Whether you’re a fiend for Facebook or permanently on Pinterest, your overseas experience can be enhanced through social media. Here are a few simple tips to help you get the most out of your online presence, whilst still having a blast in your new location – the social media guide to living abroad!
Discover the world
Personal contacts are the best way to find out about the coolest bars, best sights to see and hidden ‘local-only’ beaches, so make sure you keep an eye on your new friends’ profiles and events. There are hundreds of apps out there too that will point you towards local activities, including the Eventbrite, Now, Field Trip and the Event-Finder app on Facebook, which uses your location to tell you what gigs, nights out and other events are happening nearby.
If you want to find the best burger in Bangkok or a great curry in Chennai, check out Foodspotting.com. You can search for recommendations and pictures of top-class meals all around the world, as well as uploading your own when you find an undiscovered gem of a café hidden away down some quiet back street.
Couchsurfing can be a great way to discover the best hangouts and things to do in a new place, as well as being a source of cheap accommodation. You should obviously exercise caution though when arranging to stay with somebody you haven’t met before, making use of reviews on the site and letting somebody else know your plans.
Stay in touch
With so many social media platforms available now from Twitter to Instagram, it’s easier than at any time in history to stay in touch with friends and family back home. Make them jealous by uploading fantastic snaps of you on that white sandy beach at sunset, or just catch up with the latest news from home over an IM chat. To give the folks back home a more in-depth update you could consider keeping a blog. It’s especially useful for worried parents who don’t like social media!
Don’t be a travel bore! Although you may be having the time of your life, don’t forget to take an interest in the little things back home too; nobody likes to be reminded of what a great experience you’re having all of the time.
Living abroad you’ll make a ton of new friends, all of whom will want to connect with you on Facebook. Before you accept all those new friend requests though, don’t forget to check your privacy settings to avoid unwanted or embarrassing photos being shared with potential employers or, worse still, your grandmother!
Be aware of the risks of broadcasting your location over the internet. Although not a major problem, there have been instances of people’s movements being tracked using their publicly available social media posts. Think carefully about what information you want to share with the world before you hit ‘post’.
Don’t forget to have a life!
However you use your social media accounts when you’re living abroad, make sure you don’t spend so much time online that you miss out on what’s happening offline. Turn your smartphone and tablet off for an hour every now and again, and be selfish once in a while: save a few special moments just for you; not everything has to be shared.