Why you should leave social media at home when travelling

Road sign with sky backdrop reading Social Media Ahead

Social Media – Yes or No?

There is an argument on both sides for this. It is clear on the one hand that in many ways, the world of social media has enhanced our travel experiences. We are now able to take beautiful, good quality photos on our phones at the drop of a hat, and thanks to Instagram, add a fantastic filter and crop, and have a memory stored for eternity. We can upload these photos in an instant and create an online album, replacing any need to worry about losing our holiday snaps if we lose our camera, printed photo album or even the phone we took the picture on.

Social media has revolutionized the way that we keep in touch with loved ones at home. Through messages, photos and location tags, parents in particular can track our day to day movements which gives them piece of mind that we are safe and well, wherever in the world we might be.
It’s also a great way for solo travellers to get in touch with others to visit tourist attractions and share transport and accommodation costs. You can make friends for life from all over the world and with the touch of a button send them a message instead of air mailing letters arriving months later!

We can tag our locations, share photos with others on the trip, and keep in contact with people we meet along the way through adding friends to our favourite social media accounts.  Social media also allows us to find out more about a place that we are visiting. What are the top 5 pizzeria’s in Rome? Which beaches on the east coast of Australia are not to miss? Are their any local events scheduled for the time that I am visiting a particular location? It aids us to get the most out of our experience by utilizing what is available to us at that moment, in the present, which cannot always be said for the dusty, heavy, out of date copy of the lonely planet that many of us used to lug around Southeast Asia.

Social media blocks

The Facebook effect

On the flip side have we become too reliant on documenting, organising and over analysing every move of our trip? Isn’t travel supposed to be about the unknown and the adventure? Without planning, who knows where you might end up, which random people you might meet along the way, and in places you didn’t plan to visit. Is there anything more awesome than seeing a sunset view over a mountain you didn’t know existed? Or experiencing an event in person as opposed to behind an iPhone screen? Has our need to document everything taken away our desire to experience the reality?

Is social media just simply a way of showing off and monitoring your own level of success and failure? Feeling like there is a constant competition with others to portray the perfect life, even if you’re homesick, got a bad tummy or haven’t slept in days due to flight delays. Has reality become warped by Instagram filters and the need for the perfect selfie angle? Do we care more about checking how many likes we get on an image as opposed to enjoying the very thing that we are taking a photo of?

Cut off from the world

Travelling should be a time for relaxing, exploring and spending moments with people you that you love . Having conversations and learning from those you meet along the way with different cultures and customs. Allowing yourself to find that time to relax in stillness and read a book, meditate, do yoga or challenge yourself with a bungee, sky dive or mountain trek. When travelling on our own we allow ourselves to reconnect with our self so there is a lot to be said about disconnecting from the world through social media and trying to learn more about yourself than others.  Try making new friends in person as opposed to collecting them on social media feeds and realise the enrichment that others can bring to your lives through the art of conversation and shared experiences.

We know it’s difficult to give up your phone. For many it’s the first thing they pick up in the morning and the last thing they put down at night. Here’s a few tips on how to manage and limit the use of social media whilst travelling abroad

1. Delete apps or at least turn off notifications.

2. Post when you get home not while you are doing things.

3. Take a disposable camera and do it the old way so you’re not tempted to spend hours editing photos.

4. Send postcards to let your family know what you’re doing. This is something they can keep as a memorable souvenir.

5. Take a diary to log important memories, tickets and little sentimental things.

6. Don’t seek out the Wi-Fi and travel somewhere without internet connection.

7. Get a cheap handset so you don’t have to worry about losing your expensive phone

If you would like to take part in an Oyster project them have a look at our wonderful project pages . We have so many beautiful projects and we encourage you to take photos, just make sure you make the most of every moment away!

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