• Home
  • Travel
  • Exclusive! Every Travel Influencer Should Be Responsible & Consider the Implications of their Content: Abhinav Chandel

Exclusive! Every Travel Influencer Should Be Responsible & Consider the Implications of their Content: Abhinav Chandel

Abhinav Chandel talks about his journey in an exclusive conversation with us.

Abhinav Chandel,Abhinav Chandel Instagram,Abhinav Chandel travel influencer,Abhinav Chandel exclusive interview,Abhinav Chandel on his struggles,Abhinav Chandel on his life as a travel influencer,influencers,content creators,digital creators

Every Travel Influencer Should Be Responsible for their Content: Abhinav

Photo Credit: Abhinav Chandel's Team

  • Abhinav is a popular travel influencer
  • Abhinav: I try to interact with as many people as possible
  • I call myself a storyteller, says Abhinav Chandel

Travelling holds a special place in our hearts, and digital superstar Abhinav Chandel simplifies travelling for us. Interestingly, he doesn't call himself an influencer, but his social media are all travel enthusiasts' go-to destination. We are in awe of his captions and how he presents the locations.

Abhinav Chandel talks about his journey from the corporate sector to being a travel influencer.

Can you tell us about your journey from the corporate sector to being a travel influencer?

Hailing from Kashipur in Uttarakhand, I went to Pune for college. Back then, moving to Pune was my first exposure to things happening in the world, away from a small town. But I dropped out and began to think about what I could do, and I discovered that I could write. That's when I started my writing career in a company in Delhi in 2012. As I worked 9 to 5 for them, I started travelling, that slowly led to the whole picture. Eventually, I left my job and moved to the mountains in 2014.

There I began my Instagram journey. Also, I have seen the social media industry transition since then. Back in 2014, there were no influencers, brand collaborations, or anything. I used Instagram to post my pictures and pen the stories I found. I got recognition for my work in 2015 and 2016, and brand collaborations started on Instagram around the same time frame. The transition happened gradually; there was no particular moment it happened.

It looks like a seamless transition, as I was already creating content because I loved doing it. Neither was I being paid for it, nor I began to become an influencer. I still don't call myself an influencer. I recognise myself as a photographer and travel writer because that was my job 8-9 years ago. I am still doing the same thing; it's just that my work has picked up and gained followers. So I fall into the influencer category as well. My heart lies in writing stories and taking pictures.


Photo Credit: Abhinav Chandel's Team

What was the one blow that made you quit the corporate job and pursue travelling full-time?

Dropping out of an engineering college was a very impulsive decision. I didn't tell anyone at home and landed in a slum area in Haslam for the next two years as I worked in the office. The first thing that clicked in my mind after earning money was to spend on things I missed when I dropped out of college. When I got my first job in Delhi, I thought I'd go to the mall and get all those fancy things, and I spent my first two salaries on those things. Later, I realised that spending money on fancy things others bought did not bring me happiness.

Since childhood, I've always aspired to travel and explore new things. With the third salary I got, I took my first trip to Nainital. It was amazing that I took a trip with my earned money. The feeling I got from that trip remained, and I wanted to feel it again. The feeling of being able to travel was incredible, and I realised then that this was what I wanted to do.


Photo Credit: Abhinav Chandel's Team

Can you tell us about your brand as a travel influencer in the unique perspective you bring to the industry?

I think a lot of people are either clicking pictures or writing travel articles. But I combined both things. I was not only showing a visual. I narrated to everyone a story. I call myself a storyteller, which has helped me grow on Instagram.

How do you engage with your audience, and what strategies do you use to grow your follower base?

I believe strategies are like trends that might work for a while, and then they don't. So, I try to interact with as many people as possible. Every 2 or 3 months, I keep taking trips where people can come and travel along. I announce those trips on Instagram, and it helps me connect with a lot of people on a personal level. At times, people message me when they are in Dharamshala or Bir. I can't meet everyone, but I try to meet as many people as I can.

I believe the only strategy to grow is to interact with your audience. People always want to know the person behind the stories, so they can find something to relate to. Once they find you relatable, they will stick around and help you grow.

Your Instagram page has a highlight for prose and poetry. Do you have a keen interest in literature? Which piece is your favourite?

Before being a photographer or traveller, I was a writer first. It is my first love and will always be. I can stop clicking pictures, I can quit travelling, but my poetries are something people follow me for. I can never stop writing.

You have the tagline "Travel with me". Do you have any interesting tales from travelling with a follower?

