Social media is everywhere. Flicking through your Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr or Instagram feeds can often seem like tiny little windows into what everyone else is getting up to - from what they had to lunch to where they went on holiday. Each snapshot offers a tiny glimpse into their lives.
Social media isn't just changing the way that we live our lives - updating our friends daily or weekly on our personal goings-on - but it's also changing the way that we travel. Before social media exploded onto the scene, people used to fly into a city without knowing anything about their destination aside from what they had read in their guidebook or heard about from friends. Now, you can read blogs, look at people's picture feeds, read reviews of local amenities and even make friendly connections with local people through social media.
Using things like Facebook and Twitter to actually find and book holidays is becoming more and more popular. A recent MDG Advertising survey showed that a huge 52% of people use social media to find inspiration of places to go on holiday - which isn't hard when you're two clicks away from a friend's photo album of her backpacking tour. 29 per cent of people are using Facebook specifically to get holiday inspiration from friend's posts, and 14% look at social forums such as TripAdvisor to double check before they book.
Another thing - more and more people are looking online for holiday deals and holiday extras, with things like good quality travel insurance and airport parking often being found for better prices on the internet, and through recommendations on social media.
Even taking our social media away with us is increasingly becoming more of 'A Thing'. Going away without gadgets is unthinkable for the majority of us and 52 per cent of people who were surveyed recently by Royal Caribbean International stated that their holiday experience was certainly enhanced through the use of technology.
The survey also showed how the average family member on holiday will send four texts, two personal emails, two work emails, one Vine, two Snapchats, four Instagram posts, three Tweets, share four images on Pinterest and update their Facebook four times. In another survey, conducted by Marriot, 74% of participants revealed that they used social media whilst they were on holiday - with a further 27% saying they used it the same amount as they do at home.
It also seems that with the innovative new technology hitting the market, old-style guidebooks are being ditched in favour for internet apps, video-hosting websites and social networking sites in an attempt to get knowledge about destinations and attractions.
How do you use social media when planning a holiday? How has social media shaped your holiday experience? Let us know (ironically) on our Facebook or Twitter pages.
Alpha Travel Insurance and alphatravelinsurance.co.uk are trading names of Infinity Insurance Solutions Ltd which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority: FRN 528912. Registered Office: 1 Tower View, Kings Hill, West Malling, ME19 4UY. Company Registration: 4319592. (c) Infinity Insurance Solutions Ltd; All rights reserved.