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22 Reasons You Are a Travel Snob

Some would say they are jaded. Their style is best and they alone are the arbiters of travel dharma truisms. (And here I thought travel was a highly subjective personal experience and that diversity was a good thing!?)
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Hate is a strong word, but as someone who travels a lot, I really hate travel snobs.

We all know travel elitists: They will actually pick a dinner party fight about whether tourists are real travelers. Or whether a vacation is really a trip. They scoff at the mere suggestion of mass tourism. They have canned, over-intellectualized, one-size-fits-all answers as to the "right way" to travel...that is usually their way of traveling.

Consciously or not, they look down on and pity those of us who don't subscribe to their clichéd and manufactured point of view. Their noses are in the air. They unabashedly pooh-pooh or one-up their fellow travelers with tales of woe or adventure. Some would say they are jaded. Their style is best, and they alone are the arbiters of travel dharma truisms. (And here I thought travel was a highly subjective personal experience and that diversity was a good thing!?)

Some would say that we live in the era of the virtuous traveler; others argue the political correctness of travel. One way or another we travelers do let our feelings on the subject be known.

I meet travel snobs all the time -- at airports, in hotel lobbies, at Travel and Adventure shows where I give talks, on book signing tours, as well as while serving as Event Director for The Global Scavenger Hunt, an annual around-the-world travel adventure competition that attracts many traveler types -- both the good and bad. And what do I know from all these interactions? Spoiler alert: that travel is in the eyes of the beholder.

That said, here are some of the many ways you know you are a travel snob:

1. You opine that tourists and vacationers are not real travelers. (Tourists and vacationers have everything pre-arranged, whereas "real" travelers live in the moment and arrange things for themselves.)

2. You actually make distinctions between trips and journeys. (Trips are nothing more than checklist tourism, whereas journeys inevitably put you at risk somehow...and make you question life's assumptions.)

3. You refuse to take selfies at the Taj Mahal or Iguaçu Falls, thinking it is beneath you.

4. You continually intone that you are really a "serious" traveler.

5. You equate pain, suffering, long and arduous journeys and doing without as more authentic than traveling without pain, suffering, long and arduous journeys and doing with.

6. You argue that it is not "authentic" unless you spend a prolonged period of time there.

7. You argue that it is not "authentic" unless you live there for a while.

8. You argue that it is not really traveling unless you rough it -- and live on ten cents a day.

9. You flaunt that you know how to travel because you always book the best of everything.

10. You actually say, "Been there. Done that. What's next?"

11. You over-intellectualize and analyze travel, making it out as something more than just a) a commodity -- time or money, b) simple escapism, c) a hedonistic experience, or d) plain fun.

12. You cringe every time you see someone with a suitcase.

13. You argue that you aren't really traveling unless you go to the most remote "off the beaten track" destination void of all human connections.

14.You say phrases like, "I don't go there anymore because it's too touristy" or, "I would never go there."

15. You brag that you'd rather not go someplace than fly coach.

16. You start a conversation with "I am a road warrior who travels 50 weeks a year." (As someone wise told me, "You can indeed have a narrow mind and a thick passport.")

17. You smugly begin a conversation with "I don't travel; I wander."

18. You think that staying at a 5-star hotel is a crime against humanity.

19. You roll your eyes when you see one of those hop-on, hop-off city tour buses.

20. You virtuously argue that any kind of group travel is not "authentic" and that you have to be traveling independently to a) be really traveling, b) see anything, c) experience serendipity, or d) be adventurous.

21. You seriously doubt that cruisers are real travelers. (Okay, I might believe this one. Hmmm, does that mean I am a travel snob? Guilty!)

22. You righteously argue that all travel is inherently evil. That travelers are nothing more than carpetbaggers complicit in promoting a system of inequalities through the exploitation (aka cultural colonialism) of cheap labor, cheap cruises, cheap massages, cheap trinkets, cheap meals, cheap transport, and cheap sex.

Those are mine. (In fact, now that I think about it -- maybe I am a travel snob just for thinking about it?) Anyways, what are the signs you know you're talking with a travel snob?