone? Absolutely. You won’t “get” everything on here, but the ones you do...
Most inspirational: @travel.quotes If people who post inspirational quotes on Facebook are dumber than average, then people who post travel quotes on Instagram are absolute geniuses, right? These guys think so.
Best Instagrammed girlfriend: @muradosmann Following bae around the world… literally.
Best drink pictures: @drinksintheair Proving that a picture truly is worth a thousand cliché rap lyrics, this account boasts images of people all over the world holding drinks in the air, from a Champagne glass in Monaco to a bottle of Goose Island over the Chicago skyline.
Best Instagram travel couple: @citizensoftheworld Who says an insatiable lust for travel is a definite red flag in a potential partner? Besides us. The key is to find someone who enjoys being a nomad as much as you do, like this couple that has quickly become the envy of every committed wanderer in the world.
Best hotels: @beautifulhotels Will you ever be able to afford to stay at any of these places? No. But work on your Instagram skills, amass 1.4 million followers like this person, and they might just invite you to stay for free.
Best luxury travel: @landlopers While travel writing isn’t at all what people think it is, if you follow Matt Long, then you know that travel Instagramming clearly is. His account is loaded with luxurious hotels, pristine nature, and ancient cities.
Best views: @wonderful_places Just the absolute best views in the world. Some are from tropical beaches, some are from forests, some are from hotel rooms -- all capture a tiny corner of the Earth in its best possible light.
Best landscapes: @myatilio Sandra Hjort must have a lot of fun watching people line up for days to get shiny new iPhones, sitting back, laughing to herself and thinking: "You hacks. I take the best landscape pictures on the Internet with a friggin' 4." Upgrade this.
Instagrammer you most want to be friends with: @stephbetravel This woman posts pictures of herself all over the world, in fantastic locations, and none of them are selfies. Somebody’s gotta be taking those pictures, might as well be you.
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Matt Meltzer is a staff writer for Thrillist who thinks he was totally robbed by not being included on this list. See if you agree @meltrez1.