12 Travel Thought Leaders to Follow for Inspiration

Traveling brings people and cultures together in ways that create lasting bonds, but, unfortunately, most of us can’t live out of a suitcase. Whether you’re in between trips, in the planning phase, or looking for last minute ideas and tips, it’s always nice to have some extra inspiration.

If you’re determined to keep things fresh in your travels, make sure to follow these 12 travel thought leaders:

1. Patricia Shultz

With over 30 years of experience and a few New York Times bestsellers under her belt, Patricia Schultz is the definition of a travel journalist. Best known for her book 1,000 Places to See Before You Die, Patricia has also written for Travel Weekly, The Wall Street Journal, and several other esteemed publications.

Start following Patricia on Twitter: @1000Places

2. Ross Borden

Ross Borden is the founder and CEO of Matador Network, as well as the driving force behind his company’s goal to connect millions of travelers across the world. Starting with just $11,000, Ross has grown Matador into one of the largest travel media brands in the world.

Start following Ross on Twitter: @MatadorNetwork

3. Chip Conley

Chip Conley is the founder of Joie de Vivre Hospitality, a hotel and restaurant company, and the Strategic Advisor for Hospitality and Leadership for Airbnb. Airbnb hired Chip with the sole purpose of tapping in to the hotel, travel, and real estate industries. Also the founder of Fest300, a former online magazine that annually ranked world’s best festivals, Chip has been an important part of the travel industry for many years.

Start following Chip on Twitter: @ChipConley

4. Michelle White

Michelle White is a marketer who specializes in promoting boutique hotels and tours to the travel industry. In addition to being the owner of Urban Escapes Marketing, Michelle works as a travel writer in Southern Africa and has had her work published in a range of publications.

Start following Michelle on LinkedIn: Michelle White

5. Chris Burkard

Chris Burkard is a self-taught photographer who focuses on travel, outdoors, and surfing to capture stories that show mankind’s relationship with nature. His photojournalistic approach has taken him all across the globe and earned him opportunities to work with Fortune 500 companies, become an author, and share his vision with millions of people.

Start Following Chris on Twitter: @chrisburkard

6. Rick Steves

Rick Steves is a travel writer and personality known for his television show Rick Steves’ Europe and radio show Travel with Rick Steves. While teaching classes for a student-run program in 1979, Rick authored Europe Through the Back Door and began his ascent as a travel thought leader. His website, ricksteves.com, is focused on helping Americans plan affordable and eye-opening European trips.

Start following Rick on Twitter: @RickSteves

7. Jesse Weinberg

Jesse Weinberg is the founder of Global Yodel, through which he has developed a worldwide community for travel content and marketing campaigns. Traveling is one of Jesse’s first loves, and his goal is to use it to connect the world for a shared culture and vision.

Start following Jesse on Twitter: @StuffJWSays@GlobalYodel

8. Steve McCurry

Steve McCurry is a photographer, photojournalist, and freelancer best known for his photo of the “Afghan Girl”, which appeared on the cover of National Geographic. One of the most influential photographers of the last few decades, McCurry’s work has had a particular focus on India and his travels there.

Start following Steve on Twitter: @McCurryStudios

9. Andrew Zimmern

Andrew Zimmern is a chef, writer, and traveler best known for hosting the television show Bizarre Foods. Zimmern’s culinary expertise has allowed him to travel the world and explore the cultures of over 170 countries, motivating viewers and readers to learn through a food lens.

Start following Andrew on Twitter: @andrewzimmern

10. Tim Cahill

Tim Cahill is an adventure travel writer known for his dry humor and is also the founding editor of Outside Magazine. A love of traveling and a desire to write from an early age helped Tim shape his career path. He has grown to associate travel with intense physical effort and often travels to remote locations as a result.

11. Chris Guillebeau

Chris Guillebeau is an author, entrepreneur, and explorer/traveler who has visited every country in the world (193 total). Although Chris has written a few different books, he is best known for The Art of Non-Conformity, which discusses travel and entrepreneurship.

Start following Chris on Twitter: @chrisguillebeau

12. Heather Balsley

Heather Balsley is the Senior Vice President of Global Marketing at InterContinental Hotels Group. Working primarily in the Americas, Heather is focused on influence, brand management, partnerships, and loyalty. In an industry driven by travelers, Heather understands that travelers must guide her decisions.

Start following Heather on LinkedIn: Heather Balsley