Travel Snobs Are So Arrogant

Written By: The Planet D

The other day we met a guy at an event who actually had the nerve to say, “Ask me how many countries I’ve been to, because I guarantee it’s more than you.”

He then went on to tell us that he will show us his passport stamps later if we want to see them and that he has just flown his 1000th flight on an airplane.

He is what I would call one of those arrogant travel snobs.

obnoxious travel snobs
Travel Snobs, who needs them

Just because you stepped foot on a few more chunks of earth than everyone else doesn’t make you special. It simply makes you someone who travels a lot.

See our 27 Best Travel Tips after 7 Years of Exploring the World

Travel Snobs are Unacceptable

Can you imagine someone else showing off their accomplishments so blatantly?

I was thinking about other scenarios where this could have happened.

Imagine if someone said “Ask me how high my marks were in school because I guarantee mine were better than yours!”

What if someone else said “Ask me how much money I make because I know I make more than you.”

Nobody in their right mind would say something like that. And yet some travellers feel that they have the right to brag about everything they do.

Life Experiences VS Travel Check List

arrogant travel snobs pyramids of giza

We feel that life experience and an active and happy lifestyle makes your time on earth rich.

Not a tally of what you’ve seen and where you’ve been. It’s how meaningful that moment was when you saw it.

Who were you with and how were you feeling? Were you happy?

Our friends and family haven’t been to as many countries as us, but they have very successful lives.

They have amazing careers and have raised beautiful families, they keep active and healthy and do cool hobbies and a have a supportive circle of friends.

We have friends who save lives and protect the community.

We have friends who volunteer and help people and others who entertain and make people laugh. They have great lives.

Life is not a competition.

People can have just as beautiful experiences at home that they can traveling abroad. It’s about balance.

Travel is beautiful, but being grounded is also beautiful.

Having a home is beautiful and enjoying your career is beautiful. Being in love is beautiful and having a good laugh is beautiful. Dammit, Life is Beautiful.

canoes canada

Dave and I choose to travel because it’s always been our dream to work together.

Travel was simply the catalyst that made that happen. Over the years, as we travelled to more and more places, we realized that we loved spending 24/7 together.

We loved exploring new places and challenging ourselves. It was travel that helped us create a richer life at home and strengthened our relationship and we are thankful for that, but other people may have been inspired by something else in their lives.

Read: 21 Best Travel Books to Inspire the Wanderer in You

Our goal in life wasn’t to hit a hundred countries, it was to be able to live as rich of a life as possible and to find happiness and fulfillment.

That’s what life is about to us. Pursuing Happiness. I say ‘pursuing happiness’ because I think that happiness is difficult to achieve, but it is something that is worth working at.

Life will always have ups and downs and there will always be challenges and difficulties.

But the best way to find happiness is to stop judging others, have an open mind and listen and learn from people. That’s what works for us.

Just because you stepped foot on a few more chunks of earth than everyone else doesn’t make you special. It simply makes you someone who travels a lot.

Read Next: How to Start a Travel Blog in 11 Easy Steps

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About The Planet D

Dave Bouskill and Debra Corbeil are the owners and founders of The Planet D. After traveling to 115 countries, on all 7 continents over the past 13 years they have become one of the foremost experts in travel. Being recognized as top travel bloggers and influencers by the likes of Forbes Magazine, the Society of American Travel Writers and USA Today has allowed them to become leaders in their field.

Leave a Comment

60 thoughts on “Travel Snobs Are So Arrogant”

  1. I have been shamed because I enjoy camping trips, by a person who typically went on more expensive vacations. And they wanted to feel superior to me and put me down because at the time, camping was all that my family could afford. But we also loved to go camping and were excited before each trip.

    So here’s the deal: If you shame me for something I enjoy, I will write you off really fast and we can’t be friends anymore. And I will probably never talk to you again.

    Reply
  2. Great post, great content and above all – great replies… I’m writing a book about this, I’m about half way thru and 100% true to what’s been commented above. Life is about experience, it’s about human contact and discovery, it’s about culture and understanding, but mostly I’ve found, it’s about education and or the lack of. “Understanding Been There”, travel is a complex process which one can define by an infinite number of personal equations…

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  3. I see a couple of retired friends only once a year and they break out the travel videos. This is not social. This is travel competition. I no longer enjoy seeing them once a year. How insensitive. I am separated and they insist I watch them in these romantic travel videos. Unfriended because of snobbery.

