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Opinion

Rant: Why Travel Bloggers Are the Worst

Rant: Why Travel Bloggers Are the Worst
Ariana Arghandewal

I’m going to make a lot of people angry with this opinion: Travel bloggers are the worst. I’m not talking about points and miles bloggers or even those who market travel credit cards – they actually provide a service. People are able to have amazing travel experiences thanks to the so-called credit card pimps. No, the real non-contributing zeros in the world of blogging are travel bloggers. I’m not a cynic and I personally know dozens of travel bloggers who are pretty nice people. My beef is with their line of work and the lack of value in it.

It all started three or four years ago. I was hitting the Twitter travel chat scene pretty hard, excitedly exchanging pointless travel tips with other delirious “digital nomads” and “travel enthusiasts” (Really? Have you been to an airport lately?). After a couple of these travel chats, I began to develop a serious aversion to travel chats and the people (mostly travel bloggers) participating in them. Repeating the same nonsensical, generic travel advice over and over again, in the hopes it would turn them into Anthony Bourdain:

 

“What’s your favorite kind of travel?”

Answer: “Off the beaten path!”

 

“What’s the best part?”

“The adventures! And the locals!”

 

“What’s the most amazing place you’ve ever traveled to?”

“North Korea. Though sadly, I didn’t get invited to a stranger’s wedding like I had expected.”

 

If I had a dollar every time one of these travel bloggers gave these answers to describe their most ideal, meaningful travel experiences, I’d be on the cover of Forbes right now. Why are these sentiments so obnoxious? Because they’re completely disingenuous and reveal a lack of self-awareness and delusions about the world.

Not to mention, their greedy attitude towards “locals” as a source of entertainment is completely absurd and would never be reciprocated by any of these bloggers. Would you invite total strangers to your expensively-catered special day? No? Then don’t go to a third world country and turn someone else’s sacred ritual into a tourist experience.

The idea that impoverished people in some far-off corner of the world owe anything to an under-employed 25 year-old whose sole mission in life is to get corporate sponsorship to cover his pointless trips around the world while contributing nothing to society is astounding.

The idea that “locals” serve no other purpose but to make said travel blogger’s “unique” travel experience more interesting to discuss at the water cooler of the workplace he’s eschewed in favor of a “free” and “nomadic” existence is completely gag-inducing. The constant need to be somewhere “first” and to treat people like props for interesting Instagram photos is exactly what’s wrong with travel blogging today: It’s selfish, disingenuous, and contributes nothing of value.

“What about all those useful travel tips bloggers write about?” It’s mostly regurgitated nonsense or sponsored content passing itself off as genuine and unique. But it isn’t. And even if the hundredth digital nomad who wrote about his 20 minute refugee camp experience as if he’d spent an entire month there genuinely cares, his motives are selfish: To produce content that gets him more sponsorship, so he can keep traveling and pretending his experiences are more meaningful than they really are. It’s a vicious cycle that the rest of us need to stop encouraging.

“Not all who wander are lost.” Most travel bloggers are.

View Comments (12)

12 Comments

  1. hjplano

    October 21, 2017 at 10:04 am

    I’d like to hear the other side of the story. Mallory’s FB live video is very telling, she’s a hot head looking for a fight. she thinks Platinum status really means something, when told to get off the plane, she went into a nasty obscene verbal tirade, calling the captain a “Slave Master”, in front of other passengers, and apparently the passenger clapped when she was kicked off the plane, so there is way more to the story. It appears this women is a professional victim and race baiter who adores Fidel Castro and is affiliated with a women that has terrorist connections, Linda Sarsour. This woman thinks she can shake down a large company for $$ or favors. If the story is more like, Mallory verbally abused the gate agent, made a scene, was running very hot, pilot sees this, decided not to take a chance, kick her off the flight….then Mallory is going to look really stupid and will ruin what’s left of her brand.

  2. kirkwoodj

    October 21, 2017 at 1:00 pm

    Well said.

