Many people have different reasons for travelling but one of the newest and most popular reasons is Instagram. Millennials (people who have mostly grown up in the 21st century) are currently choosing their next travel destination from how “Instagrammable” it is.
Is this important to you? Or does this seem to defeat the idea of travelling for you? Regardless, social media certainly seems to have changed how and why we travel today.
When you think of travelling and choosing your next destination, what do you think of? Is a beach important to you? The temperature? What about the food? Or is it sightseeing for you? It seems there are many different reasons to pick your next travel destination. However, in a recent survey, which asked over 1,000 people in the UK aged 18-33 (“Millennials”) for their main reason for choosing their next travel destination, it was discovered their top pick for choosing a place was how “Instagrammable” it would be. Instagram is full of photos of beautiful holiday destinations. It can’t be denied that some of these well filtered photos can inspire you to travel. That being said, are photos on Instagram about the places of which we take pictures? Or are they about us, and our attempts to show off about the places we go? This may be a very negative view of what Instagram is for but with research proving many millennials are strongly focused on their social media presences and how well they are received on it, it can be easy to be skeptical of the role of Instagram in millennials choosing their next travel destinations.
It can’t be denied that Instagram and social media have been good for the tourism industry and sharing “hidden gem” destinations. It is also good for keeping friends and family updated on your travels, especially if you’re backpacking and don’t have a lot of time to send updates to your loved ones. However, is this all Instagram is being used for? Or is being used as an ego boost for travellers, which the word “Instagrammable” seems to suggest?
For your holiday’s top priority to be for you to go somewhere “Instagrammable”, for me, suggests we are valuing the success of our holidays solely on the success of our Instagram likes. Is this what holidays are about nowadays? For me, holidays are about discovering somewhere new, or spending quality time with people I really care about. To make Instagram one of my top priorities as to whether I enjoy going somewhere, personally takes away the meaning of why I want to go on holiday in the first place. I like taking photos of places as a reminder of the happy times I have spent somewhere, or to show people where I’ve been. But in all seriousness, how well my social media friends appreciate these images, does not need to be of any significance in going on holiday for me. I know I may seem old-fashioned, as I realise some people’s social media presences can be very important to them. However, by believing Instagram is a priority in our reasons for travelling seems to take our agency out of our own travels, and allows others to decide how successful our holidays are, rather that that being our choice we make for ourselves.
To go somewhere you can visually appreciate when travelling can be of huge importance in terms of having things to explore and do. With people believing their social media presence is vital to them enjoying a place visually, and then altogether, troubles me. Answer this the next time you are trying to pick your next adventure:
Which world are you living in: the social media world, or the real one?
Could this survey in fact be a wake-up call for us, that with social media controlling how much we enjoy experiences and what decisions we make, we should in fact step away from social media, and learn how to appreciate things for what they are, rather than how much other people say we should appreciate them? Or are we living in an age, where it’s too late to step away from living in a heavily influenced, social media world?
Although Instagram can be beneficial in encouraging people to travel and explore places outside of their comfort zone, I feel it may be having too much of an effect on us, and that travelling should be about the individual’s enjoyment, rather than about others’ approval of this enjoyment. No matter what, we live in a new world, and social media is very much a part of this. To what extent it becomes a part of our decision making, is up to us and shouldn’t be up to anyone else.