We have very open-ended trips. Although we know where we are going, we do not decide what our plan will be. I feel that whenever you give someone space while travelling, they begin to express themselves in their way. When I travelled with my followers for the first time, there was a lady in a group of 10 people. She would always skip the hike until the last day. We woke up early that morning, and she wasn't there. We thought she might be somewhere around, but to our surprise, she went on a hike by herself. That was a great lesson for me. I want people to see the world as I do, not with plans or deadlines but open-mindedness.


Photo Credit: Abhinav Chandel's Team

How do you handle negative feedback or criticism from your audience, and what steps do you take to maintain a positive online presence?

Whenever someone criticises my content constructively, I prefer talking to them to understand their perspective. Don't engage with a hate comment. They want a reaction, and I don't give them that. However, I try to converse with them if a hate comment comes from a genuine source. It mostly ends in a good way.

Can you discuss the importance of ethical and cultural sensitivity when travelling to different destinations and how you incorporate these principles into your content?

If your content reaches a lot of people who might not have travelled to that place, it becomes very important for you to portray the place in the perfect manner possible. Whenever I visit a new place, I try to connect with the locals and understand their customs and traditions. Sometimes, you might travel to a remote area, and their customs might not align with the modern world. I try to understand their perspective because I feel it's not the right thing to tell them what you are doing is wrong and leave after two days. I can only engage in activism in my culture and learn about others. Keeping an open mind is an essential skill in travel, which teaches us to recognise which part of our world is meant to be discussed and which part is not.

How do you choose your travel destinations, and what factors do you consider when planning your trips?

While looking at pictures or reading articles, some destinations make me want to visit them. The first thing whenever I go anywhere I think about is if something goes wrong, what I can do? Otherwise, I keep my trips open-ended. Despite keeping a list of places I must visit, I find local places by interacting with the locals.

What challenges have you faced as a travel influencer, and how did you overcome them?

Being a travel influencer has brought me advantages only. People want me to visit their places and tell their stories. The only challenge I face is being mindful of my content. Whenever the weather gets bad, hotel owners often text me not to post anything because it will kill their business. The locals asked me not to put a geotag on the picture, as it would ruin the place's peace with over-tourism

How do you manage to create content and enjoy the destination simultaneously?

I don't click a lot or anything on the first day of the trip. If you take the first day to enjoy the place and understand the vibe, you can understand the content you want to portray. You don't look at a place from a content perspective or as a prop. You think of shooting as a by-product of enjoying the process.

Any favourite destination you have visited so far?

Kashmir and Spiti have been my favourites so far. I enjoyed my time in Denmark. I loved visiting the cafes there and taking long walks. I always love seeing Spiti. I've met the most hospitable people in Kashmir.

In a post, you talked about the difficult times in the mountains you had when you were kicked out of your flat. Can you reveal something about that phase of your life?

When I moved to McLeodganj in 2014, there was no work-from-home or good internet. Putting pictures online wouldn't pay you anything. At that time, I struggled with money and couldn't find any work. I had to walk 2-3 kilometres in the mountains for the first two months to get my meals. I had to sell postcards sitting by the road and telling people stories about someplace. I approached various hotels and guest houses to click on their pictures and give them content for their social media. Back then, no one cared about social media or online marketing so I would get 2000-3000 rupees for 50 pictures.

During that time, I got a week's notice to move out of my flat and had to sleep at my friend's place for two-three nights until another friend told me his building had space and I could shift there. Those kinds of days happened back then, but I am happy that I endured them. It took 2-3 years for things to settle down for me.

Any advice for people in the travel industry?

My biggest advice will be to be mindful and responsible because not only the mountains but every place is facing garbage issues and over-tourism. It's killing ecologies like there are absolutely dirty streams and jungles filled with litter. People are looking at pictures and going there mindlessly to create content. Every travel influencer should be responsible and consider the implications of their content. It's our responsibility to save such places and ensure that others look at the place with respect instead of a prop to increase followers.

Also Read:

Abhinav Chandel: From Struggle to Success - The Inspiring Journey of an Indian Travel Influencer

For the latest Influencer News and Interviews, follow WhosThat360 on X, Facebook, WhatsApp, Threads and Google News. For the latest interview videos, subscribe to our YouTube channel. You can also follow us on our WhatsApp channel.


  • 5 ★
  • 4 ★
  • 3 ★
  • 2 ★
  • 1 ★
Post Comment Post Comment

Related Influencer