Is social media raising unrealistic standards for travelling?

Has the main focus of travel shifted from cultural to Instagammable?

Rosy Knox
8th November 2022
Image Credit: Pixabay

Travel is becoming increasingly popular amongst young adults, especially with those that take the infamous ‘gap yah’ before starting university. However, whilst travelling is an incredibly worthwhile thing to do, it seems as though social media may be endorsing a false idea of what it actually entails. 

It is inevitable that whilst scrolling through your feed at least one post showcasing someone’s travel experience will come up. These are usually heavily filtered, extremely glamorous, and of course, only showing the best bits. However, if you take the time to look at the accounts posting these videos, you notice that they tend to be influencers or promoters who are being paid for the content they produce. This means that they will heavily glorify the country they are in, or the place they are staying in order to satisfy the brief. Whilst there is nothing wrong with doing this in theory, it can set unrealistic standards for travelling which may influence people in the wrong way. 

Image Credit: Pixabay

Nowadays, there is a desperation to 'fit everything in' which is heightened by the competitive nature of social media and the need to convince everyone that you are living your best life. So why are these unrealistic standards being set? A large reason is competitiveness with others. One recent study shows that 40% of millennials value how ‘Instagrammable’ their holiday is over discovering the culture of an area and the cost of travel. This implies that people will flock to the tourist destinations, take the best pictures, and then leave. These photos then end up on social media with a deceptive caption about how wonderful a place is, when in reality, they haven’t experienced the area at all. 

However, despite the amount of misleading content online, there are accounts that promote realistic travel. These are the ones that share their true experiences and offer tips and tricks to make travelling easier. Because of this, social media shouldn’t be completely ignored as a source of information, instead it should be used as an initial guide which is then built upon with further research using accredited travel guides.  

We need to remember that social media does not reflect real life, instead it acts as a platform for paid influencers to promote their content to unsuspecting followers. In order to avoid this deception, people need to follow a number of accounts and prioritise those that post factually correct information. 

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