Business Traveller

World's top 10 travel influencers, according to Forbes

Francesca Street, CNNUpdated 27th June 2017
(CNN) — Already seething with envy over travel bloggers who make a career out of being on permanent vacation? Best look away now.
These social-media savvy sightseers are now clocking up so much online clout along with their air miles that annual Rich List compiler Forbes is taking notice.
It's compiled its first Top 10 travel influencers list, bringing together some of the biggest names in the travel blogosphere. (Click through the gallery above to see the full list of 10).
These jet-setters typically rake in cash to support their adventures via corporate sponsorship or paid promotions. Not all can boast the money-making prowess of self-proclaimed millionaire-on-the go blogger Johnny Ward.
But, says Forbes, these are the people many turn to for fantastic images of travel destinations, tips and more. Here are the travelers making the list in 2017:

10. Kate McCulley (United States).

Kate McCulley is the original solo female travel blogger who documents her globetrotting via blog Adventurous Kate. Setting out as a college freshman back in 2001, McCulley has since ticked 70 countries off her list.
McCulley's Instagram feed offers snapshots of her adventures alongside advice on where to eat and drink while traveling and where to buy clothes and beauty products.
Her lifestyle is aspirational, but still seems attainable. McCulley demonstrates to women that they can -- and should -- travel solo.

9. Chris Burkard (United States)

When someone's traveled to Iceland 28 times, you know they mean business.
Chris Burkard, 31, has been blogging since 2009, and now has 2.6 million followers on Instagram. His feed is an array of stunning landscapes with detailed captions offering the story behind the photos.
Burkard's trips to Iceland aim to raise awareness for protecting the country's river systems.
The photographer recently premiered his first film: "Under an Artic Sky," which documents his journey to the most remote corner of Iceland in search of the perfect surf.

8. Johnny Jet (United States)

Johnny Jet used to be scared of flying, now he travels the world.
Johnny Jet used to be scared of flying, now he travels the world.
Courtesy Johnny Jet
Forbes calls Johnny Jet "the original travel influencer." He started his travel newsletter back in 1995 and his website in 1999.
"I was fortunate because I got started so early," Jet -- real name John DiScala, says. "I started my newsletter right when email was getting big".
CNN asked Jet what he thought the next big tech platform would be:
"Pinterest is going to take off," Jet says. "Pinterest drives traffic. People use Pinterest to plan, whereas everyone uses the others to share what they are doing now."

7. Louis Cole (UK)

The sole Brit on the list, Cole has been vlogging his escapades since 2012. His "Fun for Louis" YouTube channel mixes the escapism of travel with the humor of the everyday.
Alongside these quick glimpses into his jet-setting life, Cole also has several longer film projects on the go, including "Beyond Borders -- A Film Celebrating Unity," which is he crowd funding via Kickstarter.

6. The Planet D (Canada)

The Planet D want to show you that anyone can travel, regardless of your background.
The Planet D want to show you that anyone can travel, regardless of your background.
Courtesy Dave Bouskill
Married pair Dave Bouskill and Debra Corbeil run the successful The Planet D: Adventure Travel Blog.
The fortysomething couple want to encourage everyone to go on adventures, regardless of their economic status or sporting ability.
Their motto? "Adventure is for everyone."
"Our top tip for traveling is to hire a local guide," The couple tell CNN.
"You'll not only save a lot of money by cutting out the middle man but you'll be supporting the local economy by putting the money directly into your guide's hands. Plus, you'll most likely come away with a friend for life and have a truly authentic travel experience."

5. Damon and Jo (United States, Brazil)

Millennials Damon Dominique and Jo Franco met at college, bonded by a shared love of travel and learning new languages.
Now the pair are the go-to travel guides for many teenagers and twentysomethings, thanks to their YouTube Channel and website: "Shut Up and Go."
They've gone from broke students to internet sensations, thanks to their down-to-earth charm and adventurous spirits.

4. Eric Stoen -- US

Eric Stoen is passionate about traveling with his kids.
Eric Stoen is passionate about traveling with his kids.
Courtesy Eric Stoen
Eric Stoen runs family travel blog Travel Babbo, inspired by his own quest to take his kids along on his adventures.
"I'm passionate about family travel, and in inspiring and encouraging people to take their kids everywhere," Stoen tells CNN.
"The world is full of places that people don't think about taking kids but that are actually remarkably kid-friendly -- destinations where you can largely get away from other tourists and introduce your kids to new cultures, while still letting them be kids. I want to find those places!"

3. Murad and Nataly Osmann (Russia)

You can't check #travel on Instagram without spotting photos of a woman leading a man through a stunning setting.
This trend started back in 2011 with Russian couple Murad and Nataly Osmann: Murad posted a photo of Nataly leading him through the streets of Barcelona and the image went viral.
A behind the scenes look at #FollowMeTo in action.
A behind the scenes look at #FollowMeTo in action.
Courtesy FollowMeTo
The couple produced a gorgeous photo series of their #FollowMeTo images, which was exhibited in Times Square and now document their travels on their website.

2. Kiersten Rich -- (United States)

Kiersten Rich AKA The Blonde Abroad quit her job to travel.
Kiersten Rich AKA The Blonde Abroad quit her job to travel.
Courtesy The Blonde Abroad
Stuck in an office job, Kiersten Rich realized the world of corporate finance wasn't for her and jetted off to see the planet.
Now the Californian chronicles her trips on her brightly colored website, The Blonde Abroad.
"Now that I've traveled to 60+ countries and built a multi-level business from my blog, I'm excited for what the future holds," Rich tells CNN.
"It's truly an honor to be featured by Forbes and to connect with so many people around the world."
Rich offers tips on topics such as female solo travel, budget travel and student travel. She's also an active Instagram presence.

1. Brian Kelly -- (United States)

Brian Kelly AKA The Points Guy worked out how to maximize air miles and frequent flier points back in 2007, when he was a frequent business traveler.
Now he's CEO of his own digital platform, helping others follow in his footsteps.
The site details the best credit cards for maximum points, reviews of hotels and long-distance flights.