Has social media set unrealistic standards for travel?
Has it ever happened to you that you scroll, scroll, scroll, and then stop at a highly filtered photograph of a person standing at the feet of the sea with their wide-rimmed hat seeming to have the time of their life with the wind in their hair? Or a person at the peak of a mountain enjoying the most scenic view ever. You immediately decide that you must follow their footsteps and plan your next trip around the dates you’ll likely get leaves.
What happens after?
You reach the destination only to be thoroughly disappointed for not having served what you expected. The sea view looks splendid, but it took hours for you to reach that popular spot, and you had to click that exact photograph by suffering the scorching heat of the sun. You trekked a great deal to reach the cliff, only to be welcomed by a long queue of people waiting to reach that ‘spot’ for that ‘Instagrammable’ picture.
Because in all the excitement, you forgot that those content creators put in a lot of effort to plan, click, and edit those pictures since it’s their job. So of course their pictures are going to be taken in the best light, with the apt filter, and at a perfect camera angle that highlights their most beautiful features. Whereas you’re on vacation and it’s less likely you have that kind of time and patience. You are there to experience and enjoy the place.
And then you question yourself - was it really worth it, that too on a holiday you paid for?
Social media makes travel all about aesthetic places. And to achieve it, it constantly tries to sell the idea of living and traveling above your means. Well, the truth is completely the opposite.
You don’t have to follow a famous globetrotter’s footsteps and explore a destination exactly as they did. Do take inspiration from them, but also ask yourself, what would make you happy there - going to a popular tourist attraction or a calmer location? The kind of travel experiences you like might not be included in those rose-tinted lists of places you must visit before a certain age. But if the journey is worth it for you, why care about anything else? Figure out the basics, don’t try to know everything about the place even before you reach there, and allow yourself to deep dive into the place to carve your own travel story.
The charm of travel is always going to be in the journey. So add a personal touch to make your journey memorable instead of visiting a place simply because it’s trending on social media.
This is not a blog post against travel vloggers and influencers who share travel stories on their profiles. They have definitely helped discover locations we never knew existed, boosted tourism in different parts of the world, and genuinely guided people when in doubt.
But what we are trying to say here is, think beyond that one jaw-dropping visually appealing picture from which you couldn’t take your eyes off. If you’re going to plan your entire trip just because of that targeted advertisement and FOMO, you’re setting up yourself for disappointment.
So what should you do?
Start researching the things that matter to you. Yes, that location looks really splendid - but how to get there? And would you be comfortable walking that much on a holiday or would you rather prefer to chill in a cozy space?
Watch videos that show the real footage and behind the scenes to get an overall idea of the place.
Follow travel groups on Reddit or Facebook for brutally honest reviews.
Connect with people who have been there and get first-hand information about everything you would like to know.
Check whether the weather is fine and if it’s actually the right time to visit that place.
If possible, avoid the long weekends to visit popular tourist spots for a fulfilling and less chaotic trip.
Most importantly, identify why you actually want to go to that destination. What’s your personal motive and what are you looking forward to really?
Finally, travel and tell no one. This quote by Khalil Gibran is super difficult to follow in this day and age and not necessary too. But what you can do is, tell the real story. Share your honest travel account that will help people who would want to visit the location.
In simple words, it’s okay to be inspired to travel after what you see on social media, but don’t make that content your priority. Understand your level of comfort and intent of visiting the place and plan accordingly. Since it’s very easy to fall into the trap of social media posts and make your vacation mediocre, we invite you to join us for a trip. Let yourself know how an ideal vacation should be. You’ll go back rejuvenated and happy just like you should after a holiday. That’s our promise!
Freelance Content Writer & Copywriter
After a short stint as a software engineer at Capgemini, she decided to go back to her first love - writing. She started her journey as a content writer in 2019 and considers it one of the best decisions of her life. Today, she cannot imagine doing something else for a living than coming up with the right words that will justify and bring to life her clients’ ideas. While her agency experience gave her exposure to writing for multiple sectors, her heart lies in topics related to women, mental health, career counselling, employee wellbeing, travel, personal development, and lifestyle. If she's not staring at the blank Google doc waiting for inspiration to strike, you'll either find her lost in a book or practising for her next dance routine!