Why You Shouldn’t Instagram Your Vacation (Yes, Really)


Nothing feels more like “I’m doing it for ‘gram” than travel. And for good reason.

If social media is a bulletin board of our life’s highlight reel and a helpful tool for engaging with others, then why wouldn’t we want to capture and share our adventurous achievements as often as we can?

Because we might be putting a lot of needless pressure on ourselves in the process.

Be honest with yourself: When planning a vacation, how often are you actually planning two trips? The one filled with logistics of time off, a budget, and how to safely get to your destination — and the other trip, the one that you want everyone to see on Instagram, hashtagged to your heart’s content?

Of course, this isn’t hating on a beautiful aesthetic, boutique hotels, or that perfect outdoor cafe situated under a dome of wisteria. After all, we don’t travel just to check “a nightmare of a dump” off our bucket list. But in a world that’s growing increasingly preoccupied with digital influence, upping the WOW-factor, and presenting an as idealized version of ourselves as possible, here’s some encouragement to reclaim the kind of travel that’s best for your eyes only.


Why you should put your phone away and stay off Instagram on vacation:


It’ll keep you relatable.


Despite it feeling like you might be the only person on social media who lacks the ability to be a full-time jetsetter, remember this: Traveling should sensitize you to the needs and differences of others, not serve as trophy points to elevate you above.

There’s a sneaky root of pride that can weave in whenever we get to do something outside the norm; couple a one-of-a-kind travel privilege with the instant affirmation of digital followers and that adrenaline rush could certainly get addicting. We can start to think that unless we stay in the coolest Airbnb or have dinner at that must-see place then our experience is worth less than someone else’s (or conversely, if we do, then our experience is worth so much more).

But the truth is, sometimes it’s smarter to go for the chain hotel if that keeps you from racking up debt or only eating at food carts because you prefer a casual vibe to something more upscale. Your trip is yours to enjoy, not for others to comment on, and if a vacation has elements that bring you back down to earth a little bit, consider it a blessing in disguise. You’ll develop a more grounded approach to travel which, in turn, will foster a greater sense of self-confidence and deeper ability to empathize and relate to others. That’s what any good trip should do.


You’ll develop a more grounded approach to travel which, in turn, will foster a greater sense of self-confidence and deeper ability to empathize and relate to others. That’s what any good trip should do.



Source: Gypsea Lust


Your focus will be inward.


Traveling is exciting, no question. When you first touch down in a place that’s long been on your radar, it can feel like the joy could cause you to spontaneously combust. But, it can be so easy to get consumed with posting every photo and tracking down free wifi that before you know it, “vacation” is over and you’re already back at your 9-5.

Traveling somewhere that isn’t necessarily “cool” or “popular” can grant you the digital freedom to check back in with yourself — away from needless pressures and with space in your head and heart to think. If there isn’t anything photo-worthy where you’re staying, great! You just won some precious stillness that might actually do what you (probably) went on vacation to do in the first place: rest, recharge, and relax. Capitalize on it.


You’ll discover different treasures.


Being overly focused on sharing every aspect of a trip can mean — even subconsciously — that you’re always looking for what everyone else will love. The ubiquitous nature of travel hashtags is proof enough of how the right photo shared by the right outlet could seemingly catapult anyone to Insta-fame.

And again, while there’s nothing wrong with hashtags, when we get too preoccupied with framing the perfect shot so that the perfect account might just repost it, how do we really know what we like and what a vacation or a city uniquely means to us? When the pressure of sharing a place is alleviated, the possibility of discovering something unexpected exponentially increases. That’s when the greatest travel stories are written — the ones that offer another level of insight, perspective, and soul.


Source: Cole Keister


No matter what an “un-Instagrammable” trip may mean to you, at the heart of it is simply a call to indulge: indulge in the quiet, indulge in the energy, indulge in the feeling of being open to the unexpected.


Such moments are growing increasingly rare.


Taking a trip somewhere that goes against the grain or that hasn’t been tagged dozens of times is the stuff of modern-day exploring.

In our Internet Information Age, a good thing doesn’t stay hidden for long; before we know it it’s going to be the truly off-the-grid, wifi-less places that are coveted vacation spots, so take advantage of being somewhere “uncool” and consider it a forerunner of future luxury.

No matter what taking an “un-Instagrammable” trip may mean to you, at the heart of it is simply a call to indulge: indulge in the quiet, indulge in the energy, indulge in the feeling of being open to the unexpected (and closed to the expectations of anyone else who might rain on that parade).

That’s what travel is and why most of us do it. To humble ourselves. To be changed. And to find our place in the world in the process. We can plug our phones in when we get back home. Mostly likely, we haven’t missed a thing.


Is it easy for you to unplug and detach when you travel? How do you do it?


  • Yes! This 100% I’ve been thinking a lot about how much I do for Instagram and it has become unhealthy.

