It started as something my husband asked me not to do for safety reason and quickly grew into a firm family rule. The rule is one I follow joyfully. And I plan to keep around when my kids are well into their teen years. It may sound silly. But today I would like to tell you why we don’t post pictures on vacation.
Why We Don’t Post Pictures on Vacation
I remember when my in laws were planning a trip to Hawaii. It was a big deal for them. But they were so cagy about it when we were sitting around their pool asking them about their upcoming trip. My husband later told me it was because they were afraid someone would overhear, become aware of their plans to be gone, and then break into their house while they were away. I rolled my eyes thinking they were just paranoid. But when it came time for us to go on vacation, I found myself doing the same thing.
What a lot of people don’t realize is that posting something, anything, on social media is like yelling loud enough for all your neighbors to hear.
Your next door neighbor might not be on Facebook. But the rest of the world is. And they are listening when you tell them you’re going out of town.
According to Time Magazine, 78% of burglars use social media to plan their next break in. I think the magazine said it best when they said: “Next time you leave your home for any appreciable length of time, whatever you do, don’t tell the Internet.”
For the safety of my home and especially my children (if my husband and I are traveling alone), I can refrain from posting for a week or so.
For the Sake of the Trip
When my husband wisely asked that we not post any pictures or mention anything on social media about us being away, I got kind of mad. After all, everyone else posts pictures of their vacation while they’re on vacation. I wanted that kind of attention too! But I respected his leadership. So I followed along. As it would turn out, I loved the feeling of being present with my family, not doing something just to post it online, and the freedom of not even having to think about posting pictures. It really felt like a vacation.
Really, there’s nothing wrong with sharing photos of your trip. I love seeing pictures of people’s vacation! But sometimes, when they are constantly posting while on vacation, it makes me wonder how much fun they are really having with the people they are with.
You may say that those people are actually having so much fun that they need to tell the world about it. Well, I’d argue that the time they are taking to post a picture or even an #instastory is precious time where they may miss something. I’d also argue that if they are posting pictures as a reflex on vacation then they aren’t doing either the vacation or social media well.
This brings me to my final point.
For the Sake of Social Media
So often people are posting pictures on social media as a reflex. My kid did something cool. Gotta post about it. I’m boarding an airplane. Gotta post about it. Since it’s just a reflex, there is little thought behind it and no care for the way people will react. Often the story they are trying to tell is lost.
Just because we aren’t posting pictures while we are on vacation doesn’t mean we never share pictures of our trip with our friends online. In fact, I probably share more pictures of our vacations now than I did before. I just wait until we’re home.
Sharing our trip becomes a little more of an art instead of simply updating my followers about where I am at that exact moment. I go through all my photos and edit them. Then I pick which ones I want to use in order to tell a story about our trip. It’s so much more thoughtful and less of a reflex. And I love reliving those moments once we are home and back in the grind of everyday life.
Originally published June 2018.