The 20 Most Influential Travelers of 2017
2017 was a year of great change and great trips. So many great trips.
Even if you didn’t go on a great trip yourself in the past 12 months, you mostly likely followed along virtually with someone who did (thank you, Instagram).
In a sea of #wanderlust Instagram posts and paparazzi photos from places near and far, a few travelers go above and beyond the rest. These are people who constantly inspire others to just book that ticket; who travel so often, they’re spotted in airports multiple times a week; who quite literally define the term “jet-setter.”
Below, see who made our list of the 20 most influential travelers of 2017. We have to warn you, though, you’re about to endure some major destination envy.
Chrissy Teigen & John Legend
Chrissy Teigen and John Legend couldn’t travel anywhere this year without it be heavily documented — on the internet, in magazines, or across Teigen’s delightfully entertaining social media platforms. And it makes total sense. Every trip the pair took was completely and totally photo-worthy, especially when baby Luna came along. They strutted down Parisian streets, took a yacht around Corsica, relaxed in Bali, and even returned to the location of Legend’s “All of Me” music video (starring his wife), Lake Como. All year long, we lived vicariously through their chic, seemingly endless getaways, but we bet 2018’s trips will only be bigger, better, and even more Instagrammable for the Legend family.
Will, Kate, George, and Charlotte
Will, Kate, George, and Charlotte, also known as key members of the royal family, had a lot going on this year. That includes celebrating George’s 4th birthday, his first day of school, vacationing with the queen at Balmoral Castle in Scotland, touring Poland and Germany, and just keeping up with the day-to-day duties of being one of the world’s most important families. Constantly on the move, and constantly in the public eye, this foursome (soon to be fivesome!) makes a splash wherever the plane, car, or train may take them.
Prince Harry & Meghan Markle
The newly engaged royal couple was travel-newsworthy even before the engagement heard ‘round the world. Prior to putting a ring on it, Harry met up with Meghan in Norway, Jamaica, Botswana, Toronto, and London, of course. Their long-distance relationship was kept alive and well with whale-watching expeditions, romantic views of the Northern Lights, and the occasional afternoon tea at Buckingham Palace.
One can only begin to guess where their honeymoon will take place… Bora Bora? A secluded Greek island? The South of France? We do, however, know one thing: Wherever they go will quickly become one of the most sought-after destinations of 2018.
“Romantic honeymoon” doesn’t even begin to describe the luxurious world tour the younger Middleton went on with her husband, James Matthews, after their estimated $1.5-million wedding in Englefield Green. No expenses were spared as they made stops in Tetiaroa in the Pacific Islands, Sydney, Darwin, and finally, Scotland, where the duo rested up in Glen Affric, James’s family’s eight-room Victorian mansion. If you have an extra $20,000 sitting in your bank, you can even follow in Pippa’s footsteps and rent the Scottish estate for you and 15 of your closest friends. But you might need a bit more cash if you want to mimic their entire honeymoon.
Barack & Michelle Obama
Barack and Michelle left the White House in 2017, and they took full advantage of their well-deserved time off. Along with their go-to spot in Martha’s Vineyard, the former first family visited Richard Branson’s Necker Island, sailed around French Polynesia (on a 138-meter luxury yacht, no less), and even had time to visit Cambridge, Massachusetts, where they moved daughter Malia into her Harvard dorm. Oh, and did we mention they also went to Italy? There, the power couple balanced work with a little bit of fun, which included biking, hiking, golfing, and sightseeing. Yeah, post-presidential life isn’t looking so bad for these two.
George & Amal Clooney
It’s no secret the Clooneys are fans of travel, specifically Italian getaways. George has been a homeowner on Lake Como for years, and in July, he was finally able to bring their twins to his 22-room abode. Ella and Alexander Clooney, who recently joined their parents on a Venice excursion, are definitely in for a life of jetting back and forth between Los Angeles, New York, and The Boot.
The word “travel” is basically synonymous with Branson, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise to see his name on our list. The investor, philanthropist, and founder of Virgin Group kick-started his year by kite-surfing with former President Barack Obama in the British Virgin Islands, a trip that resulted in images of an Obama smile so huge, it lit up the internet.
The rest of Branson’s 2017, however, was focused on helping out the tropical areas devastated by Hurricane Irma. He used his status, influence, and capital to rebuild not only his own island, but also the other areas severely damaged by the powerful storm. Hats off to you, Sir.
The man who created Facebook does occasionally take a break from the internet to incorporate traveling the world into his intense schedule. In May, Zuckerberg revealed he plans a new honeymoon for his wife, Priscilla Chan, each year, and 2017’s romantic trip was to northern Maine.
The rest of his 2017 travels were a bit different. The “Zuck” wrote that his 2017 new year's resolution was “to have visited and met people in every state in the U.S. by the end of the year.” Given his track record as one of the most successful people in history, we have faith he’ll accomplish exactly what he set out to do.
Elon Musk is not exactly a “vacation” kind of guy, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t focused on travel. Space travel, to be exact. In the beginning of 2017, Musk announced he would be sending two private citizens to the moon in 2018. In August, he revealed the space suits people will be required to wear aboard his company’s Draper Capsule when they travel to space.
So while Elon might not be taking extravagant Caribbean holidays every weekend, he’s maintaining his influence in the vacation and travel realms so that you can one day take the trip of your wildest dreams.
