We have a winner! Of all the many (many, many) surveys cluttering my inbox, this one from ALG Vacations nabs the award for “Saddest Dive Into the Psyche of Travelers in 2022.” We’ll break it down momentarily, but the gist is that 26 percent of adults surveyed by ALG care more about likes and comments on their vacation photos than they do about the actual vacation itself.
Specifically, 40 percent of Gen Z and millennials determine the success of their vacation by social media reaction to their photos. Before you start wagging a finger and tsk-tsk-ing about millennials, the study also found that Gen X and boomers aren’t far behind them. Beyond the generational breakdown, more men than women judge the success of their vacation based on likes and comments.
Please, give me a moment to reflect and fume. Can you imagine returning from vacation and thinking, “That 10-day trip to South Africa was terrible because only 16 people liked the selfie I took in front of the Mandela Museum?” Well, I suppose 26 percent of you can. But to come away from your trip with memories of social media likes rather than the experiences you had sounds horrifically depressing.
Oh, wait. It gets worse and more shallow! Nearly 20 percent of survey participants have unfollowed friends because they were jealous of their vacations. C’mon people. Don’t unfollow these friends. Hate-scrolling is one of the great joys of social media. Why deprive yourselves?
If people are judging the success of their travel based on social media reaction, they’re also going to curate the photos they post as carefully as Anna Wintour curates the September issue. To wit, 45 percent of Gen Z and millennials say if they’re in a photo taken by a friend or family member, they must approve it before it can be posted. Again, don’t tsk-tsk or say, “Kids these days.” Gen X and boomers do the same thing, just not as frequently (25 percent).
I have long been an advocate of post-vacation social media posting. Snap all the pictures you want, but don’t post a thing until you’re home. That way, you’re not obsessively checking your phone for likes when you should be, oh, I don’t know, enjoying your vacation. When you’re home, curate to your heart’s content and then post sparingly (less is always more). But please, whatever you do, stop posting pictures of your legs and feet in front of the pool or the ocean.
Join us again next week when my editor Chris Morris shares another nugget from the wide world of travel surveys.