Can't afford to travel? Company will fake your vacation photos for social media
We all know that Instagram doesn't exactly equal reality, but this company might take that fact a surprising step further for those seeking extra attention on social media.
Fake A Vacation, a photo-editing service based out of Nebraska, will digitally alter your pictures to make it look like you traveled to a sandy beach in Maui or felt the cool mist of Niagara Falls - when in reality, you never even left your area code.
With destination selections like Disneyland, Las Vegas, Hawaii, Niagara Falls and the Grand Canyon, the service aims to "make your friends envious" on social media with a trip that you didn't actually take.
"Instead of going on an expensive vacation, you go somewhere nearby, have fun and take some pictures," a video tutorial on the website states.
Users select the fake destination background they want to be superimposed onto and upload multiple pictures of themselves.
The "Hawaii Package," which sells for $49.99, offers pictures of a person "relaxing on the beach at Maui trying local food and drinks" or "hitting the surf for an unforgettable windsurfing or snorkeling session."
Note the word "unforgettable."
The "Disney Land Package" will put your family in front of landmarks like Universal Studios, Epcot and Magic Kingdom.
The company says the average turnaround time for processed pictures is within 72 hours during most of the year.
"Working together, we're sure we can meet important deadlines," the website reads.
Posting a fake vacation photo on Instagram or Facebook to gain clout is actually more common than one might think.
A recent study by flight-comparison site Jet Cost found that around 14 percent of Americans surveyed have lied about their vacations. According to the site's research, travelers from the United States have cited being embarrassed, the desire to seem well-traveled and the hope of impressing someone as the main reasons behind their lies.
In the same study, 10 percent of respondents admitted to posting a fake picture on social media to reinforce the lies.
"With the modern pressures of social media, people feel as if they have to prove themselves to others, which is a shame - but life isn't a competition and just because someone says they've done something, doesn't mean you're less of a person for not having done it," a Jet Cost spokesperson told Fox News.
Fake A Vacation was founded in 2017 because there was demand for the service and only intensified by the increase of social media usage, according to the New York Post.
"They fake it … sometimes because the actual vacation is too expensive, so they plan this way or sometimes they do it to get others envious," Tom Eda, who leads marketing and support for Fake A Vacation, told the New York Post.
Eda also told the website that some customers have purchased fake vacation photos because they had to cancel their trip last-minute.
Some popular influencers have even been slammed online for "fake traveling."
Johanna Olsson, who has more than 522,000 followers on Instagram, was criticized last year for posting a few poorly edited images of herself in Paris, including one where she appeared to be floating over a bridge above the Seine.
In another post, the Swedish influencer poses at an outdoor restaurant as a subtle white outline appears around part of her head.
"I was in Paris, at this restaurant, they seated me at a table with no view. I really wanted a picture with the best view to get that perfect Paris vibe to inspire you guys so instead of complaining to the staff about where they seated me which I think is awkward I simply took a picture of the background I wanted from a better table and photoshopped it. That's it," Olsson wrote in a caption.
"I have done this to 3 pictures while I was Paris in where I have changed the background to make it prettier."
YouTuber Gabbie Hanna revealed last week that she faked going to Coachella to remind her followers that life isn't always as perfect as it appears on a curated Instagram feed. Hanna uploaded dozens of Instagram stories using some clever Photoshop skills.
She later wrote in an Instagram post, "OOPS i faked it all! go check out the video on how i pretended to go to coachella up now!"
"Nobody has this perfect life, and the reality is a lot of people who went to Coachella weren't having this amazing fabulous time they were portraying," she told Insider. "They were actually there to get the good pictures and being hot and uncomfortable and paying to have makeup artists to fly out to California in order to make that all happen."
This story was reported from Los Angeles.