Instagram made its first appearance in October 2010 and had 25,000 people sign up on the first day. Now, eight years later, it is one of the world’s most-used apps with at least 500 million users each day.
With its increasing list of appealing features, it is by far one of the fastest growing social media platforms to date.
Even with all these new features, the app is built on a pretty simple concept. Users post their own photos and videos, engaging with friends or viewers to keep people connected. Instagram is one of many apps that seems almost built for travelers with wanderlust. Influencers and ordinary people alike use Instagram to promote destinations and sites that are a must for anyone who has the travel bug.
With just a smartphone, travelers can share their own photos of temples in Cambodia or wild animals in Tanzania.
But, as such a natural pairing, how has Instagram changed travel?
Various businesses across the globe invite Instagram influencers to visit. They encourage the travelers to take videos and pictures of the surrounding area, highlighting the company.
Now, more than ever, these companies realize the profound benefit of these posts. The images posted by influencers act as a form of advertisement for both local and infamous bistros and lodgings. One influencer said it best, stating that the posts are meant as a visual stimulus.
Instagram influencer Davina Tam spoke with Business Insider about photos of food on Instagram. She emphasized that taste is unimportant. What matters is that the food looks good.
The theory behind all this is to motivate people to travel and visit these places. And, research shows that this method works.
The cliff, Trolltunga, in Odda, Norway is one of the most frequently-posted sites on Instagram.
Any picture of the stunning landscape can explain why travelers want to share the view via the app. The scenery is breathtaking, and the exhilaration jumps through the screen. The images reflect the serenity of the area, and you can imagine yourself being there.
What the pictures do not show are the extensive lines of hikers waiting for their turn on the cliff who want to capture their unique images as well. They want their claim to fame.
Social media has brought more than 40,000 tourists to the cliff. Just a few short years ago, only 500 travelers explored this infamous structure of nature.
The flip side to this is that individuals are too busy working to get the perfect Instagram post, rather than enjoying a trip.
A 2016 post from PR Newswire looked at phone usage for vacationers. Even while on a much-needed trip, the average traveler spends more time on the phone than by the beach.
It’s become natural to fill every minute of a trip with plans and activities. Travelers try to maintain a schedule and follow an itinerary rather than relax on the trip. Instagram and other social media have increased this tendency. A survey from Expedia revealed that people spend more time on social media while traveling than when they’re home. A lack of escape from the phone may even contribute to the tired feeling travelers often get once they’ve returned home. Ditching the phone does have its perks when on vacation.
Instagram is a wonderful platform that inspires users to travel.
But, it takes away from the personal pleasures that come along with discovering a new region. Travel can be an escape from everyday life, Instagram included.
Written for Passport Health by Sabrina Cortes. Sabrina is a freelance writer with a Bachelor’s Degree from Georgian Court University. She currently lives in the Smokey Mountains of western North Carolina.