Travel Bragging 101: How not to be a social drag


Ah travel, a thing we all love, know and treasure.

Formerly, travel has been associated as being a brief escape or retreat for one to explore, unwind and challenge ourselves with new challenges.

But thanks to the ever-churning, monstrous and incredible belly of social media, sharing our expeditions with the world is as easy as a snap and tap.

READ: #CulturedAF: How to be culturally sensitive when travelling

Gone are the days of needing to develop our raw films and wait to host parties showing off images and footage of our journeys with a limited amount of people.

We can seamlessly share our travels and aesthetic landscape shots almost as quickly as we snap them - breeding a platform for both inspiring wanderlust and fuelling travel envy and bragging. But, is 'travel bragging' even a thing? And how do we know if we're guilty of it?

SEE PICS: How many cultural objects can you find in this 'Where's Wally'-inspired travel game?

Well, let's see, shall we:

What is 'travel bragging'?

In a world of insta-fingers and Twitter-tongues, we're all just looking to get that double-tap, RT validation - especially when it comes to putting out 'Instagrammable' or Insta-worthy posts of us living our best lives.

According to Times Now News, the main purpose of ‘travel bragging’ on social media is to attract the admiration and build fame among friends and followers. 

It appears that the trends of running off to the once coveted haven of Thailand is nothing more than a commoner's place now and travel posts are apparently all about a game of one-upping the next person.

Travellers have grown tired of the mundane and popular - travel is all about niche and unique, but breathtaking locations untouched or seen by the #gram. 

lady taking a cheeky selfie

Don't be a travel brag or drag. (Photo: iStock)

ICYMI: #T24Topshots: Instagram hashtags to use to help spread your wanderlust

As Mr and Mrs Amos put it, "But now lovely Thailand doesn’t cut it. Nor does London. New York. Nor some of the emerging travel hot spots like Istanbul or Croatia. Think Ulaanbaatar. Nanchong. Chisinau. Nuuk. Or, if you can find it, a place ending in ‘stan’ that even Vladimir Putin hasn’t heard of."

Travel bragging is essentially when you base your travel plans and motives off of social media - how many people have been to the destination, who are the people that have been and what is their social score, as well as how 'instagrammable' the scenery is.

ALSO READ: Live like a local: Millennials adventuring in high demand

What does it mean for something to be 'Instagrammable'?

According to WFAA, Jennifer Dohm of Dallas-based explains, "Instagrammable really means, 'Am I taking a photo of something that I want someone to - quite frankly - be a little jealous of?' We here call it a 'hashtag travel brag.'"

Instagrammable refers to that shot you know will get the likes and travel envy commentary.

In fact, a study done by in December 2017 found that 30% of millennials admit to spending over four hours a day on their mobiles while travelling. 

people on cellphones

Don't be too focused on getting or doing things #forthegram. (Photo: iStock)

WATCH: This supercut of Insta travel posts proves everyone takes the same photo


I mean, the stats better be worth it to be spending that much time looking at our screens while faced with the beauty of a new place. Heck, many tend to even prefer mobile phones as better travel partners over an actual partner.

The new global research has also proven the long-debated theory that romance really is dead. About 14% of people admitted they would rather travel with their smartphone than their partner. The study found that travellers tend to get more anxious if their battery runs out (15% of the people) than if they have a fight with their partner abroad (8% of the people).

CHECK OUT THESE Handy solo-parent travel tips & tricks

To be a travel brag or to be a travel drag?

There's nothing wrong with fuelling a little wanderlust, but it's always best to try and err on the side of personal caution when it comes to letting trends impact our personal or major travel decisions.

Don't opt out of an incredible opportunity just because the whole-world-and-their-aunt have been there before. You'll always be able to make your own incredible memories.

Don't worry too much on whether there are enough #instagrammable moments or not and look for local experiences that you'll never forget - with or without a pic.

person on mountain victorious

Inspire wanderlust and focus on the destination if you're sharing your travels online. (Photo: iStock)

ALSO SEE: Is social media creating unrealistic travel goals?

Put the phone down from time to time and actually take in the view, the air, the people and the experience. It's cool to take some dope shots - even #4thegram - but don't let it eat up your focus and time after trekking all the way to your chosen destination. 

And don't be a travel snob - if you hear someone wants to go somewhere that seems perhaps 'mainstream' and overly abused on the #gram, fight the urge to one-up them with a tale of your upcoming adventures or the highlight reel of your past niche journeys.

ALSO CHECK OUT: Travel abominations according to Anthony Bourdain

So, how can I brag without being a social drag?

Business Insider wrote out a list on the etiquette of the fine art of travel bragging and how not to spur on any social fury of your followers. 

The key pointers are:

  • Avoid posting the mundane - Let's be real, the chances of anyone truly caring what your hotel or Airbnb room looks like is slim. Avoid posting pics that don't inspire wanderlust. If you're at a great resort, perhaps get its best features - the pool side, its landscapes, views a beautiful sunset etc. Anything other than another beige and white hotel room - those can go in your social stories if you must. 
  • Don't over-share - Choose the best pics from each place you visit and curate your posts. Switch it up and choose your best shots.
  • Don't make it about yourself - Yes, slay kween / king, you're living your best life - but you're also in a new place that you and perhaps your followers may never have been to before. Focus on the place and not just yourself and how the journey has changed you. Share insights to the local culture, vibe and its people. Though, please do get consent before posting pics of strangers and children.
  • Avoid listing your experiences like a check list - Genuinely look into yourself and consider whether you're doing something for the actual experience of it or merely its Instagrammability. Choose experiences you'd actually want to try and that perhaps were rusting in your experience bucket list and avoid sounding like you're merely ticking off things that work for the gram.
  • Don't check into the same place every time - Trust me, if you've checked into your hotel once before, the chances are people know that you'll be there for a while - there's no need to check in each time you return from your daily adventures. Try focusing on living in the actual moment rather than instantaneously letting the socials know that you are there and pics are to follow for the sake of the 'pics or it didn't happen' slogan. Enjoy what you're doing when you're doing it - pics can always come later.
taking pic of food

Don't over-share and be sure the lighting and food pic is top quality if you're going to post it as part of your travels. (Photo: iStock)

DON'T THROW Caution in the wind: Travel warnings you shouldn't ignore

Overall: Just have fun 

You can, of course, choose to ignore all of the above and live your life the way you please. However, if there is one thing you get from this is: remember to have fun. If you're lucky enough to be travelling the wonders of this world, do your best duty to actually enjoy it - whether that requires your phone becoming an extra limb or not. 

And if you're going to brag - be humble, and not just with the hashtag #humblebrag.

Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Brent Crude
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo