It wasn’t so long ago that planning a trip involved spending hours doing research on your destination at the library, ordering visitor guides via snail mail, chatting up travel agents, and plotting your routes on paper maps spread all over the kitchen table. Now, that research can be done in minutes online. You can visit the websites for potential destinations, compare costs and book your own itineraries in just a few clicks, and print out turn-by-turn directions with the most up-to-date information on road construction.
Travel planning has come a long way but it continues to evolve. Enter social media. We see our friends’ photos posted online and it inspires us. We need to see that for ourselves! Or should we forge our own trail? Now we’re dreaming of a trip. So we log on and ask our social media friends for help deciding where to go. We’ll investigate their suggestions by visiting the destinations’ Facebook pages (52% of us will “like” the page for the location we choose) and following them on Twitter. We’ll search out visitor (not corporate) reviews for hotels, restaurants, and attractions and most of us will trust what we find. Nearly 85% of us will go on to book our itineraries online, and many will download apps specifically for our upcoming trips.
Once the destination is chosen and the details ironed out, nearly 60% of us will post a Facebook update about our upcoming fun. But social media’s role in today’s travel doesn’t end there. If something goes awry while we’re en route, we can lodge a complaint on an airline’s Facebook page or Tweet our problems and we’ll often get a response faster than we would by waiting in line at the ticket counter. Once we arrive, nearly 75% of us will post more vacation related status updates and upload photos of our adventures to our social networks before we even get home. And those photos will inspire someone new to start the process all over again.
But a word to the wise, vacation social media overshare can aggravate some of your friends who aren’t out traveling the world with you. Limit your Facebook use, share photos sparingly, and you can still live the high life without looking like a braggart.