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  4. The “how many countries” question has always irritated me. No, I can’t tell you how many countries I have been to or even how many my kids have been to. What I can tell you, and will wax on and on about is watching my little boy practice walking on the Great Wall of China. This is a memory I will share with him until my dying day. I will also share with him the tale of the day he discovered gravel. Oh yes my friends. Do you know how much stinkin’ gravel is in Kyoto!? There is a lot. And don’t get me started on the sticks in my backyard. We all live life the way we want to. My sister teaches art to deaf student. She loves her job and I am so proud of her. No, she doesn’t travel the world; that is not her passion. Instead she helps the next generation grow and learn, she is active in her community and an incredible artist. It really isn’t about how many places you have been, but the memories you take with you from the experiences in your life.

    Reply
    • Well said Keryn, it’s not about the tally, it’s about the joy and memories. Travel should never be about a competition. We are all just trying to enjoy our time on earth as much as we can.

      Reply
  5. Cat Anderson Yep. First and last breaths, the joy of healing, the fear and dismay of illness.
    The hope of being able to walk again, when everyone else said you never would. Helping
    someone come clean off drugs or drink. Being their during life changing events.

    Plenty of places that are off the beaten track of life, and none of it in a Lonly Planet guide.

    Reply
  6. When I reflect on the places I have been in almost 20 years of nursing and care work,
    I find it staggering. But you will never get a stamp on your passport for being at a.
    persons bedside when they take their last breath.

    Reply
  7. When I reflect on the places I have been in almost 20 years of nursing and care work, I find it staggering. But you will never get a stamp on your passport for being at a persons bedside when they take their last breath.

    Reply
  8. Is it me, or is "My husband I have travelled the whole world together but, hey, it's not a big deal, we're soooo in love" in the article slightly more annoying than "Hey, let me show you all the stamps in my passport"?

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  9. Agree! In the age of social media, we get to know about each other in a way we did not even fathom ever before! This is amazing, as we can be a motivation and encouragement to each other, but on the other hand, we meet people that make us feel worthless just because we have not achieved as much as them … At the same time, everyone feels they can write a blog and call themselves a world traveler. I believe time is the best judge of everyones work and achievements. Plus, I believe that the real intentions and love for the travel can be clearly seen in the writing of a blogger, and we just simply need to filtrate, thats all …. all the best to you in your travel!

    Reply
    • It’s definitely a double edged sword. Well put. I think it’s important to try to stay as positive and supportive of people rather than trying to put others down. Life is tough enough without having to make others feel bad about what themselves and I just don’t have time for people like that.

      Reply
  10. This is true in all areas of life, so I’m glad you pointed out that life is not a competition–not just traveling. Getting above that competitiveness and being secure in yourself is an important step to real happiness.

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  11. The poor fella. Mustn’t have much else going on in his life. I’m guessing he was single. I find it a whole lot more rewarding to immerse in one country than to skip past a dozen. The past 10 countries I traveller to were all countries I’ve visited before. I’m at a point where I don’t want to turn up in a new country skim across the surface and return with a few new travel blogs. It just seems completely pointless to me. I guess some people enjoy travel as a competition while others look to travel for learning, immersing and growing. I’d definitely come under the latter.

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  12. If I had a dime for everyone of these I’d met, I’d be on a RTW trip right now!

    I try real hard not to criticize the way others travel usually, since each person has a different experience, but it’s hard to figure out why anyone would find this satisfying other than to brag about it.

    Reply
  13. What a great post. Well said, Deb and Dave! Unfortunately, there are those kinds of people in the world no matter where you go or what you do.

    I work with someone like that. No matter what you say or do, he has got to one up the other person. It quite honestly makes me dread going to work and I work online! He likes to make rude comments to me about my traveling and how I must be so rich.

    I’ve chosen what makes me happy. Perhaps he should too and focus on finding that instead of always trying to one up others.

    Reply
  14. I can't agree more with this.

    I hate every time we encounter this specific kind of traveler. They get even worse when they learn that you make a living out of traveling. "you haven't been 'here' or 'there' and you call yourself a travel writer/blogger/photographer?". I think it's quite sad when traveling becomes a competition to see who has the most stamps in the passport. I'm not going to judge people who take pride on this but please don't raft all your bragging all over my face…

    Reply
    • Well said. Some people love keeping tabs and I admit, I get excited when I get another country added to our list, but I don’t judge what others are doing. More countries or less countries, it’s all good to me.

