According to Urban Dictionary (yes, I am referencing the Urban Dictionary), the definition of travel-shaming is “the subtle but oftentimes overt manner in which one attempts to make another feel guilty or inferior for not traveling (or for not wanting to travel) to popular destinations.”
Although this is an appropriate definition, I feel like it does not cover the full spectrum of travel-shaming. Unfortunately, people are shamed for traveling just as much as they get shamed for not traveling. Keep reading to see how you may be travel-shaming without even realizing it.
“You’re X years old and you still don’t have a passport?”
Society as a whole is obsessed with traveling, especially in the current Instagram Age. Traveling opens us up to new experiences and opportunities to learn about the world and each other. However, traveling is not an easy thing to do or pay for. Some people are afraid to fly. Some people don’t have the money to travel. Traveling simply isn’t a priority for some people. Some people don’t want to try new things. I’ve seen someone refer to traveling as “the state of being recreationally uncomfortable”. And that’s okay.
Today, flying is more accessible to more people than ever before. With Instagram and peer pressure, it may feel as though we all should be taking advantage of this when we see influencers and our peers going to such exotic destinations. However, it is easy to get caught up in following the trend of how we “should” be living. Live how YOU want to live.
“You go to Atlanta and Miami for vacation while I fly to Dubai. We are not the same.”
This has got to be my biggest travel-shaming pet peeve. There has come to be a type of elitism in the travel world. According to the elitists, if you have not gone to destinations that are deemed to be “exotic”, you are not a real traveler. I think this is a load of BS. Everywhere has a uniqueness to it; from the big city, to the tropical island, to the rainforest. It doesn’t matter if it’s a one hour flight or a 13-hour flight away. If you haven’t been there before, you are bound to have an experience that is unique to that specific location, and that is what travel is about.
“You guys only travel to certain places because IG told you to. Monkey see monkey do.”
My response to this is….SO???
What do you think are the top 3 most popular travel destinations on Instagram? I would say Thailand, Bali, and Athens, Greece. Yes, I want to go to all three. You know why? Because these locations look beautiful and I want to see them for myself. Simple as that.
Popular locations are popular for a reason. Just because many people have already been, does not mean I need to miss out so it doesn’t feel like I’m following trends. *TJ Shrug*
“I’m trying to retire at 40. Spending your money on traveling to extravagant places every month won’t get you there.”
This may also sound like the familiar saying: “Oh you got MONEY!” At times, even I’m guilty of this. Regardless, we need to mind our own pockets.
Everyone’s meaning of success is different. One may find success monetarily and through material possessions, others may find it through experiences. Some people want to work hard while they’re young so they can relax when they’re old, while some want to live like every day could be their last day. Some want to do both! As long as you are doing what makes YOU happy. Who cares what anyone else thinks? Life is meant to be enjoyed, so do as YOU please.
Happy travels (or lack thereof)!