Editor’s Note: We recently held a contest to “Win Your Dream Travel Job” where we selected 4 finalists to travel the world shooting video. Throughout the summer, these teams traveled and filmed in some of the world’s top destinations, using various forms of social media to document their experiences along the way. Go here to watch their unforgettable journey!
For many people, social media has become an integral part of the traveling experience. The creation of online content works two-fold: stay in touch with loved ones at home, and share what you’ve been doing as you’ve been out gallivanting around the Greek Islands or drinking beer in Germany.
Yes, it’s also a great way to make everyone outrageously jealous.
We understand if you feel a little overwhelmed by social media these days – we all do! But some platforms are better at sharing certain content than others. Whether you want to share awesome photography or simply research the best taco truck in New York City, you might find something useful in the following list.
It’s hard not to be familiar with a superpower platform like Facebook. As you might already know, this site is really good at telling a story. BUT unlike some other sites, you really get to pick-and-choose your friends and lock-down your security settings if you so desire.
Facebook is also ideal for sharing large quantities of photos all at once, or posting items to your timeline that require room for larger updates.
“Like” Viator on Facebook for updates from the teams as they travel.
If you’re considering some long-term travel, you might want to think about starting up a travel blog. Not only will it give your loved ones at home a more detailed account of what you’ve been up to, but you will also have a sort of “diary” of your travels all in one place.
Use a blogging platform like WordPress to get started, and invite others to read!
Twitter is a form of “micro-blogging,” but the content you share is limited to 140 characters. This might sound a little restrictive, but some of the richest details can be summed up in a few short words, and Tweets tend to work better for delivering quick, “live” content instead of Facebook. Ryan van Duzer from Viator’s Team Europe is a good example of someone who makes good use of limited characters!
You also have access to a much, much larger audience. Crowd-sourcing things to do in Cancun? Send out a tweet marked with the hashtag #Cancun or #Mexico so that others can find your tweet and offer up some suggestions.
Photography junkies love Instagram and its easy-to-use filters that create instant works of art. Once you’ve taken a photograph and affixed it with a filter, you can share it via Facebook and Twitter with just a push of a button. Convenient, AND much more attractive than simply uploading a photo!
As with the other social media sites, you can follow others and have them follow you. You’d be surprised what kind of inspiration you’ll find!
If video is more your thing, Tout is just the place for you. Like Twitter, you’re restricted by how much content you can include in a post. With Tout, you can only upload 15-second video status updates, but a lot can be said in just 15 seconds. Simply create a clip on your smartphone, share instantly on Twitter or Facebook with the click of a button, and watch others’ Touts their own updates. Ryan van Duzer of Team Europe masters Tout like a pro!
YouTube, naturally, is the video champ of the social media world. Here’s where you upload longer, more detailed video that usually requires a bit more work (i.e. a full video on bungee jumping in New Zealand).
YouTube’s massive user base means competition is much tougher, however, so if you want your video to get noticed, you’ll have to spend a LOT more time on it. Quality is important.
Check out Team Europe’s video updates on Viator’s YouTube channel.
Foursquare is one of the best location-based tools you can use to find new things to do in any city…all you need is a smartphone or another mobile device. Here, users “check in” at venues to collect points and earn “badges.” Many businesses will offer specials you can find on Foursquare as a way of inviting new customers to come try out their stuff (i.e. free coffee with first check-in!).
One of its coolest features, however, is the Explore option. With a bunch of categories like Top Picks, Specials, Food, Coffee, and Nightlife, you can peruse businesses near you for whatever kind of mood you’re in. Plus loyal patrons often leave tips about what to do, eat, or drink, so it’s a great way of getting some local perspective.
Like Foursquare, Yelp offers up tips and reviews for every business imaginable, but in much greater detail (and likely greater quantity). The phone app makes browsing a breeze, and the more you contribute, the more you become part of the Yelp community. That means you have friends in every city!
Pinterest is the perfect pre-planning inspiration tool, allowing users to “pin” their favorite photos to a board with a theme (e.g., travel bucket list). The best part is that the image itself links back to the original webpage, so if you’re reading an article on “top poutine places in Montreal,” all you have to do is pin a photo to a board and then return to the article later. Tip: pinning is made easy by installing a button on your browser. Click “Pin It,” and voila!
But even if you’re already social media obsessed, try to unplug those devices for a couple of days on the road. You owe yourself a digital detox, and nobody ever comes back from vacation thinking, “Gee, I wish I had used my smartphone more.”
- Candice Walsh