      Reply
  15. Humans and their damn ego!

    Although this example is extreme in nature (and thank you for bringing it up!), most humans DO suffer from some type of ego inflation.

    It’s helpful to always remind ourselves that every person has their own life to live – and its often up to them to decide HOW to live a happy life. This example is a great reminder of what NOT to do.

    Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Reply
  16. I think it is a problem when people set off ‘Traveling’. They have no particular aim or passion they just set off. Possibly wanting to see new things, meet interesting people and experience different cultures. Then they realize they are staying in hostels and everyone else is a Traveler…. It probably feels a little deflating. Like wanting your job as a accountant to be awesome only to find out there are a million other accountants all doing the same thing…

    So this guy thinks… how can I be special… he is just going for numbers and wants to show off his tenacity. Annoying yes, unusual no.

    I think, wrongly or rightly that the hardest thing for a traveler is to meet people that want to meet them. Not just people in the service sector (as extended as this my be) Staying with a family in the mountains of Nepal is still the service sector.

    My question is how does a traveler expect to find anything unique and enjoyable if they are not unique and enjoyable themselves? I think it’s wrong to think just because you turn up you are owed a life affirming enjoyable experience. Imagine an alien visitor turning up at your door, smiling, saying hello and then waiting for you to blow his or her mind. How would you feel? Used?

    Maybe a good ethos would be ‘If you run into another traveler whilst you are traveling, you are in fact not traveling at all. You are a tourist with a backpack and possibly a slightly more open mind’ and that is a good thing!

    Imagine if that guy had introduced himself and said ‘I am just a tourist with a backpack that travels a LOT’ Much better and truthful! You would probably reply with ‘ME TO’! 🙂

    All the Best
    Me to!

    Reply
  17. Couldn’t have said it better myself! Ive come across a few of these people in my travels and it annoys the S out of me! Travel isnt a competition and no one does it better than anyone else. We al do it differently which is perfectly fine!

    Reply
  18. Ah, the competitive spirit. And I am so not competitive. But I can certainly feel it when someone thinks they have to prove something to me, or even worse try to one up me! Guess what, that’s REALLY quite easy to do LOL!
    I agree, it’s not about checking things off off a giant list (although as a chronic post-it note list maker I DO like checking things off lists) but I digress… There’s obviously nothing wrong with creating challenges for your self (like Chris from The Art of Non-Conformity) but if you do things simply to prove something to the world then you’re missing the point me thinks. Great post, thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  19. Also, when I see you next, I’m totally saying: “Ask me how many countries I’ve been to, because I guarantee it’s LESS than you.” Mwah ha ha

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  20. Thank you for writing this! I'm worried I'll be intimidated by the "cool" big guys at TBEX because I don't have enough stamps in my passport – glad to know I'm not the only one who has encountered this awful behavoir.

    Reply
    • Traveling is not a competition. I've met a few travel bloggers that only write about one destination and I don't see why they should apologize for that. If you get that kind of attitude at TBEX you'll be better off leaving the conversation and talking to other people. Or just point them out to me and I will personally punch them in the face 😉

      Reply
      • Haha, I agree with you. You don’t have to travel to a hundred countries to be happy. People who focus on one destination become experts in their field and nobody should have to compare who has been to more places than another.

    • Glad we could ease your fears, there is nothing to be intimidated by. Travel is supposed to be fun, not a competition of places that you’ve been to. I hope you had a great time at TBEX

      Reply
  21. You pretty much hit the nail on the proverbial head with this post and thank you for bringing it up because I think it’s becoming more of an issue. Travel found me and it’s something I can’t live without. I know I have to go at my own pace and that travel is what makes me happiest. My friends are happiest at home or being married and owning a new home or raising children and I couldn’t be more thrilled with them. But when someone starts trying to one-up you because they think they’re better than everyone else, that’s when I disengage. And an ex-boyfriend has totally been the “I make more money that you.” Our friends used to call him $150K and he loved it. So glad I dumped his ass! And PS it’s not just travel bloggers, it’s travel writers too. Although their snobiness is on a different level – if they don’t think you’re good enough for them, they’ll just blatantly ignore you if you don’t have the New York Times as a byline or have published a book. It’s disgusting, to be honest. I’ve actually gotten the pity smile with “Good Luck.” But anyways, I try to ignore them and when I DO get published in the NYT I’ll just email them my article. Ha!

