Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat aren’t just hobbies… they’re integral parts of our social lives, whether we want to admit it or not. When anything important happens in life, it’s only natural that we want to share it on our social media! Of course, vacations are no exception. After all, you’re having the time of your life, and you have plenty of great photos to show for it.
However, it’s not always the best idea to freely post about your travels online. What’s OK to show on social media while out of town? And what should you avoid doing? Read on to learn important safety tips.
Don’t tag your location
Whatever you do, don’t tag your location. If you check in on Facebook or add an Insta location tag, everyone will know where you are. There are two reason why you don’t want this. First, all those random strangers who follow you will know where you are. Secondly, all those random strangers (and slightly shady acquaintances) will know you’re not home. While it’s not likely that you’ll be personally attacked based on a tag, it’s not unusual for homes to be targeted when people are on vacation. There’s nothing like coming home to a burglarized house to ruin a good adventure.
Don’t post photos
I know… this is a tough one. When you’re snapping all those stunning shots, you want to share them with the world! But photos can give away your location just as much as tags can. Pictures of you next to the Eiffel Tower will certainly advertise that you’re not back home in Milwaukee. Wait until after your vacation to post photos. Besides the safety factor, waiting to post photos can actually make your vacation a whole lot better! You’ll have more time to select and edit your photos on the plane ride home, and you won’t spend your amazing vacation staring at a screen rather than the world around you.
Don’t post photos with geotags
If you must post photos, then just be sure you don’t post any with geotags. Geotags are digital attachments that record the locations where photos were taken. Some aps and sites make geotags visible to viewers. Obviously, this is an unnecessary way to add risk to your vacation. Even if you didn’t opt to geotag your photos, your phone or camera might automatically geotag photos. You might have to disable them. You should be able to do this in the photo settings or setting menu on your phone.
Don’t share who you are with
It’s great to meet up with friends while on vacation! Before you post about all the fun you’re having together, remember that being a good friend means being considerate. Do your friends want to be tagged, mentioned, or shown in photos? Even if you’re not worried about talking about your location, your friends might not be comfortable with it. It’s best not to post anything at all until everyone is back home. If you really want to share your photos, ask permission first. You might have to wait to post them until you get home, or maybe you can simply post them without tagging your friends. Maybe your travel buddies won’t care what you do! In this case, it’s better to ask permission than to ask forgiveness.
Don’t upload embarrassing photos
If you wouldn’t want your mom, boss, future employer, or little sister to see it, you probably shouldn’t post it. Vacations often offer prime material for embarrassing Facebook photos. Get a little crazy at the beach party? Snap a shot that ended up looking rather PG-13? Meet some new friends who aren’t the type you’d introduce to your grandma? Keep it offline. It’s better to skip the social media conversation for the sake of your reputation and future. It only takes one photo to create a headache that will follow you for years. In the moment, it’s easy to forget that photos don’t disappear once they’re uploaded. You can delete it from your account, but you can’t delete it from the internet. Even Snapchat photos get stored long after they disappear from your story.
Don’t share your travel plans
Don’t post your travel plans on social media. Nobody needs to know what you’re doing except you and your emergency contacts! In many cases, it’s not even a good idea to post about your plans in a Facebook group. Even closed groups are likely to include people you don’t know or don’t trust. Sharing your travel plans in any public forum is a risk for your own safety and for the security of your home. If someone has to know where you’re going, when you’re going, or how you’ll get there, you can send them the information in a message.
So, what can you share?
What can you share on social media while you’re on vacation? Share photos from last week when you were barbequing in the front yard. Share some insightful quotes or favorite book passages. Or, share nothing at all! Vacation is a good time to unplug and get away from regular life. Give yourself a well-deserved break from everything… including social media! Not only will you be safer when you stay off social media, but you’ll be more relaxed.
There are a lot of ways to ensure safety and security when you’re on vacation. You can pay a lot of money for international insurance, make elaborate plans, and arrange cover potential losses. All these things are good, but the easiest and cheapest way to practice safe policies is to be careful what you post online. Keep your location private, and you should be fine! What do you do to stay safe while on vacation? Share it in the comments below!