It’s the millennial question: do you travel to Instagram? Or do you Instagram your travels?
I’ve got a long list of places I want to visit and some of those are inspired by my friends’ travels, as seen through the lens of Instagram. I don’t find that I’m suddenly willing to find New York worth a visit because of the filters and the clever captions I read online, but I find that it offers a new perspective to the experience of discovering (or rediscovering) a city or a country.
In order to enjoy my trips looking somewhere other than my phone screen I have a selection of five rules (or guidelines) that allow me to use Instagram and fully enjoy my trip:
Snap and Move On
I find that when I see something beautiful or interesting, I don’t want to restrict myself from attempting to capture it in the moment, but that doesn’t mean I should just keep staring at my photos. So I tell myself to snap a quick photo (or ten) and then put the phone away. I do not look through my photos while I am still in a gorgeous place, nor do I post while I am still there. Sitting on a bus or chilling in your hotel room late at night are the times when social media scrolling is appropriate.
Be Inspired, But Original
I don’t want my Instagram feed to be a carbon copy of someone else’s, so I follow the rule that I can be inspired by someone’s photo or choice of perspective, but I won’t copy. This is a little harder with things that have been photographed a thousand times, like the Eiffel Tower or Gullfoss, but it’s always worth it to try a new angle or a different photo stop.
Mix It Up
I try to not post the same photos over and over again. This is difficult when traveling because all I want is to post similar shots of cute doorways or gorgeous landscapes over and over. So I try to add a little variety, whether it’s a picture with me in it or a picture of a mountain intermixed with the cityscapes. I’m not a specialty Instagram, so posting my meals every day isn’t capturing my experience.
One is Enough
I don’t live by the rule that you can only post once a day on Instagram, but I do find that it is a platform for the good old mantra “less is more“. I don’t like, nor do I need, the ability to post multiple photos at once, so I don’t use that feature. Instagram gives a curated perspective and forces the most stunning photos to be prioritized. If I’m in an absolutely breathtaking location, I’ll post twice in a day, but with some distance between posts, so that I avoid taking over anyone’s feeds. If I want to post twelve photos in a day, that’s what Facebook or Flicker are for.
For Me, Not For You
I post on Instagram for myself, not for anyone else. It is my visual diary book, taking me through the past four or five years of my travels. I post for myself, not for likes. I scroll for happy inspiration, not for validation. If that ever changes, the app will be deleted from my phone, just as Facebook and Twitter have. At the end of the day, if I’m traveling to post on social media, I’m missing the great parts of what made these adventures so valuable to me in the first place.
What are your rules for internet posting while traveling?
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