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Seven In 10 Americans Think Social Media Is A ‘Good Way’ To Find New Travel Destinations

Travel expected to open up in the U.S. and abroad as CDC takes 90 countries off the do not travel list due to COVID.

More than three in five Americans believe they have the ability or potential to be a travel influencer, according to new research.

A survey of 2,000 adults by OnePoll on behalf of Discovery Cove revealed that 30% firmly believe they could be a travel influencer and another 33% believe they may have the potential to be.

As for travel preferences, one-third of respondents prefer a mix of both natural and human-made landmarks, with 20% favoring the latter.

Man-made attractions, such as St. Louis’ famed Gateway Arch, are popular photo subjects for travelers. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Opportunities for nearby exploration (39%) and potential interaction with animals (29%) fueled respondents’ desire to travel.

So it’s no surprise that zoos and aquariums (34%) and roadside attractions (31%) turned out to be some of the most social media feature-worthy travel destinations.

The poll also showed that captivating beauty draws people to destinations and pushes them toward posting images of what they have seen on social media.

Regardless of location, respondents, on average, say their home state has about 10 travel-worthy landmarks

For those seeking to travel outside the United States, good news came Monday when the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it had dropped its “Do Not Travel” COVID-19 recommendations for about 90 countries.

The OnePoll found that average American is willing to travel 181 miles to see a destination recommended by family or friends.

But two-thirds (67%) are willing to travel further if it means they can cross something specific off their bucket list.

Respondents also cited other factors that might encourage them to travel, including first-time experiences (33%) and inspired photo opportunities (31%).

“Americans are seeking Instagrammable destinations. Beautiful locations and unique experiences are drawing crowds from around the United States, whether it be for bucket-list moments or social media posts,” said Crystal O’Hea, vice president of marketing for Discovery Cove. “People are also looking for trips with many exciting tourist destinations nearby.”

Sights in U.S. National Parks, such as this one in Arches National Park in Utah, are also highly favored photo subjects by those on the move. (Harvey Meston/Getty Images)

Almost seven in 10 (69%) believe social media to be a good way to find new travel destinations, and 67% believe that it is a good way to encourage travel.

More than half (58%) of respondents said they likely to visit somewhere just because they saw it on social media.

Two-thirds of respondents think they post more during vacation than they do on a typical day.

When it comes to determining if a destination is post-worthy, 43% consider the natural beauty and 35% weigh the creative photo opportunities.

Regardless, 65% of Americans believe the modern mantra, “if I don’t post it on social media, it didn’t happen.”

As of January 2022, more than half of the world uses social media,” said O’Hea. “In the age of instant information and access to endless content, more people are encouraging others to travel and get their own ‘likes’ on social media. Attractions and destinations prepare for this and actively strive to provide experiences that encourage social sharing.”


  1. Natural scenery (beaches, mountains, etc.) – 38%
  2. Historical landmarks – 38%
  3. National Parks – 38%
  4. Local hidden gems – 37%
  5. Museums and exhibits – 37%
  6. Human-made destinations/resorts – 36%
  7. Zoos/aquariums – 34%
  8. Restaurants – 33%
  9. Theme parks – 33%
  10. Destinations abroad – 31%
  11. Roadside attractions – 31%
  12. Pop culture-inspired destinations – 30%
  13. Stores – 27%

Edited by Richard Pretorius and Matthew B. Hall

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