bragging about travel

How Bragging About Travel Makes Travel Worse For Everyone

Posted on Posted in Culture, Travel

If there’s one thing that Fox News and The New York Times agree on, it’s that bragging about travel has become a serious problem among travelers. While this criticism might unfairly target millennials, it’s not far off. While we are the first generation to have the opportunity to move abroad on a budget (often while taking our work with us), that doesn’t mean we should be talking about going to countries as though they are something to collect.

The idea of bragging about travel actually recalls a situation with my girlfriend (who travel blogs regularly about the ethics of travel) and an acquaintance. Engaged in a one-sided conversation, the acquaintance remarked to Alex that he felt that the two of them were the most sophisticated people in the room because they are the only ones who have traveled extensively. Alex later told me about this — and it just made me laugh. Obviously he wasn’t aware that generally wherever Alex travels I travel too .It also seemed that he wanted to gloat about where he’d been without expressing an actual opinion about what he did and saw in the places he traveled to.

Prior to starting to write about travel, I haven’t really talked about my travels that much. Partially that’s because I didn’t want to come off as someone who was bragging about travel. Unlike some people who talk about travel, I don’t feel need to list off every country I’ve ever been to. It doesn’t make me a big man or a better person. But what it has done is inform my sense of self and has helped me grow in ways I didn’t know were possible. But that doesn’t mean it needs to be a part of every conversation I have.

Believe it or not, there are ways to have a conversation about travel without being a dick. The best way to actually do this is to start to develop opinions about your travels. Of course, opinions can’t be developed in a vacuum. You need to be able to quantify your experience in some way. In many conversations I’ve had with people about travel it’s almost impossible to tell if they’ve actually enjoyed their travels or not. It’s almost as if going is the only thing that counts, not the actual experience.

Another important thing to understand about travel is that there are many different ways to do it. And that’s not to say that one way is more legitimate than another. In the span of three months, we’ll be leaving our temporary home in Granada, Spain and trading it in for the comparatively luxury accommodations of a work-travel program in Southeast Asia. Both experiences appeal to different types of people who want to different kinds of conversation around travel.

As long as those conversations don’t devolve into bragging about travel then they are equally legitimate. There’s no better way to experience a new location while traveling. But there is a better way to talk about travel — and it should start by not namedropping the countries you’ve been to or bragging about travel experiences without offering insight.

 

26 thoughts on “How Bragging About Travel Makes Travel Worse For Everyone

  1. Very true there is a difference between documenting your travels to help others and just bragging. I read a lot of travel blogs and books and find most of them helpful but you do always get the odd one that you feel is just written to show off.

    1. Glad you feel the same way. A lot of travel content out there is really great but its always the conversations around travel that I feel have less to say.

    1. Oh yeah, totally agree! Can’t tell you the amount of times that I’ve had THAT conversation with a ‘fellow’ traveler.

  2. Totally, agree. Great post! However, I’m an American and we don’t often travel out of our own country, when we do it’s hard to bottle up the awesome feeling of actually “going on adventure”. I mean, let’s be honest, the modern world is a pretty safe place minus the obvious, so it only makes sense that one would get super excited about traveling outside of these “safe spaces”.

    Truly showing your enthusiasm of getting out and about is one thing, but it’s the people that travel often that irks me (and other Americans, I would imagine). I mean, we get it, you travel A LOT. Good for you… now, I don’t know, maybe get back to work and actually help build contraptions that can help less fortunate countries instead of just talking about people in less fortunate countries (not directed towards you, just ranting). Hahaha.

    1. Hahahaha totally understand where you’re coming from, especially as an American who travels a lot! Still, there is definitely benefit to spreading ‘awareness’ of the things you have seen while traveling. Just stating that you traveled and that somehow makes you superior is ridiculous though. You are right that a lot of Americans never travel though, but I at least try to have the conversations around it with friends and acquaintances focus on the takeaways vs just seeing cool shit.Otherwise you might as well never have left your ‘safe space’ in the first place.

      1. Yep, very true. I am totally 100% in favor of what you are doing with travel, and glad you’re sharing your experiences the right way! Haha, it’s funny to see an American travel for the first time according to Europeans and Canadians. At least that’s what they told me when I visited Laos, Vietnam and Thailand. But, then again, I can’t blame them… I was so unprepared it was laughable. 🙂

        1. It doesn’t help that we live an ocean apart and almost half of us don’t have passports 🙂 It’s good to be ‘better’ as an American abroad because you are right, the perception is not always there.

  3. This is definitely a great point! Being a travel blogger this is something that I do agree is important to consider and watch out for. Tips and Ideas are totally different from bragging! Thanks for writing on this topic.

    1. Glad you enjoyed it! This ethos is definitely something that I’m definitely trying to apply to all of the travel posts vs just writing about the destinations that I’ve been to.

    1. I agree with you. I think that travel blogging would benefit a ton from giving a more ‘real’ picture of what a place is like vs just glossing over to the highlights.

  4. It’s such a fine line but can make a huge difference in conversations. I love talking to people about their travels, but it’s more for a selfish reason, in case it’s a place I’d like to travel to myself someday. I like it when people are able to sell a destination to me. Or maybe they can advise me not to go. (https://www.fijord.com)

    1. This definitely can happen. I’ve also had good conversations with people that have convinced me or changed my mind from going to places. Unfortunately I think those types of conversations are few and far between.

  5. I try to be careful about the way I talk about my travels for the same reason: I’m scared people will think I’m full of myself! That’s why I blog my experiences rather than talk at length for my whole office to hear, ha! I so agree that traveling simply to check places off of a list is not traveling at all. It’s collecting places to brag about, nothing more. What’s the fun in that?

    1. You’re totally right. I don’t think it’s exactly water-cooler talk. That being said, I love following people’s adventures (but that’s because I’m a traveler too). Looking forward to following yours 🙂

  6. I definitely think you are on to something here. I feel like sometimes feel like the fact that I haven’t traveled makes me dumb, less sophisticated, etc. I would love to see more of the world, but if I never do, I’m not any less because of it.

    1. Absolutely. Travel is not something that should define your sense of self, but rather a set of experiences you can learn from. Some of my closest friends don’t have passports and that doesn’t make them any lesser in my eyes.

    1. I guess I see the distinction as being when you arbitrarily try to impress or regale people with your tales of travel. But if it’s something people are interested in hearing it’s totally great and inspiring to talk about your adventures.

  7. I agree.
    I love reading about or listening to different travel tales but when someone starts bragging, it gets boring.
    Overall a very nice post. 😊

    1. Thank you 🙂 Yes it can get quite annoying. I love to talk about travel but not if it’s just a recount of what people have seen and done.

  8. I particularly do not care for anyone that feels like they have to spill out their whole life resume unprovoked. I empathize though, because I know people only do that because another deep rooted issue or issues. T

    1. Exactly, it really is because something else is going on in their lives, like a deep-seated sense of insecurity. I’m glad you were the one to say it haha.

  9. To say someone is not as sophisticated as you because they haven’t travel is much is just amazing to me. Sad. I empathize because individuals that spill out their life resume unprovoked is struggling with other deep rooted issues. Usually I just laugh and listen,

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