Explore Your Vacation on Instagram

Every time I go on vacation, I am surrounded by people who take pictures by phone. But I only recently realized that this annoyance while on vacation can be helpful: before you book a hotel, camping, restaurant table, or museum tickets, search for this place on Instagram. Not the official account of this place, but all the photos taken in this place. (Just run an Instagram search and click the pin icon on the map.)

The tourism destination’s official website will only post the most flattering footage, often carefully lit and edited in posts. Instagram photos will still be a little flattering, but much more realistic.

Instagram shots show how people interact with the place and what the highlights are. (Is there one signature cocktail often? Everyone in this national park is heading towards a certain mountain? Oh, what’s that popular burger on the beach?) To discover nearby attractions, flip through a few photos and see where else those Instagrammers have gone.

These shots also show you what kind of people will be around you at your destination if you care. For example, the crowd at the Pestana South Beach Art Deco Hotel looks low-key and relaxed next to the intimidating crowd at the Standard Spa in Miami Beach.

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