    Reply
  22. Oh man. These sorts of scorekeepers and one-uppers drive me crazy. That is not what travel is about for me at all. I do like to have goals and keep some lists, but I hope I never lose sight of the fact that it’s about the experience of doing the thing, not the list itself. It’s certainly not about how many places you’ve been, how little baggage you took, how cheap your ticket was or whatever other nonsense people like to brag about.

    Reply
  23. Yeah for you guys! Call ’em out. No one wants to stand around listening to someone rattle off their “brag lists.” Not only is the number of countries, UNESCO sites, or biggest, deepest whatever you’ve visited irrelevant, it’s not all that interesting. I totally agree with those who commented that it’s all about the people you meet and the stories you have to share. Reading your post reminded us of a girl on an overland trip we joined in Zambia. There were some in the group who’d been on the truck for a while, and when we were excited to see our first herd of zebra, she said, “Oh, yeah, I suppose that would be impressive. For me zebras are so boring now. We’ve seen so many. Now a rhino…wait til you see a rhino.” Not only did it take the wind from our sails a bit, but how sad to be part of a safari in Africa bored of looking at animals. Come on…you’re in Africa, viewing animals most people will never see in their natural habitat. If you can’t find some joy in that fact alone, it may be time to reassess.

    Reply
    • Oh, I hate that. When people act blasse about things, I think it is time for them to go home. How can they not be excited about a zebra. They’re so cute! We were always trying to get a great shot of a zebra. They seemed to be the most elusive for us since they were never very close to our safari vehicle. I so agree with you, Come on girl, you’re in Africa! Get excited.

      Reply
  24. Very true.
    It’s most certainly not about how many places you’ve been, or if you’ve been anywhere at all. What it boils down to is whether or not you are happy in your life, doing whatever you are doing. For us (and you two!) it’s about being together, laughing, sharing special moments, enjoying new cultures and making amazing memories together. The fact that we get stamps on our passport is just a bonus 🙂

    Some people have been to 100 or so countries, but have just touched down and left just to say they’ve been there…no experience had, nothing gained, except to say they’ve been there!

    Cheers for the post.

    Reply
    • Well said about being happy in your life. Travel doesn’t make you happy, just like money doesn’t make you happy (So they say, I wouldn’t know ;-)) but being with the one you love, having friends and enjoying what you do will definitely make you happy and to us, that is what life is all about. It looks like you two have figured it out as well.

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  25. I believe you should simply do watever makes you appiest, your life is only not full if you are not enjoyin it as you could be.

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  26. when we travel, we acquire snippets of inspiration that we are not to brag about but rather share in a manner which garner beautiful sparks of interests and very much unlike snobs which unfortunately, existed in this world too. I agree on how you touched on key issues surrounding our travels whether that be locally or overseas. Superbly written article 🙂

    Reply
    • I love what you say. We talk about our travels to inspire, not to rub it in people’s faces. Life can be beautiful no matter where you are or where you’ve been.

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  27. Haha, that’s funny. It seems like that guy had something to prove. I would much rather visit half as many places and have double the lasting memories.

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  28. You summed it up in 5 words; Life is not a competition!

    It always amazes me that adults constantly strive and seek others approval and adulation but then I feel sorry for those people because I realise they must have no self-worth if they have a need to seek it externally.

    That is why your travels will always feel more enriching than theirs because you are travelling for YOURSELF and nobody else 🙂

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  29. Confusing travel with a check list is indeed very silly. I’d even go further and think that the more country you go to, the less experiences you have in them, and the less you learn about them.

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  30. I totally agree! Travel should be more than just checking a list or a mere count of stamps on your passport: traveling is a complete experience, a sensory journey and a continuous discovery; especially if someone is looking for real luxury.

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  31. This is why I have unfollowed certain travel bloggers who shall remain nameless whose social media streams consist of little more than a bedpost notch laundry list of cool hotels they're staying in and so forth. I can't imagine why I'd like to listen to someone brag about having occupied a wide variety of locations, since…BEING THERE isn't really the point.

