Traveling In A World Of Social Media: Dos And Don'ts

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As of September 2016, almost 2 billion people worldwide actively use Facebook. With daily artsy Instagram posts of food, Facebook events that clog up your newsfeed and group chats on WhatsApp filled with hundreds of messages, it’s no wonder that social media has an incredible impact on how we all live day to day

But in a world of social media, what dos and don’ts are there when traveling abroad?


1. Document your travels

Once you get home, it’s so easy to forget what you did while you were away; taking photos or blogging about the places you’ve been and the food you’ve eaten will prompt lots of amazing memories.

This will also help to cope with your travel blues once you’re home!

A photo I posted to Instagram from Hong Kong
A photo I posted to Instagram from Hong Kong

2. Communicate with people back home

You want to make sure that people back home know that you’ve arrived safely, but also be able to share what you’re doing with the people who care about you. Especially in a crisis situation, social media can be vital in letting other people know your location and finding the right number to call.

3. Use local forms of social media and add people you meet

When I was teaching in China this summer, I downloaded WeChat onto my phone; the local form of social media. I found this so useful when meeting new people and keeping in contact with the rest of the teachers on my team. This also saved me from wasting time scrolling through Facebook or contacting people back home when I didn’t need to!

4. Get travel advice

Unsure where to go out for a meal? Confused about which hostel to book? It’s pretty incredible that we can now get travel advice about any country, wherever in the world we happen to be. Some of the best experiences abroad happen when being spontaneous and trying something new!

For more serious travel advice, make sure to check out the FCO Travel advice.

We visited the Twenty Yuan view in Xing Ping village, China, with the help of some online travel advice
We visited the Twenty Yuan view in Xing Ping village, China, with the help of some online travel advice


1. Get blocked

Different countries have different rules about what you can access online, so know the local rules to make sure you don’t get blocked from using the internet altogether!

2). Spend the whole time looking at your phone screen

We all know that feeling when you’re spending time with someone and they won’t stop looking at their phone screen. You kind of get the feeling that they aren’t actually there. There’s no point spending loads of money and time on airfares, if you could be doing exactly the same thing sat in your bedroom.

3. End up with a phone bill for £500

You don’t want to spend all of your money traveling to suddenly get a phone bill through for hundreds of pounds on your return. Contact your phone company for information before you go!

4. Put photos of people on social media without permission

It’s become somewhat of a cliché for students to go on volunteer trips and then to spam social media with photos of them with local children when they get back. But, it’s important to think about whether you’ve got permission to be putting photos of other people online. Maybe think about your motivations for doing so?

Generally social media can be a helpful tool when traveling, especially making sure you hold onto your memories of the trip when you’re back home! But just remember that it is just that, rather than a way for you to keep living your normal life at home, even whilst in another country – this will only lead to extreme FOMO if you’re so busy looking at social media to enjoy the experience in front of you!

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