How Social Media Has Affected How We Travel

by: Anna Maria Cos Alcantara

We live in a day and age where we live by the saying, “Pictures or it didn’t happen” – meaning if the moment wasn’t captured and uploaded online, there would be no proof that it actually happened. Word of mouth isn’t reliable without any accompanying photographic evidence. 

With that, I personally feel like putting up pictures online has affected the way we travel today. I noticed that in the past couple of years, a lot more people are taking more and more pictures everywhere they go. May it simply be at the mall, or taking a picture of their meals, to the point where when we travel, a picture must be taken at almost every single moment everyday. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, pictures are how we can keep a moment to last forever – but I feel like it has come to a point where these pictures are on the brink of ruining a lot of things for all of us. 

As these pictures get uploaded online, it’s almost our way of telling everyone, “Hey! Look where I am now!” And while it’s a great way for people to be updated with our lives, sadly, some people have been taking advantage of social media platforms to brag or show off their latest travel or their latest purchase. Hear me out here – there’s nothing wrong with telling everyone on your social media where you are and what you’ve been up to. But as with anything done out of excess, is bad.

To paint you a picture, here is a scenario that you may or may not be a victim of: You’re with your friends on a trip that you’ve been planning for months. You get to the airport – you take a picture. You board the plane – you take a picture. You land safely on to your destination – you take a picture. Normal, right? No problem, no issue, just the standard documentation for your trip. But when you reach a point where you go through different places just to take a picture – say for example, the outside of a museum, the gate of a castle, the front door of a church, without actually going inside and actually appreciating and understanding that specific tourist attraction – and then already including in the caption that you’ve been there? That’s where it becomes a problem. 

When you take too many pictures on a trip without actually taking the time to appreciate and immerse yourself with your surroundings, that’s where it becomes a problem. When you upload pictures online of your travels, only to find validation from the number of people liking and commenting on your pictures as a form of the return of investment, that’s when it becomes a problem. 

There’s no problem in sharing your life online, but when it comes to a point that you seek validation from what you share online, that’s when it becomes a problem. Because really, there’s no problem with taking pictures. Take as many pictures as you want, for all anyone cares. It’s a way of keeping memories. But in this day and age, I’m starting to see more and more people getting lost in the digital space instead of where they are, physically.

Traveling has always been and will always be a personal experience that no one else can take away from you. By any means, take as much documentation from it, from pictures to little trinkets to remind you of the cities where you found yourself in. Use these to enrich your experience and memories, and find the return of your investment in the moments where you realized how lucky you are that you found yourself in another beautiful city in your lifetime. Stop chasing for likes and comments, and keep chasing for irreplaceable memories that will last more than a notification from your phone. 

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