Each one of Rebecca Aneloski’s monthly trips is preceded by a study session.
The Kansas City lifestyle blogger spends hours and hours hunting for the perfect Instagram backdrops before hitting the road.
On a trip to Sedona two years ago, she only had a few hours to find the most picturesque spots to document her trip.
“I wanted to find some really unique just Insta-worthy locations to take home with me,” the 28-year-old said. “And I said literally out loud, ‘I wish there was an app that led me to the best photo spots near me.’”
Two years later, there is.
On Wednesday, Aneloski debuted her free app Depalo, which showcases some of the best photo ops in major cities across the United States. She purposefully highlighted her hometown with nearly 50 recommended spots for the best Instagram photos in Kansas City.
Those include well-known backdrops like the shuttlecocks on the lawn of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and the Grinter sunflower field between Lawrence and Tonganoxie.
But she hopes locals will discover new gems like the oversized chess board on the rooftop of the Central Library, the funky tiled staircase at The Fontaine hotel’s top-floor bar or uncommon skyline angles. A separate section of the app features murals and walls perfect for photo shoots.
She already has another 50 local locations ready to add to the app.
“I do want Kansas City to be one of the biggest cities in the app,” Aneloski said. “I love KC.”
Aneloski, who represented Missouri in the Miss USA pageant in 2015, makes her living with the help of tools like Instagram, where she frequently posts about travel and fashion. But the blogger believes the new app will have wide appeal.
“One thing I notice on my trips is that everyone has their phone out taking photos. So our hope is it will be a very wide range of people (who use it),” she said. “But we’re excited for millennials to grab a hold of it because they plan their trips around Instagram moments.”
Aneloski plans to expand Depalo — Latin for reveal —to more U.S. cities and ultimately to Europe. She said paid advertising will eventually help monetize the endeavor.
She said she thought hard about overexposing certain spots, but ultimately decided to share the finds of the many contributors who scout locations across the country.
“Hidden gems aren’t really hidden because someone found them,” she said. “The world is all of ours, and I think everyone should experience those beautiful spots.”