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Best of Tripfilms Twelve Travel Questions: What Travel Videos Can Do For You

Over the last two years, we’ve interviewed 50 of our talented filmmakers and filmmaker teams. Here is a collection of some of the best travel tips, crazy travel stories, and filmmaking philosophies from these expert travelers.

We asked 50 filmmakers: How do you think that travel videos can be useful to travelers, even if they aren’t filmmakers themselves?

Without a doubt, a well done video can give you insight into a location and a culture better than anything out there. There are tons of great blogs and books and guides, photos, etc… but video really is the next best thing to actually being there. It gives you a sense of place like nothing else can, period. And that’s especially useful when you’re traveling somewhere you’ve never been. – Two for the Road

Travel videos are the best way to remember the experience of a trip. Photos are always good, but making a video of it allows you to experience the ups and downs of a trip all over again. – James Alexander Adams

First, they inspire. A good travel video gets us excited to visit a place and meet its people. As soon as we buy a plane ticket, we immediately download whatever Anthony Bourdain has produced from that country. From his videos, we not only learn about local food but also about customs, social norms, geography, travel challenges and so much more. If a photo is worth a thousand words, video – with audio – is worth a million words. – Nomadic Frames

Any time that you can tell a story can have a powerful effect on people, whether it be through words, music or images. What’s great about travel videos is that they are a combination of all three, which make them unique, and oftentimes a much more powerful vessel for telling your story. – The Expeditioner

I honestly think that a travel video can make or break a destination. It depends on how it is filmed. I find that some videographers can butcher a beautiful landscape or scene by using the wrong exposure settings or uncomfortable movements. On the flip side, I usually find that Documentary filmmakers really know how to compose a scene in exactly the right way to capture its appeal. Travel videos show travelers much more than a photo or article ever could and because of that, the filmmakers’ perspective is a strong influencing factor. – Eight Miles from Home

See before you try. It lets you know what to expect and how to plan and prepare. – Gary Bembridge

While I’d selfishly like for the world to remain undiscovered (so that I can be the first to see it all ha), I guess communication is instant now. If you’re planning your travel and want more than plain guidebook info, video can give you a much nicer and more enticing view of wherever you are headed! – Etherium Sky Films

A lot of people are visual learners and can’t quite grasp what something will be like unless they see it. It helps to see it rather than read about it, so it becomes more of a reality. Videos have the power to make people feel like they’re present—it’s the same reason we love to watch movies. Moving pictures transport their viewers to another place and make you feel a part of it. – Rural Movement

Visuals are always more entertaining and you can easily get a understanding of what a place is like through videos, so they may help people to decide where they would, or wouldn’t like to go. – Mindful Wanderlust

Travel video making is interesting in a certain way. The video you create is your own experience, a narrow slice of what makes a place what it is. Even if you spend a year there, you’ll still be biased to activities, foods, and people you enjoy. Another person can have a completely different experience. Then there’s the element of editing, which has a huge impact on the feelings you want to broadcast. The more I create videos, the more I realize the openness and power of this medium. Videos created with heart, with emotion, with careful creation, I believe can permanently determine someone’s perception of a country. For the average traveller, I think seeing videos like this are like a shot of motivation straight to the jugular. It drives you to pursue a travel lifestyle outside of travel life. It makes you plan that next trip because you want that feeling again. – Mike Corey

I think videos are the best way to convey the energy of a destination, and can really inspire people to get out and travel. I am planning a trip to the 2014 Tomorrowland festival based solely on the after-movies I’ve watched from previous years! – Alex in Wanderland

Bloggers have the freedom that nobody tells them what to say or what they have to show off in the videos. We show places the way we want to and say what we think, so there’s an honesty that comes through. – Rubén Alonso

Visuals have a power of inspiring people in a way writing cannot. Videos can make people feel like they are experiencing everything with you. – Kristen Sarah

Pictures are great, but video is the only thing that can make a destination come alive aside from actually visiting. Travel videos give people the ability to imagine themselves in a certain place. It helps them to visualize themselves far removed from their everyday lives. Why do you think the Travel Channel is so successful? – David Hoffmann

Inspiration—straight up. Travel videos can get you stoked and can be a catalyst for the journey. – Joshua Johnson

Travel videos really allow someone to tell a unique story in their own special way…every travel filmmaker has their own style and something can be learned from everyone. Videos can teach you about dance, food, adventure…pretty much everything under the sun! – Ryan Van Duzer

Videos have become a very big part of the traveller’s journey, from the dreaming stage to the planning stage and certainly to the experiencing and sharing stage. There is a misconception that people watch videos because they are lazy… People watch videos because they can get more information in a shorter space of time. In this light I see video as one of the most useful tools for travellers. – Travizeo

Actually, I think that travel videos are probably more useful for people who aren’t filmmakers. Travel videos, if they’re done well, allow the viewer to get an idea of a destination without actually visiting it. That way, travelers are able to narrow down the multitude of destinations to the places they really want to see. In my opinion, travel videos are invaluable to any person who is planning a trip. – John Piazza IV

