Almost summer, well, at least in most parts of the world. 🙂 And while some people seem to be traveling all year, others plan their family vacation during the summer holidays. It seems that preparing for a trip takes more time these days than the actual time you get to enjoy the journey itself. And that is when you do enjoy your trip and destination. But what if you don’t? How do you avoid picking a destination that turns out not to be cut out for your holiday needs? Or maybe we should put it this way: which media and pictures should you trust when strolling around the internet in search of your next destination?
The ideal world of Instagram and travel catalogs
We plead guilty! Go ahead and have a look at our Instagram feed. We show beauty. Or at least what we consider to be beautiful. But let’s be honest, no destination is picture perfect every step of the way. Even paradise has its weak spots and less nice looking little corners. You know…, the ones people don’t post on Instagram. Let’s face it, who wants an Instagram feed showing the local dump? There are two sides to this story. One is that beauty is a personal thing. And the second is that you need to be aware that EVERY tourist board, article, blog post or social feed will be showing a destination at its best. It is up to you to realize that for every breathtaking image you spot, there is also one that people do not show. The one with the things they do not want you to see or the one they do not want to ruin their feed with. That is not dishonest; it is not lying, it is merely a way of creating beauty and a social feed that will make you dream of faraway destinations. Feeds like that are valuable, there is no need in showing ugliness when you want to show beauty. The problem is that some people forget this when they are on the hunt for their next travel destination. That is when you end up disappointed. No destination will look like its brochure all the time, but the things from the brochure are there, it is up to you to go and find them. And also, see beauty in the less obvious things. Take this Instagram post from a while back. We loved it, and so did others; still, it shows the shutters from a shop that is closed for winter with an old bike parked in front of them. Sometimes there is beauty to be found in closed shops… 🙂
The travel stories of friends and family
So, if you have to be cautious about tourist guides and social media, who or what do you rely on? How about friends and family? The truth is, it all depends on who they are. It seems that people don’t like talking about disappointing trips or destinations; probably because they don’t want to be looked upon as having failed in choosing the right one. Let’s face it, we all want others to think we have things under control. And having the perfect holiday is all part of image building nowadays. Hell, even choosing where you will go on vacation is going to reflect on how people perceive you. Are you a budget traveler, into alternative things, a luxury freak or quietly going along with the crowds? How about a yoga holiday? Or a hiking trip in Peru? Or maybe a party week in Ibiza? Stop! Think about that last sentence. A party week in Ibiza. Talking about perception… As if Ibiza has nothing more to offer than parties. Still, it is called the party island. And it is! But it is much more than that. So, in the end, a destination is a lot what you make of it. True, some things are somewhat difficult to escape from and doing your research using different sources is very important. A simple Google search with only images as a result can work miracles. And yes, do invest the time in trying to get the complete picture before you book your holiday. It may take some time out of your overloaded schedule, but that’s way better than ending up somewhere and hating every second of it.
In short, dig a little deeper. Going on a trip is about discovery, relaxation, and dreaming. Let the dream start a bit earlier by looking beyond the superficial posts on social media. So what if Ibiza is a party island and you don’t like to party? It doesn’t mean you’ll hate it, all that this means is that you have to be careful about where you are going to stay on the island. In this case, looking at the whole picture involves looking at a lot of pictures. And remember, travel agents are also salespersons in the end. They may be trying to reach a target before they get to pick their holiday destination. Make up your mind and forget about image building or what others may think. It is your vacation after all!
What is your tip or trick to pick the right destination? Did you ever seriously mess up?