When I think about my travel history, I’m astounded by the fact that I don’t remember how to plan travel before the internet. So I guess I can’t be that surprised by Shea Bennett’s statistic that “a recent study showed that more than half (52 percent) of respondents changed their travel plans after researching their trip using social media. A heady 85 percent of travelers use their smartphones whilst abroad, and 52 percent of Facebook users said that their friends’ holiday photos had inspired their vacation choice.” We’ve turned into a media run society, specifically a society run by social media. It’s become normal to spend hours researching possibilities before committing to travel plans. We want the best experience for the lowest price, and the responsibility has come down to strangers on the internet to supply us with that. Our fate has been put into the hands of anyone who has access to a computer, and feels it necessary to have their opinion heard.
However, I can’t help but wonder if this has effected the decisiveness of my generation. As someone who tends to be rather opinionated, it would be expected that I’m also decisive, but this doesn’t seem to be my reality. This becomes especially apparent when it comes to travel plans. Even when I find what looks like the best option, I’m always hesitant to commit in case I somehow find something better. I’ve recently been trying to change this habit in my everyday life. I have the worst tendency to take two hours to choose a restaurant whenever I want to go out to eat. I have to read every Yelp review for every restaurant in a two mile radius. In the end, I usually end up just choosing whichever’s closest due to the fact that I still can’t decide and am desperate for something to eat. I hate that I do it, and it’s annoying when all I want is something to eat and two hours later am still hungry, but it’s how I’ve been accommodated since I was old enough to start planning my own trips.
While the intensity of online travel planning can cause this annoying indecisiveness, I don’t think it’s a harmful aspect. It’s giving, or at least appears to give, people a full scope of their options. It holds everyone accountable for their own travel decisions, and opens up a world of possibilities. Literally.