“You haven’t been there?! You must, it’s just SUCH an eye-opening experience.” Any person who loves travel has encountered a travel snob at one time or another. But what exactly is a travel snob, how can you avoid becoming one, and what does it mean for the folks who aren’t interested in travel? Let’s find out.
What Is A Travel Snob
A travel snob is someone who holds a narrow-minded view of travel in relation to their life. Typically, you’d imagine a travel snob to be someone who snubs “easy” forms of travel, or questions those who don’t travel. They’ll likely refer to themselves exclusively as a traveller and NEVER as a tourist. They’ll choose to visit locations for their exclusivity and remoteness. Their idea of travel is when one is creating meaningful, life-long memories and never when you’re visiting cliche attractions.
However, this doesn’t mean to say that a travel snob can’t be the other way around. Someone who only takes all-inclusive resort holidays, who’d never slum it in a hostel, or who simply refuses to eat the local food could also be deemed a snob. It’s just a different type.
In short, a travel snob is someone who’s view is that their approach to travel is superior to other life choices.
How To Spot A Travel Snob
How would you know you’ve come across a travel snob? In my opinion, there is a two-prong way to tell if someone is acting like a travel snob. One doesn’t need to meet all these characteristics to be a travel snob. Just one or two indicate an element of pretentiousness, so I’d say that qualifies!
Prong 1 – Snobbish about travel over other priorities in life:
- They reject other life choices that don’t fit their interest in travel (such as “settling down”, having a family, building a career)
- Occasionally complacent about their privilege to travel
- Often found complaining about “first world problems” of mild travel annoyances
- Posts memes about “catch flights not feelings” and similar quotes promoting a travel-first prioritisation
- Boastful about their life having more meaning due to their interest in travel
- Complain about distant relationships without accepting they’re also partially causing it
- Easily dismissive of those less interested in travel
- Overly defensive about their choice to travel over other lifestyle decisions
- Will attempt to be helpful by giving you “tips” about a place they visited even without being asked
The wonderful Migrating Miss actually wrote a brilliant post about this prong of travel snobbishness, with 9 signs that you’re becoming one. Check it out to see how many you tick off!
Prong 2 – Snobbish about their approach to travel:
- They’ll take any opportunity to talk about why their chosen method of travel is the best
- Talking down to others about their choice in travel and argue for their own choice
- They won’t consider alternatives, and won’t engage in healthy discussion or debate about other ways to travel
- Might try to convince you that their way is better and not listen to why you like your choice more
- Quick to make assumptions about others based on their travel choices
I’m almost certain that many travel bloggers are guilty of being a travel snob at one time or another. We’re the ones preaching the benefits and joys of travel above all else, so it makes sense that such a passion blurs into snobbishness at some point. While there are far worse problems with travel blogging, it’s pretty important to remember to stay humble from time to time. No one likes a snob, particularly not a privileged travel snob!
Are You A Travel Snob?
I’m not exactly sure how many types of travel snobs there are, but they are all united by their limited attitude of travel. If you’re worried you’re turning into a travel snob, here are a few clear signs you’re slowly morphing into one to watch out for:
The All-Inclusive Travel Snob
- Refuses to make any booking for a trip unless it’s explicitly labelled as a not-to-be-missed one-time deal
- Doesn’t understand staying in a hotel that doesn’t offer breakfast buffets
- Will book to stay at resorts but rarely ever leaves to see the rest of the destination
- Doesn’t like anywhere that is too far from the main streets or resort, and would never visit somewhere that doesn’t offer a menu or signs in English
- Hates the idea of a trip without a hour-by-hour itinerary structuring each day
- Will consume as much food and drink as possible “because it’s free”
The Luxury Travel Snob
- Refuses anything lower than 4-star accommodation
- Photos are taken exclusively for the ‘Gram to show off their flashy trip
- Prefers to see the fanciest parts of a destination: ideally high-end experiences, lavish dining, and exquisite pampering
- Would never be caught eating street food, on public transport, or haggling in a market
- Appears to perfectly curate a trip to only see and do things that match their pristine lifestyle
- Takes 4 outfits per day to change at every meal – and for photo ops of course
The “Real” Backpacking Travel Snob
- Regularly drops humble brags about their travels into conversation
- Likens everything to “that time in…”
- Wears copious amount of bracelets/jewellery gathered from destinations even when they’re dirty and tired and really not appropriate to wear anymore
- Scoffs at the idea of a 9-5 job and says the world provides all the lessons they need
- Talks about how they “found themselves” in a remote and never-heard of place
- Preaches a peaceful and non-judgemental attitude but turns their nose down at anything other than their “real” approach to travel
- Judges anyone not using a backpack. Wheels are for the weak.
