The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - Escape - - HOW I TRAVEL - CELESTE MITCHELL

Look up from this story right now and study the peo­ple around you. How many have their eyes glued to their phones? On the train; phones. Walk­ing down the street; phones. Wait­ing in line for cof­fee; phones. Is it any won­der that this zom­bie-like ob­ses­sion spills over into our trav­els, too?

Aussies spend on av­er­age two hours a day on so­cial me­dia and it’s mak­ing trav­ellers more self-ob­sessed than ever be­fore. Un­sur­pris­ingly, if you’ve trav­elled any­where this year, Ex­pe­dia’s 2018 so­cial me­dia and travel re­port, #LikeToTravel, sug­gests Aussies are fix­ated on achiev­ing ’gram glory rather than ac­tu­ally en­joy­ing their sur­round­ings when trav­el­ling.

It’s not enough that we’re flat-chat busy be­fore even reach­ing the air­port to depart – we’re glo­ri­fy­ing “busy­ness” and van­ity while we’re sup­posed to be chill­ing out. Look around the re­sort pool, the mon­u­ment, the moun­tain­top – you can bet there’ll be Aussies nearby spend­ing up to one hour each day just doc­u­ment­ing their trip.

They’re think­ing about the per­fect shot, wor­ry­ing if their out­fit is right, look­ing at where the light is best, and spend­ing an av­er­age of 10 min­utes to take one photo. (Alarm­ingly, 5 per cent ad­mit they spend 30 min­utes or more tak­ing the per­fect pic, with some tak­ing two hours or more!)

I’m not be­grudg­ing any­one tak­ing a snap of them­selves in the des­ti­na­tions they’ve dreamed of and saved for and have se­ri­ous goose­bumps of joy when they ar­rive, but al­most half of all Aussie trav­ellers re­ally just want to make their friends jeal­ous.

The re­port shows 43 per cent of trav­ellers ad­mit they spend time and ef­fort get­ting the right shot and pose so they can cause se­ri­ous FOMO for friends back home.

And most don’t be­lieve this act of so­cial proof and val­i­da­tion de­tracts from their hol­i­day – in fact, 30 per cent say it’s what makes it – even when they’re just repli­cat­ing shots they’ve al­ready seen!

Even sad­der? More than 250 peo­ple around the world have died tak­ing self­ies since 2011, ac­cord­ing to a study by the Jour­nal of Fam­ily Medicine and Pri­mary Care in In­dia. Men and women, mostly un­der 30, all tempt­ing fate – and los­ing – for the pur­suit of more In­sta­gram likes.

In­dia led the way with more than 50 per cent of deaths fol­lowed by Rus­sia, United States, and Pak­istan – with three-quar­ters of vic­tims be­ing male. Drown­ing, fall­ing from ex­treme heights, be­ing hit by traf­fic and mauled by wild an­i­mals were some of the most com­mon causes.

In June, a Perth cou­ple fell 30m to their deaths tak­ing a selfie in Eri­ceira, Por­tu­gal.

In­stead of fo­cus­ing out­ward and ac­tu­ally ex­pe­ri­enc­ing des­ti­na­tions, they’ve be­come elab­o­rate back­drops – places to be seen. The ques­tion is, if you didn’t see it on In­sta­gram and if you didn’t have your phone in your pocket, would you ac­tu­ally like it as much?

Make your next trip less ho­mogenised with these three sim­ple phone hacks.


Avoid the temp­ta­tion to grab the Wi-Fi code at every stop in your day and rel­ish wan­der­ing and talk­ing to lo­cals, in­stead. In Porto, Por­tu­gal, I picked up a fan­tas­tic folded map de­signed by lo­cal artists in a cof­fee shop, and it got me around for a week.


Un­less you’re vig­i­lant about turn­ing all no­ti­fi­ca­tions off, it’s far too easy to fall down a so­cial me­dia rab­bit hole with every buzz or ping. Leave your phone on air­plane mode to keep those out-of-of­fice vibes.


I know, I know, your iPhone’s cam­era is AMAZ­ING. But shoot with a cam­era and em­brace the fact there’s no share func­tion and no need to feel anx­ious about how many likes you’ve re­ceived since you posted five min­utes ago. That’s a big tick for men­tal well­ness as well as em­brac­ing the won­der of travel.


Pic­ture this: Try nav­i­gat­ing a new city without Wi-Fi, with an old-fash­ioned pa­per map.

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