In a world where Instagram reigns supreme, has it ruined travelling – or has it opened up a new world for people that they had never seen before?
As sad as it might seem, I have peeled myself off the couch on a Sunday morning while the skies are blue in the hopes that I get a nice shot for my Instagram while on my walk through Howth. If I’m on a plane, I must get a picture out of the window before landing. Don’t even get me started about extravagant looking cocktails, which has barely alcohol left in it by the time I get around to drinking it due to all the melted ice inside from me taking boomerangs, instastories, you name it. While I see the positives in this that both Instagram and my blog constantly push me to try and do new things so I can spread the word, it bothers me that I can’t seem to keep anything I do to myself anymore. It’s bad when you don’t take a picture of somewhere and your boyfriend is actually genuinely surprised, isn’t it?
It’s not all bad though. I never would have known about Exuma in the Bahamas having swimming pigs, the ‘chocolate hills’ in the Philippines or that Mexico has a whole other world in the form of Cenotes that let you explore beneath the earths surface in a magical underwater world if it wasn’t for the beauty that was Instagram. It is an eye opener to places that you have never even heard of, and if you can keep the green eyed monster at bay, you can enjoy these images as nothing more than beautiful images and destinations.
These are the benefits of Instagram when it comes to travel in my eyes. Instead of a social media platform I have almost come to treat it as a search engine instead. I follow hashtags like #travelgram so people that I don’t follow appear on my feed with images I would have otherwise not seen, of places I might have otherwise not known they existed. For me, these are the reasons why I like Instagram and why I think it can be beneficial for travelling, but, there is a much darker side.
But there is negatives. Negatives that I think potentially ruin travelling. The old saying ‘Comparison is the thief of all joy‘ is definitely a quote that relates to the Instagram world. It has created us into monsters that take everything for granted. You start to think ‘how did that lady manage to go to 10 countries this year, but I could only afford four small trips away?’ instead of thinking ‘Wow, I managed to take four whole trips away this year, that’s great!’. The constant feeling that everyone is doing better than you, and it doesn’t even apply to solely to travel – this issue starts with your nearest and dearest and continues from there.
Another big issue with Instagram in the travel world is that you become so consumed with getting a shot, do you even enjoy yourself? I have just booked my flights for a trip to South Africa later in the year and I’m already torn because I know I will want to pay full attention while on a Safari, but I will also want pictures that I can look back on in awe. How do you strike the right balance? Can you thoroughly enjoy the moment you are in while simultaneously capturing it on your iPhone? I just don’t know.
The third and final issue with Instagram – which sadly, ties into my one positive, is that it is creating more awareness about places we might otherwise not have been familiar with. Beaches in Thailand are becoming overrun with tourists to the point where both locals and the environment are feeling the effects. In the Maldives, a place that I’m sure was once only thought of as a destination for the super rich or famous now has an island dedicated to holding all their rubbish. Even Santorini in Greece has had to put a cap on the number of day visitors that can visit due to the severe overcrowding just to get a glimpse of their world renown sunset and blissfully white walls.
It really has me torn. I love Instagram, I really, really do – but I hate the person that it makes me. Truth be told I would be taking pictures for my blog regardless of if I had an Instagram account – but it definitely pushes me further to get that extra shot. This being said, it gets me off my ass in the first place to go to new places and try new things so is it not just a small price to pay for me getting to see more of the world? I’m not actually as narcissistic as this post makes me out to be (I promise!). There is a lot of stuff that I don’t share on Instagram, and I think it has pushed me towards a love of photography and travel more than a love of actually sharing and comparing. But I am interested to hear what Instagram is for other people? Does it effect your travel, and where you decide to go? Or has it no bearing in you decision making at all? (note: anyone that has stayed in the Marina Bay Sands surely can’t claim they have never made a decision due to Instagram😝)