Travel’s gone social: the travel industry in the age of social media

The world just isn’t as big as it used to be.

Traveling was once a hobby that required time, patience, and not-a-little elbow grease. Vacation preparations often had to be made via a travel agent, tickets had to be purchased in-person or over the phone, and you had to actually buy travel books before leaving home. Maps were pieces of paper, not points of light on a screen, and gate agents could be as mean as they wanted to be without ever being reprimanded. The effect of social media on travel has been profound. Truly, travel’s gone social, with apps for online dictionaries and hotel recommendations popping up every day. The Internet has been inundated with information on travel crazes and annoying family vacation photos.

But is it all bad?

travel's gone social; photo via

Sure, there will always be nostalgia surrounding the time it took to plan out a vacation to Cinque Terre, and the photographs from the family road trip will always be special precisely because they are so few. But there is certainly something good to be said about the way things are done now.

Now that travel’s gone social, a world of tips lies at your disposal. Need a romantic getaway? Check Pinterest; she’s got plenty. Craving a vintage-looking suitcase to tote around on adventures? Etsy’s got you covered. Need to make sure your hotel is up to health code standards? TripAdvisor is your new best friend. Facebook isn’t only a repository for annoying vacation photos, but also a source of check-ins, reviews and ideas that can ultimately change how your plan your time off.

Besides having all the recommendations you could ever need at your fingertips, it’s easier to be a tourist now that travel’s gone social. Companies that previously paid no attention to their customer experience are now forced to face their problems if they want to be competitive. You can talk to a company in real time via their Twitter or Facebook pages rather than holding for hours on the phone.

So, yes, travel’s gone social: travel is now friendlier than ever.