"A confession: The real reason I use Instagram when I'm travelling."

Thanks to our brand partner, Expedia

There’s no feeling quite like being stuck at home, lamenting the bad weather, half-watching a bad TV show, and seeing that photo.

The one of the old work colleague drinking wine in the south of France.

Or the one of a cousin you forgot existed sailing in Croatia.

Or the one of an arch nemesis from high school walking along the snowy streets of New York.

Why are you there and I am not?

What decisions did I make in life to lead me to this moment?

What is your exact location so I can book a holiday and recreate that photo?

While social media is awash with photos of everyone in beautiful places, our vigorous documentation of travel is at odds with another growing trend: switching off.

Perhaps that’s why Australians remain undecided when it comes to the value of social media on holiday. According to a new survey by Expedia, 30 percent of people say they see using social media on holiday as a positive, 26 percent say it detracts from the experience, and 16 percent believe there are moments missed on holidays due to being on social media.


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All I’ve wanted my whole life was to live inside Harry Potter and GOODNESS yes this is where I belong

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It seems that at once, we’re stuck between wanting to make our lives look relaxed, happy and effortless and actually existing in a way that’s relaxed, happy and effortless.

Personally, I’m a shameless holiday photographer. I want to capture all the things, from a beautiful-looking bowl of pasta to the friendly dog who happened to walk past me. I think I’m scared I’ll forget the little things, so I try to document it all.

I post to Instagram while I’m away for lots of reasons – some of them vain, some of them practical. It seems like the socially-mandated way to have a holiday, and it often starts conversations about where you are, where you should go next, and who else might coincidentally be in the same spot.

More and more I’ve also been using Instagram to make decisions about where to travel. Sometimes the sheer amount of information about certain places can be overwhelming, so I’ll check out the location on Instagram and have a first-hand look. On a trip to Hawaii recently, I even used Instagram as a real-time guide on where good snorkelling spots might be to see turtles. For me it’s a research tool, as well as a teeny tiny way to make the people at home jealous that I’m on the beach while they’re staring at their phone.



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‘Splorin, ‘splorin, so much ‘splorin. AND A TURTLE. ????????????

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Like 35 percent of millennials in Expedia’s survey, Amy, 26, also picks holiday spots based on social media posts. “I use social media as a guide for where to visit, see and eat while I’m away,” she said. “Basically, if a restaurant/bar/hotel doesn’t have Instagram, it’s a no from me.”


“I also scroll my feed to stay connected with friends and family while I’m away… but also, I will stop and specifically make time to take photos to upload so everyone can see how much fun I’m having. Tagging the location allows my family to keep tabs on me too.”

Andi, 27, finds herself scrolling a lot less when she’s away, because “it’s such a time suck”.

“I don’t want to waste time looking at someone’s holiday when I’m on my own,” she said.

“I use it as a way to research where I want to go, where I want to eat and as a starting place to have a ‘local’ experience. I do post photos though – they have to be good – because I want to have some record somewhere of what I’ve done and the highlights of my trip.”

Keryn, 34, says while she always stays active on social media while she’s away, she doesn’t tend to post more than usual. She does, however, admit that she’s felt jealous of other people’s holiday posts on social media – an experience 50 percent of Australians admit to having.


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Today someone asked if we were married ????

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With the rise of influencers, who dominate our feeds with the type of travel photos many of us could only dream of taking, it’s unlikely our use of social media while on holidays is going anywhere.

But ultimately, I think our use of Instagram when we’re travelling goes back to a fairly innate human desire. In the words of Christopher McCandless, an American hiker and traveller, and the subject of the book and film Into The Wild, “happiness is only real when shared”.

We instinctively want to share our experiences with the people we love.

And there’s nothing wrong with that.

What do you do on holiday – switch on or switch off?



Expedia is one of the world's largest full-service travel sites, helping Australians and New Zealanders easily plan and book travel. Expedia is a one-stop-shop and aims to provide the latest technology and the widest selection of top holiday destinations, affordable airfares, hotel deals, car rentals, cruise deals and in-destination activities and attractions.