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Get up, eat breakfast, go to work, meet friends, sleep – we all do this with one accessory called social media. We spend so much time online that even do not realize how gradually we have become all alike. We read the same posts, enjoy the same concerts, and even travel to the same places. Bali, Thailand, Como Lake, do you have the feeling like you have already visited these places? In fact, you have! Like thousands of times through the pictures of others. 

Traveling is a great pleasure in life and a long, sometimes desperately awaited escape from the monotonous life. One evening after scrolling through Instagram and seeing almost the same pictures from holiday destinations over and over again, I started thinking of how much does social media influence our holiday decisions? Is a copy-pasting of other’s nomadic routes a proper self-care ritual or is it rather theft of our authenticity?

Is it Bali again?

When this question settled in my mind, I started to see correlations everywhere. Do you remember a wave of influencers going to Thailand a couple of years ago (I don’t remember whether the term “influencer” was popular then as it is now)? Have you noticed how in 2018 almost everyone has visited Bali? Even though I have never been to Bali, I could already plan my two-week journey only based on the material I have seen and even book tickets for the best season (check March and November!). If you have not noticed any famous people going there, think for a second, whether someone whom you actually know went there on holiday. I bet you can name a few. And by the way – congratulations! You can add one more pin to your map of visited countries. If you have not visited Bali literally, then at least it happened virtually, on your friend’s Instagram account. 

Studies don’t lie 

While digging a little bit on the Internet, I found out that this question bothered not only me and, indeed, there are also several types of research and studies made in this field. Interestingly, there are few explanations on why social media dictates travel destinations. Some claim that people find user-generated content more trustworthy than suggestions of travel agencies or mass-scale advertisements. I can relate to that as I would rather check various niche blogs than dig into the well-known websites. Moreover, traveling for most people is a pleasure once or twice a year, and a need to minimize risks is huge. No one wants to reach their long-awaited holiday destination and be disappointed with their choice. In this case, the whole “influencer thing” can be a truly beneficial showcasing experience of people whose sound judgment you trust. 

However, there is another part of the story. A quarter of Brits choose their holiday destination based on the desire to get the best pictures for the social media, the research by International Currency Exchange indicated. The saddest part comes when taking a picture becomes more important than a trip itself. Do you think I‘m exaggerating? Think for a second what is the first thing people do when they check-in into Airbnb or sit down at a café? They ask for a Wi-Fi code! Once they get it, you can see everyone indulging in the social media and cropping, selecting filters, and debating on the caption of the best holiday picture. I remember almost competing with my friend who is going to post a photo first as usually all taken captions are quite the same. It is like you have not been on holiday if you have not posted about it on social media!

Full-time travelers

Funny fact that there are many people who have their Instagram accounts dedicated only to travel photos. They do that not necessarily on purpose but usually, only holiday pictures make it to the feed, as everyday life is not so colorful and relaxed. This adventurous reality catches peoples‘ attention and they crave more similar images. I remember when being a child my father asked me what would I like to do when I grow up. Surprisingly, I answered I would like to be a full-time traveler! I remember everyone laughing at me but now with social media, it could be the easiest thing to do or at least pretend that I am the one. Nowadays almost everyone can become a full-time traveler, just you need to make sure to take “alright“ pictures. Companies are using this hype of Instagram to make partnerships with popular “Instagrammers” and pay for their accommodation in beautiful places hoping that they are going to post about their stay and these views will settle in the minds of ours on those rainy November days. I believe it would be hard not to dream about wandering around those green paddy fields or exploring the streets around cute pastel houses. 

Being true to yourself

We can debate for hours whether following the path of others is wise or just proves the lack of imagination. However, it is not easy to get out of this vicious circle of ready-made decisions lying in social media. 

Here are several tips of how not to get caught in the trap of uniformity:

1. Write down your likes and dislikes while on the trip before even thinking of your next destination. 

2. Surf on the Internet and don’t be afraid to check the forgotten third or fourth Google search page to find what suits your needs. 

3. Go to the bookstore and take a look at the coffee table travel books for inspiration. 

4. Be bold and admit to yourself that you might enjoy things that others find strange or not “trendy”. 

5. Finally, answer the question – what would make you happier on your trip? 

In case of giving up, you can always trust the list of 2018 Top Instagram Travel Destinations:

1. Tulum, Mexico

2. Amsterdam, Netherlands

3. The Islands of Greece – Santorini, and Mykonos

4. Mexico City, Mexico

5. The Maldives

6. Algarve, Portugal

7. Marrakech, Morocco

8. Positano, Italy

9. Cappadocia, Turkey

10. Bali, Indonesia

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