- Potentially has a white-saviour complex
How To Avoid Becoming A Travel Snob
Listen to others with respect. If you don’t like the way they travel or live their life, think why that is. If it’s simply just not in your taste, then it’s probably an opinion that’s best kept to yourself. As long as people are not harming others, the environment, or causing damage then leave them be. If it makes them happy with little-to-no negative repercussions then good for them!
Admittedly, I have definitely been a travel snob on more than one occasion. I left uni and went off travelling, and along the way I totally thought “wow everyone getting a job back home is nuts, this is what life’s about!”.
Jump 3 years later and I have one of those job things. Sure, I still love travel but I value many other things too. I value stability, my relationships with friends and family, personal career development, the comfort of my own bed, not living out a backpack…
If you want to know a little secret, I’m sometimes envious of those who seem to have their settled-down shit together. Here I am dreaming up plans to escape abroad at every other chance, but they’re absolutely happy, successful, and nailing it doing their best adulting. I occasionally wish I had that mentality!
It definitely is a good reminder to tell myself that the chance to travel means I’m very, very fortunate. I have few dependancies to keep me in one place (it’s mostly that ol’ job thing I mentioned), I can save money to explore new places, and I have the support of those I care about. And, I can choose how I travel. I don’t have to stick to one approach or another (not that I’ve ever stayed in a fancy hotel!). I can choose the budget backpacker trips, and I can choose an all-inclusive vacay should I wish.
That is a pretty privileged place to be.
While I enjoy a good debate (philosophy grad strikes again), and I’m always down for encouraging travel where possible, I’ll respect anyone’s decisions to do or not do it their own way. Carving our path in life is tough enough without the judgement or assumptions from others. Let’s all play nice, ok?
A Final Note On Travel Snobbery
Please note that this post is really meant to be lighthearted, and by no means attacking anyone’s preferred method of travel! My overall point here is that there are lots of ways to prioritise what we hold as important to each of us. There are loads of ways to see the world, and, there are lots of ways to reap the benefits of travel (or not, whatever you choose!). We must try to respect one another’s choices and be mindful that there is no single way to find meaning in life.
Furthermore, there is no rule on how or how not to travel. Sure, there are bad ways to travel (being rude, disrespectful, damaging, etc) but travel is a rather subjective experience. As is life, funnily enough.
Travel means a number of things, depending on the individual. It might be broadening one’s horizons, learning new cultures, discovering forgotten histories, immersing oneself in nature. But it might also mean practising self-care, relaxation and recuperation, deserved indulgence. Basically, what we do with our own money isn’t much of anyone else’s business. That is, like I say, unless it causes damage. Then that ain’t cool and you gotta stop pronto. Looking at you, unethical tourism and questionable environmental practices.
Likewise, if buying a house, throwing a big wedding, or raising a family is the best use of your money – that is awesome.
Basically, there is no right way to live. If you want to travel, get out and do it. If you don’t, that’s cool too.
Have you encountered a travel snob, or think you’ve been guilty of being one yourself? I’d love to hear your story!
Note: this post is very much intended to be tongue in cheek. Please don’t take it too seriously and it certainly isn’t meant to be directed at anyone in particular!
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Lea Bella08/27/2019 at 8:57 am
Not sure how much of this I agree totally with although there are definitely some valid points throughout this article.
