7 In Travel/ Travel Talk

Does Social Media Influence Your Travel Plans?

Social Media Impacts Vacation Planning for Families

You have to admit, when you’re scrolling through your social media feeds there are certain photos of far-off lands that just catch your eye. When you see those photos do you think somewhere in your mind it’s influencing where you choose your next holiday destination? If your answer to this question is yes, don’t worry; you’re not alone.

Social media definitely had a hand in finding this Texas gem

When I start planning a trip, I start off by mapping out some sort of rough route. Once I have that I pick up my phone or sit in front of my computer and do some research. While I try not to have everything predetermined, I do like to find those special, locals-only spots that perhaps not everyone sees, but everyone wishes they had found. However, those take some research to find. I know of only a few ways to find these spots: asking actual locals in person, finding the perfect blog post or searching hashtags and destinations on social media – a lot of which lead directly back to a blog post.

Are Millennials More Likely to Let Social Media Influence Them?

Being a millennial means that statistically I’m going to be more involved in social media (although, I have some non-millennial family members who go a little crazy on snapchat). Having multiple social media platforms at my finger tips means I’m constantly getting lost in other people’s posts, daydreaming of making my own journey these places. Luckily, I’m not alone because 66% of millennials feel the same way. This means that people aren’t only looking to these platforms for inspiration, but people are also posting to these platforms hoping to inspire others.

Beach shots, like this one from our honeymoon on Kaua’i are some of the most popular social media posts!

There’s that phrase “I did it for the Insta”; I’ve seen it printed on shirts and used as captions. While it’s funny and quintessentially millennial, there’s more truth to that than I realized. It turns out that a fourth of Americans (26%) said that they choose a destination based off of how they think their vacation photos will look on social media. I have to admit that this percentage surprised me. Do you think this is too far or would you consider yourself to be in this category?

I know that I post my best photos to my Instagram. I plan the perfect Pins to promote posts and share tips and information on Facebook and Twitter. However, I don’t think I’m quite to the “I-did-it-for-the-Insta”-level though. I’m trying to inspire. I want people to get out and enjoy their lives; to explore and discover this beautiful planet and its people.

It’s not just millennials, though. According to Alamo’s annual survey 2 in 5 American families said that their trips have been influenced by social media. That’s 42% of Americans! I know my Facebook feed is flooded with photos and videos depicting gorgeous places around the world by bloggers, travel companies and friends. I often tag people I personally know in comments when I think a place would pique their interest.

Are We Letting Social Media Dictate Too Much of Our Vacations?

While social media is a fantastic tool to help plan your next adventure and road trip be sure to actually take the time to enjoy the vacation. I know there are many different ways to travel and to enjoy things. However, it’s easy to cross a line. When I first got Snapchat, my husband and I went on a camping trip. I found myself focused on making the perfect snap story that I missed out on quality time with Matt and potential memories we could’ve made. Instead, Matt has memories of me talking into my phone over and over because I didn’t like the way my voice sounded. I knew at that point that it was time to take control of myself. Since then I’ve tried to be more mindful.

While the destination wasn’t just for this photo, this photo was for the Insta at Monument Rocks in Kansas

Being a blogger, I am always sure to capture moments, spectacular sights and striking landscapes. However, for every moment I have my camera in action, I try to have many more that I’m enjoying the moment. After all, what good are those stellar photos and social media likes if you don’t have real stories that go with them?

Join the conversation. What do you think? Do you use social media to help plan your trips? Do you “Do it for the Insta”? How far is too far?

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*Again, although I received compensation for this post, all opinions, as always are my own.

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  • Reply
    Len Kagami
    May 18, 2017 at 12:08 pm

    Nice article! In my opinion, I think travelling is about enjoying the moment, gathering experience. Making Instagram-able photo is a part of the trip, but not the essential part (well… at least for a non-sponsored trip). I only use social media as reference, I have never used it as my itinerary. There are places rarely appear on Instagram, but they are magical in reality 🙂

  • Reply
    Nano @ Travel With Nano B.
    May 18, 2017 at 6:54 pm

    Very interesting topic, Paige! I like to utilize social media to find those off the beaten track places and experiences. Like you, I like to pre-plan my trips and do some advance research. I look up popular hashtags of the city I am heading to to see what people do there. I have never chosen a destination based on how well it will photograph, but I definitely have visited a café if their food is cute and Instagrammable (e.g. Yum Cha in Hong Kong). Although social media definitely holds a huge power and inspires to go out there and explore. Since starting blogging I learned about so many unique destinations from my fellow bloggers. I feel like I travel vicariously every day!

  • Reply
    Julie Cao
    May 21, 2017 at 10:31 am

    Very insightful topic Paige! I appreciate that you reinforce the facts that social media is used for delivering value to and inspire other travelers. I too sometimes use social media and the blog post to plan my trip, but never once I went on a trip because i need to do it for social media, even the press trip I won’t do it. I just let myself immerse in the full experience and write my story.

  • Reply
    May 22, 2017 at 12:03 am

    Well, social media mostly gives you pictures not the info. As a traveler we always have to do our homework. It all depends on type of my travel and kind of risk I am able to take. I do depend on sites like tripadviser or google reviews more than social networks. Generally I have seen people want to boast on social channels! 😀

  • Reply
    Christina Pfeiffer
    May 22, 2017 at 8:43 am

    That’s a really good question, Paige. I would love to see some survey statistics on how much social media does influence choices. I’ve found lots of new places I wouldn’t have come across otherwise through social media.

  • Reply
    Danni L
    May 22, 2017 at 8:51 am

    So true that SM is a major influence on millennials, especially Snapchat. The reach of Instagram in promoting travel is also crazy. So happy to read that you’ve found the balance between sharing online and great travels with your partner.Here’s to that!

  • Reply
    May 22, 2017 at 11:08 pm

    I don’t do things for Instagram, but I have discovered a lot of places I want to go through Instagram or other social media outlets. I don’t think I would’ve ever even known of some of the locations on my bucket list without it!

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