Updated: 1/3/2020 | January 3rd, 2020

Nothing irks me more than people disparaging people’s travel choices. I don’t get why people do it. The whole “traveler vs. tourist” argument, talking about what makes someone a “real traveler,” and making fun of people’s routes — people waste so much energy trying to lift themselves up above others.

Isn’t travel supposed to make you open-minded?

I do this for me. This is all my journey. I’m not in a race for the most countries visited, street stalls eaten at, or festivals attended. I do what makes me happy, even if it’s some “touristy” destination.

There isn’t a single “authentic” version of travel. Getting off the beaten path, finding some hidden island, or living with some guy in a yurt in Mongolia don’t make someone a better traveler than anyone else. It just means your itinerary and experience were different.

I’ve been riled up about this for quite some time and decided to make a video about this subject. Here’s how I really feel and what I think you should do when you meet a pretentious, judgmental traveler:

At the end of the day, travel is not a competition. It’s not a contest. Yes, it’s awesome to travel to far-flung destinations and get off the beaten path. But that doesn’t mean you’re a “better traveler” than someone else. You’re just a different traveler.

We all travel our own way because travel is a personal experience.

I travel the way I want and go to the place I want to see. I don’t have anything to prove; I’m just traveling the way I want to. It’s my life, after all!

As I’ve learned after ten years of traveling the world, there are always going to be people out there who try to get you down. Just ignore them. They just want to belittle your experience to make themselves feel better.

Don’t waste your time on them. There are tons of other awesome travelers you can chat with instead!

So, go where you want.

Do what you want.

See what you want.

Eat where you want.

Maybe I’ll disagree, maybe I’ll try to get you to do something else, but, as Sheryl Crow said, if it makes you happy, it can’t be that bad — and at the end of the day, I’m just happy you left the house. That’s all I care about.

The next time someone starts harping on your travel choices or giving you grief, turn the conversation around on them. Tell them part of being a traveler is being open-minded and if they can’t respect your choice, the conversation is over. Call them out on their crap.

And then walk away.

It’s your trip. Don’t let people ruin it.

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Book Your Trip: Logistical Tips and Tricks

Book Your Flight
Find a cheap flight by using Skyscanner or Momondo. They are my two favorite search engines because they search websites and airlines around the globe so you always know no stone is left unturned.

Book Your Accommodation
You can book your hostel with Hostelworld. If you want to stay somewhere other than a hostel, use Booking.com as they consistently return the cheapest rates for guesthouses and cheap hotels.

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. I’ve been using World Nomads for ten years. My favorite companies that offer the best service and value are:

  • World Nomads (for everyone below 70)
  • Insure My Trip (for those over 70)
  • Medjet (for additional repatriation coverage)

Ready to Book Your Trip?
Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel. I list all the ones I use when I travel. They are the best in class and you can’t go wrong using them on your trip.

Random Musings
24.02.2014 / backpacking / living overseas / long term travel
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