Did you ever really go abroad if you didn’t post about it everywhere you PASTAbly could? Ha, see what I did there? While I was abroad in Italy in the Spring of 2017, I found myself consistently assuring others “I Promise, This Picture is Actually Real.” Social media and apps were part of my abroad experience from the very beginning to the last second. It began with Pinterest, searching for cute travel hacks to travel in style, of course. Once I made a “Travel Essentials” Board, I was hooked. I was pleasantly surprised with how many good ideas there are on Pinterest that I had never thought of, like this handy headphones holder so your headphones don’t get tangled, or solar powered phone chargers. Pinterest rating for abroad purposes: 5 stars.
The most valuable resource I found on Pinterest was an article by Buzzfeed entitled “12 Apps You Gotta Have if You’re Always Traveling.” Apps were essential during my time abroad. The most useful was definitely Google Translate, except for the time it took six of my friends and me and 30 minutes to order a birthday cake without peanuts in Italian. Out of Buzzfeed’s list of 12 apps, Currency is a definite must-have. I never knew how confusing different currencies were until we reached Prague where the smallest bill is a 100, which for the record is less than $5. I never really knew how much I was spending until I started utilizing this, so I was happy that I discovered it before I even got to Europe. Currency rating for abroad purposes: 5 stars.
Throughout my travels, I took thousands upon thousands of pictures, always trying to get the best angle. There was always a challenge, however, that no app could help me with. Instagram captions. As much as I wished to be clever and witty, I’m just not good at it. In such a digital world, each picture had to be captioned perfectly in order to catch people’s attention. That’s when I discovered The Abroad Agenda, which had an entire page dedicated to Instagram captions broken down by city, food, alcohol, brunch, cheese, literally everything you could imagine. I can pay tribute to this website for almost all of my witty captions.
Wine tasting in Italy: “I’m not (wine)ing about this view.”
Berlin: “Danke, Berlin”
Amsterdam: “It was a DAM good weekend.”
Prague: “This pun will Praguably not be good enough for some people’s caption standards, but I got to Czech this off my bucket list.”
Paris: “@thechainsmokers where you at”
Budapest: “Too Hungary to think of another abroad pun”
CinqueTerre, Italy: “ ‘Cause I’m on top of the world, ey”
Even if other people didn’t like them, I thought I was really funny. The Abroad Agenda rating for abroad purposes: 5 stars.
Posting on Instagram became almost a weekly occurrence for me. I got so many messages and comments from friends asking me how I came up with the captions and others telling me that they have been living vicariously through my posts. It is how I kept most of my friends and family updated with where I was as I was traveling to a new country every single weekend.
I also created a Facebook Album for those that I do not have on Instagram and to document my favorite pictures from each city I visited. Facebook has become a main source of communication for many, especially those who have family spread out through the country or world. In 2015, it was already dominating all other forms of communication with over 1.43 billion active users.
It has become common for millennials to document their travels and adventures through social media. World of Wanderlust wrote an entire article about how to document travels talking about everything ranging from Instagram and Snapchat to starting a Blog. CAPA takes this even further by suggesting creating playlists for each trip or creating your own vlog. In such a digital world it is essential that we still capture our memories somehow, even if it’s not through physical objects like souvenirs or a scrapbook.
The travel industry is shifting due to social media. The availability of information and pictures of destinations are making certain spots that might have not previously been fully recognized, as popular destinations. Ever since Insider Travel featured the Blue Lagoon in Iceland, prices for flights to Iceland have skyrocketed. The same happened with Lisbon, Portugal. Social media is encouraging travel despite the continuous safety threats that have been prevalent in European countries.
Insider Travel has 334,000 followers and features pictures and short videos on Instagram, Facebook, and its website with various places throughout both the United States and all over the world, featuring fun or unique aspects of the location. The posts are almost addictive. It has me excited and looking to plan a new trip each time I look at it. If you haven’t seen their accounts, I highly suggest it. Beware: May cause impulse trip planning. Insider Travel rating for abroad purposes: 5 stars.
Not only are social media outlets useful to share experiences during travel, but they’re useful for safety measures. The New York Times recently wrote an article on how they are essential travel tools that provide travelers with emergency information, security threats, and ways to check in as “safe” during a natural disaster or terrorist attack. Social media is a lot faster than websites to get information out to those that need help or may be in danger. I was in Paris during the Orly Airport shooting in March. I was in the Prague airport during the bomb threat in February. Deplaning in a remote location and walking into an airport with an unbreakable line of men with bulletproof vests and guns about the size of me was not how I had imagined my trip to the Czech Republic to start, but it was through these social media outlets that I was able to tell my family what was going on and that I had not been harmed.
Social media was a huge part of my abroad experience in many ways and I am glad that I was able to document so much of my time there. It is interesting how much of an impact social media has had on travel, and I am interested to see how it affects it further in the next 5 years.
• 4.5 months abroad
• 33 cities
• 10 countries
• Hundreds if not thousands of Snapchats
• 8 Instagram posts
• 570 pictures on Facebook
• 6,757 total pictures taken