Checked in, suited up and ready to relax? You can say so much about your travels in just three keystrokes, thanks to the emoji. If you’ve been stuck in a rut of simple hearts and standard smiley faces, let us give you a hand (when was the last time you threw a dromedary into the mix?). Here’s our globetrotter’s guide to those minuscule, yet magical icons.
SMILEYS AND PEOPLE:
The second you touch down in paradise flash these shades. Then play it cool. You use this guy too many times and your co-workers will think you’re gloating and steal your stapler.
This is for when you allocated 20 minutes to get through airport security, but the line looks like it’ll take half a day.
Here’s what you use when you’re unabashedly overjoyed. Go ahead and snap a pic of that in-room Jacuzzi and sum up your emotions with this lovestruck feline.
Your out-of-office is on, you’ve endured airport shenanigans and a lengthy flight, and you’ve finally checked in. Hallelujah hands all round.
Contrary to what some believe, this does not represent pinching… of any body part. It’s an A-OK to be used once you’ve burned through your ‘smiling face with sunglasses’ allowance.
Not only for holidays in Andalucia, the flamenco dancer works for any time you’re hitting your groove on holiday. You’ve got six glasses of wine in front of you: use it. You’ve been upgraded to first class: use it. Your room service has arrived: olé!
Yes, you’re at the beach. Hammer the point home to everyone you know with a reminder of what you’ll be wearing all week.
ANIMALS AND NATURE:
For the social media-obsessed, there is nothing more satisfying than visiting a destination with ample wildlife and busting into your animal emoji supply.
Be cautious of reckless camel usage, as there are two different emojis. This one’s a dromedary and the guy with two humps is a Bactrian. Now you know.
The elephant. So underused, yet so necessary if you stay at Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp in Thailand.
This is a scorpion. If you see one in real life, no tweeting, no ‘gramming. Just run.
Among the crude, the cactus denotes either the middle finger or, well, something more phallic. But among the well-travelled, it’s a gorgeous succulent and the namesake of a certain Arizona hotel.
It’s almost worth visiting the rice paddies of Indonesia, Sri Lanka or Vietnam just to be able to use this rare specimen: the ear-of-rice emoji.
FOOD AND DRINK:
If you’re headed to Japan, you’re seriously in luck. Sure, there’s a pizza and a hot dog emoji, but it’s really Japanese cuisine’s time to shine in the food section. Take, for example, this lovely bento box.
A cookie with a swirl? Nope. That’s a fish cake with a swirl.
Here’s dango – sweet Japanese dumplings, similar to mochi.
Few battles were fought more passionately than the one to add a taco emoji. Tag that tortilla with pride.
This is the food version of the sunglasses smiley or the palm tree. You know you’re on holiday when you go searching for tropical drink.
TRAVEL AND PLACES:
Mountain lovers rejoice: you’ll find not one, not two, but four peaks to choose from. This one’s the standard.
Here’s the snow-capped version.
This one’s a magma-spewing volcano (in case that wasn’t obvious).
And here’s the weirdly-specific Mount Fuji in Japan.
Among landmarks, there’s Tokyo Tower…
… as well as the Statue of Liberty.
Fun fact: there are 10 train/monorail variations to choose from. And yet, there’s not a single tuk-tuk. We feel another campaign coming…
And this seemingly innocuous guy is every traveller’s worst nightmare: left luggage. Not surprisingly, it’s one of the seven least-used emojis (it’s just not as exciting as ‘face with stuck-out tongue’ and ‘winky eye’).
OBJECTS AND FLAGS:
We’re partial to the bellhop bell. Post it proudly at check-in.
Like a digital souvenir, you can carry this Japanese carp streamer wherever you go.
Will your flight have a good movie selection… yes… no? Only this emoji can tell.
You can fit 140 poop emojis into a single tweet, but only 70 flags (they count as two characters). Plan accordingly for when Olympic mania strikes this summer.
Look! There’s even a flag for the Wallis & Futuna islands in the South Pacific.
THE FANCY STUFF
If you’ve been longing to capture the White House in icon form, you can get it from Emoji DC – a free app that features district highlights. Other destination-specific emojis include…
Barmoji for Barbados (images include a dancer, a bottle of rum and a cricket player).
… and Irishmoji for Ireland (Irish breakfast, James Joyce, a potato, Guinness etc).