Updated in 2017
Social Media is not going away and its reach and tools grow daily. I often use social media to plan my trip and of course to stay in touch while traveling. There are a lot of ways you can use social media to plan a trip. From winning free trips with social media or find things to do. Check out tips for each social media network.
- If you are not sure where to travel to, follow accounts that post information about the latest travel deals @airfarewatchdog @stealthistrip @travelzoo @theflightdeal.
- Follow the twitter accounts of airlines that serve your home airport and hotel accounts for promotional deals. If you have a hotel in mind search for their twitter account to see if they have tweeted promotional links or discount codes.
- Participate in travel chats to get advice on certain destinations. Some of the chats also give away prizes. Check out these weekly chats:
- Expedia-@expedia #expediachat 2 pm Wednesdays EST for a chance to win a free hotel stay or a $500 travel voucher
- Travel and Leisure- @Travlandleisure #tl_chat Tuesdays at 2 pm ET, this is more of a chat that provides expert advice on the latest travel trends and destinations.
- To participate make sure your account is public and you use the designated hashtag (placing a “#” before a word example #travel) for the chat. You can either Retweet the question and add your answer or respond with answer noting the number of the question you are responding to. Example:
For an up to date list of weekly travel chats check out @travelogix or http://www.travelogx.com/chat/
See what people are saying about your upcoming trip by searching for the city or hotel. For example, by searching #Reykjavik the top accounts show up in your search. It is always a good idea to check the local tourism accounts for upcoming events and places to visit. If you don’t want to go and follow a lot of accounts you can create a Reykjavik or Iceland list to organize all tweets and accounts related, then delete it if you desire after your trip. Speaking of lists, I have included a link to my list where I have included most of the companies in the travel industry that I have mentioned in this post.
- If you have an issue while traveling don’t be afraid to tweet to the airline, hotel or any business for a quicker response (varies per company). This is especially helpful when you are international and don’t want to pay to make a call. I have tweeted Delta and a hotel and received a quick response and resolution.
You will not be able to perform the following on the computer.
- If you already have a reservation or on the fence between a few hotels, sometimes you don’t trust those stock photos and want a better look. Search on Instagram to get up to date pictures of the hotel as well as by clicking on the location of the hotel to see all the photos that are tagged to that hotel. Some people (like myself @workhardtravelwell) posts videos of the hotel rooms as well. This will help you get a better look and also see what real guests are saying about the hotel. This search can be done for restaurants, bars etc.
- Make sure you use appropriate hashtags when posting a picture, I now see tourism accounts will comment on your pictures to wish you a great stay and sometimes make suggestions for your visit. If you post a picture of hotel, you should hashtag the hotel ex #radissonblusaga and the city.
- You can search for the city as well to see some of places people recommend to visit.
- While traveling Check in for specials such as discounts on drinks or a free appetizer. You can also views tips on what to order.
- If your foursquare is linked to a public twitter. Most businesses are starting to tweet you to wish you a good visit or ask if you enjoyed your meal. I checked into the Intercontinental in San Francisco (Mark Hopkins location) and the account tweeted me thanking me for choosing the hotel and wished me a great stay. I responded with a question about a local tour and they were very helpful.
- If you don’t use Twitter you can use Facebook to apply most of the same techniques I mentioned for twitter. It’s up to you if you want to use both.
- You can check in and view tips and reviews of hotels and restaurants.
As you can see, social media can help you plan your next trip as well as help you while you are traveling. Feel free to share in the comments below on how social media has helped you with a trip.