Take As Many Selfies As You Want At This Instagram-Friendly Hotel

In the last year, travel and Instagram have grown to go hand in hand. Seriously, how many photos did you post during your last trip?

Banking on our selfie and hashtagging obsessions, the new boutique 1888 Hotel in Sydney, Australia has made Instagram a key part of its visitors’ experience. The lobby features a digital mural of Instagram shots, the front desk has a map of top picture taking spots that you should be sure to put on your to-do list, it offers a free night’s stay to anyone with more than 10,000 Instagram followers and there’s a specific booth for taking selfies when you check in, ensuring that you can make your friends jealous immediately.

The photo-friendly theme makes sense; 1888 is not only a reference to the year that the building was constructed, but also when Kodak launched the first box and roll camera, the kind of thing you didn’t need a vintage filter for.

But if you go, make sure you know how to take good pictures: each month the guest that snaps the best Instagram photo will get a free night’s stay.

Instant Film Makes A Comeback

Instant film photography tool
Courtesy of Impossible Project

Mobile phone apps like Instagram have made it possible to make our digital images look “vintage” using filters and effects, but they can’t quite capture the particular nostalgic quality of actual film. Photography lovers have mourned the loss of Polaroid instant film since it was discontinued in 2008. Several former employees teamed up to experiment with a new kind of instant film with the Impossible Project in 2010, allowing many owners of vintage cameras to keep taking pictures. The film is available at select camera stores around the world, but might be more for those who appreciate the art of film rather than speed: color pictures take up to a half-hour to develop.

Next month, the Impossible Project will take digital old-school when it introduces the Instant Lab, an app and tool that will allow you to print analog instant photos right from your iPhone. The device will be exhibited at Photoville, a pop-up photography “destination” in Brooklyn September 19 to 29, and available for purchase soon. The Instant Lab could be perfect for travelers who want to travel light with a camera phone but keep their trip photos from collecting dust on a hard drive.

Photo Of The Day: Scenes From A German Café

Passau Germany cafe
Jess Moss, AOL

Gadling editor Jess Moss continues her Viking River Cruise in Germany. As the cruise stopped in Passau, she captured this shot, claiming, “I’ll never get tired of the European cafe scene.” What about you — if you could eat meals outside every day, at small, local restaurants, would you?

To continue following Jess’ adventures, add @GadlingTravel to your Instagram feed.

We’d love to feature your photos and videos on Gadling, so please add them to our Flickr Pool (with Creative Commons licensing!), tag @GadlingTravel on Instagram or email us at OfTheDay@gadling.com.

#OnTheRoad: River Cruising In Germany

Viking River Cruise Germany
Jess Moss, AOL

Guten Tag from the Danube River! I’m Jess, an editor at Gadling and AOL Travel, and am on my first river cruise (actually, my first cruise of any kind). I’m chugging along the Danube on Viking River Cruises’ Bragi longship from Nuremberg to Budapest. Our stops include Regensburg, Passau, Melk and Vienna – I’ve never been to any of these places so am excited to explore. I’ll be seeing how much local beer, wine, wurst and culture I can sample, and I’d love some tips on what to do! If you’ve been to any of these places, or have river cruising tips please share what you liked and I’ll try to post a picture of it.

I’ll be posting updates along the river on Gadling’s Instagram account @GadlingTravel under the hashtag #OnTheRoad so please follow along and let me know what you’d like to see.Gadling has a policy against keeping any free or promotional items valued at more than $25 that are provided by companies to the editorial staff for review. In order to access the latest products and technology for review, we sometimes accept travel and accommodations (along with other members of the press). Our opinions and criticisms are always our own. Our editorial is not for sale, and never will be.

#CheckIn: Hotels Cater To The Social Media Obsessed

Some people just can’t break away from their networks when they travel — and hotels are catching on. The social media-obsessed can update their statuses (complete with pictures of themselves) at Facebook kiosks set up around the Ushuaia Ibiza Beach Hotel, and at the Sol Wave House in Majorca, a special web application only available on the hotel’s Wi-Fi network allows guests to share pictures and message with one another.

But even if you aren’t looking to go to Spain, there are plenty of tools to help you connect with fellow travelers and tap into discounts and deals. Friends of Friends Travel is a free social network that helps people share everything from hotel rooms to martinis with friends and friends of friends. And travelers — even the ones who want to put their smartphones down — should be on the lookout for hotels that encourage guests to “like” and tag them. The Radisson Edwardian chain offers guests the option of a late check out if they check-in on Facebook Places or Foursquare, and chains like Caesars gift loyalty points when users share Twitter and Instagram posts. All these marketing ploys may seem gimmicky, but what’s a tweet or two when it can lead to a more enriching travel experience?