We all like picturesque places and taking a photo or two with beautiful nature in the background. But the growing trend of going to instagammable places is more complex than doing that. In fact, it can be concerning. You can have a way better experience without the pressure to always bring pretty pictures back with you. Try the “no beautiful pics” approach at least once and I guarantee that you won’t regret it. So what’s wrong with taking pictures then?
If you are going on a weekend or a few-day trip, looking for this perfect spot you’ve seen on social media can be time-consuming. I have seen people walking around buildings and looking for the spot they have seen on the Internet, then queuing for the picture (well, sadly you were not the only one with this idea) and taking dozens of pictures in different poses until they are satisfied with the effect. If you have at least a few places like that on your list, it’s easy to calculate how much time you will spend just to get those pictures. Yes, too much time.
The more impressive the selfie looks, the more expensive it can get. If you don’t believe me, just search for your dream destination and scroll pictures for a while. Let me guess… You found at least a few pictures with someone in their bed and the astonishing view form the window. That’s probably not how each accommodation in this area looks like. This one may be expensive and I mean EXPENSIVE. There is nothing wrong with beautiful view from your apartment neither with treating yourself to a bit of luxury if that’s what you want and can afford. However, looking for a place with the main intention being taking the same, amazing picture you have seen on your social media is not the greatest idea. Especially if your budget is limited you should ask yourself a few questions before giving your card details.
How much time do you have in this place and how much do you have planned?
If your itinerary is packed and you stay for a few days only, chances are, you won’t even have time to use services you pay for.
How much of a difference will it make in your budget?
Booking even a pretty luxurious hotel in Southeast Asia will not blow your budget but places like Switzerland or Scandinavia can cost an arm and a leg for a high-end accommodation.
If you decide to book a cheaper place, don’t be upset about it, remember that travelling is surprising and you can find the best views for free if you only look hard enough!
Focus on the experience
It may sound like a cliché but it’s so important. Stop for a moment before you take out your camera and start looking at the world through a lens again. Why did you choose to come here? Is this how you want to experience this place? Do you feel a connection with the place and this experience while documenting it all the time? Answers to those questions may differ depending on your travel style and interests. Taking a lot of pictures may be more natural for those interested in photography but for many of us experiencing the moment first hand will make it more meaningful. You don’t have to stop yourself from taking a few pictures of a stunning view or a performance you enjoy. Go ahead and do it but don’t spend the entire evening glued to your phone. You’re missing out on the experience.
Here I am, Bali, where are you pristine white sand beaches with no crowds? What? Oh, but I thought… Instagram… Okay, nevermind.
We’ve all been there. It’s hard to hold the temptation of searching for more and more pretty pictures. But the problem with them is that nearly all of them are perfect. White sand, empty beaches, insane colors (often achieved with the help of filters) are something we got used to when casually scrolling pictures.
Let’s make an experiment. Open your Instagram/ Pinterest and search for pictures of three random destinations. Chances are, everything you just found looks amazing. Does it mean that the whole world is so aesthetically pleasing? Unfortunately not. It only proves that if you have the right knowledge and equipment you can make any place look good. If you don’t want to end up disappointed, make sure you’ve done your research and have at least a few strong reasons to go to that place besides beauty. Looking at too many pictures creates unrealistic expectations. But what happens when you post such pictures on your social media accounts? Then you are guilty of doing the same thing! My most disappointing experience with it was the swing in Ubud, Bali. If you have ever searched for Bali you must have stumbled upon the astonishing pictures of a swing right above the jungle. The reality looks nothing like that, and those pretty pictures only exist thanks to the right framing. Despite the attraction being overpriced there are still queues for it. After all, you didn’t cross the ocean just to leave without this pic. Well, I did. I’m still alive and I enjoyed the trip!
It can make you lazy and kill your spirit of adventure
If you tend to always choose top places you must have experienced that they are not only spectacular but often also crowded and expensive. The more visitors come, the more information and pictures on the Internet and less room to be spontaneous and explore the place. When you look for the most beautiful places in Europe, first results will probably show Italy, Spain, Scandinavian countries and some German-speaking countries. Balkans or Eastern countries rarely make it to those lists what doesn’t mean they have nothing to offer. Sometimes it’s worth to choose a neighboring country instead. There are so many under the radar places waiting to be explored. Such choice can be way cheaper than your initial plan. Locals also tend to be more friendly and opened in places not flooded with tourists.
It is so tempting to take and post those perfect pictures. We all appreciate how they can bring back memories so I don’t want to discourage you from taking pictures altogether. I am sure though that rethinking your intention will help you in obtaining balance and a healthy relationship between you, your camera and your social media accounts.
Next time you go travel, I encourage you to take pictures of only a few, most memorable moments. It will help you to stop analyzing so much, be more carefree and experience the place on a deeper level.