Traveling enthusiasts aren't too demure about sharing any part of their adventures. From the Facebook crowd-sourcing posts to the Instagram snapshots of perfect cappuccinos, travelers have found ways to employ social media to disclose every little element of their journey. While existing social media networks might be the best way to trigger jealousy in your followers, they certainly aren't contrived with travelers in mind. With this increase in social media usage also comes an influx of travelers who fall under the unfortunate category of that American tourist.
Thankfully, there are now a surge of social media sites and apps cropping in the webosphere, designed specifically for travelers and their needs. Among them is Travoom, a marketplace for planning, booking, and sharing bucket list adventures with other travel lovers.
InStyle caught up with Travoom's founder, Doug Knittle, to compile a list of his top tips on how to properly exhibit your travels on social media. The urge to document your travels and share with friends is all too real when traveling—for those who don't want to perpetuate all those super annoying stereotypes, check out Knittle's expert advice on how to showcase your perfect adventure.
1. Research, Research, Research: One of the biggest mistakes people make before visiting a new country is forgetting to research before their trip. Make sure you look up the area you're going to be visiting in order to prepare for any number of cultural differences and situations you may encounter. New travel apps make it easy to download any directions you may need so you don't drain your data, or have to use oversized maps which can make you look like a tourist. Also, don't forget to check if where you're going that day is a photo-friendly spot.
2. Embrace Local Culture: Take the time to chat with locals around you! You will learn more from their personal experiences including where to find authentic restaurants and shops that you may not be able to find online. This will give you a chance to have an experience beyond the typical tourist spots. Try switching off your phone or camera for a few hours and spend time enjoying what you see around you—this will make the pictures you end up taking more memorable, and you'll have more meaningful memories not spending your whole trip behind a lens.
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3. Write Things Down: Utilizing social media may be your first impulse for documenting your travels, but keeping a travel journal or sketchbook is a great alternative. You can take notes of all the places you visit during the day so that you have something in writing to accompany all the beautiful photos you've taken. Once you've written out your travel stories and selected your favorite photos, it's time to share them with your friends and family. Sites like Travoom.com can help you organize your travel experiences and share videos and pictures of your trip online to inspire other travelers and provide you with new incredible destinations for your next adventure.
4. Pay Attention: When you do stop to document your travels on social media, be aware of your surroundings. Make sure you aren't blocking other people or posing offensively in your photos, and be mindful when posing of any gestures you make and how they may be interpreted. Countries love sharing their beautiful cities with us and don't mind photos so long as everyone acts respectfully.
5. Pack Light: Lighter is better! Walking around where you're visiting is often tiring enough, no need to drag everything from your typical everyday bag at home. If you are bringing a camera, don't wear it around your neck, especially if you are in places like a museum where they are not welcome. Also, if you are bringing a water bottle, make sure you are being cautious as to where they are and are not welcome.
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6. Collect Mementos: Photos are fun, but having a tangible souvenir is an irreplaceable way to remember your trip! These mementos should include small items you can collect from your experiences like museum tickets, postcards, coasters, matchbooks, etc. Use your imagination, but remember lighter is better (so as to not weigh down your luggage). When you get home, these items are fantastic for scrapbooking and can even be arranged into themes like cuisine, popular landmarks, architecture, etc. from all your different travel experiences.
7. Avoid Looking Like "THAT American Tourist": Try not to wear only loud, American-themed clothing—aka leave that #ImWithHer t-shirt at home. Instead, wear clothing that will be comfortable and appropriate for the region that you are visiting and activities you're experiencing. Group t-shirts may seem funny at home, but when you're at your destination, they draw unwanted attention and make your group a target for pickpocketing and the like. (Click here for even more safety tips for traveling abroad). It's important to be aware of any cultural differences in the country you are visiting in order to veer away from anything that might be offensive.