What If Instagram Could Change The Way We Travel?
It’s not really a question of if - it already has.
Being able to travel is incredible. The fact we can just hop on a plane and go anywhere in the world still blows my mind and it’s opened up a world of possibilities, quite literally.
I’m looking at travel from a modern day perspective and I question sometimes the real motives behind the way we travel today, mainly on social media.
It would seem we’re getting caught up in an unreal ideal and I’m wondering whether if it will ever change back or we’ve gone too far?
Travel is incredible and don’t we know it!
In my house, we often talk about ‘holibobs’ because the two of us are living under constant messy renovations plus we work for ourselves and we get fed up of it.
Lee and I are similar in our tastes for travel destinations and prefer places where we can do the opposite of our typical life at home; less noise, traffic, queueing, routine etc. That feeling of ‘carefree’ that only lasts whilst you’re on holiday is worth every penny.
The Travel Bug Effect
Has our desire to travel been amplified by all the wonderful photo possibilities that social media presents us with, more so than anything else? Do #TravelGoals come from our ability to hop on a plane so easily or because we are in an unconscious competition with each-other - maybe it’s a bit of both?
Maybe it’s none of that at all - it could just be the appeal of curating a beautiful Instagram grid filled with all the best moments of our lives - what’s not to love about that?
I don’t think my thoughts about this are just specific to travel…
We love fashion but we’re not all models.
We love makeup yet we’re not all makeup artists.
We love travel but we’re not all travel journalists.
You see where I’m going? Instagram allows all of us to explore the concept of real people like me and you who can do anything we want, just as impressively and share it with the world.
Back to the purpose of this post though, here’s just a few of the ways I think social media has changed the way we look at travel:
It’s now a professional photoshoot, let’s be honest.
People have been taking holiday pictures since the dawn of time and sharing them with friends and family but they look just a tad different nowadays, don’t they?
The funny thing is, I distinctly remember always being bored looking at other people’s holiday photos. You weren’t there, so who really cares?
On social media though, it seems everybody cares and it’s making us all look very glam indeed (this is not applicable to myself though whose holiday photos are still very much in the ‘non-glamourous’ sector).
My problem? Finding myself wondering if I should start snapping pictures of myself under palm trees on my holidays or in front of fancy coloured walls/doors! Send help!
Because, I still don’t know if I’m willing to commit to that level of intrusion on what’s supposed to be a break away from all that and I still prefer ‘in the moment’ photos which show true happiness, taken spontaneously.
It’s that modern-day question: if you didn’t take any photos or share them in some way, did you even have a good time?
I don’t personally have one. It’s more of a places-I’d-love-to-visit-at-some-point-in-my-life-but-haven’t-booked-yet list.
I blame my ’introvert-ness’ which makes me feel like holidays are treated by a lot of people like a box ticking exercise. By consecutively booking in ‘next-stops’ somehow undermines the beauty of each destination, getting one trip out the way ready for the next.
I’ll admit it: I’m not a big fan of city breaks!
There, I’ve said it. I will now be shunned from the sisterhood.
I don’t know why, but I just don’t find them all that enjoyable; too many people all trying to get to the same place and I’m usually left feeling a bit ‘meh’ - but that’s just me!
Since immersing myself into the world of blogging and social media, I’ve noticed the rise of ‘Instagrammable’ locations that I’m supposedly missing out on.
Don’t get me wrong, a lot of my travel inspiration comes from bloggers but in the back of my mind I’m wondering if I’m normal because I don’t see the appeal of certain places that other people flock towards.
First world problems, indeed.
I get it, travel is glamourous especially with actual, real-life paradise locations like the Maldives - somewhere I’ve been lucky enough to visit.
I’d seen pictures of the Maldives and it’s beautiful and expected nothing less, but what I hadn’t expected was to feel like I was on the front row at Fashion Week.
I didn’t take into account just how highly sought after locations like these are for what appears to be nothing other than dreamy photographic purposes.
I was honestly surprised at the number of times I saw couples traipsing around with high-end camera equipment, somehow fully clothed in 90+ humidity trying to perfect that ‘Insta-worthy’ shot.
