Travel Tips

How has travelling changed over the last 10 years (+ how Instagram is influencing us)?

The way we travel and book our trips is ever-changing. In a world where the pace of technology seems to keep speeding up with new updates, Apps and gadgets every week! Even how Instagrammable your destination seems to be a huge factor in deciding where to go!

If you’re reading this thinking that you hate technology, the chances are that you now rely on it without even realising. I only started travelling 10 years ago and the changes in how we do things now have completely altered and changed the way we all travel.

But the big question is, are all the changes for the better?

The last 10 years have been amazing. I’ve climbed to the top of Africa’s highest mountain, Mount Kilimanjaro, seen wild mountain gorillas in Uganda. I’ve also spent a magical five weeks travelling around gorgeous New Zealand, hiking stunning coastal trails and jumping out of planes!

Not to mention all my recent UK trips and hiking adventures around our stunning National Parks, including the Peak District, Snowdonia, the Lake District and more!

Climb Mt Kilimanjaro
Mt Kilimanjaro summit in 2012

But that got me thinking how much technology and Instagram has changed the way I travel.

In short, I’m much lazier and less-organised than I was 10 years ago, purely because travel information is so accessible. Plus you can find the best places to go by simply typing in a hashtag on Instagram and seeing what photos appear in the top spots!

Back in 2008, when I booked my first solo trip to Australia, things in the travel industry were very different. My inspiration for my trip was a school project back when I was 10 years old. I vividly remember learning about this amazing country and although over the next few years I maybe watched a few TV programmes, obviously Neighbours, but other documentaries too. I wasn’t overly absorbed or influenced by social media or gorgeous Instagram photos to go to certain places.

Interestingly, recent research has now been compiled showing that over 40% of millennials choose their next holidays based on how popular it is on social media – so we’re basically talking Twitter, Facebook and of course, in my opinion, the big one…Instagram.

Over 1,000 UK adults, between 18 to 33 were surveyed on their travel habits, undertaken by holiday home insurance company Schofields Insurance and the data revealed that ‘how Instagrammable the holiday would be’ was the number one motivator for millennials when they are deciding where to go on their holiday.

Now you might not want to believe it’s true but you only need to scroll through your Instagram feed and the most popular destinations immediately pop out.

Iceland Glacier Lagoon - Jokulsarlon
The stunning Jokulsarlon, known as the Glacier Lagoon in Iceland

Chefchaouen in Morocco – those iconic blue steps and buildings in the town or the famous Las Vegas sign which now attractions so many people you have to queue to get a photo. Just think how popular even countries have become beautiful Iceland where tourism numbers have been increasing year upon and year.

Instagrammable photo spots definitely have had an impact here, everyone wanting those stunning photos!

Would you pick your next holiday using Instagram?

Yes or no?

Maybe you don’t even realise you are doing it. I guess that’s the beauty (or trickery) of Instagram! You’re scrolling through pretty photos and before you know it you’ve booked a trip and on your must-see things to do is capturing ‘that’ shot.

But let me take you back 10 years before you decide whether it’s better or worse!

How has Travelling changed over the last 10 years?

Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb
Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb – my first solo trip in 2008!

If you’ve been travelling for a number of years then the changes might have snuck in without you realising how much things have changed! How many of these things do you remember from travelling 10 years ago? Let me know if you can you think of any more?

Yes, before you say it, yes I seem to have aged a lot in the last 10 years but with age also comes knowledge (haha).

Flights tickets

Yes, I know we all still buy tickets but I mean real tickets. Proper tickets made out of card or paper. You book a flight and are sent your tickets (or have to pick them up). I still have my flight tickets from my very early trips.

Now it’s an email or app of your boarding pass. Or for me, it’s a printscreen of my boarding pass because I still don’t 100% trust the App haha. Does everyone else do this or is it just me!

Benefit – less paper wastage so better for the environment.

Check-in at the airport

10 years ago, you basically rocked up at the airport and stood in a giant queue with everyone else. Unless you were lucky enough to be flying Business Class!

None of this, go on your laptop, tablet or phone 24 hours (or some are now 7 days) before your flight and complete the online check-in.

The majority of people check in before they even leave home or if not then there are the automated machines at the airport that check you in in a matter of minutes.

But do you remember when you HAD TO stand in line at the airport waiting to check-in! I don’t miss this one little bit!

Arriving at your destination

Abisko National Park - Sweden
Arriving at Abisko National Park in Swedish Lapland

With high charges for text usage 10 years ago (yes I’m a budget traveller haha), it was normally one text to say you had arrived safely.

Now Facebook has the option to check in wherever you are in the world so you can easily let everyone know you’ve arrived! Regardless of how annoying this is for your fellow Facebook friends!

Also with roaming costs now included within your tariffs for a lot of countries you travel. We all simply get on WhatsApp and text away!

How Instagrammable is your destination?

Jurassic Coast - day 5
Photo stop at the Instagram famous Durdle Door

Instagram actually started back in 2010 and quickly gained popularity after being taken over by Facebook in 2012. I clearly wasn’t one of those, being a Xenial I was happy using Facebook and sharing my photos on there. What was the point of Instagram anyway!

Late to the party I now love Instagram but is the power of influencers creating problems with over-tourism?

I recently hiked the 95-mile stretch of the Jurassic Coast. The whole walk was incredible with stunning cliffs, coastal views and lush green fields. But type in the #jurassiccoast and one popular photo makes a reoccurring theme. The stunning arch at Durdle Door! Throughout the entire walk I met many people along the walk, a few more as I approached the cute seaside towns but arriving at Durdle Door was utter chaos.