  3. Alster2015

    October 21, 2017 at 1:41 pm

    I couldn’t agree more! They are quite annoying running around everywhere filming themselves with their Go Pros and never really have anything new to say that you can’t find on a forum or travel web site. They do not give anything of real value, and they just want to travel for free. How many of them are working for or giving to charities?
    They are jobless moochees.

  4. edgewood49

    October 22, 2017 at 10:38 am

    Ha finally someone has answered the call! Good for you. I too am tired of the “See Me” blogs let alone the arrogance of some of them. Yes there are a number of bloggers that provide great insight and information, sadly these tend to be the original bloggers and now we have the newbies filing dribble and fake/false information.

    I am sure there are many of us out there that actually pay for many of our trips ether with real money or by the old fashion way “we earn them” not hack/scam them. I earn them by flying 125K a year for business all paid FC. And yes I have a sore ass. but they do bring me great trips using the points and cash to assure me the class of service I want.

    So thank you for the post

  5. wiley fahma

    October 22, 2017 at 8:45 pm

    Yeah, a lot of these travelers are anxious to impress, but I think you’re being too hard on them. Many just love to travel and share, and don’t yet realize what I’ve learned over the years- lots of other people just don’t care about any world but their own, don’t understand the fascination with travel, or are just plain envious that they can’t travel because of finances, time, family obligations, or a reluctant partner. Personally, I find interaction with the locals one of the most memorable and enjoyable parts of travel. “Off the beaten path” isn’t a criteria for me to love a place- after all, if it wasn’t special it probably wouldn’t be famous in the first place. Santorini, Queenstown NZ, Cortina d’Ampezzo, and Zermatt are just some examples of spectacular places that are deservedly well-known. I do have to admit that I’m pretty proud of finding a “hidden gem” bee-keeping museum in a little town near Bled, Slovenia .Everyone loves a trophy as part of the hunt whether it’s coins, books, wine, or travel.

  6. FlyingNone

    October 23, 2017 at 3:29 am

    Then you definitely don’t want to read http://www.BoardingArea.com – with over 60 bloggers. With the exception of one or two it is nothing but a bragging site – who can chase their tail fast enough to grub and grab points. Some of them get paid by hotels and other companies they are “advertising” for (ie., Mommy Points blogger who adds in the toddler, stroller, cheerio entourage — Ugh x1000.

  7. pduan87

    October 23, 2017 at 5:40 am

    Pot calling the kettle black.

  8. rendezvous

    October 23, 2017 at 8:15 am

    Spot on!

  9. MileageManager

    October 24, 2017 at 10:10 am

    You had me at “off the beaten path.” Good lord!

  10. IBobi

    IBobi

    October 24, 2017 at 10:47 am

    Wait — I can get corporate sponsorship to cover my pointless trips around the world? Where do I sign!

  11. pointchaser

    October 26, 2017 at 9:16 am

    @hjplano I have no idea who Mallory is, but she sounds fun. 😉

    @kirkwoodj thanks! Felt good to get that out.

    @alster2015 lol at the Go Pro comment!

    @edgewood49 consider me one of the hackers. 😉 Listen, I do find some travel blogs insightful (i.e. Rapid Travel Chai, for example) but a lot of the Digital Nomads out there are writing nonsense that they Googled 5 minutes before writing it. No thanks.

    @wiley fahma I’m all for people having fun and enjoying travel. But doing it for a living while contributing nothing of value? Not a fan of that. Especially when their travel is sponsored and then they write biased posts without disclosing those sponsorships.

    @FlyingNone I like BoardingArea! I read Rapid Travel Chai, OMAAT, and VFT constantly. I know, off to the gallows with me…
    @pduan87 Black is a great color on me.

    @rendezvous Thanks!

    @MileaManager Tell me about it!

    @IBob TBEX – they literally have speed-date type sessions where bloggers can haggle with tourism board reps for free trips.

  12. jaimelobo

    November 7, 2017 at 9:34 am

    I always chuckled at the smugness of discovery some of them have, like one blogger I read excitedly telling of her find that there are other cemeteries in Paris to explore, aside from Père Lachaise.

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