Planning a trip can be a challenging task, especially when you will be visiting an unfamiliar destination. It is important to cover the basic elements of trip planning, such as the purchase of flights, hotels and travel insurance, but it is equally important to research your destination to ensure that you don’t miss out on exceptional sights and experiences.
Technology has vastly simplified travel research, and makes virtually every destination on earth accessible online. One helpful and popular application for trip planning is Instagram. Launched in 2010, Instagram is a photo and video sharing social platform owned by Facebook with over 500 million active users per day.
Studies have shown that the photos people take while on vacation, and then post for others to see on applications like Instagram, are more interesting to other vacation planners than tourism brochures. This is because the photos capture the genuine interest of the photographer. As a result of the heavy use and reliance on Instagram, an estimated 48.8% of businesses in the United States have a social media presence on Instagram.
How to Travel Plan Using Instagram:
- Geo Tags. Instagram has an option that allows the person posting the photo on the application to tag the location. This feature can be made automatic when the location icon on the posting device is toggled on, or can be added manually by typing in the area. This feature can also be used by a person searching for information about a particular destination. Simply use the geotag to find all the photos users have posted about the location. Also, through the comments and engagement level on the posts, one can learn about other visitors’ first hand reactions and experiences.
- Follow the Locals. Nobody knows a destination better than an individual who lives there. When you have decided on a destination, “follow” the local photographers on Instagram to get trip ideas because they will capture those best local spots. You can also follow the local tourism board to get information about the area you want to visit.
- Interact. Interact with people on Instagram and compare the information that you receive. Some companies give expert advice, and tips about destinations. Follow them on Instagram and ask other users questions. The more information you have, the less likely you are to be disappointed or unpleasantly surprised on your trip.
- Hashtag. Like the geotags, you can use hashtags that reference your destinations or particular sites to guide your research. Using hashtags, you can quickly find photos from other travelers of the sites you want to visit (for example, #eiffeltower). Sometimes a place looks very different in a travel catalogue than it does in real life, so it’s always good to make sure your expectations match with reality.
The more research you do on your vacation, the more prepared you will be. As always, be sure to insure your trip with travel insurance to protect the time and money you have invested in your vacation.