Instagram is the perfect place to become jealous of other people’s lives, seeing users sunbathe in the Maldives, surfing on the Gold Coast or parachuting over Dubai, it’s a platform where we look and go ‘oh, I wish I was doing that’. With over 1 billion monthly active users, Instagram has become one of the most popular social media sites. We gain the most inspiration from Instagram in all aspects of life, including travelling. We are becoming more reliant on social media, but just how are these sites affecting the way we travel?
It’s fair to say that the way we travel has changed. No need for paper maps and tourist brochures when there’s Google Maps and TripAdvisor. With the ability to book flights to anywhere in the world from the comfort of our living rooms, it’s no wonder we travel now more than ever. Instagram plays a huge part in this, as we gain a lot of travel inspiration from it. We scroll through our feed and see other people on white sandy beaches, with crystal clear water behind them and we instantly want to know where it is. The list in our heads of ‘places to visit before we die’ gets longer and longer with each swipe of the finger and before you know it you find yourself looking at flights you can’t afford. We’ve become a society that is heavily influenced and social media is making it difficult to avoid this. We only tend to show positive aspects of our lives online, wanting to be viewed as leading exciting and interesting lives, and travelling helps to enhance this.
“Where do they get the inspiration to travel? Instagram.” – Corey Arnold (Photographer)
Our Inspiration To Travel
Not only is it what other users are posting that inspires us to travel, but thinking about the pictures you could post whilst abroad plays a surprising role for young people when deciding where to travel. In a survey conducted by Schofields, 40% of 18-33 year olds suggested that the ‘Instagrammability’ of a holiday destination influenced where they were most likely to go. The idea that Instagram even plays a factor in where people travel is astonishing, especially as the least popular reason to go to a country was opportunities for sightseeing, with only 3.9%. This just goes to prove the impact that social media is having on the reasons we travel, we are focusing more on how it’ll benefit the digital aspects of our lives, rather than visiting a country for its history and culture. This is huge for the travel industry as we are moving away from more traditional travel, not just from how we book flights and what we do whilst abroad, but the reasons for visiting these countries. We are travelling more for our social media presence and gaining ‘Instaworthy’ pictures, rather than embracing the culture and history, a negative element of social media influence.
Social media-fuelled tourism is on the rise due to how influenced we are as social media users. ‘Influencers’, with thousands of social media followers, and brands rely on one another in order to attract an audience. Brands pay influencers to go to their hotel or stay at their resort, whilst influencers use brands to get good content. Where this has proved successful is in a small town in New Zealand, who invited ‘influencers’ to come and post on social media about the town. Their posts online resulted in a 14% increase in tourism– the fastest tourism growth in the country, proving that social media is influencing our decisions to travel. Although our reasoning’s for travelling are changing, it’s helping these countries get the tourism they need. This shows the positive side to social media influence, as more people are travelling as they’re more exposed to different countries and cities through Instagram and want to showcase this ideal lifestyle online.
So, Does Instagram Affect Travel?
Overall, it’s fair to say that Instagram is influencing our decision to travel, whether that be in a positive or negative way. We are becoming caught up in the idea of what to post online that we aren’t focusing on the real meaning of travel. We no longer feel the need to sightsee or engage with the history of a country as we are more focused on how it will look on Instagram. Although we could view this as a negative aspect of the influence Instagram has on the way we travel, it’s easy to argue that Instagram is exposing us to travel more than ever before. This, with help from the internet too, means that more people than ever are going out and exploring the world, something we can only be grateful for.