How do you decide where to go on personal trips? For most Americans, that choice could hinge on how they think the destination will look on their Instagram feed.
The poll of 8,000 U.S. and European travelers commissioned by the big European online travel company eDreams found that 52 percent of U.S. travelers admitted they book their vacation destination based on its "Insta-worthiness" (i.e. "destinations beautiful enough to post on Instagram," as eDreams explains it).
And Americans aren't alone in that regard. According to the study, the same decision-making process applies to 58 percent of Italian travelers and 55 percent of Spaniards. By contrast, only 14 percent of Brits consider social media appeal when picking a destination.
And if the reality of the destination doesn't match up to travelers' expectations, a majority of Americans will turn to filters to make it look better. According to eDreams, 51 percent of Americans surveyed said they use filters and other editing techniques on their trip photos before they post them on Instagram. (Okay, I admit to a little selfie taking myself! See below)
The survey also concluded that U.S. travelers were "the least cynical" about vacation social media posts, with 52 percent agreeing that those who put up a lot of vacation pix must be having a good time. Among British travelers, 40 percent said those who upload a lot of holiday photos are "show-offs."
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Of course, the nature of travel photos has changed considerably in recent years. While your grandpa might have been happy snagging snaps of local landmarks and scenery with a Kodak camera on his vacation, Millennials are unlikely to do the same unless they plant themselves in the foreground of each picture. (It's called FACE-book for a reason.)
OK, I take selfies, too! And I'll use a filter every so often! This one from Kauai. From my Instagram feed.
That selfie madness can have dire consequences for travelers who aren't careful; one recent study determined that hundreds of deaths have been caused by Instagrammers trying to capture the perfect selfie without regard for their personal safety.
The eDreams survey also asked travelers about the role of social media "influencers" on their travel habits. It found that U.S. travelers are unlikely to be swayed by someone else's postings.
"Only 1 in 10 (U.S. travelers) admit to having booked a holiday to a destination that appeared on someone else's Instagram page, similar to Italian travelers (with 11%)," eDreams said.
Do you enjoy posting your trip photos on social media? Do you like to see those of your friends, family or followers? Tell us in the comments!
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Chris McGinnis is the founder of TravelSkills.com. The author is solely responsible for the content above, and it is used here by permission. You can reach Chris at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @cjmcginnis.