It’s a social media world we live in, like it or not, and it’s here to stay. With endless ways to stay connected, from Instagram to Twitter, we can travel like never before. We can even travel from the comfort of our homes, with platforms like YouTube and Snapchat where travelers take us on their journeys to see what they get up to. However, with all of this connectivity comes some unique problems. Here are some of the pros and cons of traveling in the social media age:
Pros and Cons of Traveling in the Social Media Age
Pro: Travel is easier than ever
Mobile apps make traveling a breeze. Whether you’re trying to find out when the next bus comes, or get the cheapest flight, an app has got you covered. Check out our lists of the best apps for travel.
Con: Less room for discovering hidden gems
When everything is documented, you’re less likely to just stumble upon an amazing hidden gem. Most people nowadays research everything before spending their hard earned money on Yelp or TripAdvisor. And why shouldn’t they? We want to make the most of our money when we travel. However, sometimes it can be fun to just discover things. Try taking a walk around your destination without a plan. Something might surprise you!
Pro: We can stay in touch with friends and family back home
Gone are the days of writing a postcard to our far away loved ones (though, if you want to send a postcard they’re never unappreciated!). Nowadays we can send an email, use whatsapp, or even FaceTime and Skype with everyone back home. It’s almost like you never left! Staying connected while traveling has never been easier.
Con: Screen time is all the time
You arrive at the Colosseum. Before you is one of the world’s top tourist attractions. But between trying to snap a photo with your camera, get some good GoPro footage, take the perfect selfie with your selfie stick, while simultaneously getting the whole thing on Snapchat, you realize you never got to see it with your own two eyes. This is a familiar scenario for anyone who loves to travel and also loves to capture travel moments to look back on later. Take at least a few minutes wherever you are to simply use your senses to observe without reaching for a device. Maybe bring a journal and write about what you see or sketch what’s before you.
Pro: Location Independence is a thing
Love to travel? Wish you could travel all the time? Well, you’re in luck! These days, you can work while you travel if you have a good enough wifi connection. To share a personal example, I am flying high above the ground in an airplane as I write this very story for WeTravel. If you have a skill you can do on a computer: like writing, website design, graphic design, or even administrative work, you can travel while you do it! It takes a bit of effort to get off the ground, but if you’re creative you can find a way to make travel your every day.
Con: Trying to make your travels look ‘insta-worthy’
We’re all guilty of it in everyday life: creating a curated feed of how we wish our lives looked, regardless of how messy the real thing is. The same is true of our travels. We strive to get the best bikini shot on the beach to post to Instagram, or the best sunset photo to make our friends jealous on Facebook. We might get so caught up in the facade of it all that we forget to just experience our travels. Things can get messy and difficult while traveling, that’s part of why we love it. Even if something doesn’t live up to your expectations, or you don’t get that “perfect” shot, appreciate the fact that you have the ability to travel in the first place.
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Traveling in the social media age is more exciting than ever, because there are newer ways to travel than we ever thought possible in the past. Do you want to go on a yoga retreat halfway around the world? Volunteer while you travel? Or join a group trip to eat and explore your way around France? You could literally do these things. You can even travel spontaneously and book a trip to an unknown destination!