IS SOCIAL MEDIA CHANGING THE WAY WE TRAVEL?

We’ve all seen the recent rise of travel bloggers on Instagram and people we went to school with clearing off for a gap year on Facebook, etc. But is it changing the way we travel? Are we being more exotic with the destinations we choose for a holiday? Are people actually becoming more curious to seeing the world? Or do they just want to follow what everyone else is doing? Is it for the better, or for worse?

Whether you like it or not, travel and Instagram are two things that go together well. People can share their holiday photos, photographers can share their images and in return, people are usually inspired to visit a place, or put off from visiting a place. It’s a way to show family and friends back home what you’re up to, let them know you’re safe. And also lets complete strangers see where you are in the world!

Images are powerful. They’ve taught us about our history, gave us an insight to how people lived, and currently are teaching us about the world. I’ll admit, I’ve discovered many places through images on Instagram that I had never heard of. And yes, a few have been added to the bucket list. Before I go on a trip, I always search the hashtags on Instagram to see what others are doing, and if anything catches my eye. Some people hate this, and say you’re following what everyone else is doing. But I’m not. People are more willing to go off the typical tourist path, and you discover places you don’t find in the travel guides. So is it really a bad thing, exploring somewhere in more depth? No, of course it isn’t.

Before Facebook was invented, people went on holiday, and unless you were really good friends with someone, you wouldn’t have been none the wiser. You’d briefly talk about the holiday over drinks when you were having a catch up, or when you bumped into them at the supermarket. But chances were, you didn’t get to see all the holiday photos, and get a day by day show of what they did, etc. Facebook is either a pain in the ass, or a genius. Of course we look at the photos, we get inspired, then we plan our own trips.

It’s become less daring, less out there, to go travelling solo with nothing but a backpack. Social media has taken the scary factor from it all. Of course it’s still a scary thought doing it all alone, incase it does go wrong. But in the back of your mind, you’re more accepting the fact that it more than likely won’t, because so many have done it before you and been ok.

Let’s think back to before social media. What did people do to let those know back home they were safe and what they were up to? They searched endlessly for a post office to get some stamps, and they sent a postcard. This would probably take 2-3 weeks to get home, depending how remote they were. It wasn’t a quick log onto social media, and post a photo or status update. 5 minutes, done. I’m sure anyone that remembers this side to travelling, won’t say they miss it. And I’m sure my parents sleep better at night, knowing I’m just a Whatsapp message away to let them know I’m safe. Rather than waiting weeks for a postcard, that may or may not arrive.

Take Trip Advisor. It has millions of reviews of hostels, hotels, activities, etc. So a quick search, we can see where’s good, where’s bad. We’re saving ourselves the heartache of turning up somewhere, and it being somewhere you wouldn’t even let your dog sleep. We’re not just listening to friends and family and what they did on their holidays anymore, we’re open to trusting strangers and their recommendations.

So is it really such a terrible thing that social media is changing the way we travel? We’re exploring further than before, and daily we can just log on, and learn more about other cultures. We’re safer, so to speak. Our family and friends worry less. Yes, it’s annoying when you’re sat in an office at work, and your best friend is posting photos from a beach in Mexico. But deep down, we’re glad they’re safe. They’re living life to the full. There’s more to life than the small town you grew up in. There’s all different kinds of people to meet.

So yes, social media is changing the way we travel. But it most definitely is for the better.

Let me know what your views are below:

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