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5 Ways Social Media Has Changed The Way We Travel

In a world where digital communication is growing into constantly new shapes, it is hard to imagine a time when browsing Instagram for a few holiday ‘inspos’ wasn’t an option. Millennials being the top users of social media are transforming the way in which travelling happens. According to Travel Professional News, 87% of millennials look to Social Media for travel inspiration for their next adventure. Tourism is constantly growing along with social media and a beautiful (or possibly ugly?) friendship is blossoming between the two allowing for travel to be one of the top discussed topics on social media. However, with many different levels to digital communications, in this case social media, comes the complexity of understanding the way it is possibly affecting our worldly travels. Today we shall take a look at the pros and cons social media is having on our travel habits.

Pros

It Has Never Been Easier To Find Inspiration

Looking for your perfect holiday? thanks to social media, it is just a link away. Not only do travel instagrammers show off their exciting destinations, but often show you the real side of their travels. One of my personal favourite is @the.travel.project due to their unique take on travelling like a local and giving honest opinions. It broadens our travel inspiration to areas we had not yet thought of. In an age where sharing your holiday has become the new norm, many social media users are considering the location for its photogenic qualities. For example, 40% of UK travellers assess how Instagramable an area is before visiting. That’s taking planning to a new level!

Keeping In Touch 

Goodbye to long distance phone bills and dodgy foreign signal and hello free WIFI and endless chats with your loved ones, keeping them up to do date with your wild adventures. Thanks to Facebook and Instagram as just a couple of examples, staying in contact has never been easier, with free phone calls and endless chances to send your beautiful snaps. As well as privately messaging which can actually be quite time consuming, it’s never been easier to share locations, photos and check in to show off your new travel look to all of your friends. According to Smart InSite, 72% of people whilst on vacation will post holiday photos on social media and 70% will update statuses about where they are.

Not only does it allow you to keep up to date with the latest friendship dramas and your beloved pet doing something unmissably funny, we are able to make new friends on our travels and not feel so isolated. Social media has made it the easiest it has ever been to contact other lonely travellers. New social media apps have been designed especially for this, including the wonderful Travello social Network App designed to tailor your own community based on your specific travel style. This connectivity has brought together travellers in over 180 countries! Thinking of travelling alone but don’t like complete isolation? Give it a go…

Reviews 

Reviews of restaurants, attractions and entertainment has become something us travellers consider deeply, because who wants to eat a dodgy looking kebab and witness a subpar karaoke session (without a couple of glasses of wine at least…)? Social media sees to that we receive the best and most reliable information to make our days the best they can possibly be, whether that’s hearing from our favourite travel instagrammers or reading a quick ‘top places to visit’ article.

I’ve found Lisboa is an exciting area for food and bars, however with such great selection, checking reviews is the go-to solution. Thanks to Facebook reviews and Trip Advisor, I found one of my favourite restaurants in the centre of Lisboa with everything that I wanted. Sitting in a cobbled street eating a crab (not without challenge I assure you) whilst watching the sunset couldn’t have been more authentic, but being situated in the thinnest, most hidden away street, I would never have found it without the wonderful assistance of Social Media reviews and maps.

Image of an alley way in Lisbon
Eating a traditional Portuguese dinner in Lisboa

 

Cons

Is Spontaneity Dying? 

Whilst on our exciting travels, we’ve all been guilty of checking trip advisor a bit too much, and in the end getting hooked on reviews of the most popular sites, restaurants and entertainment. But whilst we scan for reviews and take inspiration from our favourite travel Instagram pages, we may be missing hidden gems right in front of us. Could social media be diminishing our desire for spontaneous exploring?

However, even when one may want to spontaneously go and find some hidden gems, are they really that hidden anymore? As a result of social media’s ability to constantly upload, like and share, have these gems have lost their sparkle? Smart InSite suggests that 48% of travellers check in their location on Facebook, allowing all friends and followers to view their pinpoint location. As a result, opinion leaders could be influencing where we are jetting off to next, including locations that were once not so popular. It seems to be all about planning and less about going with the flow.

FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out…) 

Whilst wrapped in my woolly jumper and five scarves, I’m watching my best friend bask on the beaches in Thailand and snorkel around the Great Barrier Reef on Instagram. It is safe to say I am experiencing a serious case of FOMO, so much so I might just book myself a last-minute holiday to somewhere with a tad more sun. But at what cost? Due to FOMO, holidays can be expensive, and not even where you want to go. Psychologists have suggested that we now have negative associations to our own social lives and experiences due to the subjective posts on social media showing everyone galivanting across the world with their friends. Just a quick reminder, don’t feel left out or the pressure to get involved, there are plenty of experiences to enjoy in your own time.

 

Although these are just a few of the many effects social media is having on us travellers, it is clear that we have a love hate relationship with social media. It is not just a trend that will soon go away, digital communication is only growing and it is up to us to use it with the freedom it provides and not get sucked into its all-consuming characteristics. Use it to aid our lives, not rule it.

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