“No Reservations” was only one chapter of the celebrated chef’s relationship with travel and food. His current show, “Parts Unknown,” continues to take him to all areas of the globe in order to experience different culinary scenes. This year, Los Angeles, Laos, Queens, Antarctica, Trinidad, Puerto Rico, and Seattle were just a few of the destinations in Bourdain’s non-stop world tour.
No cable? You can follow his travels on Instagram, where he defines himself as a “frequent flyer.” Understatement of the year, Bourdain.
Brian Kelly, The Points Guy
Air miles and frequent flier points are some of our favorite phrases, and we’re pretty sure Brian Kelly, the creator of The Points Guy, would say the same. In 2010, Kelly debuted his “hands-on travel advice" website, and he has continued to grow it into a main destination for those looking to traveling smarter. In 2017 alone, Kelly and his team tested the fancy new suites on Singapore Airlines, feasted on Wagyu beef on the way to Tokyo, and hung out in East Java, Indonesia.
There’s no slowing Oprah down. The billionaire, actress, producer, and talk show host headed to all corners of the earth in 2017: a movie set in New Zealand, a cruise in Alaska, and a yacht in French Polynesia with the Obamas, Tom Hanks, and Bruce Springsteen.
We’d go so far as to say travel is one of Oprah’s “favorite things.”
Shay Mitchell’s #Shaycation series was equal parts over the top and amazing. The “Pretty Little Lies” actress journeyed to Greece for some relaxation and sun this summer, and she brought her 18.4 million Instagram followers along with her.
Shay snapped bikini pics next to the stunning white buildings of Mykonos and Santorini, and she even rounded out the entire trip with a 12-minute video montage of what seems to be the best. vacation. ever.
2017 has been a busy year for Reese Witherspoon. The Oscar winner, producer, businesswoman, and mom regularly spends her time between Los Angeles, New York, and film locations around the world. This year, Witherspoon flew to New Zealand, where she joined Oprah and Mindy Kaling to film 2018’s “A Wrinkle in Time.” From there, she ended up on a girls’ trip in the Hamptons, London for the premiere of “Home Again,” and Paris for Thanksgiving and her daughter Ava’s debut at the Bal des Débutantes.
Lucky for all those “Legally Blonde” fans, Reese regularly documents her travels on Snapchat and Instagram, so we can soak in all the travel-inspo we desire.
If we can learn anything from Karlie Kloss’s social media, it’s that this 25-year-old supermodel never stops. Even while enjoying a break from work, which includes Code with Klossy and campaigns with Swarovski and Express, she’s taking in all the world has to offer. Portugal, her hometown of St. Louis, Aspen, Disneyland, and Milan were just a few of her stops in 2017. And that doesn’t even include her Victoria’s Secret show detour in Shanghai, Adidas activation in Seoul, or pit stops in Nice and Cannes.
No wonder she's also the queen of airport style.
Writer, editor-at-large, and author Derek Blasberg has commandeered the fashion and model social scene, regularly posting selfies with the likes of Kendall Jenner, Bella Hadid, and Karlie Kloss.
Basically, it wasn’t Fashion Week in New York, London, Paris, or Milan this year without his digital stamp of approval (AKA an Instagram post of an A-list dinner date or a behind-the-scenes look at a top-tier guest list).
The Charleston, South Carolina resident is officially more than just a fashion blogger. She’s an internet heavyweight who boasts over 1 million Instagram followers and mega-influence in the travel and lifestyle spheres. This year alone, she’s packed her (Instagrammable) bags and jetted to New York, across the pond to London, to the most charming expedition in the Scottish Highlands, and even to a picture-perfect birthday celebration in the City of Lights.
Julia, along with her photographer husband, Thomas Berolzheimer, have certainly set a high bar for those looking to document their travels on Instagram and beyond.
Rosie the Londoner
Rosie Thomas, better known as “The Londoner,” has been chronicling her FOMO-creating vacations for years, and her trips seem to only get more awe-inspiring as time goes on.
In 2017, Rosie shared her trips to Paris, Scotland’s Gleneagles, the island of Meganisi, Sicily, Provence, all over the Cotswolds, and, of course, her daily jaunts through London’s ritzy Kensington neighborhood with her followers. Clearly, her Instagram tagline, “I haven't been everywhere, but it's on my list,” is pretty darn accurate.
Ferragni's 11.2 million Instagram followers — a number which has exponentially grown since she first launched The Blonde Salad — are witness to some of the most fashionable ‘grams from Italy, Los Angeles, and all the stops between. She regularly categorizes her trips using the hashtag #TheBlondeSaladGoesTo[insert city name here] and #ChiaraDoingThings, so you can easily track her moves around the world. And with her own fashion collection, multiple fashion and beauty partnerships, and relationship with Italian artist Fedez, we need an easy way to keep up with this busy bombshell.
Man Repeller’s creator, Leandra Medine, isn’t just a big deal in the fashion world. Her refreshingly unfiltered view of New York City’s SoHo neighborhood and destinations around the world (including, but not limited to, Paris, Sorrento, Malibu, and anywhere a major fashion show takes place) is an honest take on travel and style in a consistently curated world. If you can expect one thing from Medine’s travel picks and destinations, it’s that they’ll always have a certain “cool” factor. Mainstream travel isn’t really her thing.