You open Instagram, and half of the world is traveling. Even on a professional platform like LinkedIn, users post their travel pictures to explain how it rejuvenates them.
While some tell their success stories through traveling, others promote travel as a much-needed break amidst hectic schedules and monotonous routines.
From your neighbors to your classmates and your colleagues, everyone is traveling someplace or the other. But how did travel become so popular?
I am not saying that it wasn’t popular before, but it indeed has become more prominent in the past three years.
The Travel Influence: The Sudden Craze for Exploring the World
People are searching for jobs that allow them to travel. The number of travel influencers across the globe is increasing as we speak. Employees are quitting their 9-5 jobs for freelancing so they can travel while they work. All these factors indicate the growing vogue around traveling.
The most relatable example of the current travel craze is how weddings in India are incomplete without a pre-wedding photoshoot in Goa or Rajasthan. It is, of course, followed by a honeymoon in exotic locations like Andaman and Nicobar Islands or the Maldives with a relevant travel hashtag.
From celebrating their new job to finding their soulmate, people travel for all the reasons in the world. So much that now an accomplishment feels incomplete if you don’t take a trip right after it.
Goa, the most famous tourist attraction in India, has been swamped with tourists for the past year. The ‘party’ paradise, which used to be only visited during the New Year and Christmas seasons, now witnesses massive tourist footfall throughout the year.
Families and friends who flocked to hill stations like Manali, Shimla, and Ooty during summer holidays to beat the heat are now living there. A large number of people have started purchasing or renting properties in holiday destinations to spend more days/weeks there.
Was it like this before? I don’t think so. During the pre-pandemic and Instagram reels era, I observed that traveling did excite people, but I never believed that the inclination would become an obsession.
But what triggered this sudden change? Is it a trend promoted by millennials and Gen Zs? Or the need of the hour amidst such stressful lives? Let’s break it down.
Why Exactly are People Traveling so Much Nowadays?
The Pandemic and its After-effects
The COVID-19 pandemic triggered unprecedented anxiety and stress in people, especially younger ones. After repeated lockdowns and travel restrictions, people started feeling suffocated in their homes.
They wanted to have a sense of normalcy, and travel gave them precisely that. Numerous canceled travel plans, a new COVID-19 variant, or new travel guidelines made people restless.
So once things settled down and the restrictions were lifted, people began traveling as much as possible. Many without a plan or a partner started going on impromptu trips, and solo traveling became more popular.
Remote Work Culture
Another apparent reason that has made travel so popular is the remote work culture introduced shortly after the COVID-19 outbreak. Which was not possible earlier is now very much possible—working from anywhere in the world.
One can work remotely from the comforts of their homes or travel across cities and nations while attending their work calls and meeting their deadlines. This change in the global work scenario has prompted the trend of working while traveling.
From Microsoft to Twitter, several big giants across the globe have shifted to a permanent work-from-home policy that has allowed more and more people to travel while they work.
When talking about the growing popularity of travel, how can we leave social media behind? Instagram reels and Facebook stories are the main reason behind the ever-increasing travel FOMO.
Millions of people on social media make a living out of traveling. You will find 1 in 3 people on Instagram sharing pictures, videos, and reels from their vacations, making others want to travel too.
It has become a phenomenon for social media users to add ‘traveler’ or ‘travel enthusiast’ to their Instagram and Facebook bios. In my opinion, half of them travel only for Instagram and not to enjoy the essence of traveling. But hey, that’s what FOMO is, right?
Mental Health Issues
We all would agree that growing mental health issues like anxiety, depression, and stress are a cause of concern. Be it post-pandemic trauma, relationship issues, or loneliness, most individuals face some mental health problems.
It has made travel their go-to therapy as it reduces stress and helps unwind the mind. According to a 2021 survey, 40% of people travel to fix their mental health and find solace. It also helps people deal with loneliness.
Travel allows you to make new friends, experience new cultures, and explore new places that add a feeling of satisfaction.
‘I have a happening life,’ I have a good set of friends,’ ‘I am exploring new places.’ These are statements we make to ourselves to establish our own legitimacy.
Call it peer pressure or the eagerness to match everyone else’s lifestyle, people have been traveling more to reassure themselves that they are as happy as others. Pretending to have an ‘amazing’ life on social media is nothing new.
However, people are now traveling regularly to the place of their choice to convince themselves of making the most of their life. I have observed that some individuals only travel for showoff.
They are far away from understanding the basic idea behind traveling. The existing need for self-validation is such that they might not even know if they like traveling or not. But they do it anyway.
Traveling is a beautiful gift. It’s an experience that transforms lives. We travel to explore new places, connect with new people, witness new cultures, and rejuvenate from hectic routines.
One should travel as much as they can and as regularly as possible, but only for themselves and not for their ‘Instagram or YouTube’ family. Don’t travel because your colleagues are traveling; take a trip because you want to.
Planning a trip to Goa only because your classmates went last week does not make sense. Do it when you really want to explore Goa. After all, the moments and vibe count, not the pretense.