It seems like yesterday that Facebook was just a fledging network for college students—and Twitter was a shorter version of Facebook that no one quite understood yet. Now, these and other social networks seem to have become inseparable parts of our everyday lives. If anything of note is happening in the world, social media is probably the first place you’re going to hear about it.
But news isn’t the only thing that’s travelling differently in the age of social media. In fact, social media is reshaping the world of travel for savvy jet-setters everywhere.
Research and preparation
The most obvious benefit of social media is the way it connects you to the thoughts of so many people around the globe. As you’re making your vacation plans, you have endless reviews, ratings, and opinions to consider, and it’s all right at your fingertips. How’s that hotel you’re eyeing? If any past guests are feeling discontent, you can bet social media will have heard about it.
And it’s not just about finding what to avoid. Social media also lets people highlight and share the most interesting parts of their adventures—giving you easy access to inspiration and secret spots you may never have discovered otherwise. Who even knew you could stay in a cave?
Traveller tip: Choosing a B&B or vacation rental instead of a hotel can make your trip that much more memorable. However, if you have trip cancellation insurance, your coverage may not extend to these kinds of accommodations. Find out more here.
And don’t forget the explosion of travel apps, which offer seemingly limitless ways to help you figure out your trip—even while the trip is already in progress. You can check out a few of our favourite apps here.
Communication on the go
Can you believe there was a time when you would have had to rely on snail mail to let your family know you were safe while abroad? These days, you can take a high-resolution photo and share it with everyone in a matter of seconds—much to the delight (or irritation) of your Facebook friends back home.
But the ease of communication that social media affords isn’t just good for staying in touch. It also means that, in emergencies, news travels faster than ever before. So keeping up on social media can help you stay informed and safe, especially when you’re in an unfamiliar place.
Traveller tip: In the event of a natural disaster while you’re abroad, good planning can make all the difference in getting you home safely. Find out more here.
Dealing with the unexpected
A unique feature of social media is that it can amplify your voice in an unprecedented way—particularly when it comes to customer feedback. If an airline or hotel treated you badly back in the old days, you might have been stuck writing an angry letter or spending hours on the phone, driven to despair by cheerful hold music. Nowadays, many are taking the strategy of posting their dissatisfaction in the public arena of social media. The visibility of these complaints often spurs image-conscious companies to reach out and solve the problem a lot more quickly than they would have otherwise.
Keep in mind, however, that while tweeting has its uses, it’s not the most direct solution to an actual travel emergency. That’s why trip cancellation and interruption insurance is a great safety net for protecting travellers from the unexpected. Find out more about what trip cancellation insurance can offer you.
Of course, the most visible way that travellers engage with social media is in the endless photos that are shared during every trip. And while these may cause some envy when you’re trapped at your desk, stunning travel photos are especially great for one thing: inspiration. So get out there, find your muse among the many travellers of the Internet, and start planning your next trip!