Instagram has changed how we live our lives in a number of ways, from how we spend our downtime and make friends to how we choose our next holiday destination. This platform is full of individuals’ highlight reels, including their travels to exotic lands, finding and sharing those all important gems from every corner of the planet. Considering how important imagery is on Instagram, and how glued to a screen everyone is nowadays, it’s easy to see why people would aspire to get off the beaten path and see these beautiful scenes that other people are posting for themselves.

Instagram is the 6th most popular social network in the world, with 1 billion active users each month, and 480 million results from the hashtag #travel, it goes without saying that travel is big business on this network, and we are all susceptible to some real #FOMO and wanderlust.

What were once quiet spots known by few people, are now tourist traps, making the whole experience a long way away from that tranquil scene one might be expecting. A great example of this is Trolltunga in Norway. Trolltunga is a seemingly secluded spot with breathtaking view and a 3 hour hike from the closest human, but is actually brimming with Instagrammers waiting in line to snap their shot on the infamous overhanging rock. Whilst no less beautiful in itself, it’s no longer the same experience it was pre-Instagram. This is not an isolated case; almost every country in the world has a similar story to tell.

Not only does the photo help sell the destination, but it’s important to note that travel recommendations come across as far more genuine when they are coming from an individual person (regardless of whether they were #gifted the experience or paid to post about it). Users trust their peers’ recommendations more than they trust an advertisement on a travel website.

In 2020 it’s possible to curate a whole holiday, minute by minute using recommendations on Instagram from the comfort of your own sofa vs. booking a flight and a hotel and exploring the place once you arrive. Gone are the days where people spend half their time on holiday finding their perfect bar/restaurant or cafe, until they stumble across unexpected treasures. Holidays have been streamlined, fitting in the best of the best and nothing less. Individuals waste no time nor money on ‘unworthy’ businesses, making a beeline for the exact spot they saw on their newsfeed just a short while ago. We are in the age of an ‘efficient holiday.’

Instagram has made the world more accessible and less scary for even the most risk-averse and cautious travellers. Because of this, our planet has opened up and hopping on a plane for 12 hours plus is becoming more and more common. Perhaps we’re seduced by being able to preview the experience on someone’s story or post, showing us exactly what to expect? It’s reassuring to know that someone has done it before.

Once on the holiday, people then want to post their own collection of photos taken at these famous spots found through Instagram, sharing the snaps to their own audience, which might then influence someone else to repeat that same experience. We can see how the cycle of influence and action in a new group of people can easily restart!

Instagram has no doubt changed the way we travel. For better or for worse? That’s down to personal opinion. There are definitely arguments for both cases, but we will, however, be eternally grateful to the Instagram gods for showing us the best bakery in any city we visit.

Thank you to our guest Blogger Chantelle Davison – Choice Words By Chantelle