You hear it a lot, people saying “how they need a break” how they wish they were on vacation, and when they actually have the opportunity to plan a vacation, You hear the ongoing complaints about how booking hotels and flights are such a hassle or having to deal with airport security. I will admit a few of those words have come out of my mouth. It’s very easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life with school, work, balancing relationships, raising a family etc.. I totally understand, This trip to San Francisco, was my first trip in 5 years!
I knew going into planning for my trip, i wanted 2 key elements. One, being to have an experience compiled with mixture of “tourist-y” activities and normal locale activities. Two, I wanted my trip to be as stress-free as humanly possible I did not want to spend my whole vacation researching. I mean, the whole point of a vacation is to relax, right?? :)
I began thinking, how can i get instant feedback on hotels, attractions, restaurants,and get the feeling of being a local, in the quickest amount of time? Then.. It hit me, Social Media! Think about it, Most of us, when we do research on a certain topic/product/place, a big part of our research comes from other people’s insights whether it be in the form of customer reviews, suggestions, opinions, experiences. Social Media can be used as a one-stop shop for insight.
Here are some ways I utilized social media to plan my trip.
1.) Finding A Hotel:
I used social apps such as TripAdvisor, and the Check-in function
Trip Advisior- A popular site specifically geared towards travel, there you can find thousands of reviews. The best part is can customize your search based on price range, star-ratings, neighborhood, distance and hotel amenities/class/brand
Check-In function: The Check-In function is used quite a bit on Facebook, but what most know is, it is actually a social media site on its own. First, I went on Facebook and typed in San Francisco and saw that a few of my friends had visited the city. I looked at the hotels they stayed at. Next, I went to the Check-In Function site and got more detailed information on hundreds of other hotels.
I got a little bit clever when it came to this aspect: I used Facebook, Twitter hashtags, and Pintrest
Facebook- I wrote on my FB asking if anybody had any suggestions on attractions to visit in San Francisco. I received instant feedback (some comments included links and pictures) that helped quicken up the amount of research)
Twitter Hashtags: The great thing about twitter hashtags it is organized by topic. I clicked on #SanFrancisco and #WhattodoinSF: those hashtags sent me to pictures, status updates of how good food was at a certain restaurant, People’s opinion’s on popular tourist sites like museums, art galleries etc.. and places to go for a “True San Francisco experience” without the crowds of people.
Pintrest- Pintrest is a photosharing website, where people can pin stuff they are like. It’s like an online pin/inspiration board.
I went on Pintrest and searched San Francisco attractions and pinned the images that i wanted to see in person during my trip
I’m a big foodie, and i had heard rumblings about finding the best seafood at Fisherman’s Wharf. I was on a mission to stuff myself until i couldn’t stuff myself any longer.
The Yelp App was a major player in the aspect of food.
Yelp- An on-line customer review site.
I used Yelp’s current location setting and searched nearby restaurants. Similar to Trip Advisor, i was able to narrow down my search by ratings, distance, user comments, and food type.
Although, i did have to do some form of research, social media definitely cut the time that i would have had to spend looking through webpage after webpage for information. I was able to plan my vacation in an efficient way. I was able to check off the 2 important elements off my list and enjoy my rare time off.
Here are some pictures from my trip:
Twin Peaks- Overlooking the City
Legion Of Honor Museum
I hope i was able to present the use of social media in a different light and provide you with useful information. Give it a try, let social media be your tour guide!