Gary Diskin - Sep 6, 2023
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Social media platforms such as Instagram have been observed to harm travelers’ vacation behavior, as evidenced by some unfortunate incidents during the summer of 2023. For instance, there were reports of drunken Americans who dozed off on the Eiffel Tower and a woman caught on video filling her water bottle at Rome's famous Trevi Fountain while also carelessly damaging the centuries-old Baroque fountain.

"Instagrammability" instead of interest in other cultures

Experts have discussed the travel behavior of some travelers who only seem interested in taking photos to post on social media and show off that they have been to a particular place rather than experiencing the local culture. This trend has raised concerns about whether tourists genuinely engage with the places they visit or seek validation through likes on their posts.

This practice of taking and posting photos can harm society by reducing a place to a social media commodity rather than appreciating its unique culture and experiences. This phenomenon is often called the "Instagrammability" effect, where people visit sites solely to take photos to post on Instagram rather than genuinely experiencing the location.

The chain reaction of bad behavior

Experts believe that social media makes it easier to access insider tips and hidden corners during individual trips without spending much money on local guides or making friends on-site. This democratization of travel has a downside, however. We now see how our social media contacts travel to remote places and unconsciously assume that the travel behavior they usually show at home is acceptable at the holiday destination. This can create emotional distance from the holiday destination.

Social media promises social status.

Repeating certain behaviors can help us maintain our social status within our affinity group. This could also be why some of us don't get tired of repeatedly recreating the same Instagram motifs we've seen on the app. We post them on the same platform.

Respectful travel rules:

Do your research

Even experienced travelers are advised to consider the impact of their actions on local communities. Obtaining information from local authorities about current guidelines and background information on cultural and safety-related standards is recommended. It's important to remember that your agreement with local customs does not dictate their importance or appropriateness.

Give up your mobile phone.

When travelers spend more time on their smartphones during their holiday destination, they take less from experience. The most memorable experiences often occur when tourists connect with other travelers and locals or explore new emotions. However, such connections and experiences become more complicated when constantly looking at your phone.

Use privileges for something good.

It's common to find "Instagram vs. reality" posts where influencers expose massive crowds and long queues at the most popular Instagram spots. Experts suggest this may make social media followers wonder about their true travel intentions.

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