    Reply
  32. Amen! My husband is a golfer and encounters that type of person a lot. He has come home many times with stories about people that wanted to prove they traveled more and had been more places. Travel is for everyone, not a competition.

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  33. There’s nothing worse than people who make everything into a competition. I’m also not fond of travelers who think they’re above seeing the touristy spots of a city or country. Somehow being an experienced traveler means that they won’t go to see the Blue Mosque when they’re in Istanbul or the Coliseum when they’re in Rome because it would make them too much of a tourist

    Reply
    • Ha, I so agree with you. We always say, “there’s a reason these places are popular in the first place!” Why is it such a bad thing to go to the most popular places in a destination. If it’s our first time going to a place, we check out all the famous sites. It’s a blast and of course I am going to see the Taj Mahal in India and the Eiffel Tower in France. What’s wrong with being a tourist?

      Reply
  34. I think Jeremy hit the nail on the head. One of the best stories I ever read? The Diving Bell & the Butterfly – written by a guy whose only body part which moved was one eyelid, so he wasn’t exactly traveling, but what a storyteller!

    I think people like this exist in all walks of life. I’ve changed direction in life a few times, and been caught up in how wonderful the new direction was until I met another twit who simply proved that they are everywhere. It would be so nice to think that travel wasn’t like that (whether one is professionally involved or not) but it isn’t. HOWEVER, what I have found is that the ratio of twit to nice person is much higher in the travel world 🙂

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  35. Sometimes I don’t feel as if I travel enough because I haven’t been to enough countries. I look at travelers out there and see all the places that I want to go. However, I always seem to find a story to tell and that’s why I travel and write.

    Many people can go to places all over the world. However, you’ve never really traveled if you don’t have a story to tell of people you’ve met or experiences you’ve had. Can it really be considered traveling if you saw a place to check it off your list?

    While I’ve seen quite a few countries and states, the enriching part of travel is not how many places you’ve been but how many stories you have to tell.

    Reply
    • Ooh, I love that Jeremy. Having a story to tell. I think that can be said about all things in life. Having a story to tell. Love it!

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  36. How in the world did he keep track of all 1000 flights? Crazy. People are funny, They like to feel good so they must though something extravagant in your face very chance they get.

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    • I wondered that same thing and I wondered why that would be something that would matter. The only time I would think about how many flights a person has done is when they are a pilot. Like..how many hours of air time or time in the cock pit. I have to say though, that’s a lot of dedication to count your flights.

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  37. I’ve met too many country-counters. Last week we were staying in a hostel and a few people were talking about their travel experiences. Two guys were dominating the conversation, but it was like they weren’t even listening to each other – they were so eager to one-up one another. They weren’t interested in getting to know everyone – all they cared about was making sure everyone knew how well-traveled they were. Afterwards, a friend of ours said he wished he could have recorded the conversation because it sounded so ridiculous. As you said, it’s not about having the longest travel list and trying to prove that you’re better than everyone else – it’s about doing what makes you happy.

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    • I totally can’t stand those conversations. IT’s great to be excited and to have stories about your travels, but to monopolize the conversation simply for the sake of trying to one up everyone is so silly. Maybe they should have recorded it so that these guys could see themselves making a fool of themselves and then they’d think twice in the future.

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  38. Hi We all have an issue. The issue is that we think we are individuals having to prove how different we are. And that creates separation. Achievement is hollow. But if I can make you feel less than I have fed my ego it’s necessary guilt juice. And the circle continues. The ego wants us to see how good we are and how much better we are.

    There’s one solution and that’s to forgive ourselves and others unconditionally. But that’s easier said than done.

    Have fun

    Reply
    • Well said Johan. I think it’s important when you say forgive ourselves and others. We all make mistakes and there are definitely times where I have made an ass out of myself. I forgive this guy for being an ass too. :-)

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  39. Ask me how many slices of cheesecake I’ve eaten, because I guarantee it’s more than you! If you haven’t eaten 1.2 billion slices, you suck as a human being. I really feel sorry for all you cheesecake amatures out there. I’m way better than you will ever be.

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  40. That is definitely a bit much. I’d have walked away from that one. You definitely bring up a great point about life though. It isn’t a competition even though we may at times forget this simple notion. Happy to see you two living your dream! Cheers and thanks for the article.

    Andy from Louisiana

    Reply