Are travel bloggers the worst travellers?

What is it about travel blogging nowadays? Everybody who ever set  foot out of their country seems to feel the need to document it on their own little corner of the world wide web! Millions of stories are up for grabs, millions of tales to inspire future travellers to follow into our footsteps.

But are traveller bloggers really the example to follow?
Being a travel bloggers myself, I have found myself in situations which made me think…

1/ We have forgotten to simply enjoy the moment!

Ah, social media, how you have changed our lives! Whatever we do nowadays has to be shared! Whether it’s an afternoon walk in the park or the evening meal, we are all too keen to document it! But what is true for most of us, is even more true for travel bloggers!

A few months ago I was on a blogger trip to Kerala, India. The organisation was nice enough to provide us with an Indian SIM-card and our private bus was equipped with plugs. Result: instead of staring through the window, taking in the fascinating street life of India, most of us had their head buried into their mobile phone, posting their latest picture on Instagram or crafting their future articles!

Whatever happened to simply enjoying the moment? Do we really think we’re so important that the world instantly needs our pictures or stories?

travel bloggers

2/  We stay ON the beaten path

I wonder whether there’s any local Thai people left in Chiang Mai. The number of travel bloggers & digital nomads flocking to this city in northern Thailand is enormous! Of course, the climate is fantastic, the culture fascinating and not to mention cheap rent, so it is totally understandable. But if I see any more articles about Thailand or South-East Asia in general, I think I’m going to scream! Honestly folks, I think that topic is covered by now!

What about Kyrgyzstan or Namibia for example? There seems to be very little originality in the destinations, but yet most of us encourage people to get “off the beaten path”… Practise what you preach?

3/ In group, we become the tourists we so often despise

Peru, India, Cuba, … the world is full of photogenic locals! They make for fantastic portraits and memories and of course, there’s nothing wrong with photographing them, once you got their permission. But what if all of a sudden 20 other bloggers recognize the same fantastic photo opportunity? In seconds, that local person might be surrounded by snapping cameras and encouragements to smile! Is that the message we want to spread to our readers? How do we differ from the big tour groups that we so often despise?

So is it all bad in travel blogging land? Well of course not! Most of us will happily travel to off beaten destinations and hey, maybe some might even leave their mobile phone behind for an afternoon! Yes, we can provide other travellers with useful tips and information, dream away with pictures of far-flung beaches or encourage each other’s wanderlust!

But do not let us for a second believe that we are the holy grail in the travelling world! We all know Michael Palin took that place a long time ago! 🙂

 

Do you recognize this? Or do you want to call “defense”? Let’s discuss it in the comments!

 

13 Replies to “Are travel bloggers the worst travellers?”

  1. Therese

    I think you could be right – I’m guilty of going to places just to get info for a possible post and thank goodness for digital cameras due to the number of photos I take just to make sure I get that special shot. Plus the need to write too many things down just in case I forget. Yes – I do try to enjoy the moment but the world of digital media can be a nightmare sometimes.

    Reply
  2. Ben Zabulis

    Love this article Els, it scores on so many aspects of travel ! I suppose nowadays there’s this need to document everything on the slightly erroneous notion that people might actually want to read it – and of course they don’t ! There’s just so many travel blogs out there where does one start ? I don’t have a blog as such but I do have a FB page which was originally set up for a book I wrote, now I just add to it occasional articles I write for the press or as a guest blogger on other sites.

    Funnily enough I had a friend who passed away some years back who had travelled and lived all around the world, most of it probably in pre-internet days. The amazing thing is he never once took a camera with him, it just wasn’t important – how times have changes ! Happy travels !!

    Reply
    • Els Post author

      Time has definitely changed. Travel before social media was a lot purer. People concentrated more on the actual country/city they were in iso on how their pic could get the most likes. Thanks for commenting and happy travels to you too!

      Reply
  3. Tracey Pictor

    Glad I am not the only travel blogger that feels this way. That’s why I have chosen not to join Snapchat as I think I/we as a community already spend way to much time living through our cameras viewfinder and seriously if I have to see another 10 top things to do in NYC or Paris post I may have a tiny tantrum.
    – Tracey
    http://www.journalofacitygirl.com

    Reply
    • Els Post author

      Haha, good to see there are several of us. I didn’t join Snapchat either, for exactly the same reason as you!

      Reply
  4. TravelBench

    Everytime I travel I am knowingly trying to get lost. Lost, somewhere out of the tourist spots, somewhere where I can see the locals act natural, to see some of their restaurants, bars, shops, ect. where normal people actually go. Therefore I feel I realy get to know the place I visit, not only the tourist part where everything looks as expected. And I think more and more people get interested in such stories more.

    Reply
  5. Jillith

    We are the WORST travel bloggers quite a lot of the time (thankfully it’s just a hobby/means of keeping in touch and not a career or we’d have died of starvation by now) as so many of our posts are like “sorry we didn’t get any photos of x, we were having such a laugh we forgot”. It must get quite tedious having to document everything and not being able to just relax and enjoy the moment. PS Go to Kyrgyzstan! It’s amazing and beautiful and so so so cheap!
    PPS Actually don’t go to Kyrgyzstan. Well… if you do, keep it a secret and don’t let the travel bloggers move in on it!

    Reply
  6. Claudia

    I am not like that at all. I have been on blog trips where my sim card was not working (my phone was locked) and had to stare out of the window when the rest had their heads buried on their phones and chatted from one seat to the other (yup). I actually would not do it even if I had the chance. I like staring out the window. Or reading. Or napping. Or talking (actual talking).

    A blogger I know insisted so much that I should go to Chiang Mai to hang out with other bloggers that I have resolved NEVER to go there. And surely, if I do I won’t ever mention it to other bloggers.

    And I eat my food instead of taking pictures. I am sorry I am too hungry!

    Reply
    • Els Post author

      Haha, same thing for me, my phone was locked so the provided SIM-card was no use, it didn’t bother me at all! I went to Thailand more than 10 years ago, before the big blogger boom and didn’t go to Chiang Mai. I always wanted to go back, but nowadays I’m not too sure any more…

      Reply

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