Are these toys taking better vacations than us?

Traveling teddy bear in South Africa
Credit: Getty Images

Social media has done some pretty weird things to travel. Not only are we posting a lot of photos (the latest count on #travel is more than 230,188,138 posts), but we are spending a crazy amount of time doing it.

According to one recent study by Expedia, the average traveler spends about nine hours of a weeklong vacation on social media — nd almost half of those surveyed said that social media ruined their travel experience in some way.

But social media doesn’t have to take away from your travel experience. There are still ways to document your travels, have fun doing so, and actually delight your friends, family and fans who follow you. How, you ask? By bringing along a few toys.

An odd but joyful trend within the travel social media community of bringing along a trinket, toy or some other memorabilia to feature in photo shoots across the globe. These objects usually stand in place of people in the photos and are, without question, having a cooler travel experience than most humans.

“When I started chatting to people about the practice of taking a toy traveling,” Shanna Robinson, a graduate student at Western Sydney University’s Institute for Culture and Society who actually studied the trend of people bringing toys on holiday, told Atlas Obscura. “I was shocked at how widespread it was. Almost every person I spoke to knew someone who had taken a toy traveling.”

Take, for example, @GeloTheBear, a tiny stuffed bear who has traveled to Dubai, Vietnam, Buenos Aires and beyond.

Or @CactusMeetsWorld, a teeny tiny succulent that has recently traveled to Paris, Los Angeles, San Francisco and more.

Of course there are the @TravellingMonkeys who have vacationed in Chile, Germany, and Poland.

If monkeys aren’t your thing then maybe follow @Pig_The_Traveler, who has brought along her followers to Greece, Germany, the Czech Republic and more.

And last, but not least, follow, a sock monkey who has spent time in Hong kong, New York City, the Mariana islands and more.

Of course, these little creatures aren’t alone in traveling the globe. As Robinson found in her studies the “Traveling Toys” community on Flickr alone has nearly 2,500 members who have all shared more than 47,600 photos of their travel companions. In fact, as Atlas Obscura reported, the trend is so big that there is now Toy Voyagers, a website connecting traveling toys with hosts, and Omanimali, a toy-passport-issuing organization based in Germany, to service all your traveling toy needs.