Social media shapes travel experiences


Courtesy of Allie Beekman

While on her family vacation to Walt Disney World this summer, Allie Beekman posted this photo, taken by her friend, on her Instagram.

Khushi Kadakia

While scrolling through Instagram, Twitter or Facebook this summer, you’ll likely encounter travel pictures populating your feed.

These images of plane tickets and crystal clear waves fill social media platforms, with “60 percent of travelers [using] social media to showcase their vacation photos,” according to the infographic “Vacationing the Social Media Way” by MDGadvertising.

Senior Summer Ward of Oceanport said that social media’s increased role in vacations and traveling can potentially affect users’ travel experiences. Ward usually posts pictures on Snapchat when she travels with her family and said that updating followers online can distract users from their vacations.

“I often feel like people can become more focused on getting the perfect shot to show others what they’re doing than actually experiencing it themselves,” Ward said.

Senior Marisa Harczuk of Tinton Falls said that posting about your vacations on social media can have other consequences as well.

“I think it takes away some of your privacy,” Harczuk said. “While on a family vacation last summer, my aunt’s house was broken into by her neighbor who saw she was on vacation.”

Ward said that her posts do not reflect all aspects of her travels and instead show only snapshots of her trips.

“I don’t post about being stuck in traffic or flights getting delayed or bad weather. Obviously it’s going to be a very filtered view of my vacation,” Ward said.

Senior Emily McNeill of Colts Neck visits the Outer Banks in North Carolina with her extended family every summer and shares pictures of her travels on Instagram and Snapchat. McNeill said that her posts may not always accurately represent the entire trip.

“I think my posts mostly accurately define my vacation… but I definitely only post the highlights,” McNeill said.

Ward said that with a bit of self-discipline, the ability to share her vacations on social media proves beneficial.

“I’m really careful about not falling into that trap,” Ward said. “I share my travels on social media mostly for my own benefit, so I can look back later at where I’ve been.”

McNeill said she agrees, also finding social media a valuable way to share her favorite moments with her friends and family.

“Going to Outer Banks and seeing my family is always one of my favorite parts of the summer,” McNeill said. “I like sharing my happy experiences with everyone.”