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Vacations can be a number of things: fun, exciting, memorable, expensive. It only makes sense to be prepared to take the perfect photos during trips to India so that the memories you make can last a lifetime. Sharing these photos with friends and family is a great way to spread the joy of travel.

That is how it begins, isn’t it? A picture on your social media feed – a quick Google search, sharing the gorgeous new location with your family and friends until someone says: let’s go there this weekend! Or, if you are a solo traveler, perhaps booking your ticket was the third thing you did, straight after a little bit of research. That is how powerful a photo is, especially one which has been reposted again and again (think Bali’s Gates of Heaven). The more popular a picture is, the more times it has been liked, the bigger its appeal. 

Humans are visual creatures and have always been. We take fashion, travel, even food, at face value and despite years of being told “not to judge a book by its cover” we cannot help ourselves by being pulled in by pretty things and pretty places. Thousands of people have been flocking to Australia to take a picture with a quokka – a creature dubbed as the most photogenic animal on the planet or happiest animal in the world. However, it is a wild animal native to Perth which is able to send tourists to the hospital and yet people are still lining up hoping to snap a quick selfie with the marsupial because it will most definitely rake in the likes. 

Commercialized photo ops are truly one of the most effective ways to inspire travelers to hop on a plane. They want to find “authentic” experiences to share with their audiences, from water villas to wildlife tourism but they fail to see that they are not doing anything else but what everyone else is doing. There is no originality in their experiences – how can there be when their trip and everyone’s trip revolves around finding a perfect picture? 

Photo-taking while on vacation has always been something of a given, however, it is becoming increasingly “professional”. There are multitudes of guides on the internet that teach solo travelers how to achieve that “perfect shot”. Youtubers and influencers have jumped on this bandwagon and created content in the vein of “how to take amazing photos with a tripod”, “best travel poses” or “how to post for the camera”, etcetera. These videos capitalize on the masses’ desire to look good and they do quite well. 

Some hotels even offer selfie butlers that will show you the best photo spots around the city. There are tours by photographers that capitalize on their skills and knowledge on how to take “Insta-worthy” pictures for their clients. This goes in hand with the explosion of destination weddings and pre-wedding packages offered by tourism companies and wedding studios. 

With the booming industry for couples to get their wedding photos done in exotic locations has the wayfaring couple booking trips to India. Why? Because it is one of the rising destinations in wedding photography. Imagine your gown of white against the colorful backdrop of Jaipur, the majestic Taj Mahal making a cameo in your photos or the romantic atmosphere of Kerala. Travelers who want to break away from the mold and step away from commercialization are looking to less-traveled destinations, which makes South East Asia a hot commodity. With the tourism still catching up to the boom in tourists, there are plenty of unseen and undocumented picturesque spots and every social media influencer wants to be the one to discover them. 

As one writer for HuffingtonPost puts it: “We don’t seem to be creating our lives these days – just curating”. We are curating for the likes and perhaps in some small way, are hoping that our pictures will evoke a similar sense of envy in others that we ourselves have experienced. Think about the times you were sitting in your office cubicle, wishing you were someplace else. A bigger person might say that they hope to “inspire” others to travel, but with social media at the helm, it is seldom as selfless as it seems. Everything about social media is selfish and oriented around the user. 

One photo is able to spawn millions in its wake because everyone wants to recreate or one-up what has already been done for the sake of more likes. In the world where originality and aesthetics are celebrated, it is hard to break away from the herd. However, it is ironic that being armed with a smartphone or a camera actually takes away from the experience of travel. In a study conducted with a group of tourists, those who were busy taking photos actually remember less about their travels than those who had nothing but their memories. Perhaps the next time you decide to reach for your phone, you will think twice instead. Travel is meant to be for the soul and not, despite what our current culture might dictate, for the gram. 

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