Answers on a postcard for that one.
The Travel Snob
Whilst I completely understand that travelling is a huge personal achievement for some, I feel like there’s a difference between sharing and bragging.
I started mentally compiling the content for this part whilst sitting in the hairdressers listening to another customer and her ‘Lifetime Tales Of Travel’.
How many steps you clocked up walking around in Australia vs Somewhere Else I Wasn’t Paying Attention To doesn’t make you any more interesting or better than anyone else, sorry love.
If you’re wondering, it was 37,000 steps - so annoyed that I know that now!
As with holiday photos, it does seem to be the case with the million-follower-blogger industry that people love seeing and hearing about travel tales, so I guess I’m the weirdo.
It just seems that a large majority of everyday people have started collecting destinations visited around the world like badges of honour to add to their list of visited countries, all for the benefit of social media.
Does a well travelled person automatically become more interesting? Only if you’re the one doing it!
Who are these travels for, really?
I’m an introvert and for me less is more and this naturally applies to all areas of my life. I pretty much live my life quietly not really feeling the need to narrate or share too much of it, despite being a blogger which presents a challenge in itself!
I’m really trying not to take myself so seriously over here and keep things as real as I possibly can and still feel okay about it, all the while hoping people want to see that too.
My holidays are my time.
My time to have a break from the regularity of my everyday life at home; the worrying what to wear, the traffic, the clock-watching, wondering what’s for dinner and even the use of my phone (WiFi-less zones in hotels are a secret god-send).
Would you care about where I’m going and what I’m planning on doing when I get there? Although, if the answer is yes then I’m honestly flattered.
Holidays are also, if I’m correct, not the cheapest thing to do frequently. Yes, you can do it on a budget but surely the more you do it the more you pay so in the end it all adds up? You still fork out regular bundles of money for these trips, right? I haven’t missed something?
The travel industry are definitely rubbing their hands together and I wonder if we’re the fools tripping over ourselves to book in as much as we can because we’ve been conditioned/influenced to do so.
So, what do we think?
Has social media changed/influenced the way we travel?
We’re all different (yep, shocker) and so are our ideas about what travel means to us, so there will be some positives and negatives.
For me, the biggest change I’ve seen is realising places which seemed way out of my reach 10 years ago are suddenly not so far away at all.
On one hand: social media opens up the world with showreels of stunning, picturesque scenery, allowing us to get a different perspective on travel as we’re seeing people actually doing it, not just photos in a brochure or website and it means we can do it too!
On the other hand: I’ve found myself with heightened levels of travel anxiety, which I think results from increased pressure to travel - but sod it, I’m still doing it anyway but it’s not without difficulty.
Questions I ask myself:
Could Instagram be making an anxious traveller like me feel inadequate whilst others make it look so easy?
Does it add pressure to make people like me who just want to go on holiday and chill whilst not having to worry about how I look feel slightly inferior that my holiday pictures don’t look quite like the ones I’ve seen?
Can I really jump on this bandwagon of turning a well-needed holiday into a photo opportunity every time, rather than what it’s designed to be: a holiday.
Is all this heading further toward unreality? Are we plagued by aspiring to be something that isn’t real? I’m really not so sure.
Are we travelling for our own self-fulfillments or because we want to tell everyone about it on social media? What happens to our holiday experiences if they are purely for show?
I don’t want to blur the lines of reality and fakery and whilst I haven’t quite yet jumped fully on the bandwagon of travel blogger style photos when I go on holiday, I’m hanging on reluctantly deciding whether or not to jump on fully or just let go and let everyone else get on with it….
You gotta roll with it.
I am trying to accept the sign of the times, but I can’t help feel a bit sad sometimes because things have changed so much. Remember the simple days of going on holiday with no pressure or influence from anything other than just longing to go somewhere in the world? Without feeling like you need to document it and worrying about missing out if you didn’t? Maybe they still exist, somewhere…
I hope you enjoyed this post you beautiful beings, let me know if you agree / disagree with any of my ramblings in the comments below!
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