Gone are the days when you could take carefree photos during a trip with friends, family, or just capture your favorite moments.
Now your photos must be Instagram worthy—with stunning locations, luxurious accommodations, exquisite meals, the list goes on.
And with hundreds of thousands of accounts dedicated to travel alone, there’s more and more pressure to take the perfect Instagram pic instead of just enjoying the moment.
How Is Instagram Ruining Travel?
Instagram is a social media platform designed for users to share their photos. With millions of active users, several hundred thousand accounts and hashtags are dedicated just to travel photography.
Type in the keyword “travel” and you’ll pull up countless images of men and women on amazing adventures, whether it be climbing Mount Everest, hiking a beaten path, or celebrating a festival in a far-off place.
While these pictures are fascinating, it also implies a problematic trend.
With so much pressure to take Instagram worthy snapshots, travelers are beginning to pick their vacation locale based solely on what’s trending on social media.
What once was a remote location for a photo-op now has hordes of people waiting to take the exact same picture.
The problem is people are missing out on so many other truly captivating places—simply because they think it won’t garner enough social media attention. They’re also losing out on some amazing experiences while they wait for that perfect photo opportunity.
Worst of all, almost no one’s photos are unique anymore!
For example, you’ve likely seen several photos where a woman walks innocently ahead with her back towards the camera, as if she’s leading the photographer to an unforeseen destination. This photo concept, originally created by Murad and Nataly Osmann, offered a unique sense of mystery and adventure.
But since gaining popularity, everyone seems to want to recreate this same perspective. And while it is a cute photo-op, are we missing out on capturing special moments of our very own?
The Effect Of Instagram On Tourism
Areas that used to be remote with few tourists have now become over-crowded due to Instagrammers. Some will even put themselves in harm’s way to get the perfect shot, such as dangling off the side of a cliff, jumping from a waterfall, and more.
Some cities like Barcelona and Amsterdam have had to put limitations on travelers due to over-crowding. Even historical sites like Isle of Skye and Culloden Moor in Scotland, Skellig Michael in Ireland, and Machu Picchu in Peru face permanent damage due to crowds looking to capture the perfect photo.
What To Do Instead
Imagine planning a quiet escape into the mountains, only to arrive and find the place full of people—and all doing their own little photoshoot. That doesn’t sound very tranquil.
When considering your next trip, do a little research before choosing a destination. A location you thought would be peaceful and secluded may, in fact, have so many people, you can’t enjoy your vacation.
Also research whether there are any visitor restrictions put in place. And if you’re concerned it may be a popular Instagram location, search for it on Instagram. If there are thousands of results, opt for a different location or visit during its off-season.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with taking exciting pictures of your travels and wanting to show them off! There are so many places all over the world that will take your breath away (see our previous post on breathtaking destinations around the world). Capturing them on film will give you memories that will last through the ages—and that’s exactly why you should take them.
Just be respectful of your surroundings, including the location and other visitors.
But most of all, remember that you are traveling for you and your experiences, not for social media!