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Should we use Social Media when we Travel?

If we are not 'sharenting', we are boasting about our travels.....

We’ve all seen it. That photo, taken by a friend who just can’t help themselves. A sun lounger, picture perfect view, quite possibly a cocktail somewhere and there in the middle, centre of attention, the hot dog legs.

They have been a social media phenomenon for a few years but still the hot-dog-leg-selfie is one of the most hated and yet still most used image of the social media savvy traveler. Those who post it know, perhaps somewhere deep down but they know it still, that they are showing off – their holiday, their figure, their photography skills. Meanwhile those of us stuck at home see the snap and can only bemoan it to our friends over a coffee on a rainy British Sunday afternoon.

It suddenly begs the question: does social media make us more social travelers – certainly not if you only use the hot-dog-leg-selfie and upload it to your facebook/twitter/Instagram account. But does that mean social media always hinders us when we travel too?

Long gone are the days where you were lucky to post a letter back home once during your adventures abroad. Nowadays chances are while away you will check your emails with every ding, facebook notifications with every beep and probably stay in better touch while away than you do while at home. Are we no longer able to connect with real people wherever we go because we are too busy engaging with our virtual friends waiting for us back at home?

Social media can stop us from making connections, we see it every day on the tube, at restaurants and in pretty much every aspect of our daily lives. But equally we have found it to be of use while adventuring across the globe.

We’ve used social media to help us hitch across Sweden resulting in the perfect lift across (not quite) the entire country. Couchsurfing has rescued us from camping out in a 24 hour McDonald’s. Twitter helps us learn about news from across the globe. Instagram inspires our travels. We’ve touted camel safaris and worked as a tour guide at a Rat Temple all thanks to the connections we’ve made through social media.

And perhaps most importantly, we have been able to stay in touch with the incredible people we have met along the way. That is itself is something to be grateful for.

So just think next time you are away, don’t stay glued to your smart phone showing off your holiday as it happens – save the holiday snaps to bore your friends and family when you return. But don’t cut yourself off from social media completely, in today’s world it’s a tool that could make your journey of a lifetime even more spectacular.