Instagram isn’t just about sharing the moment. It’s also about nostalgia for the recent past. And among the hashtags for #ThrowbackThursday and #FlashbackFriday, you’ll find a very specific trend: the cry to #TakeMeBack!
The #TakeMeBack hashtag is a bittersweet celebration of past vacations. Whether you’re bored at work, trapped in an elevator, or staying safely at home, nothing can conjure that ‘gone fishing’ feeling like a few minutes spent staring at your phone and carefully editing or re-posting a forgotten holiday snap. (Because a trip is only as good as the photos you share, right?)
But not all vacation memories are equal, and some destinations create warmer memories than others. We analyzed 208,362 Instagram posts with #TakeMeBack hashtag during the latest winter-spring season to figure out which places Instagram users miss the most. When Instagram cries “take me back,” this is where it wants to go.
The Top 5 #TakeMeBack Destinations in the World
- Giza Pyramid Complex (Giza Governorate, Egypt)
- Bali (Bali, Indonesia)
- Santorini (Greece)
- Magic Kingdom Park (Florida, United States)
- Eiffel Tower (Île-de-France, France)
The Giza pyramid complex is the destination Instagram’s vacationers miss the most. It has twice the number of #TakeMeBack tags as second-place Bali, and it’s easy to see why. The colors are bright and minimalist, and the neat geometry and sheer scale of the complex look great in that little square Instagram frame. Plus, of course, it takes a long time for the magic of the ancient site to wear off: “I got to witness the beauty & mystery of The Great Sphinx of Giza,” writes Instagram user Chantel Bedward. “It was just beyond words, really and truly.”
The Top 5 #TakeMeBack Places in the USA
- Magic Kingdom Park (Florida)
- Brooklyn Bridge (New York)
- Times Square (New York)
- Walt Disney World Resort (Florida)
- Central Park (New York)
The most nostalgic tourist spots in the USA are all household names worldwide. But it is telling that the number one destination to which Instagram users would like to return is a children’s theme park. Do parents simply enjoy the time they spend with their kids at Disney World? Or might #TakeMeBack also refer to our guilty desire to return to our own childhood? Commenting on a video of long queues of cars outside the Magic Kingdom entrance, self-confessed ‘Disney obsessed mom’ @disneyworlds_jasmine provides the answer: “You know it’s going to be a good day when you see this sign!”
The Top 5 #TakeMeBack Places in the UK
- Tower Bridge (London)
- London Eye (London)
- Buckingham Palace (London)
- Notting Hill (London)
- Warner Bros. Studio Tour (Hertfordshire)
“It didn’t rain so much in London,” reports @ever_bloom, wistfully, from number one #TakeMeBack destination Tower Bridge. The UK has plenty of wonderful cities besides London, but the capital is so big and busy that it’s impossible to do the whole place in one trip. And some London attractions always have more to give. From the Changing the Guard ritual at Buckingham Palace to the music and colors of Notting Hill Carnival, London’s top destinations are living monuments that can’t wait to welcome you back.
Sometimes Instagram is as close as you can get to the vacation memories you value the most. But with thousands of other users also sharing their wish to #TakeMeBack, you’re sure to find a community who miss your favorite destination as much as you. Did you spot any of your favorite places on our map?
Methodology & Data Sources
To create this map, we extracted location data for 208,362 Instagram posts with the #TakeMeBack hashtag. We then cleaned up the data and organized it by location to help us create the interactive you see today. We used Google Places API to normalize place names. For example, the Eiffel Tower’s location name can be ‘Eiffel Tower’ or ‘Tour Eiffel’ or ‘La Tour Eiffel’ or ‘eiffel tower’ or ‘エッフェル塔’. It’s close to impossible to merge all these items by hand, so we used Google’s geographic information service.
The data gathering was done in April 2020. For the full research, visit bit.ly/TakeMeBackData
Giza Pyramid Complex (Egypt) photo by julian obejas
Eiffel Tower (France) photo by Jeevan Jose
Brooklyn Bridge (New York, USA) photo by Gianandrea Villa
Times Square (New York, USA) photo by Joshua Earle
Walt Disney World Resort (Florida, USA) photo by Joel Sutherland
Central Park (New York, USA) photo by Jean Carlo Emer
Tower Bridge (London, UK) photo by Shannon Tremaine
London Eye (London, UK) photo by Ozgur Kara
Buckingham Palace (London, UK) photo by Ferdinand Stöhr
Notting Hill (London, UK) photo by Leandro Mazzuquini
Warner Bros. Studio Tour (Hertfordshire, UK) photo by Tom Kulczycki