Social media has become such an integral part our everyday lives that it’s difficult to leave behind. That’s why as much as 90 percent of vacationers use their mobile devices while traveling.
Even more use the Internet and social media during the planning process. If you’re part of the 90 percent who use mobile technology or the web while traveling, are you getting the most out of them?
Social media: your number-one travel companion
If you’ve used social media to plan a trip in the past, you probably understand the value it can provide. Take a look at some of the top ways you can use social media to plan your trip:
The planning process
Planning a trip can be time consuming, challenging, and ultimately exhausting — even before you’ve started the actual trip. By the time you actually finish planning, you might feel you need the vacation just to recover.
Thanks to the power of social media, however, planning doesn’t have to be such a burden. Unlock the value of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest in the following ways:
- Facebook. As the leading social media site in the world, Facebook is an excellent source of information for anything and everything related to travel. If traveling’s a passion of yours, you’ll want to follow travel pages and travel companies. Not only can they provide valuable information on cool places to visit, but you’ll also find they give out special promotions and deals on social media. Whether a cheap plane ticket, hotel deal, or last-minute getaway opportunity, it can be found on Facebook.
In addition, Facebook is a great resource for studying a country’s culture. Wikipedia may give you the facts, but Facebook provides snapshots of the culture in real time. You can also connect with people who have visited the destinations you’re interested in the past and get access to personal testimonials and reviews.
- Twitter. While Facebook is great for in-depth research, Twitter is your best friend when it comes to getting quick answers and fast information. Follow airlines, hotels, travel services, and similar accounts for up-to-date information on the places you like to visit. If you have a short question, Tweet at the account and you’ll often get a response.
Much like Facebook, Twitter can also be used to check out what’s happening in particular cities. Instead of reading the same recycled information about tourist spots, you can learn about local events, good restaurants, and more.
- Instagram. The newest of the bunch, Instagram serves as a visual guide that especially appeals to people who prefer images over text. Thanks to the platform’s easy hashtag search functionality, you can find information about specific locations and see what people are saying. Most major cities have their own Instagram account, which can serve as a reliable source of information regarding local hotspots and places.
- Pinterest. This site is a traveler’s dream. Once you identify where you want to go, you can create a board that relates to it. Over the days, weeks, or months leading up to the vacation, you can pin items to that board. This enables you to organize your thoughts, develop a visual itinerary, and lower the chances that you’ll forget something.
People who have experience using Pinterest as a travel-planning tool like to create multiple boards during the process. Depending on what you like to do, these may include shopping, restaurants and food, iconic places, parks, museums, and more.
During your travels
While social media can be powerful for the planning process, it’s also incredibly valuable while you’re “on the road.” Here are a few of the best ways to use social media during your vacations and getaways:
- Document with pictures. Unless you’re involved in professional photography, most people have long done away with digital cameras and transitioned to their smartphone. Given the high-quality camera capabilities of most phones these days, they’re a fine substitute. After you’ve taken pictures with your phone, upload them to Instagram with a unique hashtag.
Not only does this allow you to keep friends and family up to date on where you are and what you’re doing, but it also empowers you to back up your pictures. In the unfortunate event that you lose or break your phone, your photographs will be saved on your Instagram account and can be easily found via your hashtag.
- Blog away. If you’re interested in writing a travel blog, you can share your content with all your social media followers via Facebook or Twitter. This is a good way to ensure your blog receives attention and is visited by people other than your close friends and family.