The Problem With Instagram and Travel

Christa Adams
2 min readFeb 23, 2021

I’m peacefully reading a book under the Mediterranean sun when a group of girls plants themselves nearby. They drop their bags, grab their iPhones, and immediately commence a bikini photoshoot by the water with the backdrop of the iconic W Barcelona Hotel.

This show goes on for half an hour as these Instagrammers pass around their mobiles like American sorority girls passing a candle in ceremonial delight. They’re effortlessly posed and in a seek of desperation to document themselves candidly, a sense of urgency that if the photo didn’t happen neither did the moment. Once the act concluded, they picked up their bags and left the beach. It’s just another day in the life of a modern Instagrammer.

This has become the disturbing reality thanks to Instagram and its influencers. As late travel expert Anthony Bourdain said, “Travel is about the gorgeous feeling of teetering in the unknown,” but travel influencers are not painting that picture. The vast majority paint staged, adventure-less, and heavily edited photographs. Do you know how many Instagrammers edit fake birds and skies into their photographs?

Instagrammers are essentially telling inexperienced travellers that travel culture is based on aesthetics, looking glamorous, and sleeping in high-class hotels. A recent study found the ‘instagramablilty’ of a place is the main factor…