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Sunday, February 9, 2014

10 Ways Facebook Has Changed the Way we Travel

All I can say is that in the past decade the world's largest social network sure has changed the way we travel—both for better and for worse. From my perspective, here are ten of the biggest changes:

1. Our travel dreams feel more achievable. When you log onto Facebook and see a friend riding a camel through the Sahara or photographing penguins in Antarctica, it becomes easier to picture yourself there. It also makes you insanely jealous.

2. We spend more time savoring our upcoming vacations. As soon as we announce travel plans on Facebook, we start to discuss them with friends and daydream about the trip. And happiness experts will tell you that the more time you spend anticipating a happy event, and reveling in that anticipation, the more it boosts your happiness.

3. It's easier to get our friends' recommendations for destinations we're headed to. Do a Facebook search for, say, "Hotels in Los Angeles," and you can immediately learn which of your friends have been to which hotels there, which they liked most, and what they have to say about them. It's a lot faster than emailing individual people whom you seem to recall may have once visited the place.

4. We share our travel experiences in real time. In the old days you had to wait for your neighbors to get back from a trip before you could see their photos. Now you see them atop the Eiffel Tower at the moment they're there.

5. We're forced to choose hotels with free Wi-Fi. Because if you can get on Facebook for free at home, you feel like an idiot paying a daily fee of $9.99—or, in some countries, $29.99—for Internet access.

6. When we're hungry or need a sightseeing break, we're drawn to eateries with Wi-Fi so we can "check in" on Facebook and check our friends' updates. Which is sad because when you're traveling you should seek out homegrown hangouts, not Starbucks. The more you spend those spare moments connecting with people you already know, the less you'll connect with locals.

7. We can track where we've been via Facebook's Timeline. It's now Facebook, not the attic, where we store our personal travel diaries and photo albums. And we carry our trip memories with us at all times—on our smartphones.

8. We're less likely to get homesick. No matter where you are in the world, you can keep constantly connected with friends and family back home.

9. We're more likely to worry throughout a trip that our house is being robbed. It's a risk you run when you announce on Facebook that you're hundreds of miles from home.

10. Thanks to the aforementioned constant connection with the familiar, it's too easy to travel but never leave our comfort zones. Which is sad because leaving one's comfort zone yields travel's greatest rewards. Not to mention that switching off from your daily life is one of the prerequisites for a true vacation.

Facebook's new app Paper may well make it even harder to lose yourself on vacation. The app basically allows for the travel equivalent of reading your hometown newspaper every day of a trip, when what you really should be doing instead is reading the local paper at your destination.

I'd love to know: How has Facebook changed how you travel?

source: CNTraveller

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