To create a memory beyond a picture, to share experiences with others. We are a visual society. Unfortunately people don’t like to read much, so the new trend to remember and let others enjoy what we do in life is make a video. – Eduardo Gato

Travel videos are a great way to get excited about a trip. Done right, they will make you want to book a ticket right away! Not everyone has the privilege to travel. For some, watching a travel video may be the only way to experience traveling. These videos are like a portal that allows everyone the chance to escape. – Gloria Powell

Film is just such a powerful medium to use to communicate to each other, and I think it’s amazing that it’s becoming so widely available now. Anyone can pick up a GoPro or tiny camcorder that shoots HD videos, and they can make an incredible travel video that accurately captures their experiences. The biggest use for travel videos is simply being able to communicate and share our incredible adventures with each other. – Patrick J. McDaniel

I think my travel videos are useful to everyone, filmmaker or not. I don’t think I cater to one specific niche audience except for people that love to travel or dream to travel that is. I have a series of videos called “City in a Minute” where I show people some of the awesome things to see and do in a city in a quick one-minute video. I hope these videos inspire people to travel and help them plan their travels as well. I also like making videos because I think you can only show someone so much about a place in a blog post or photograph and a video gives people movement and audio and takes it to a whole other level. Now if only we could get smell-o-vision invented… – Cailin O’Neil

I think the videos made by travelers that aren’t filmmakers have something special. Something different than filmmakers. The travelers can appreciate special moments and tell their stories in a very fresh way. I think what is important in a video is to transmit feelings and a person that enjoys with an adventure is the best to tell it. – Josep Gutierrez

Videos have the magic ability to emotionally engage with an audience and it’s what we all seek when traveling, and to be able to share that with others is a real privilege. – Justin Weiler

Videos can more effectively show the flavor of a place in ways blogs and pictures can’t. A traveler’s video has freshness and honesty that is hard to find in syndicated travel shows. – Sarah Zareen

In decades past, travel videos were done by large production companies for television. Travel advice and tips are so much more effective if they’re coming from local or seasoned travelers, not some TV script writer on a deadline. Give me raw and candid advice from a local any day. – Wesley Adventures

Videos are the closest we can get right now to experiential forms of media. They can be kept for days, months, years, and watched and re-watched. I think travel videos are powerful on their own and also when combined with photos, words, and sounds. Google is doing a great job of combining all of these. I think we’ll see a new kind of travel video soon. Not sure what it’ll look like but I’m trying out new stuff all the time. – Andrew Kamphey

Travel video can take you to a place way faster than an airplane. It gives you the feel of a place without the time and expense of going there. And, hopefully, the moments you see on screen will inspire you to set out on an adventure you can call your own. – Juliana Broste

Travel videos are THE best way to recap a country, area, or even a visit to a small town. Videos can show the atmosphere, the people and the experience all in a FEW minutes! A view that can convince travelers of why they’d want to visit! With video you can also help your viewers HEAR the sounds of the destination; the native language, or the waves crashing against the rocks, or the birds singing in the jungle, or the laughter of the guy selling hot dogs on the corner! – Jesse and Kimberly Moore

This is probably the hardest question because it’s essentially asking “Why do you think what you do is worth doing?” which is a dangerous hole to go digging around. For me, all of this started as a way for me to show my family, specifically my Grandmother, the places I was going. I wanted to let viewers feel the place. I did a lot of close-up shots of textures and colors, but I wasn’t adept enough yet to see the vision clearly through the edit. Umm….I think the answer is that a successful travel video—a video that I will watch and be engaged by—doesn’t try and show you the entirety of a location. It takes on the creator’s view and shows a location through their colors and their passions. (The creator is the person with the final control of the finished product.) I think getting bogged down in the concept of “Well, why is that worth watching or making?” is dangerous because that question begs for a hard answer. It’s worth it because it’s the core of what makes people human. Like all storytelling, putting these pieces together offers the viewer a possibility of a different magical place where they can do things that are uncommon to them and succeed. Let me say that another way. When someone shows an audience their worldview and how he/she interacts with the world, the audience is offered the chance to see the world in that way possibly for the first time. The knowledge they gather from the person sharing then gives them the tools to take on this new world they have been opened to (i.e., watch Anthony Bourdain and you can go eat good food and know that it is good food. Watch Steve Irwin and you can go interact with animals properly). I don’t think travel videos are best used to simply point out places to see or things to do. Text is fine for that. A video shows how to see or do the thing in a new way. If you can’t tell, I struggle with this question a lot. – Bobby Christian

To motivate, inspire and help organize. Travel videos are also just fun to watch especially on a destination you have recently visited, or are feeling nostalgic about. – SPESUS

