Does Social Media affect the way you prepare for travel?


Using social media to travel safely

When it comes to travel, it doesn’t matter whether you’re off on a deal-breaking business trip, a romantic city break, a gap year adventure, or a family holiday with your 2.4 children; in today’s volatile world, it is crucial to prepare. Gone are the days that a quick list of essential items, a cursory glance to check whether you need any immunisation jabs, and cancelling the milk and newspaper deliveries constituted adequate pre-travel preparation.
How much research should you do before you travel, and where will you source reliable information? There is an array of advice on the internet including the FCO’s travelaware and foreign-travel checklist, but how much we use the web and social media in our groundwork varies and can have a significant effect on the validity of decision-making factors. Have you ever checked out reviews of a prospective hotel and been put off by one particular bad review? Or are you objective in your analysis, appreciating that you can’t please everyone and there are always habitual complainers amongst the genuine reviewers? Do you join relevant social media groups or post questions to Forums? Both can be a mine of information, but you will need to sort the wheat from the chaff, as many self-proclaimed travel experts have never ventured further than their armchair!
What about in the event of a crisis? We’ve all heard the reports of loved ones being reunited following retweeted messages, of kind-hearted locals opening their doors to give shelter to those affected by events such as the Paris bombings of 2015 #PorteOuverte, the successful use of Facebook’s Safety Check, and the platform’s Community Help, which was used extensively in the August 2017 Barcelona attacks; but what role should social media take when you are getting ready for your trip?
When you consider that, according to recent research, more than a third of UK adults use Facebook as their primary news source, and yet Facebook itself felt the need to highlight ways to spot Fake News on its site, can social media be considered a reliable source?
The best advice has to be to keep an open mind, don’t assume everything you read is true, and through research determine for yourself which feeds are reporting accurately. Young travellers, in particular, are susceptible to being influenced by false reporting and yet are, arguably, the most vulnerable when travelling. Poor decision making can lead to dire consequences, so cross-referencing and validating sources are two steps in the right direction.
Meanwhile, Consularcare has top tips for preparing for business or leisure travel and keeping your family safe on holiday. For more information on the services, Consularcare provides call 0203 198 1890.