Social Networks Useful for Travelers

There are a plethora of social networking sites that can help to aid a traveler in his/her adventures. Aside from Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, there are more travel related sites such as Airbnb, TripAdvisor, and Trover. Each of these social networks include travel destination ideas, places to stay, popular attractions to see, and much more.

Airbnb is a convenient website and phone app that enables its users to find housing in their price range for their travel destination. Studying abroad in Europe and traveling almost every weekend, Airbnb makes it an easy way to find a home away from home for the weekend. Users are able to pick a price range, enter the number of guests that will be staying, the dates of travel and pick a location of their liking. Once the details for the trip are entered, a selection of housing, ranging from entire homes, to apartments, to guest houses, and more, will appear on a map. Being able to scroll around the map searching for the perfect place to stay makes this social networking site easy to navigate. Aside from looking for a place to stay, Airbnb also allows its users to see popular popular experiences in the travel destination, such as city walking tours, food tastings, and bike tours.

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Another popular social network site for traveling is TripAdvisor. TripAdvisor enables its users to find flights, hotels, restaurants, and things to do wherever they may be traveling to. My favorite feature of this social network is that it gives a list of ‘Traveler’s Choice Award Winners’, which is where I have gotten many restaurant recommendations as well as travel destination recommendations to places that I would have never considered traveling to. For example, Interlaken, Switzerland was never on my list of places to stay when traveling to Switzerland, but after reading 5-star reviews on the quaint little town, I knew i had to go to this magical winter wonderland. It definitely did not disappoint (stay tuned to hear more about this picture perfect town in my upcoming blog post).

screen-shot-2017-02-08-at-10-16-46-am  Trover is a social network site where users can explore some of the most exciting travel destinations through the photos that other users post on their personal site. You are able to search for your next destination to get ideas on places to go and attractions to see, and may even lead you to visit unique places that were not on your bucket list. I have even gotten inspiration for some picture ideas to take when I visit certain landmarks, such as the Eiffel Tower (see below).

screen-shot-2017-02-08-at-10-36-53-am    There are so many options of social network sites to look at when planning a trip. Whether you are looking for a place to stay or a restaurant to eat at, each of these websites will help you to plan a successful trip!

Social Networks: Facebook and Traveling

As we all know, Facebook plays a huge role in our day to day life. According to http://www.statista.com there are approximately 1.79 billion monthly active Facebook users. With a population like this, I was able to connect with friends, old and new, about their travels abroad and ask them for advice for my upcoming semester in Europe. Facebook makes it easy to find out where people are traveling to with their ‘Traveling to’ feature. This enables users to quickly share with their Facebook friends where they are traveling to and allows them to ask for tips as well as post pictures from their adventure.   screen-shot-2017-02-01-at-10-48-19-am

Another valuable Facebook tool is photo sharing. Photo sharing enables its users to share pictures and videos of their travels in an interactive way. Creating albums for the different places one travels to makes it easily accessible to all of their Facebook friends. After publishing a picture, people are able to like, comment, and share the picture, which could lead to the post going viral in certain cases. I have found many travel blogs and pages from my Facebook friends sharing travel tips and pictures to their Facebook page. When posting a picture, Facebook is able to detect where the location of the picture was taken and will add it to the photo description. In the “describe this album” section, the publisher is able to add a description to their album. For example, on my ‘Barcelona and Beyond’ Facebook album, I have written all of the places that I have traveled to so far in the description section of the album so that my Facebook friends will know where I traveled to and will be able to ask me for any tips if they decided to travel to any of the same places. It will also give them a sneak peak of what they can expect to see when they travel there, or it might even encourage someone to travel to a place that was not on their bucket list. I had never heard of Interlaken, Switzerland until one of my Facebook friends had posted amazing pictures from her trip there. After seeing pictures of the incredible scenery, I knew I had to book a trip there for an experience of a lifetime. It definitely did not disappoint!

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Facebook allows its users to follow pages that they find interesting, so since I am interested in traveling, I follow a numerous amount of travel pages where I am able to receive advice on popular places to eat, visit, and stay. So far throughout my study abroad experience, the main travel page that I have been using is https://www.facebook.com/bus2alps.travel/. This Facebook page is designed for students like me who want to travel the world for a reasonable price. Bus2alps provides weekend trips that include transportation, meals, housing, and activities all for a certain price. They use Facebook to promote their company and their trips to college students by posting fun and interactive videos and photos, as well as posting about discounts and free travel opportunities.

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Overall, Facebook is a great tool to find travel advice and to stay connected with friends and family while traveling the world. By uploading pictures to a photo album on Facebook, you will have those memories for the rest of your life. Posting your travels to Facebook can lead to many new friendships and allows people to reconnect with old friends by bonding over memories they may have from looking at the pictures of your travels.

London: My Cup of Tea

For my first trip abroad, I decided to go London! Even though I had only been in Barcelona for two weeks, my roommates and I were craving a visit to an English speaking country, so London was the perfect fit. We arrived in London late Thursday night and our Airbnb was located right above Kennedy’s Fish ‘n Chips (a locals favorite!), so naturally that was our first stop. On Friday we spent the day being tourists and went on a double-decker bus tour around the city. Our first stop was Buckingham Palace. The detail of the palace gates and the architecture of the palace was jaw dropping. My first thought after seeing how enormous the palace is, was, “has the Royal Family even seen the entire palace yet?”. We were able to see the changing of the guards which was a pretty big ceremony.

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After spending some time at my future palace, we hopped on the bus to our next destination, Kensington. We walked around the cute, quaint streets and stopped for lunch. After our lunch break we headed over to the London Eye and Big Ben. These monuments are even more breathtaking in person than they are in pictures. Of course with my luck, the London Eye was closed for maintenance, so instead we took a boat tour down the river and saw the London Bridge and Tower Bridge.

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After a long day of exploring, we treated ourselves to a fancy dinner at Sushisamba, which has views that overlook all of London. On Saturday morning we headed over to Abbey Road to see the Beatles studio and famous cross walk. It was nothing like what we were expecting, but it was definitely humorous. We had assumed that the crosswalk was blocked off to traffic, but little to our knowledge, it is an exceedingly busy road. People would constantly hold up traffic to try and take a picture of themselves crossing the street and the drivers would get so annoyed and everyone honks at the tourists.

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After almost getting hit by angry cab drivers, we walked over to Picadilly Circus and Oxford Street, where there is great shopping and restaurants. Apparently we did not get the memo that there was going to be a Donald Trump protest that day and we were stuck in the dead center of it, unable to move. Once we escaped the protests, we went to a delicious Thai restaurant for a late lunch/ early dinner and then hit up a few pubs later that night. Sunday morning we got breakfast at a café near our apartment and then headed to the airport for our flight back to Barcelona. All in all, it was an unforgettable trip and I will definitely be going back to London.