suzystories08/27/2019 at 1:56 pm
That’s fair enough! Of course this comes from my own observations, and the main aim is to highlight that everyone’s preferences are different 🙂
ellieslondon08/27/2019 at 3:02 pm
So many of these points really made me smile! ? I always think each to their own on how we like to travel as we all want to get different things from our trips, but I really hate the people you see on socials sometimes disrespecting people that take various types of trips. The worst type of travel snob for me are the ones who think you haven’t been anywhere or done anything if you haven’t backpacked across south east Asia or spent three months in Thailand. It annoys me, especially because I wouldn’t ever stay in a hostel, but that is only because of social anxiety and I wouldn’t want to be around other people in that way, not b/c I there’s any issue with them. It’s so important we all give a bit more understanding when it comes to what we want to do – great post ? x
suzystories08/27/2019 at 4:35 pm
Aw thank you Ellie! I’m glad it brought a little grin 🙂 Yes I’m totally with you, I’d love to see people enjoying their travels however they like without others feeling the need to put them down for it! Oh that is a terrible travel snob attitude. Interesting you mention the judgement on destinations, I’m writing about that next in fact! I’ve definitely come across the same opinions. It’s not hurting anyone, so what’s the problem?! I hope people just feel so passionately about their experiences they want to share, but it can come across overbearing and judgemental at times. Here’s to being nicer to one another!
ellieslondon08/27/2019 at 5:31 pm
100% – looking forward to your next post even more now – it’ll be excellent! x
Tammy Cover08/28/2019 at 3:28 am
I have to be honest, I have never even considered if I was a travel snob. I hope I’m not, I don’t think I am! I think people that do travel often are judged often by others, I hear all the time “You must be rich”, “how do you afford that??”…
Oh and I always visit the cliche attractions, I mean, that’s the fun stuff!!
I am currently trying to build a career of my own, where I can travel when I want, that being when the kids are on break! But that’s just me trying to get more of what I want. I don’t think that’s a snob option, it’s just the option of willing to work for what I want. But I know you weren’t meaning that in this post.
I find that most people in my day to day life, do not want to hear about my travels, they don’t care. I don’t broadcast to them, if they ask me how my trip was, I know they just want to hear “It was good, thanks”. That’s one of the reasons that I blog, I know that people who read travel blogs, want to know about travel. Us travel folk like to see where others have been, and plan our own trips accordingly!! 🙂
Thank you for posting this…
It was good, it was a breath of fresh air. As I get so tired of everyone trying to post about “Luxery this and Luxery that”… I just want to keep it real. It’s okay to just do me!
suzystories08/29/2019 at 4:39 am
I hadn’t either at all! Yes absolutely, it’s all too easy for people to judge one another isn’t it? That doesn’t sound snobby at all, everyone can choose to travel the way that suits them best, as long as we’re leaving other’s too it I see no problem! Ah yes that’s true… I think my blog exists for the same reasons! I like to share the stories, but it’s up to others to read it rather than me babble on at them for yonks! Absolutely Tammy, you keep doing you! Thanks for your lovely comment I’m glad you enjoyed it 🙂 Happy travels!
Chocoviv08/29/2019 at 9:36 pm
Omg…yes, i know those!
Sergel07/01/2021 at 5:14 pm
Oh I absolutely agree! I’ve met many snobs online, and they always seem the most judgmental towards others. Like, due to my IBS I have trouble with hostels and can’t eat street food but that makes me a worse tourist. The irony is they complain about crowds, overtourism, and pollution, yet co tribute to it themselves.
suzystories07/04/2021 at 6:36 pm
It’s always easier to be snobby online! That’s a really good point too. Not the best impression to complain when you’re part of the problem… Wishing you happy travels 🙂
Carolin03/15/2022 at 11:42 am
Thank you for sharing your thoughts in a very tactful & respectful post! I appreciate it. The constant bashing of people and their individual ways of travelling is something that really irks me in the travel community. It feels like you’re never good enough and have to justify yourself why you e.g. can’t jet around the world every 4 weeks, prefer hotels over hostels or (how dare you) admit to enjoying touristic sights over “living like a local”. I personally don’t mind any of those. If people like to stay in hostels, I respect that. If people can visit other continents multiple times in the year, I’m happy for them and want to read about their adventures. Unfortunately, I’ve come across a couple of snobs (mostly male) who were extremely judgmental and aggressive in invalidating some of my travel experiences. I’m glad I connected with you who enjoys travel as much as I do and is tolerant with an open mind towards it.
Carolin | Solo Travel Story
suzystories03/28/2022 at 5:43 pm
Thank you so much for your kind words, Carolin. I’m so sorry to hear you’ve experienced negative comments from others before, there’s really no need for it. I completely agree with you – it’s reassuring to meet and talk with others who are open-minded and accepting of all forms of travel. There is no one size fits all!