Taking a vacation? It seems that guidebooks have given way to social media as the number-one travel tool. Here’s how to use it.
While most of us take vacation to get away from our phones (or at least the incessant work email notifications that ping our screens), don’t ditch it altogether. Because not only is that little plastic rectangle a means to capture your trip and share it on social media, those very same apps can serve as amazing tools before and during your trip. We outline which ones you should be using.
Ask for Suggestions on Facebook and Twitter
At least a few weeks prior to traveling, post to your friends and followers about some of the can’t-miss things to do in the destination. Chances are, some of them have been there, and since they’re your friends, they likely have similar tastes and will be able to reveal some hidden gems that you otherwise wouldn’t know about. If the destination were Seattle, for example, and you were staying at The Edgewater, they may point out a hidden attraction like the Sky View Observatory or Unicorn Bar. Facebook also offers a recommendations feature, where, when you click to “create a post,” you have the option to select “ask for recommendations,” and “check-in” to the destination you’ll be in. Those particular posts (and your friends’ answers) will then save to your “recommendations” under the explore tab on Facebook for easy access when you’re out and about in your destination.
Use Snapchat’s Snap Map to Preview the Trip
Have you used Snap Map? If not, it’s very easy to access: Simply open Snapchat and pinch inward on the screen, like you’re zooming out on a photo. You’ll see some friends nearby who have opted to share their location – but that’s not why we’re using it right now. Zoom way out and find your destination – say, Ghirardelli Square in San Francisco, near The Argonaut. Tap anywhere you see little colored spots – essentially hot spots – on the map, and you’ll see snaps that people took in the last 24 hours in that location. It gives you a nice peek into a place before you get there. If you don’t have the Snapchat app, you’re in luck – there’s an online version.
Don’t Post to Facebook – Snap Your Friends Instead
You may instinctively want to share your trip with all your Facebook followers in real time, as it’s unfolding. But how can you truly enjoy your vacation if you’re constantly viewing it through a screen, then laboring over the filter or the perfect language for the post? You don’t. Which is why Snapchat is great to privately snap with trusted friends and family, while having fun with local geofilters. These aren’t meant to be the perfectly edited shots you put on Facebook and Instagram – they’re messy, informal, and (luckily) disappearing photos that will entertain your friend for a minute and then disappear. No over-thinking allowed on vacation. If you’re in Jackson Hole, for example, staying at Teton Mountain Lodge or Hotel Terra, and want to share those famous antler arches, just take a snap and send it to a few friends.
When You’re There, Use Instagram to Find the Coolest Spots
Similar to Snap Map, Instagram can be used to search for your destination using the “tag” or “location” filters. These images tend to be mostly photos, while the Snap Map ones are video. Still, they can give you little glimpses into different spots that you wouldn’t otherwise know about, and you can use Instagram’s bookmarking feature to set them aside to review later.
Let Facebook Help You Make Decisions
Facebook can be a great tool for researching potential activities or restaurants that you may have stumbled upon in person or on social media. If you’re considering a couple, check their presence on Facebook – there are often more photos than there are on their website, plus recent updates and customer reviews.