Tuesday, August 23, 2016

How Instagram Can Enhance Your Travels

Going into college, I knew that I wanted to study abroad. But where? Didn't know. When? Didn't know. How? Really didn't know. So naturally, my first step was to literally google "UGA study abroad programs." That search basically gave me all the logistics that I needed. I knew the different cities, dates, classes, and prices offered for these programs, but how could I feel drawn to or connected with a destination by a list of information and some dated photos on a UGA website? That's where social media surprisingly took a role in my journey to the best decision of my college career.

I knew a ton of people who had studied abroad in college, so I figured why not look through their albums on Facebook to see what all they did on their trip? This eventually led me to stalking people on Instagram months and even years back to see their study abroad posts. With the advancement in technology and specifically in social media platforms today, it's super easy to get 'lost' searching. One click led to a new page, that led to a new account, that led me to a completely different city. 

The beauty of social media today is that you can pretty much find anything. Someone posts a bomb ass looking sandwich? They probably tagged the restaurant's account or at least added the location. Cute shoes that you have to have? I'm sure they tagged the brand or hashtagged the store. Easy- add it to the list! So after hours of searching a stalking hashtags, locations, and random account searches, I found so much real-life information about the cities that I was considering studying abroad in. The the end, I knew that Valencia, Spain was the place for me.

After finally deciding on a destination, I went back to the Instagram accounts of people that I knew had studied or visited this city and began making a list. I wrote down restaurants, clubs, museums, and so many other cool things that I wanted to see or do. It was so easy. This process led me to another epiphany- I can probably find other blogs or accounts based in this city from a basic Instagram search. I ended up finding Valencian food accounts, annual music and arts festival information, and cool boutiques around the city. So thanks Instagram- I owe my carefully detailed and mostly completed bucket list to you.

Discovering how easy it was to find out information about a certain city through Instagram and other social media sites has definitely affected my travels. Now when I go on a trip, I search that city or place on Instagram to find local accounts, blogs, tags, or cool locations. This is such an easy, practical and free resource to use when traveling. 

So next time you're preparing for an adventure, take to social media before a travel agent or other traveling companies. You just might come across some truly honest, authentic, and helpful recommendations that you wouldn't otherwise find. And those little spots will change your entire trip and lead you to views that you never knew existed.

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