1,161,121: The number of photos currently circulating on Instagram when you search #mexicotravel.
Social media has without a doubt changed the travel industry. People are no longer relying on guides books and google searches to plan out their trips. Instead, you can follow travel influencers and get all the details on an exotic location.
As normalized as it’s become to post the most glamorous travel photos, this oversharing of travel content does have a negative effect.
This article isn’t going to tell you to stop posting your travel pictures. But it will take a look at the effects of social media on travel and how every traveler can use the power of social media for good instead of feeding the beast that is overtourism.
If you didn’t post it, did you really travel?
The way some people post vacation pictures makes it seems that the only reason they traveled was to get that perfect Instagram shot. This is evident as more people end up waiting in outrageously long lines at different well-known monuments to get their shareable photos. In fact, content writer Katie Birtles shared in an article on wayfairtravel.com that in Pura Lempuyang, Bali, there is even deception happening as people take photos at the sacred temples. Often there is a photographer at the temple holding a mirror to create the illusion of reflecting water. “There is no pond there, nor is it the tranquil temple depicted on Instagram,” she states in the article.
People seem to be so obsessed with being in front of the lens that they aren’t living in the moment. According to some travel statistics, people are spending more and more time on their phones when traveling. Passport Photo Online recently published a list of travel statistics showing the following:
- Over half of vacationers (60%) post photos on social media while away. When it comes to Millennials specifically, that number rises to 97%.
- Nearly 46% of Americans want to make followers jealous with their travel experience.
- Roughly 40% of Millennials pick holiday destinations based on how Instagrammable the pics will be.
As surprising as these numbers may be, spending more time Instagramming the beach than enjoying it is not the only negative effect that social media has had on travelers’ experiences.
Did Instagram decide your destination or did you?
When used consciously and intentionally, Instagram can help you find and travel to unique destinations. It can also provide you with helpful information such as what to expect when visiting certain locations. However, mindless scrolling and uploading have led to some destinations receiving way more people than expected.