Why picture-perfect vacations don’t always need a social media post


Madeline O'Neil

Although the mountains were picture-perfect, I realized social media didn't need an update on my vacation.

Summer vacation: the perfect opportunity to hang out with friends, family, and post about it everywhere. Yes, you heard me right. All of these things didn’t happen unless you get a picture.

Or at least that’s what social media expects.

I went to Italy on vacation this summer. It was the biggest trip my family had ever taken. Now it may seem like I’m trying to flex, but I learned a valuable lesson.

I went in with the notion that I needed to take a great picture for Instagram. So, as most teenage girls do, I harassed my mom to take a picture of me at the Vatican— in 90-degree heat.

I was hot, sweaty and miserable, but I got my picture. And I posted it. At two a.m..

I waited all day until it was the perfect time to post. I was so convinced that since I was on vacation, people wanted to see it. Obviously, I was wrong.

If the lack of sleep from the day before wasn’t enough, my severe allergic reaction to the air in Italy was the cherry on top. My eyes were beet red and burning, my nose was stuffed — and I stayed feeling like this for the remaining two weeks I was there.

During this time, I realized how pointless vacation social media posts are. Sure, it’s fun to take pictures and save them, but taking pictures to post shouldn’t be the main worry of your trip. By the end of my time on vacay, my mom was just taking pictures of my whole family, and I really didn’t feel the stress to post.

The idea that taking pictures is the only way to show people you’ve done something is problematic. It causes so much stress and can cause people to be self-conscious. If you don’t get the perfect shot, then you immediately lose confidence.

I do love social media. It’s a great way to connect with friends and build confidence. But when it takes away from your own life experiences, like a vacation, it might be a little too much.

That experience has been a changing point in my life. Posting on social media is still good, but it shouldn’t make you anxious or overwhelmed. Taking pictures you enjoy without stress is the best way to do it.

All in all, I loved my time on vacation. The people I met and the places I saw were unforgettable. To tell you the truth, when I’m older I won’t remember how many likes my pictures got.