Social Media and Traveling Actually Have A Lot In Common
Why do people travel? Besides practical reasons like visiting friends and family or traveling for business, people travel because it fulfills our inner desires. We yearn to connect with one another. We want to find people that we can connect with, perhaps even our soul mate. This inner desire to connect with others is so strong that it even causes many of us to develop what’s known as the “Travel Bug”. Ultimately, learning about others and different cultures through traveling may actually help us understand ourselves and our purpose in life better. Social Media operates on these same principles.
The secret to understanding Social Media networking is to understand people and their needs.
For instance if someone says they want to be wealthy, perhaps the underlying desire is actually security. Similarly, if a business’ goal is to increase sales, the underlying desire is to engage more people. By understanding the fundamental values behind our goals, we can begin to use Social Media to fulfill our inner desires and those of our audience. And just as easy as it is to develop the “Travel Bug”, pretty soon you’ll also have the Social Media Bug!
Using selected Tourism and Travel Websites, let’s analyze how each of the sites below taps into different Social Media values to be successful:
Connecting with Other Travelers – Trip Advisor contains millions of user-generated ratings, reviews and opinions on everything from lodging to restaurants to trip ideas. So many people turn to Trip Advisor before their trip. And what’s more, so many give back to the community by writing about their experience afterwards.
Being Part of a Community – Where Are You Now? is a travel social network that can actually be linked to your facebook and twitter accounts! It allows users to keep a log of their travels and also integrates an instant messaging program. So you can keep in touch with friends and also make new friends with people who love to travel just like you! Another site, Triporama actually lets you and your friends plan a trip together by creating a group trip home page, sending out invites, travel research and even creating an itinerary together!
Independence and Independent Traveling – Vagablogging writer Ralph Potts writes this enlightening and energetic daily travel blog from the road covering a nice mix of news, tips and notes. He advocates having an independent spirit and taking time off from normal life to travel.
Service and “Voluntourism” – The Tranquilo Traveler is travel writer Joshua Berman’s blog that embraces volunteering abroad and “slow travel”, which implies staying longer in one place. This is certainly a unique and interesting view on travel and life in today’s fast-paced world.
Adventure and Hippie Travelers – the Lonely Planet community began over 30 years ago when its founders met in Regent’s Park and married a year later. For their honeymoon, they decided to attempt crossing Europe and Asia overland. Several months later, they managed to accomplish this feat, were flat broke and happy as could be! They created several travel guides and eventually the Lonely Planet website, which is committed to offering trustworthy advice and editorial independence, seeing as it partners with the BBC.
Being Part of a Family and Family Travel – Traveling Mamas was started by four travel writers that also happen to be moms. They offer tips on good and not-so-good family vacations spots as well as romantic getaways, girlfriend trips and solo trips. And these moms are definitely super moms, seeing as they are also active in charities and groups worldwide. Delicious Baby is a family vacation website that embraces having fun while traveling with the kids. Family Travel Logue is another great family travel site that simultaneously understands budget travel since children can be quite expensive at times.
Responsibility and Sticking to the Budget – Travel Zoo Top 20 reaches their audience through a weekly newsletter with the top 20 travel deals from a range of sources. By providing a no-frills weekly guide for the budget traveler, they succeed in cutting to the chase, which is exactly what this audience wants. And FYI, the deals are pretty spectacular! Tim Leffel’s Cheapest Destinations Blog also reaches this audience, but through a blog where he writes about bargain destinations, vacation values, and international adventures. Priceline.com and Kayak.com are also noteworthy search engine sites where budget travelers can get lucky!
Dedication of Travel Addicts – World Hum is so awesome, it was actually bought up by the Travel Channel. World Hum features blogs, videos, podcasts and articles. World Hum on Facebook is another useful Social Media tool they’ve incorporated. The slogan of World Hum is “Travel Dispatches from a Shrinking Planet”, which brings us to our final point.
These are just a few top Tourism & Travel websites that succeed in bringing people together online who share similar fundamental values.
Another commonality between Social Media and Traveling is that they both make the world seem smaller and more connected.
When you travel, you realize that deep-down, we all have similar basic needs. We all want clean air and water, we all want to feel safe and we all want to feel loved and respected. From there, we can begin to fulfill higher desires. Understanding this makes the task of connecting with others through Social Media more approachable. So keep traveling and keep blogging!