When I first created my Facebook profile, I never dreamed social media would become a travel resource. I was busy poking people and posting pictures of mini-golfing in prom dresses. Now, social media has blossomed into a whole suite of websites and surprisingly effective travel resources.
If you’re on social media but haven’t experimented with using it as a tool, it’s time to start. Possibilities are endless, but here are some of my favorite ways to use social media for travel planning.
Chances are, you’ve
stalked followed your Facebook friends’ vacations by flipping through their photos. If you’re like me, you may have even “liked” a few or commented on about 1% of them. Now, three years later, you’re trying to remember where you saw that photo of Boboli Gardens. Thankfully, Facebook has a search for that. It looks through tagged photos and statuses so you know who to ask for travel tips.
After all, what’s better than personalized trip planning? Your friends are likely to have recommendations that you trust — and might even cater to your personality specifically.
When asking travel questions on Facebook, I’ve learned that the more specific you are, the better the information will be. Instead of asking, “Where should I eat in Tuscany?” try “Where can I find the best budget pasta in Montepulciano?”. You’re more likely to get the answers you’re looking for.
Connect with The Girl and Globe on Facebook for quick travel polls, photos, and live updates from my travels!
My favorite way to use Twitter for travel is by joining in on Twitter chats. It’s an excuse to brag about your own trips and a way to help others at the same time. If you’re new to these online meet-ups, essentially someone will pose a travel-related question and then others will chime in with their answers and responses (and side conversations get started because of it). And oh yeah — you can win prizes just for participating (I have!).
But Twitter is good for more than just chatting. I’ve used it to change flights when my original reservation was cancelled for weather issues — it’s faster than waiting on hold for a phone representative or waiting in line behind 100 people at the airport. I even know someone who made a last-minute hotel reservation on Twitter because she was stranded in the wrong country.
Related Post: Using Twitter for Better Travel Experiences
Twitter is very different from Facebook because almost all conversations are public, which means that strangers sometimes jump in and out of your discussions. That’s great for trip planning! Now as soon as you add in an #Iceland hashtag, you’ll have locals, previous visitors, and travel dreamers all sharing information and advice.
I’m on Twitter all the time as @thegirlandglobe. Say hello anytime and follow me for travel stories, photos, and general conversations!
I am brand new to Pinterest. I tried it about a year ago and didn’t understand it’s appeal at all but on second glance, I’m starting to get it. Pinterest is basically a way to bookmark ideas rather than bookmarking information (you can do that too, but that’s a secondary purpose). Everything is stored visually, meaning you can see if something is interesting at a glance and find what you’re looking for later.
Now I’m using Pinterest in two ways:
- Following users that have curated content for places I’m headed as inspiration for what I want to do on my next trip.
- “Filing” ideas for future trips based on articles and photos that have sparked my interest — so I can reference them in the future if/when I decide to go there.
Like I said, I’m just getting started with Pinterest, but you’ll find me there as The Girl and Globe. Connect with me to see my hotel wishlist, cool travel gear, and travel tips for all six major continents.
I’m not a picture person, so I very rarely scroll through Instagram photos without an agenda. However, Instagram is still a great travel tool because it shows you how things really look rather than what the media or PR firms want you to think a place looks like.
Next time you’re planning a trip, start searching by your destination. All of a sudden, you’ve got an inside look to dress codes, restaurant vibes, how small that cruise cabin really is, and what the weather looks like.
In some cases, a picture can definitely be worth a thousand words!
In the meantime, I share photos two or three times a week as thegirlandglobe. Will I get more involved someday? Sure — if you tell me why 🙂
All of Them
Whether you’re on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or all of them, it is worth your while to start following companies on social media. Yes, they use their accounts for advertising, but they also tend to post their best deals on social media. This is where you’ll find limited-time discounts and giveaways that are actually worthwhile.
In the past year, I’ve seen $32 one-way airfares on JetBlue targeted just to followers, Marriott Rewards points just for following certain property pages, and tons of contests and giveaways. I’ve made out like a bandit and you can too.
And now it’s your turn…
I don’t understand Google+. I think at one point it was poised to be useful, but I’m not sure it is anymore. Hardly anyone I know uses it and I haven’t pinpointed any unique features it has. I’d love to be educated on how to use Google+ effectively, but I need your help! Are you on it? What do you use it for?
Look me up as The Girl and Globe to share your social media/travel tips with me! Who knows…maybe your advice will make it to this page!
Four years ago, I thought I was cutting edge for using internet forums to plan part of my trip instead of relying only on guidebooks. Now I can’t even remember the last time I bought a guidebook and am relying more and more heavily on social media to plan my trips.
Do you use social media for travel? What other tips do you have?