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Coping With Never-ending Travel FOMO From Social Media

The traveling FOMO we receive from social media feels daunting and unavoidable — but there are ways to control your wanderlust and stay level-minded despite it all.

By: Ash Duong

A photo of a resort villa overlooking a pool.
Photo By: Will Chapman

My excessive social media usage combined with my undying wanderlust bring a heavy thought to the forefront of my mind: I feel like I’m running out of time. With every scroll and swipe on my phone, I find new travel destinations I’d never discover otherwise. Then, the fear is followed by a singular, dreadful question — what if I never get to visit these places?

The FOMO (fear of missing out) follows me daily. Instead of being happy for my classmates studying abroad in Australia or my distant relative who got married in Aruba, I immediately feel frustrated that I’m unable to live that picturesque life. Social media’s accessible nature makes the feeling of missing out seem unavoidable. However, by balancing my childhood dreams of traveling with the bittersweet truth of reality, I’ve found ways to alleviate the travel-induced FOMO from social media.

I begin by wondering if the travel destinations I see in a 10-second Instagram reel are even places I want to visit or know anything about. I’m quick to jump the gun, seeing a scenic view or clips of content traveling friends and automatically assuming I need the same experiences. In reality, I know nothing about what took place behind the scenes to capture the view or whether one clip of friends having fun was indicative of the entire trip. Social media has always been a highlight reel, never showcasing the delayed flights or the amount of work necessary to save up for these huge trips.

The next step is to take a step back and breathe. As college students, there’s a dormant fear that we need to achieve the best days of our lives before reaching 21. But that’s simply not true. What about your close friend’s future wedding where you fly to the other side of the country? Or your reunion trip you’ll plan one day with your hometown friends? We have so much time to experience and explore bucket list destinations, and it brings me comfort knowing that the best trip of my life hasn’t even been planned yet.

Through a mix of gratitude and managing our love for traveling, we can combat the social media FOMO, return to our everyday lives, and look forward to the next trip we’ll go on.


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