Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2017


Travel and social media are becoming more and more intertwined as society progresses with technology. This study looks to explore how social media and study abroad interplay with one another and to look to see if there is a fear of missing out (FoMO) if students don’t interact with social media in a certain way while they are abroad. This study was done using qualitative methods, by interviewing the students who had studied abroad about their use of social media while there, while also analyzing and coding their travel photos posted on their Instagram accounts. The data showed three major themes. The first is that students used social media to connect with and updates others back home, while also documenting their experiences. Second, subject, location, and hashtags are important components of constructing a travel abroad post. Finally, there is a slight fear of missing out on the typical or expected travel experience, and students feel the need to prove where they went. This study does have some limitations. All the participants identified as female, ages 20-21, and all studied at the same all women’s liberal arts university. In conclusion, this study helps show students relationships with social media while abroad and how it can influence their experiences.


The author, Megan David, received first place for her presentation of this paper at Lynchburg College’s student undergraduate research forum