Jan 30th, 2017, 10:31 AM

How Social Media Is Changing Travel

By Elizabeth Segre-Lawrence
Image Credit: Wokandapix
"Armchair Travel" will bring some serious inspiration for your future adventures.

Imagine walking along a beautiful beach on the island of Anguilla. You marvel at the crystal clear water, every breath you take is somehow fresher than the last. The sun kisses your cheeks, you close your eyes, wondering how you could be so lucky...

Then you open your eyes and you're suddenly transported a thousand miles to the Blue Lagoon in Iceland. You blink again and you're in Bangkok stuffing your face with the best that street food has to offer. Blinking once again, you're magically in front of the Sydney Opera House. Finally, you take one last breath, close your eyes once more and when you open them you're laying in your bed, realizing that your Instagram feed has, once again, transported you around the world and back.

Image Credit: Theron Humphrey

With help from travel guide-books and brochures, aspiring globetrotters can plan trips to the most famous destinations around the world. Travel books are helpful: they tell you where to go, the 'best' restaurants, the popular attractions—but there are also many things that they don't tell you. Advancements in technology, however, have resulted in a shift in not just how people are getting their travel tips (spoiler alert: the printed guide-book is dying), but has also created a modern way to discover new places.

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the world of armchair travel. With social media providing people the platform to post whatever they want—however they want—it comes as no surprise that ordinary people are creating successful online careers through the documentation of their own travel experiences. 

Image Credit: Chris Burkard

The beauty in this new form of (armchair) travel is the endless amount of options it gives to the "traveler" in question. Travel blogs and platforms like Jungles in Paris and Travel Noire serve as expedition bibles for the masses, with in-depth and well-researched tips for hidden places to see, what unique activities to do and, most importantly, how to get there. Popular Instagram accounts like WorldWanderlust, display beautiful feeds of photos taken in every corner of the world. Websites, blogs and social media platforms make traveling the globe—as you make up a million excuses to not get out of bed—not only possible, but utterly effortless.

Access aside, this surge of digital armchair travel allows for the marriage between more niche interests and the travel industry at large. Famous Instagram accounts, such as Girl Eat World and New Fork City, are the epitome of food-porn, with the latter focusing on cuisine from New York City exclusively. Candace Rose Rardon from the blog The Great Affair takes her followers on a journey around the world solely through her own illustrations. Mickaela Malozzi, creator of Bare Feet (a blog and Emmy award-winning TV series), shares the world through traditional folk dance. There are countless of other blogs, Instagram feeds and Snapchat accounts that are constantly churning out content that's as niche as it is entertaining. 

Image Credit: GirlEatWorld

Praises aside, it's important to note that these armchair travel curators aren't trying to replace the experience of taking a trip with their feeds and blogs, but are attempting to be the inspiration for people to get up and go themselves. While these platforms can't necessarily take their followers on an actual journey, they can help propel them down the road of planning.

What they can't offer in actual exploration, they make up for in inspiration and wanderlust. After all, seeing beautiful photos of the stunning beaches and cities in Malta is amazing, it just isn't as fulfilling as actually being there.