How Social Media is Changing Travel

Filed under: SOCIAL MEDIA

Thursday, July 26, 2012 | 11:25 AM




Author: Adam Zettler

It wasn't that long ago when you were planning a trip you found yourself sitting in a travel agency leafing through print brochures and travel magazines.  The introduction of the World Wide Web has opened a whole new world of ideas and information to travelers.  Obviously, things have changed drastically, as travelers became more savvy and the demand for more individualized content grew. Travelers and tourists don't rely purely on data anymore. We are now in the "social media" age, where those planning travel for business and pleasure not only utilize technology, like mobile apps and smartphones, but can now actually tap into real time information from real people. The start of this was user reviews on very popular sites such as Trip Advisor, but as time goes on things are becoming more and more social.


infographic: HotelDealsandotherstuff

Just what social media tools do travelers have at their disposal, and how can these tools help travelers not only plan their trips, but also help them enjoy their travels? has put together the best travel social media for all of our cities in one place,  to allow people planning trips to cities to meet, share and connect with locals.

Let's take a look at some of our partners.......




The MEET A LOCAL mark in each city takes you to Travbuddy, which now has over 1 million users. You can meet other travelers and share travel advice, but most importantly, you can find someone to travel with, and arrange to hang out with a local in cities around the world. Travbuddy also has discussion forums and games that make it a fun and interactive place to interact with other travelers.



Localyte, by NileGuide, is a very cool network of thousands of helpful locals willing to answer questions about wherever you are traveling to, and offer services like guided tours and even pet-sitting. Locals are ranked and reviewed by travelers using their services. Have a specific question about the city you are exploring? Who better to ask than a local ?



Time Magazine Travel Review "CouchSurfing isn't just a means of accommodation; it is an entirely new way to travel and meet new people. You get to see the world through local residents, not hotel concierges or guidebooks. But what is most profound about the whole experience is the trust that naturally exists." is the ultimate social media tool for the adventurous traveler and it helps you save money by cutting back on hotel costs or other accomodations. Another fun and interactive way to connect with helpful travel-bugs in all of our featured cities!



Looking for activities or something fun to do in the city you are in? Meetup is a unique way to "do, share, learn and change something". Meet fellow travel enthusiasts wherever you are traveling! Go to a Travel Meetup, or start your own Meetup to share adventures, photos from around the world and get recommendations on new destinations and fun activities in cities. features links to Meet-Ups in all our cities-just click on the Meetup logo! Find fun and maybe even a new travel friend!


Our social media pages also feature some more well known social media tools that you can explore and utilize for travel and trip ideas:

Youtube: We've got links to all the Youtube streams for all of our cities. Here is a very cool video featuring the top 10 attractions in San Franciso. You can get travel advice and reviews of attractions and events, and of course you can interact with others through Youtube discussions and comments.

Flicker: Flickr is a photo-sharing site that allows people to share and organize photos. Our Flickr streams take you to gorgeous and thought provoking photos of what you can expect to see when you travel to a city.

Pinterest: Pinterest is the relative new kid on the block, the fastest growing social network on the web. "Pinterest is a virtual pinboard. Pinterest allows you to organize and share all the beautiful things you find online. You can browse pinboards created by other people to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests."  But how do you use it to actually plan trips? Here is a great article via The Toronto Star.....Pinterest gaining traction for travel and tourism sites to give you some ideas.

Twitter: Twitter and the use of hashtags (#) are a great way to find out what is trending or going on in any given city.  I find "under the radar" events and entertainment by typing in #cityname and #whatimlookingfor.... and exploring the tweets. The learning curve for utilizing Twitter is a little higher, but the payoff can be fantastic and it is definitely a great way to connect with other travelers, and get advice and connect with locals.


image courtesy of


Social media tools and the ability to connect with others easier and faster will continue to be a boon for travelers. Social media is definitely growing more mobile as online media become more individualized and new places to explore and things to do are shared on great sites like Localyte and Pinterest.  Hopefully you will discover the great social media sites and tools we have in our SOCIAL MEDIA pages, and find it fun and useful. We are sure you will discover a few great sites you weren't aware of before.

We've come a long way since the days of flipping through glossy travel brochures and catalogs, and the future looks exciting!


ask a local, travbuddy, social media, cities, travel, localyte, meet a local, Youtube, reviews, couchsurfing, twitter, meetup, pinterest, technology, tourism, Flickr, tips

The Conversation

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Harold Gardner wrote: 2:41pm July 30, 2012

I have not really thought about using SM to help organize travel. Just did a bit of web surfing and gave it a go. Interesting to think about using the SM connections when I am on the road. Thanks for a new and useful idea.

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Liz Hall wrote: 2:53pm July 30, 2012

Awesome and comprehensive info!! Thank you

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David wrote: 2:55pm July 30, 2012

I agree with all the social media sites that you have mentioned. I think TripAdvisor is still the place people go to look at reviews but it might not be long before it gets overtaken by other social media sites. A few months ago I wrote an article on my travel blog about the best free travel apps. One of the best I found was iTranslate.

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Adam Zettler wrote: 11:04am July 31, 2012

Hi David: I checked out your article and its a great source of information. iTranslate certainly is interesting as well. Thanks for sharing.

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Matthias Gomio wrote: 3:28am August 1, 2012

That's a very interesting post! Thanks for this!
We are supporting and working on Social Travel since more than two years now. We developed GoDashBoard - a suite of social travel tools to 1st: See who else will be in the same hostel and city as you to connect felllow travelers previously to make travel plans ahead travel, 2nd: to connect and meet locals 3rd: check reviews about bars, restaurants, locations and so on, and last but not least you are able to see all the events like concerts and festivals in your destination.
It's simple and easy to use!

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Adam Zettler wrote: 9:51am August 1, 2012

Thanks Matthias! Travelers can check out the GoDashBoard :

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Jum'atil Fajar wrote: 10:26am August 6, 2012

I found social media was very helpful for the tourist. They can now the rate of accommodation in remote area that does not put on the official brochure of travel agent. We also can contact the accommodation before coming there.

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Adam Zettler wrote: 10:52am August 6, 2012

Great point Jum'atil! Social media has definitely made travel more accessible, not just in cities and well known destinations but also to remote areas.

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