In the pre-social media era, travelling was all about making great memories and finding those experiences that we can cherish for a lifetime. Now, successful holidays are measured based on the number of likes and comments travel photos get on Facebook and Instagram for more than 57 per cent of UAE travellers.
We have become a population of globetrotters who would not mind sacrificing a good moment for the sake of getting social media affirmation. The trend of capturing, recording and chronicling our every step while on holiday will stay with us for some time.
According to our latest research, more than 75 per cent think that travel photos are more important than travel itself and close to 80 per cent of UAE travellers would be devastated should they lose them.
With this pressure to gather the most likes and comments, it is important to resist the temptation of over-posting for well-founded reasons. As we have moved towards a highly-connected, digital environment, there is a fine line between sharing online and putting ourselves and property at risk.
Travelling the world for likes and comments If we take a close look at the traveller’s psyche, there are two main drivers for this constant temptation. On one hand, your online personality has become tied to how much attention you are able to generate.
The ‘fear of missing out’ (FOMO) is another factor driving more than 60 per cent of UAE travellers to join in on trends in the search of attention and social acceptance.
Travellers are ready to go the extra mile to take the best shots from planning to posting. It is surprising that up to 80 per cent would plan their holidays around the type of photos they want to get. More specifically, more than half of the population (58 per cent) would choose their next travel destination based on the potential great images they can capture and share on social media.
Some destinations are often visited just to get that one photo that a friend or an influencer has recently shared online. Photos have become so central to travel planning that 53 per cent would research the best locations to visit in a specific destination to capture them. Travel influencers are increasingly serving as a top source of travel inspiration as people are looking to follow in their steps and take similar Instagrammable shots.
It is more surprising to see that whilst holidays are meant to be relaxing and enjoyable, 27 per cent of travellers are ready to sacrifice this and endure uncomfortable conditions like cold weather and winter or even trek to hard-to-reach locations to get the best photos. If you are trekking in remote high-altitude destinations for example, it may be impossible for medical treatment to reach you.
Therefore, make sure you consider planning for medical emergencies if you are the adventurer type — also make sure you have travel insurance in place to avoid those hefty bills. It is a common misconception that your medical insurance would cover you in these circumstances, but this is not always the case.
In today’s world, posting online is the new postcard. According to our research, 46 per cent of travellers share their photos online with the figures being very close across generations including 42 per cent for 18-29, 50 per cent for 30-39, and 42 per cent for 40+ years old.
Testament to the importance of posting online, more than half of UAE travellers (60 per cent) feel that their experience is incomplete if they don’t post travel photos online. It is important to remember to step back from the urge of documenting our every move on social media when we are travelling. If you’re compelled to share every perfect moment of your trip in real-time, make sure you’ve got your social media privacy settings on lockdown, someone to keep an eye on your house while you are away — and not to forget home insurance which covers theft among other risks like floods or fire.
Let’s consider what’s at stake here. Firstly, you are not only running the risk of flooding your friends’ newsfeed but also alienating a few; whether we like it or not, raving about amazing experiences can make people envious (41 per cent) or even make them feel bad about themselves and their life (33 per cent).
In addition, you run the risk of letting everyone on the internet know that your home is left unattended. If you think about it, the simple act of checking in at the airport and announcing your departure to Bali for instance is an open invitation for burglars to pay you a visit. Posting your photo next the Trevi Fountain in Rome or a photo of your meal in Bangkok lets everyone know that your apartment is empty.
Tagging your friends who are accompanying could also compromise their homes as well.
The next time you are travelling, focus on spending more time in the moment as this will reflect in the images you snap. Having a great experience and making memories with your loved ones should take priority.
Also, make it a habit to ensure peace of mind and plan taking out adequate insurance policies while you are away. Nothing can ruin a holiday more than dealing with unpleasant situations or expenses you could have simply avoided.
David Harris is Director — Marketing & Distribution at RSA.