From Chris Burkard to The Bucket List Family, anyone remotely interested in exploring the world probably follows at least one ‘travel influencer’ on social media. Because, let’s be honest, being paid to travel the world is incredibly intriguing and a true dream come true! But exactly how much money can you make in this line of work? Can you really make enough to live by posting beautiful images of yourself on a Bali beach, or reviewing a chic hotel you stayed at in Italy?

Well, it turns out that you can. We’ve done the research, uncovering the estimated potential yearly earnings that some of the top travel influencers make. With the best of the best having the potential to earn around $1million in five years purely from their sponsored Instagram posts, it’s clear that sharing your travels can really pay off. Many of these influencers also have accounts on other platforms, such as Tik Tok and YouTube, so their earnings could potentially be double.

1. Chris Burkard – @chrisburkard

Instagram followers: 4,000,000

Average likes: 13,315

Engagement ratio: 0.33%

Estimated earnings per sponsored post: £10,036.79 

Estimated yearly income: £124,114.27



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A post shared by ChrisBurkard (@chrisburkard)

The influencer with the highest-earning potential is Chris Burkard, a California-based professional photographer. Chris shares breathtaking images from all over the world, including landscape, lifestyle, surf and outdoor subjects, typically using natural light to capture intriguing shots. 

2. Murad Osmann – @muradosmann 

Instagram followers: 3,500,000

Average likes: 26,550 

Engagement ratio: 0.76% 

Estimated earnings per sponsored post: £9,478.37 

Estimated yearly income: £116,648.29


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A post shared by MURAD OSMANN (@muradosmann)

In second place is Murad Osmann, the Russian photographer behind that travel photo trend. Captioned “Follow me to Barcelona”, Osmann shared an image of his girlfriend grabbing him by the hand and pulling him along – a position that they continue to use today. It had viral success, and many still replicate the pose on their own feeds.

3. Anyuta Rai – @anyua_rai

Instagram followers: 3,000,000

Average likes: 24,319 

Engagement ratio: 0.81% 

Estimated earnings per sponsored post: £8,136.55 

Estimated yearly income: £100,134.86


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A post shared by Anyuta Rai (@anyuta_rai)

Wrapping up the top three is Anyuta Rai. Currently based in Bali, Rai shares enviable photographs of her travels on a perfectly-curated Instagram feed. Expect dreamy beach shots in the summer and breathtaking snowscapes during the winter months.  

How to capture Instagram-worthy travel pictures 

There are so many amazing destinations around the world that are incredibly pleasing to the eye, so it’s all too easy to presume that the camera will capture these exactly as you see them. 

However, photographing your travels prove a little challenging. So, to teach you how to add the 'wow' factor to your holiday snaps, Laëtitia Jourdan, Chief Photographer at Oliver’s Travels, has shared her top tips for taking travel photographs - and they're almost guaranteed to make your follower count go up. 

  • Be different. When you go to a touristy place, it’s likely that it’s been photographed and shared over and over again - probably with the same angle and same pose. Think of the Leaning Tower of Pisa… If you’ve seen it a million times before, then your audience has too. So be different! Do something fun and eccentric, making the average social media scroller's thumb stop to find out more about you.
  • Good lighting. If you can, avoid midday. It won’t do you and your images any favours as the sun sits high in the sky with harsh lighting results. What you want is some flattering shadows - the kind you get early in the morning or a couple of hours before sunset. And if you want to cheat your way to that holiday glow, don’t miss the golden hour that falls just after sunrise and just before sunset.


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A post shared by Jessica Stein (@tuulavintage)

  • Use colour. Don’t be scared to use colour. In a world of endless scrolling, you want something that will grab attention. Bright, contrasting colours will do just that.
  • Authentic experiences. People crave authentic experiences, so I would encourage you to use your own images to showcase what makes a place so special - the people and the culture. It’s something that I see lacking in a lot of travel imagery, but make sure to ask for permission when photographing locals, and always be respectful.


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A post shared by The Bucket List Family (@thebucketlistfamily)

  • Incorporate food. Food is always a winner as it’s a huge part of any place. Going back to the authenticity point, if you’re travelling and not showing some of the food you’re eating, are you genuinely experiencing that destination? Don’t overdo it, or people will think food is your only thing - which isn’t necessarily a bad thing if you’re looking to take that angle!
  • Genuine happiness. People are done with pouting and want to see others actually enjoying themselves. That twinkle in your eye is what tells people that the place you are visiting is the place to be. Remember that you need to be real to your followers, so try to be as natural possible. Faking it until you make it does work to a certain extent, but pure joy and happiness is so much more powerful.


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A post shared by Chelsea 🌊✨🤸🏽 Adventure Travel (@chelseakauai)


To compile the ‘Luxury Travel Influencer Rich List’, we first collated a list of 100 luxury travel influencers by scraping Instagram and looking at articles on various credible travel publications. 

We used Influencer Marketing Hub’s ‘Instagram Influencer Sponsored Post Money Calculator’ to find out how much each account on the list has the potential to make per each sponsored post. We then counted each influencer's average number of Instagram posts per week (taking a mean number from Statista data) and the average percentage of an influencer's posts that were sponsored.

This data was then multiplied by the number of weeks in a year, which gave us a number to multiply each account’s ‘potential sponsored post earning figure’ by. This figure then formed each travel influencer’s ‘annual salary’ and these were ranked from highest to lowest. 

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