Tripods, self-sticks, literally hundreds of people all after that ultimate shot. And yes I took a photo there too (see above!) In reality, there were four people sat to my left and two more taking photos directly behind me, as well as all the people walking past me too. Although I agree it’s still beautiful my favourite memories of the walk were those quieter moments where I could take all the nature in around me.

Maps so you don’t get lost

You used real paper maps and books. Ok, I do love Google maps but there’s nothing more exciting than getting lost and exploring a new place. I’ve become all too reliant on Google maps now. I sometimes wonder how I ever made it out my front door without it!

Also relying on your phone as a map in certain destinations can put you at risk of being targeting for being mugged. I’ve read a few stories where people have had phones taken right out of their hands so be careful and aware of your surroundings too.

Travel blogs… what are they?

Teufelsberg (Devil's Mountain) - Berlin
Exploring Teufelsberg (Devil’s Mountain) in Berlin (off the beaten track)

Back 10 years ago, when I started travelling the internet although available and progressing from the awful dial-up option that took hours and made that annoying noise! It wasn’t as commonly used for researching destinations to get those secret gems and cool things to do on your trips.

You might like to read – Cool and unusual things to do in Berlin

Although bloggers were about it wasn’t a known industry as it is now becoming today. Part of me wishes I’d started my blog earlier but maybe my travel experiences wouldn’t have been quite the same. There are some amazing resources out there, with top tips and places to visit recommended by travellers all over the world.

travellers with laptops

Huttenpalast Hotel Berlin
Huttenpalast Hotel Berlin – one of the coolest places I’ve stayed!

I used to look at these travellers and wonder why on earth would you bring a laptop on holiday with you! Now it’s pretty common to see people happily working away or connected with family and friends on the other side of the world.

Laptops have become lighter and more sophisticated so that people can work all over the world and still travel at the same time!

smartphones + being social

Hostel social areas full of people on phones is one of the biggest things I have noticed since I started travelling in 2008.

Before wi-fi seemed to be available everywhere and smartphones came along, social areas were full of people chatting or maybe reading a book. You now can’t walk into one without a sea of people looking down at the blue screen!

I used to think hostels were daunting when you walked into a social area and everyone was chatting but now I think it’s even worse!

Wi-Fi spots

Annapurna Circuit - Nepal
Can you believe that there’s wi-fi in the Himalayas in Nepal

And talking of laptops, wi-fi has now taken off pretty much everywhere. Who remembers going in search of internet cafes to catch up on your Facebook notifications or load photos!

Free wi-fi spots were like gold dust and now we expect them everywhere.

Even hiking on the Annapurna Circuit Trek in Nepal there was wi-fi available during the majority of the trip

selfie sticks – love them or hate them?

Machu Picchu in Peru - Inca Trail
Selfie sticks are now banned at Machu Picchu in Peru

Basically, your selfie stick was your arm! I admit I’ve still not bought one of these but I do own a couple of tripods which are perfect for my hiking and backpacking trips.

And if it was a group shot then the person with the longest arm took the photo. Simple!!

But selfie sticks have a bad reputation and since they were introduced have now been banned at several iconic sites, including, the wonderful Machu Picchu. In my opinion, this makes perfect sense as it’s such a popular destination there’s always someone to take your photo.

Sadly, selfies and selfie sticks have also caused numerous deaths around the world, with people going too far to ‘do it for the gram’ as it’s known!

Has travelling got better or worse over the last 10 years?

So much has changed in the last 10 years. But has travelling got better or worse? There are certainly pros and cons but technology is here to stay so I guess we need to get used to it.

But next time you think about booking that trip, make sure you do it for the right reasons. Are you going because it’s super popular (and there will be loads of people there) or do you really want to go?

How Instagrammable a destination shouldn’t be the reason for booking a trip! And then more these hot spots become over-run with tourist the less enjoyable they will actually be when you arrive. Remember, the full-time Instagrammers are smart, many of these stunning photos are taken in the early hours of the morning before the crowds arrive. So don’t be disappointed if reality doesn’t meet the expectations of the perfect Instagram photo.

Tell me what your thoughts are in the comments. How long have you been travelling? What are the biggest changes that you’ve noticed?

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Comments (4)

  1. Nice Post Becky!

    I first went travelling on my own in 2002ish. For me the biggest changes are:
    – Booking things on my own. I used to go to STA travel to book flights, but now I just do everything online.
    – I hardly ever booked hotels in advance, but now you have to, or the prices skyrocket!
    – I’d buy the guide book for where ever I was going, and then use chat rooms for extra advice. Now I’m more likely to use blogs and facebook travel groups

    Still, most of the coolest things I found in Japan, I found when I was translating information about them for the Japan’s local government. There *still* isn’t much online in English about less-well known places.

    I think the main limit now is that most people write/take photos of the same few places, when there is sooo much more to see!

    1. Thanks Josy, ah so you were a little ahead of me then! Yes, I totally agree, I also used to book via STA travel, until recently I used their old tour magazines as a monitor stand haha. Yeah, everything I book is online as well too. Hotels are a challenge, it’s a balance between booking too early and missing good deals or too late and everything has sold out! Facebook groups are definitely a great source of information too.

      I guess time is a big factor for most people who just rush in and out of a city or place and don’t get time to explore all the little cool places. I love to find those hidden gems and off the beat places too 🙂