Social media. To use or not to use. That is the question. On vacation that is. I mean, of course, we’re going to use social media when we’re not on vacation! So, what do you think about unplugged vacations? When you’re on vacation, should you try to limit your social media use or not? And if you don’t limit your social media use, why not? What are you using it for?
How Social Media Affects Family Vacations
Last year’s survey found that 15% of social media users use social media more while they’re on vacation than not. This year, that number is up to 21% this year. Why? Do we not like being on vacation? Do we not like our families? Are we’re working while on vacation? What is so important that we can’t have unplugged vacations? And, yeah, I’m including myself in this because I know I use social media on vacation too.
Good reasons to use social media on family vacations
Yes, there are some good reasons to use social media while on vacation. More than half of social media users surveyed post vacation photos on social media to keep family and friends updated (58 percent) or to record fun memories (55 percent). I can see keeping your family updated…especially if you have little ones, and grandma and grandpa can’t stand not seeing their grandkids’ pictures. And, okay, you want to record fun memories, but we did that back in the “old days” without using social media. All of our family vacations were unplugged vacations when I was a teen!
Here is another good reason to use social media while you’re on vacation: around a fourth of social media users say social media can enhance a family vacation by providing research, ideas or inspiration (28 percent) and sharing moments with others (24 percent).
The first part of this I get. You are in a city you’ve never been to, and you want to see what types of unique experiences you can have while you’re there. This is especially helpful if you’re not a big planner. Let’s say, you’re going to the beach. You know what hotel you’re staying in, but you have no other plans other than to hang out on the beach. You might use social media to see what other people who have visited the area recommend or to find out what’s happening in the area during the time in which you’re there.
I feel like the second part of this…sharing moments with others…kind of ties into the keeping your friends and family updated though that could be a bad thing too. Keep reading, and you’ll see what I mean.
Not so good reasons to use social media on family vacations
Here’s where that bad thing comes in. Over a third (34 percent) of those surveyed admit that they post their vacation photos on social media simply to “show off” the places they visited or the things they saw or did (up from 27 percent in last year’s survey).
Why, people? Why do we feel the need to show off on social media? This is such a harmful practice not only for you but for those who follow your social media accounts as well. How does it harm you? It causes anxiety during a time meant for fun: 21 percent express concern when followers don’t like or comment on their vacation posts! If we’re taking unplugged vacations, we won’t care if we’re not getting likes or comments!
When did we become like this? We care so much about what practical strangers think, and we neglect spending quality time with our families. I will be the first to admit it. My feelings DO get hurt when I get no retweets, likes, or comments, yet when I think about it logically, I can see how ridiculous this is. For one thing, I know how social media algorithms work (okay, they change all of the time, but for the most part). Do you see everything your friends post? I don’t even see everything my family posts!
And when I DO see vacation photos some of my friends or acquaintances post, I’ll admit that I sometimes “ignore” (i.e. don’t like or comment on) the post because I am jealous. I get it. I should be happy for them, and I usually am.
But, considering the fact that over a third of them (according to the survey) are sharing to show off, I think our feelings of jealousy can sometimes be justified. I think, “How many times can one family go to Europe in a year?” Or, “I sure wish I could afford to go to Disney every other month.” Things like that. It hurts friendships, and “showing off” often ruins family time.
Social media use on family vacations can ruin them
In fact, 33% of people surveyed said they’ve seen social media actually ruin a vacation. These are some of the examples they gave:
- Too much time spent on the phone (42 percent)
- Arguments or hurt feelings (24 percent)
- Letting would-be robbers know when they’re out of the house (5 percent)
- Catching a cheating spouse (2 percent)
Crazy right? Parents argue with their teens and tweens about social media use enough at home. Why do it on vacation? Set some boundaries for the entire family regarding social media use while on vacation.
Ways to have an unplugged family vacation
Now, I know what you’re probably thinking. How can we do unplugged vacations? We can’t control cell phone use at home when we’ve got nothing exciting or brag-worthy to share. How are we going to control ourselves when we do?!
- Use one of Alamo’s custom lock screens on your digital devices. These lock screens have sayings like, “Make it a #Latergram” and “How important is it?” These subtle reminders will make you think twice before using social media.
- Take the unplugged family vacation pledge to limit cell phone and social media usage while you’re on vacation. You can download the pledge .
- Use a custom profile frame that lets your family and friends know that you’re on an unplugged vacation, so they’ll know why you’re not answering them on social media. You can find these frames on facebook.com/profilepicframes by searching Alamo Rent A Car.
Unplugged family vacations are worth it. I can attest to the fact that you won’t always have the opportunity to spend with your family. Kids grow up way too quickly. Teens still need their parent’s attention. Having this precious family time can help you all talk about things that you never would have talked about had you all been on your phones or tablets. Take the pledge. Use the lock screens. And put those phones away for an unplugged vacation with your family.