I’m a travel writer, and over the last decade, I’ve used my adventures to entice readers to do their own globetrotting. I thought my escapades were inspiring. I never anticipated I might one day be shamed for them.
It’s been hard to be grounded for so long in an effort to manage the pandemic, but, probably like you, I isolated in my home. As the months wore on, I watched my industry crumble. Travel publications faltered, restaurants closed, and airlines and hotels laid off workers.
It started to feel like the industry could bounce back as the economy percolated with the promise of summer. Exuberance emerged as people started sharing about mini-vacations again — and then chagrin as others spouted vitriol. The trend was labeled “travel shaming.”
This trend is different than expressing concern or asking vacationers to take travel matters more seriously. Travel shaming is forcing — with deliberate meanness — one’s views on social responsibility, fully intending to embarrass. Travelers posting trip memories, or even asking for future travel tips, began incurring wrath and judgment on social media.
I remember testing the travel waters on Instagram with a late-June staycation at a hotel mere blocks from my apartment. My entire caption spoke to safety measures, not revelry. Still, within moments, I got a message from a friend offended that I would promote such risky behavior. When related posts drew similar ire, I didn’t know how to proceed. Travel inspiration is my job, after all.