I think creating travel videos is an awesome way to capture the true experience of your trip and it can be an awesome way to share your experience with others. While photos are awesome and I do shoot tons myself, videos help you to convey the emotion you felt about your trip, especially when you choose music that means something to you and you put that in the video. It’s an incredible memoir to have. I also love the feeling of creativity I have when making them. The video has to be done well though  and it’s not that hard once you learn some principles of filmmaking. There are a few simple things that one needs in order to make good travel videos. One is good sound, another is a tripod, and a third is an understanding of good composition and lighting. – Gina DeGirolamo

Travel videos are meant to inspire and educate people about the world around them. As a traveler, it’s great to have some visuals of where you’re going or where you’d like to go. – Gareth Leonard

I think travel videos are fantastic for people who aren’t filmmakers. Whether you are planning your next vacation or never have any intentions of leaving the comfort of your couch. When you watch a travel video you can explore the world without leaving your living room. – Monique Soltani

I find travel videos to be most useful when they simply inspire. It could be a second of stunning landscape or the way the history is told, but whatever it is, it captures the viewers attention just enough to plant that desire or need to travel into their consciousness. There’s nothing wrong with informative travel videos, but I don’t think a travel video needs to be informative to be useful. Sometimes, you just need to see a place and you’ll be caught surprised that such a place exists and it gets you to start digging around to learn more about it on your own. – Kien Lam

I look to travel videos for inspiration. I want to see people having fun in a place. I want to see the beautiful scenery or get a taste of the culture. A video should grab people and make them want to see more. It should make them feel that they are right there with you. It’s about the hook. You give people gorgeous images, excitement, and adventure and they want to book a flight to experience the destination exactly the way you did! – The Planet D

I think in the case of cruise reviews and ship tours, it gives travelers a visual sense of what they can expect onboard and off in a way that a static brochure or website never can. – Jason Leppert

Having been making travel videos since 2011 I have seen the firsthand effect it can have. Bringing the truth to an area is something not even a photo can do these days. Everyone knows how pictures in tourism are manipulated so much these days. With small travel videos on small production it brings a reality to an area that can be seen for real. So the trust that’s created is powerful and helps travellers make the right decisions for their own travel experience. – Adam Baker

We stumbled onto making travel videos by accident. We wanted to document our trip for ourselves and then something happened… people began to tell us that it felt as if they were experiencing it right along with us! We remember watching travel videos on YouTube while we were in the planning stages of this trip and it gave us the inspiration and strength to make it a reality. If it helped us, we’re hoping it can help others. – Because We Camp

A video can transport a person to a place and bring them sights and sounds that will hopefully provoke a “I want to experience that!” response. – Eszter Vajda

They can inspire travel. I love the way the millennial generation is all about experiences. If I had the choice to own a fancy car or backpack through Europe for a few months there is no question that I would cross borders. The way we are able to share experiences socially and through video has shown people the power of travel. It’s not about material items but the connections you make in the real world. – Carri Wilbanks

Travel videos inspire people to visit different destinations, have new experiences, and provide ideas on what to do once you’re there. There are so many unique perspectives on travel and these videos are a gateway into the mind of a fellow traveler’s experience, which is a thousand times better than an ad or a brochure. – Travelista Teri

I think travel videos can be watched for entertainment and for inspiration, or they can actually be filled with practical tips and used as travel guides. – Mark Wiens

They are visual guide books so people can get tips on places to visit or not visit and tips on how to make their travels cheaper. – Mick Hobday

They’re definitely helpful for many things, for example: checking out what food you can eat, places you can visit and things you can do. I think if you’re planning to go somewhere it’s definitely because you saw it somewhere before, magazine, TV or pictures. Videos will help you get a better idea of how it feels to be there. – Gustavo Matias

We feel that travel videos give a more personal look into a destination—they allow people to really get a good feel of an area and see what a place is like before they visit. – Wander The Map

We use social media and other travelers’ videos as the core of our travel research. Guide books are great as a reference when you are THERE. But quality videos by other travelers convey information so much faster. AND you make travel friends by being active socially. They’re a great source for hotel recommendations. – Lost & Found Travel

I think videos give an inside scoop of places, a near-reality of an experience that’s accessible. And they can be really inspiring to the watchers. – Armando Costantino

I think travel videos are more honest than guides, or even reviews. In my videos, I’m not afraid to share both the good and the bad, or even just the mundane. I’m not alone here, either—lots of travel vloggers share it all. To have a really great travel experience, I think you have to be extremely informed, and travel videos take it to a whole new level. Also, I don’t think we should overlook the value of escapism here…sometimes, simply escaping from life for five minutes is exactly what we need!! If I had a bad day, I turn to videos that evoke a really clear mood and transport me, and I think there is lots to be said for that. – Nathalie Basha

Travel videos can give you insight to places you’ve never been but may have wanted to go to. They can even attract you to places you never thought you would ever venture. That’s what is great about being able to get different perspectives through travel videos. And some filmmakers have such unique experiences that they inspire us to revisit places we’ve seen already. That’s the dopest thing about travel film—motivating someone to explore. – Global Lipstick