How has Facebook changed the way you vacation?

by Rich DeMatteo on November 12, 2009 · 8 comments

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When I was 12, my parents took my two siblings and I to Jamaica.  We stayed at an all-inclusive resort called Boscobel Beach, and I had one of the most memorable times from my childhood.  The place was beautiful and from what I remember, the food was much better than some of the recent all-inclusive resorts I’ve visited.  Being only 12, I wasn’t able to enjoy the unlimited amount of alcohol provided, damn.  But like any vacation, it’s not always the food or drink that makes a trip memorable.  I’ve found that a trip becomes truly incredible when the people you meet on your vacation are never forgotten.

During my week in Jamaica, I hung out with 20-30 kids all day long.  Mostly, the group I hung out with were kids from all over North America, but I remember a few from Asia as well.  Us kids convinced our families to go on excursions like climbing Dunn’s River Falls (if you don’t know what it is, definitely check it out).  We also ate meals together and played basketball and other sports with employees of the resort.

When it was time to go home, it was a cold hard goodbye.  We’d all return to our respective country with pictures of a great vacation and a memory.  If only this trip happened 15 years later, much would change about the way we said goodbye to each other.

What happens in Cancun, goes on Facebook

It’s well documented that a week after my last day of employment, I went to Cancun, Mexico with my younger brother and best friend.  I was in need of an adventure, much like the one Sean Ogle is pursuing.  It was a wonderful trip.  The food was good (not great), the drinks were perfect, the resort was beautiful, and we stayed in a jaw-dropping room with an amazing view of the pool and beach.  

cancun1

View from our room

Much like my trip as a youngster to Jamaica, I met a great group of people that were staying at my resort.  Mostly everyone that I hung out with was from the United States, although I did hang out with a few people from Mexico and Canada who were awesome.  A group of us sometimes reaching 15-20 would head out into down town Cancun together at night and hang around the pool-bar during the day time.  It reminded me a lot of my trip to Jamaica, but as my Cancun vacation started winding down, I began the way we would all say goodbye would be much different this time around.

Instead of saying, “Goodbye”, what I heard was, “Well, I’ll talk to you on Facebook when I’m home”.  People with laptops began adding everyone to their Facebook.  We all took turns signing on to”confirm” that in fact they were our friends.  I came home from this trip with Facebook connections in Canada, Mexico, North Carolina, Chicago, Connecticut, Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin, and South Jersey (which I consider, an extension of Philadelphia).  Two or three days after I returned home I started seeing pictures of myself pop up on Facebook.  Some were great, some I wished would disappear (thank god for untagging).  It’s been nearly 10 months since my Cancun trip, and I still talk to most of them every once and a while on Facebook chat.

On top of new Facebook connections, some of my new friends were added to LinkedIn and are apart of my professional network.  These are people that read my blog, come to me for career advice, and are people that I may meet up with at some point down the line.  This is all possible because of social media.  It really makes me wonder if I’d still be in contact with all my friends from Jamaica if that trip happened just a bit later.

How has Facebook/Social Media changed the way you vacation?  Have you ever returned home from a trip with new Facebook friends?  Has vacationing become another form of networking?  

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8 comments
Kate Clark
Kate Clark

Great article. I picked up my other half from the airport recentlyand he had befriended two women that he met in the security line. He's notorious for befriending everyone. This time he took it step farther and they all facebooked each other before boarding their flights. I'm extremely interested to see how this pans out and if every trip he takes will bring new facebook friends. We could be looking at a lot of house guests in the coming months :)

Rich DeMatteo
Rich DeMatteo

Great comment, thanks for sharing Sharon! It's amazing how vacations bring together strangers. People go away together to spend time together and get away from people in their home life, and the relaxation allows them to meet amazing new friends. Incredible! Thanks for the comment, and for finding me on Twitter!

Sharon Mostyn
Sharon Mostyn

Great post, Rich! We spent our vacation this summer at Beaches in Turks & Caicos and came away with some Scottish Facebook friends. We're hoping to be able to vacation together again soon, so not only does it influence what happens on vacation but also how/when/with whom we vacation in the future.

Rich DeMatteo
Rich DeMatteo

Elisa, love the "friending spree" term. Awesome stuff! Love how online networking helps people ease into things! You need to plan a trip and go away!

Elisa
Elisa

When I go on a vacation I'll let you know. :) Seriously, I am a firm believer in the power of social networking to connect you with people. As someone who is shy and awkward in most "real life" situations I've come to adore the friends and acquaintances I find online. Or using those online connections to strengthen what would be otherwise simple/weak relationships. Next time I'm on vacation with people I don't know I'm gonna go on a friending spree!!!

Rich DeMatteo
Rich DeMatteo

Hey Kate - more connections equates to more options and more possibilities. More guests in the house could certainly be fun! I'll be interested to hear how full your house gets!

Rich DeMatteo
Rich DeMatteo

Hey Joe, thanks for commenting. I'll definitely check out what you wrote!