6 Tips for Using Twitter for Travel
In some ways, Twitter is the most customized, updated crowdsourced travel resource on the planet. You can create your own travel guide via Twitter with the steady supply of travel tips, photos, articles, and industry updates. The question is, how can you organize this constant barrage of information to make it an effective travel planning and travel conversation tool? Like any social media platform, it is easy to waste time on Twitter by getting sidetracked and overwhelmed with the volume and frequent delivery of content. While it is possible to view information on Twitter without having an account, users have access to the full functionality of the site and are able to participate in Twitter chats, create lists and favorite Tweets.
1. Use Travel Hashtags to Search or Post Specific Information
Placing the almighty hashtag (#) in front of a search term, word, or category means that only tweets that contain that keyword will come up. If you are using Twitter for trip planning, search the region, country and city and scroll down the list to see what comes up (e.g. #Italy or #Beijing or #Caribbean). General hashtags like #travel, #ttot (Travel Talk on Twitter), or a hashtag to a particular travel chat are more broad but are sometimes useful to browse for an unexpected travel tip or insight. Combine a more general term with a more specific term to get a more refined result, for example, #Beijing and #shopping, or #travel and #photos.
- #TTOT (Travel Talk on Twitter)
- #TravelTuesday or #TT (highlights travel companies, websites, or bloggers)
- #SMTravel (Social Media and travel)
- #RTW (Round the World)
- #WTTC (World Travel and Tourism Chat)
The hashtag is also how people have public ‘conversations’ or chats on Twitter, which brings us to tip 2.
2. View or Participate in a Twitter Chat
A Twitter chat is a live event with questions and responses. The chat is best utilized as a way to meet people who have interesting things to say about topics you care about. For Twitter chats on travel, join the following conversations:
- #TNI (Traveler’s Night In) is hosted by @ZipSetRachel and meets at 3:30 ET.
- #TL_Chat is hosted by @TravlandLeisure on Thursdays from 2 – 3 pm ET.
- #GirlsTravel is hosted by @travelgogirl and is pretty self explanatory (no boys allowed). They meet at 1 pm EST on Mondays
- #GapYearChat is hosted by @gapyeardotcom and meets Tuesdays 6-7 GMT. They feature discussions on a variety of topics for gap year travelers, which tend to be budget, backpacking, and adventure travelers.
- #TTOT is hosted by @traveldudes and meets Tuesdays at 9:30 am and pm GMT.
- #RTWChat (Round the World Chat) is hosted by @Bootsnall and features topics about around the world travel. They meet meet Wednesdays at 4:40 pm EST.
- #RATW (Reality Abroad Talk Wednesday) is hosted by @Reality Abroad and meets, predictably, on Wednesday from 12 – 1 pm ET. Chats focus on a new topic each week related to the experience of living and traveling abroad.
- #TGVTalk is hosted by @travelgrapevine and meets Sundays at 8 pm GMT.
- #TRAVEX is hosted by @travelsquire and meets Wednesdays, between 5-5:30 PM EST.
4. Create Lists to Help You Prioritize Categories of Information and People
When you need specific information quickly on Twitter, it can be overwhelming to sort through your entire home feed to find what you want. Solution? Create lists and categorize the people you follow! I have created lists so that when I want to see what travelers from around the world are saying, I go to my Travel Blogger list. When I want to check in on the latest in international education programs and trends, I go to my International Education list, and so on and so forth. You may want to create a list for ‘Lodging in Europe’ or ‘Flight Trackers’ or ‘Volunteer Programs’ to help you quickly access information in each of those categories. Also, if the list is public, you can subscribe to someone else’s list and avoid having to do all the work upfront to follow and categorize them!
5. Favorite Tweets You Need to Come Back To
Twitter constantly streams the most up-to-the-minute content which is great for keeping it fresh and current but occasionally you want to go back to a particularly interesting or helpful Tweet on something specific like ‘best restaurants in Hanoi’ or ‘how to travel safely while traveling solo’. This is where the ‘favorite’ function comes in handy. When you ‘favorite’ a Tweet it tags the tweet with a yellow star and funnels it into your personal favorites list. Similar to the Facebook ‘Like, when you favorite someone’s tweet they are alerted and may follow you or respond in some way. Now you can rest assured that your treasured Tweet on how to fund a location independent lifestyle will always be there for you to come back to.
6. Ask Your Travel Questions on Twitter
When scouring your Twitter feed and customized list feeds does not render the answers you need, asking a question directly on Twitter may be the solution. Try it in one of three ways:
- Tweet your question and attach the appropriate hashtag to see who might answer. (E.g. Can anyone recommend a good restaurant in Chiang Mai, #Thailand? #travel)
- Tweet your question and attach a Twitter handle (@) of an expert in the industry to see if the person or organization you think can answer your question responds. If they don’t, one of their many followers might! (E.g. “How do I find the study abroad program that is right for me? #studyabroad @GoAbroad.)
- If you think someone who follows you might be able to answer your question, send him or her a direct message by putting a ‘D’ before their Twitter handle (@traveladvising). Only that person will receive your message. (E.g. Hi Sam, Do you have suggestions about how to fund travel?)
Happy Tweeting and Travels!