  • Krystin Robertson

    This is such a wonderful post. I am currently planning my first trip to New York, and I must say that photography has been crossing my mind a lot. It should be the trip though, and it should definitely be about the new experience in an unknown place more than anything. I will definitely be sharing this with my boyfriend, too, because he will be my travel partner in this. It’s certainly a welcomed perspective that I didn’t even consider. Thank you for sharing.

  • Victoria

    Very good advice! I usually take photos either with my phone or camera throughout the day but I hardly ever post them right then and there. I don’t want to take away from my in-the-moment travel experience so I put no pressure on myself to post the photos until I get home and have nothing else to do!

    • Exactly!! I post maybe 1-2/day when I’m in wifi and then do the rest later (or sometimes not at all)

  • amamato11

    Another sad fact is posting pictures in real time tells everyone on your social media accounts that you’re not home. That can be an open invitation for robbers. I always wait until I’m back home to post because of it.

  • Alyssa Dalgleish

    While I do take a decent amount of photos, they’re all taken with a real camera, not my phone. And they’re taken for my benefit, so that I’ll have something from the trip to look back on. As far as my phone goes while traveling, I really only use it for maps in my current city.

  • This is awesome and inspiring. I think I would rather take a camera and indulge in life without social media, wondering what others may think or like.. think about those things & reminisce when I get back ;p

  • This is so true! I’m planning my summer travel and keep thinking about what will be most Instagrammable which is so sad! Travel should be about living in the moment and experiencing new places, not living through hashtags and filtered photos!


  • Kritsida

    I completely agree with you, but I think it’s all about a healthy balance. I always try to enjoy the moment and post only when I’m free and not doing anything.
    x. kritsida

  • I love taking pictures and end up with hundreds after a trip. I believe in living in the moment and I like to capture the moment as a reminder for me to look back on. But I don’t go through all my pics while on a trip because I can always do it when I get home. More time to enjoy and seize the day.

  • Honestly, unplugging on vacations/weekend getaways is something I’ve wanted to do in 2017, but haven’t done a great job keeping up with. Partly because I’m a travel blogger, and partly because I enjoy seeing all the beautiful places around the world. However, this just inspired me to truly take a break from social media over Memorial Day Weekend. I’m going to consider it a challenge! I agree with others below that posting maybe once while traveling and saving the majority of photos for after you are home, is a good way to balance it out.

    Amanda @ Cupcake N Dreams

  • Very smart and timely article. I really enjoyed reading this.

    I have no problem putting my phone away while traveling (it’s actually my favorite part). I never buy international data plans and unless it’s an emergency my phone stays on airplane mode for my entire trip. If I do connect to wifi I limit my internet use to just before bed time. As I do not take photos with my phone I can never post pictures to Instagram instantly anyway. I love photography and it’s a big part of my travel experience but, I wait until I get home to post my images on social media. This is great for two reasons: 1) My photography while traveling is not influenced by likes, comments, and shares. What photos I have when I get home are purely my vision. 2) I do not waste time scrolling through my feeds when I could be out learning about a different culture.

    Thanks for sharing this 🙂


  • I agree with you. As much as we all want to have amazing insta feeds, we should think about really enjoying the free time and new place.

  • Melissa Caldwell

    Great article. I completely agree and I really like the suggestion made in the comments about still taking photos throughout your vacation, because that is not a new phenomenon, but not rushing to edit, filter and cleverly caption each and every one of them while the person you are on vacation with sits waiting for you to come back to the present.

  • Kristen Sarmiento

    Quite frankly, I’m a little surprised by how many people agree and relate to this article. I think the title is misleading. Yes, there are definitely times where I plan a visit to a beautiful local spot so I can “do it for the gram”. But I am also planning a trip to Europe with my husband in two months and not once did it every cross my mind to plan any of the destinations based on what would be IG worthy, or as mentioned in the article “plan two trips”. If I stumble across something that looks like it would be a great picture, sure I’ll spend a few minutes to capture it the best way possible, but otherwise I’m not going out of my way for any of it, at least not much. The first priority for the trip is to enjoy and soak every moment in, and then second to share it on social media if so desired. That’s where I think the title is misleading because I still plan to share my vacation pics on Instagram. Perhaps a better title would have been “Why you Shouldn’t Plan your Vacation for your Instagram Posts”. Anyway, on the other hand I guess this article is interesting to learn if people really are thinking this way.

  • I recently read an article on Times (https://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/28/magazine/turning-instagram-into-a-radically-unfiltered-travel-guide.html?_r=0)about Instagram being the best travel guide, and I agree. I believe that all should have a limit, of course. But for me, identifing with a feed and the user personality and following their travel tips is much more reliable then trip adivisor generic reviews, for example . Researching more about instagram travel guides, I have found this website, that organizes instagram travel experiences and reviews according to your personality and what you want to feel, so Instagram content become more than a EGO ONLY thing. I think the site is not ready yet, and I hope they add more content soon because im going on a Eurotrip in july and I like how they make instagram feeds closer to reality… it is http://www.eksperyens.com

  • Leaving for Budapest and Croatia this morning and I so needed to read this — such a lovely reminder. Thank you!