UK: Sun, sea and selfies: has social media killed the holiday postcard?

The holiday postcard could soon be a thing of the past, to be replaced by social media updates and selfies, according to a new report from travel insurer Aviva.* Aviva’s Holiday Report, which surveyed over 2,000 British holidaymakers, found that almost two thirds (63%) haven’t sent a holiday postcard since before 2010 - yet 77% post holiday updates on social media while on vacation.

Keeping friends and family up to date (44%) is the main reason people give for posting holiday updates on social media, although one in five admit they do it to show off about where they are (21%) and one in 10 do so to make others at home jealous (10%).

However, nearly three quarters (73%) of social media users admit they find it annoying when they see other people’s holiday snaps online, with ‘hot dog legs on the beach’ taking the crown for the most irritating image, a bugbear of a third of people questioned. 

The habit could also be putting people’s properties and possessions at risk by inadvertently advertising that no one is home, potentially leaving their home vulnerable to thieves. A third of people who use social media while on holiday (34%), said they posted updates throughout their vacation, although almost one in ten (9%) post a holiday-related update as soon as they leave the house, on their way to their destination.

Adam Beckett, Propositions Director at Aviva, said: “A holiday is, for many, a time to switch-off and have a rest but it would seem that taking a break doesn’t apply to social media. Long gone are the days when the first time British holidaymakers would see their snaps was in the chemist after they got home. Now, we’re sharing our holiday memories as soon as they happen, and with a much wider circle of friends and family.

“And with mobile phone roaming charges now officially abolished in the EU, it could be that posting to social media while on vacation becomes even more common - particularly among the younger generation who we’ve found are the most prolific users of social media while on holiday.

“Mobile technology has without doubt enhanced our holiday experiences – from booking online to keeping in touch while we’re abroad – but it does have its pitfalls. Posting pictures and checking-in on social media while away could potentially leave a home vulnerable to thieves. The best time to post holiday pictures to social media is when you’re back home. If you really can’t wait to share, then at least make sure you’re only posting to a closed circle of trusted friends and family.”

The most popular pictures holidaymakers post on social media include:

1. View from the balcony           
2. Cultural landmarks and sight-seeing snaps
3. The first cocktail                        
4. People they have met on holiday       
5. Local dogs and cats                   
6. ‘Hot dog’ legs on the beach  
7. The local bar tender

The full Aviva Holiday Report can be found here.


Media Enquiries

Aviva Press Office | Katy Hurren | 07800 692548 | | @Katy_Hurren
Aviva Press Office | Sarah Poulter | 07800 691569 | | @sarahpoulter

Please contact the Aviva UK Press Office for a full copy of the Aviva Holiday Report, published June 2017. Notes to editors: * Aviva Holiday Report: The Digital Vacation, June 2017: Based on a March 2017 survey by Censuswide of 2,000 18+ GB adults who have taken a holiday in the past two years.

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