Category Archives: How To

How NOT to be a Travel Snob

Everyone knows someone else who could be labelled as a travel snob. We all have that one friend or acquaintance who seems to be constantly talking about travel, their past or future trips, or that “One time in Bangkok…”

Here are a list of reasons why YOU just might be that friend:

 

Do you find people at home difficult to relate to?

Some people are travelers, while other people are content to enjoy their home. There are plenty of reasons why some people may choose to go travelling and while others may not; finances, while certainly a large factor, are not the only reasons why some people just don’t travel.

Think about your current friends and acquaintances. Did you meet them travelling or doing activities? Is your facebook list comprised of people you met travelling or people that you found online through facebook, instagram or other blogs? Maybe you have a ton of friends, but the ones you find yourself most engaged in having a conversation with, are the friends that are constantly talking about their travels or planning a new trip.

It is only natural that we gravitate towards spending the most of our time and energy on people who are like us, and likes to do the same things that we do. It can be difficult to relate to people who don’t have the same passions because we don’t know what to talk about and frankly, we just don’t understand them! But try not to alienate your friends that don’t travel– maybe they are looking for some guidance, or would appreciate that extra bit of incentive that your travels might offer them to get out and do it themselves. Or perhaps, they simply just aren’t that into it, and that’s okay, too. Our world is full of possibilities and interests to find a connection with your non-travelling friends!

 

Are you constantly talking about the last trip you went on, or the next trip you are planning?

Even if you don’t think you are– you probably are. Whatever is most present in your subconscious is bound to find its way into your conversations and news feed. Even if you aren’t actively bragging about your trips, you might be sharing posts from other travelers, sharing a photo that you took on some beach or in front of some ruins, or commenting on your favourite travel bloggers photos again and again. I’m not telling you to stop. But you might find your friends beginning to feel alienated from you, and feeling like they are less than adequate because they are at home and not at a Full Moon Party in Thailand, trekking through the jungle in Colombia, or surfing killer waves in Australia. Don’t forget to comment and like the things that occur at home– and that are important to them too!

 

Have you learned another language on your travels?

Congratulations! Learning a new language is hard, and takes a lot of work.  You should definitely be proud of yourself for putting in the time and effort to learn a new language and improve upon your experience while abroad. Being able to communicate with new people, whether it is residents of the country you are visiting or fellow travelers, is extremely important.

However, don’t forget that some of your friends may not speak your new language! By all means, you should keep practicing the language and conversing in it as much as possible to keep your mind fresh. But when possible, try to include translations either while speaking in front of someone else, or on social media, so that everyone is included. Google translation has made this very helpful for us monolinguals, but it is difficult to feel welcome to respond and share in a conversation that is taking place entirely in a different language.

 

Have you ever talked down on someone because they haven’t traveled as much as you have?

Chances are, the answer to this question is no. Most people do not go out of their way to talk down to people or do it on purpose. But if you are reaching travel snob status, it is possible that inadvertently, you have spoken down to someone who has piqued an interest to you in travel, or is having difficulties with a life situation that you feel travel has given you an advantage in your ability to overcome it.

I will give you an example of a conversation that I had recently, where I felt someone was being a total travel snob towards me. I was talking about my future plans to travel to Southeast Asia, rent an apartment in Chiang Mai and live abroad for as long as I could make it work as an ESL teacher, in between spending a month backpacking various countries around Thailand. This will be a major trip for me, and there is no doubt about that. When I was asked if I had ever traveled before, I mentioned the places that I had been as well as the month that I spent touring Greece. The response I got? “Are you nervous about your first traveling experience?” No, I reiterated, I have traveled before. “Well, a month away isn’t really traveling…” Travel snob alert! Who are you to say, what is and what is not a justifiable time away from home to be considered “traveling?” I consider myself traveling even if I am just driving across the province for a long weekend!

Hot tip: Don’t be condescending, and don’t assert that what you have done in the past is or could be any better then what someone else’s meager plans might be. We are all on our own path here!

 

You believe that the only way to “truly experience” a country is to live like a local, staying in hostels (or couch surfing), eating at all the local dives, and hitchhiking and taking public transit whenever possible.

There is something to be said about backpacking and roughing it while out in a foreign country. In many instances, that really IS the only way you can truly visit all the places in the area that you want to see. However, this is not the only form of travel! Tourists are travelers too, and no matter how many ways you try to convince yourself that by sleeping on floors or in bed bug ridden beds, spending 8+ hours getting virtually no where on a bus, or skulking around streets looking for which place will save you $0.20, you are still a tourist. But kudos to you for roughing it!

 

You believe that luxury hotels and fancy 5 star all inclusive resorts are the only enjoyable vacations.

Akin to the belief mentioned above, travel snobs can come in two distinct forms: those who believe backpacking is the only way, and those who can afford luxurious spa treatments and fancy linens. I am here to tell you, there is no single way to travel, and the diversity represented in the travel industry is the diversity represented in our society. Don’t treat someone lesser than you because your resort is 5 star and theirs is only 3. Travel is travel and traveling is being a tourist. Don’t turn your nose up at people who choose cheaper opportunities, and don’t feel like a lesser traveler just because you can’t afford to pay $400USD + per night, either!

 

You refuse to take a group tour or arrange for a guide.

Group activities aren’t for everyone, and I get that. When I travel, oftentimes I want to wander the streets alone, look at statues, admire the art and architecture, and gorge myself on local food. If this is your typical travel scenario, or you haven’t taken a group tour either because it’s too expensive, you haven’t gotten around to it, or it’s just not your cup of tea, don’t worry– I’m not calling you a travel snob. I’m specifically referring to the people who are adamantly against group tours, because a) they think they can do better b) they think group tours are for “tourists” or c) they are looking for a more “authentic” experience.

I prefer to wander around either solo or with another friend, but I did spend my month in Greece with a school tour and it was awesome! So many other personalities, and you still get to learn a lot about the culture, the history, but importantly: how to properly interact with a large group of people and get along with everyone. It’s a valuable skill to have! So, don’t knock tours if you haven’t tried it.

 

Don’t forget to travel around home, too!

Some of my favourite experiences have been hopping in my vehicle and going for a road trip. Being a tourist in your own area can be just as fun!

Are you a travel snob?

Did any of these hints ring a bell for you? Do you know any travel snobs, or have you had any experiences with someone reaching travel snob status?

(c) Copyright 2016 - Searching for Sanuk, Michelle Leech, mexxlee.