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Oyster Worldwide Says It’s Time to #DitchTheSelfie

30 Jun 2017

This is a guest blogpost by Oyster Worldwide – A gap year, career break and responsible travel specialist

Earlier this month was National Selfie Day (21st June), but we at gap year travel operators Oyster Worldwide claim it is time for us to #DitchTheSelfie.

As responsible travel specialists we say that the urge to take travel selfies is taking over from the true enjoyment and appreciation of the moment.

Harriet Wray, a Travel Adviser for Oyster Worldwide, says:

“We are seeing a trend for people wanting to take as many selfies in as many places as possible. People are rushing from one spot to another trying to pack in as many selfies as they can, rather than taking the time to stop and look around.

Real travel moments are experienced in those moments when we pause to take in a view, listen to the sound of the waves or have a conversation with an interesting local.

We think it’s time to ditch the travel selfie and get back to enjoying real travel experiences off-camera, which is why we’ve launched our campaign to ditch the selfie.”

Elephant Selfie

We conducted a global survey of over 1000 respondents to gather more information on travel selfie habits.

The survey found that 51% of respondents take 1-10 selfies during a 1-week holiday, with 45% sharing up to 5 of their selfies on social media.

Almost half of respondents claim that they share their travel selfies because their family and friends want to see them, while 10% admit they want to show off to their social media friends.

34% of those surveyed feel it is at least somewhat important for people to engage with their travel selfies on social media, with 35% saying they feel happy when someone likes their holiday selfie and 7% admitting it makes them feel validated.

The younger respondents placed prominence on social media interaction, with 53% of respondents aged 18-25 saying it was important or somewhat important that people liked their selfies on social media.

On top of this, 21% of all respondents say they feel disappointed or embarrassed if their travel selfie doesn’t get any likes, while the number was again higher among the 18-25-year-old group, with 39% of these respondents saying they would feel disappointed or embarrassed.

With such emotions attached to travel selfies, it’s not surprising to see that a quarter of respondents feel pressure to obtain a good selfie while on holiday, and 15% said they would be disappointed or upset if they didn’t manage to obtain a good selfie while on holiday or travelling.

Again the 18-25 year-old-respondents polled higher than average, with 35% saying they feel pressured to obtain a good selfie and 33% saying that they would feel upset or disappointed if they didn’t manage to get a good selfie while travelling.

Harriet Wray says:

“The survey results were of great interest to us. The results highlight that selfies have become an intrinsic part of travelling and it was insightful to see the emotional attachment many people place on their selfies.

People are spending their travel time taking and sharing selfies rather than really taking in the moment for themselves.”

The campaign comes shortly after a study which found that 40.1% of millennials choose their holiday destination based on ‘Instagrammability’.

Travel selfies have also been hitting the headlines as tourists undertake ever more dangerous measures to get a show-stopping selfie – including selfies taken on top of cliffs, next to wild animals and in front of active volcanoes.

In April 2017 a Sacramento woman fell from a 60ft bridge while taking a selfie. In 2015 three college students in India died while trying to take a selfie next to a fast moving train.

Extreme and dangerous consequences like this are rare, however they are further evidence of the importance people place on gaining the perfect selfie, rather than spending their time truly engaging with their destination.

You can find out more about the campaign at https://ditchtheselfie.com/, where you can also pledge your allegiance to the #DitchtheSelfie Movement if you feel that travel selfies have taken over from true travel experiences.

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