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Can Sharing Your Vacation Photos Online be a Bad Thing? Team TPG Weighs In

Aug. 19, 2016
11 min read
Can Sharing Your Vacation Photos Online be a Bad Thing? Team TPG Weighs In
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We've all done it — snapped an amazing photo from wherever we happen to be vacationing and shared it on social media so our friends and family back home could experience the moment along with us. But can this be a bad thing?

A recent article in The New York Times got us talking. In this day and age, sharing in-the-moment vacation photos and videos seems to be a reflex, whether you're doing something incredible just for the bragging rights or want to let your mom know you're still alive by posting about it after the fact. For some of us, including The Points Guy, we travel so much it's second nature to post as we go, whether on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat.

But, according to the article, doing this on a regular basis can also lead to negative things like jealous friends who will eventually unfollow you, hate mail from strangers and assumptions that the person posting is insecure and constantly seeking validation and special attention for their amazing vacation skills.

We had to ask — is there such a thing as vacation photo fatigue, where people just get sick and tired of seeing these types of pics popping up in their feed? Here's what the members of TPG's editorial staff have to say about all this, plus a favorite photo from each of his or her own travel adventures.

Brian Kelly, The Points Guy

I love seeing other people's travel photos but do have some pet peeves, like when someone posts too many uploads of the same thing. It's the same with Snapchat, too, since sometimes there are just too many snaps of the same sort of experience. Sometimes it seems like there's not enough of a personal touch in travel photos/snaps. I don't want to see the same old pics from the same old tourist traps, but your own spin on it that brings out your personality. In general though, the photos I see of my friends, — like the ones in Lee Abbamonte's and Nomadic Matt's Instagram feeds — always keep me inspired to keep traveling.

Just like they say

A photo posted by Brian Kelly (@thepointsguy) on

James Oliver Cury, Editorial Director

Since day one on Instagram, I have posted only pics that pass the following test:

  • Is it an artful shot (pretentious is OK) that would be interesting even if I didn't apply the "Rise" or "Hefe" filters?
  • Is there a clever caption, perhaps a hashtag pun, to give my followers one more reason to like it or me?
  • Is it the best of the bunch from a specific time or place? (Because I'm only posting one image per visit and I'm unfollowing anyone who overwhelms my feed with multiple shots from the same place.)

#catskills #dogdays #brotherlylove

A photo posted by @jamescury on

Zach Honig, Editor-in-Chief

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I tend to take a lot of pictures when I travel (usually with my Sony RX100 M3). I’ll select one or two in-camera and send them to my phone via Wi-Fi whenever there’s some downtime (like when I'm waiting in line, etc.), then pop them up on Instagram from there. That way I can share interesting plane pics, destination shots and so on without disrupting my experience (and that of my travel companions). And since I prefer to be behind the camera, I don’t really post “selfies,” although I have shared (on occasion) a picture of me in an airplane seat when there’s some interesting context to add.

Kaeli Conforti, Senior Editor

I think it's fine to share your vacation pics — as long as you're not annoying about it. I travel a lot and originally started my Instagram account so my parents and sister would be able to follow along and know I was okay. Later, I began using it as a way to share travel tips for the places I was visiting and hopefully inspire others to take their own trips. My attitude is more "Hey, check out this amazing place I just went to — you should come here, too!" than anything else.

Sarah Silbert, Points and Miles Editor

I used to post a ton of travel- and vacation-related photos on Instagram, but I’ve really dialed it down — both because friends have said they were starting to hate me for all the shots in far-flung destinations, and because I now try to focus more on the experience than the Insta-memory. Also, there are so many amazing photographers out there, so why even try to compete? My favorite travel pics are either silly or more personal, and you can never go wrong with posting a photo of monkeys!

...Some day my prince will come.

A photo posted by Sarah Silbert (@sarahsilbert) on

Emily McNutt, Associate Editor

I love sharing my pictures on social media — to an extent. It’s a great way to stay connected with family and friends while abroad. There’s definitely a line that can be crossed though. If you’re posting every hour for the duration of your trip, that could be a little much. That being said, I love seeing what my friends are up to on social media. If anything, seeing their pictures reignites that spirit of wanderlust in me and I might add a new destination to my travel bucket list. And I mean, who doesn’t appreciate a good picture?

Slowly becoming a Kiwi

A photo posted by Emm_McNutter (@mcnutt_mcnutt_mcnutt) on

Nick Ellis, Assistant Editor

As much as Instagram is meant for sharing, it's also a reflection of a unique individual. For people who love to travel, Instagram helps them share and keep track of the most memorable moments, views and meals of a new place. You can look back at where you've been and also see how much of the world is left for you to explore. I think it inspires others to want to travel — and to see that traveling is entirely possible for anyone. It also has the potential to open up places that don't typically get coverage in travel publications and blogs. Instagram can even offer others a glimpse of cultures that people perceive as radically different, but that, in reality, share a lot of common ground with our own. Finally, especially in these times of unrest and fear across the globe, social media can show the world as a place filled with decent, kind and loving people and that it's not as scary and hate-filled as the traditional media portrays.


A photo posted by Nick Ellis (@nellis_ellis) on

Peter Rothbart, Senior Points and Miles Contributor

I love seeing vacation pictures! I suppose there’s some truth to the New York Times article, but my social media feed is full of mesmerizing images captured by friends and family, and the sharing doesn’t feel self-indulgent or narcissistic to me at all. It just feels like sharing. I think the backlash against vacation photos says as much about the people complaining as it does about the ones posting. It’s good to acknowledge that not everyone can afford to travel, and to try and post pictures in a way that isn’t overly boastful. On the other hand, I like seeing pictures from people who travel more broadly and luxuriously than I do. Both Brian and Lori’s feeds are inspiring and give me ideas for future travels. I might not follow in their footsteps precisely, but seeing where they’ve been helps point me in a good direction.

A view of Ronda, Spain from a deserted building in the surrounding countryside (taken May, 2015).
Ronda, Spain from a deserted building in the surrounding countryside. Image courtesy of Peter Rothbart's Facebook page.

Now it's your turn: what do you think about people who constantly share their vacation photos? Sound off below!